I had no idea then just how much of a phenomenon The Naked Chef would become, and looking back to that time, I never would have thought then that I'd be sitting here today writing for The Huffington Post and kicking off their Thriving Families month. So it turns out that I did inspire quite a few people, and many of them were mums and dads. I'll never forget being chased down the street by this big, muscley bloke one day and when he caught up with me, I genuinely thought my days were numbered and he was going to punch me but he simply smiled and said: "My missus said I should start cooking because of you and if I'd seen you a few weeks ago, I would have lumped you. But actually, I'm really enjoying cooking and I'm better than you now!" That was one of those moments where I started to understand just how powerful food can be in changing people's lives for the better.
Britain has now joined Mexico and France in taxing businesses when they compromise the health of our children. I don't believe it's anti-business. In the UK, kids and teenagers' single largest source of sugar is from sugary sweetened drinks and with one-third of kids overweight or obese, these statistics cannot be taken lightly anymore. Of course, industry totally disagree - what they all agree on is personal responsibility and self-regulation, and look where that got us. The announcement of a sugary drinks tax has sent ripples around the world, especially in countries where they're also struggling with childhood obesity.
There has been a rise almost 10% in child hospital admissions for severe tooth decay in England over the last four years. Researchers have pointed to a strong correlation between area deprivation and the rate of tooth extraction. Which is why I find it bizarre that one of the main arguments deployed against the sugary drinks tax is that it will hit the poorest hardest. Irrespective of how much income people have, how is it morally sound to keep the prices of dangerous food low? Powerful companies spend a lot of money each year advertising to us and selling us sugary drinks that are giving us diabetes and more. They put them in front of us all day in train stations, newsagents, even leisure centres.It is time for society to protect itself and our children.