x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Jamie Oliver's army takes on the world

Jamie Oliver continues his mission to get the world to eat healthy, locally produced foods with Food Revolution Day.

Jamie Oliver has spearheaded the Food Revolution Day campaign.
Jamie Oliver has spearheaded the Food Revolution Day campaign.

This Saturday at the Recreation Centre in Qatar's Education City, farmers will be selling fresh local produce at a "green market". In Urisiu de Jos, Romania, a group of keen bakers are planning to make bread according to a 2,000-year-old recipe. In Hong Kong, the celebrity chef Stanley Kong is hosting a Cook Local class and several thousands of miles away in Jeddah, an interactive dinner at Muse restaurant promises to educate guests about good eating practices, while also feeding them well.

The reason for all these food-centric goings on? Saturday is the first-ever Food Revolution Day, an international event spearheaded by Jamie Oliver, in response to the dramatic increase in world obesity over the past 20 years.

The project aims to highlight the need for food education in schools and bring people together to emphasise the importance of making healthy, informed decisions about the food we eat every day. All the funds raised will go towards food education projects already in place in the UK, US and Australia, however the Food Revolution Day website stresses that the event is open to all and so far more than 330 public events and 359 dinner parties are planned in 452 cities, across 41 countries.

And although the event is a bit slower to catch on in this part of the world, there are at least two Food Revolution Day events happening right here in the UAE.

One of them is being organised by Ayesha Sayed, who is heading up a team of students from the UAE University's Al Maqam Campus in Al Ain.

"Our aim is to present ideas that can change the lives of everyone who attends," she says. "We're having live healthy cooking sessions, workshops, diabetes and obesity checkups, organic food stalls from farmers, healthy juice stalls and an entire section dedicated to children which will run activities all day."

Thanks to her passion for health and fitness, Sarvin Haghighi - a qualified Pilates instructor from Iran - has supported the Jamie Oliver Foundation from the start. And when she heard about Food Revolution Day, she immediately submitted a proposal for a local event.

"I get involved in various initiatives and give talks out of my own personal interest and I see there is a huge need here in UAE to share knowledge and show how easy it is to lead a healthy lifestyle," she explains.

On Saturday, Haghighi will be giving a Listen to Your Body talk at Jamie's Italian, Festival City, Dubai.

"Ordering in and eating out is a quick and easy option for lot of people; what I'm trying to do is help people understand that there are easy-to-make, delicious and healthy food options," she says. To that end, during her talk she will be providing tips for making changes to diets, suggesting alternatives to processed snacks and demonstrating how to make a nutritious, easy-to-digest green smoothie.

 

A few sobering facts:

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2008, 1.5 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these, more than 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.
  • Nearly 43 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.

 

Source: World Health Organisation (WHO) Obesity & Overweight Fact Sheet