Rarely do I see a movie that changes my life. Sure, Footloose taught me some new jammin’ dance moves and Gone with the Wind permanently put “Fiddle-dee-dee” in my vocabulary (with a heavy drawn-out Southern accent, of course), but no movie has really, really changed my life.
That was then. This is now. I can confidently say that Food, Inc. has changed much, including what’s on my plate, what’s in my shopping cart, and my mental process when it comes to grubbin’.
The movie is a documentary into the world of food, namely the big companies behind it. (You may have seen the movie talked about recently by Oprah). From how chickens and cows are treated (living conditions, hormones, other nastiness) to genetically modified crops, it was an eye opener. After watching movies like Super Size Me and reading Fast Food Nation, I wasn’t naive. I knew that I probably didn’t want to really think about where that skim milk was coming from, but it’s easy to turn a blind eye when you’re just seeing the stuff in a pretty carton. This movie quickly pulled the blindfold off though. Without going into gory details and stealing the documentary’s graphic thunder, unless you’re buying free-range meat, you’re in for a rude awakening.
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, I also was popped out of another food bubble: some of the natural, healthy-for-you foods I love aren’t owned by regular folks or small mom-and-pop businesses. Nope, they’ve been snatched up by BIG food companies, who don’t always have your best interests at heart. Sigh, Kashi, Larabar, Stonyfield Farm (and a big thanks to @SFkaty for finding that amazing flow chart). Granted, “big” doesn’t always mean bad, and if big companies like General Mills and Kellogg can bring healthy, organic food to the masses, so be it. But, I guess I’m a bit of a skeptic until proven wrong. I’m from the Show Me State after all, so you gotta show me.
If you’re interested in how what you eat affects your body, your health and the world, I highly encourage you to check out the flick. And if you’re ready to make a change now, check out the below tips, courtesy of Take Part.
- Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
- Eat at home instead of eating out.
- Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
- Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food and sports drinks.
- Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
- Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
- Protect family farms; visit your local farmer’s market.
- Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
- Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
- Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
Like the movie says, you get a chance to vote three times a day (unless you eat five mini-meals a day in which case you get five!), so buy, eat and request organic, free-range, healthy foods, and it’s just a matter of time before the market catches up. —Jenn