Jamie Oliver has said that learning more about nutrition in recent years has made him “spiritual”.
The celebrity chef, food writer and restaurateur also said he will spend the next 12 years campaigning to improve the nation’s health in order to fight Britain’s childhood obesity crisis.
Oliver has taken the number one spot on a new list by well-being magazine Balance, which celebrates 100 “inspiring” people deemed to “make the world a better, brighter and more mindful place” through a variety of mediums.
I never used to be spiritual but ... I am now. I think nutrition has made me spiritual Jamie Oliver
He told the magazine, of his forthcoming health goals: “I have made a decision to go all-out for the next 12 years to get things where they should be.
“The statistics are really frightening. One in three step into secondary school as obese. And 85% of those will be like that for the rest of their lives. You could easily go ‘Oh I don’t give a f***’. But, I do.
“It’s not because I am kind or clever but when you witness things, it changes you.”
He added: “I never used to be spiritual but … I am now. I think nutrition has made me spiritual. The more I have learned.
“There’s no such thing as perfection and anyone who tells you they’ve got it is a f****** liar.
“I think questioning things is always good. Knowing you could always do better feels like a good place to be.”
Oliver, who also appears on the cover of the new issue of the magazine, said that “self-care and self-love” are concepts he is warming to.
In recent years, Oliver has campaigned about a sugar tax and school dinners in a bid to tackle childhood obesity, and his TV programmes and books have veered towards focusing on healthier foods, including 2015 Channel 4 series Jamie’s Super Food.
In 2015, his restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian, added a 10p levy to non-alcoholic sugar-sweetened beverages, with proceeds going to a children’s health fund which offered grants for child health initiatives.
It was later found that customers are less likely to buy sugary soft drinks if they cost that 10p extra.
A new tax on sugary drinks, supported by Oliver, will take effect on Friday.
Balance magazine’s founding editor and well-being expert, Sophie Scott, said: “Jamie’s many healthy eating campaigns have resulted in real change and his sheer longevity and ceaseless passion to end childhood obesity make him a true hero.
“If that sounds like shameless flag-waving, then we’ve done our job!”
Also on the magazine’s list, called the Wellness 100, are the likes of health and fitness personalities Joe Wicks and Kayla Itsines, naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, TV presenter and fitness DVD star Davina McCall, and boxer Anthony Joshua.The interview with Oliver and the full Wellness 100 list appears in Balance magazine, available from Monday April 9.