Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Netflix Changed the Way I Look at Food?!

Yeah I said it...  A company with no ties to the food industry or my fridge has made me rethink every trip to the market, my menu choices and my hidden love for Mcy D's Chicken Nuggets....

Throughout the past few weeks I have been on a documentary kick... I have been watching documentaries on everything from how to make beer, ancient Egypt, evolution of modern man and his progression across the globe (amazing doc by the way!) to MANY MANY docs on our current food system in the US.

After my guest post from James at "Food on the Table" I have been thinking more and more about the meat I buy and eat. Netflix allowed me to delve deeper into where the food I am buying at the market each week is coming from by streaming a ton of docs all focused on the food industry.

Now don't close this page just yet thinking I am going to become so uber vegetarian that tells you not to eat meat!  Quite the contrary, I think meat is an amazing food choice and part of a wonderful diet that should include a bit of everything. That and the thought of never having one of my mother's perfect meatballs ever again is too depressing to comprehend!

So you ask... "Beth, what the gif are you watching?" Have no fear, I have listed the documentaries below but I wanted to give you a general "book report" summary of what I took away from them all first.

As always, this blog is all my opinion.  I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, just a girl who loves food, wants to know more about what I eat. That and I  have the constant need to over-share with complete strangers over the interwebs.  Before you think about changing your diet, please speak with your doctor/ nutritionist or your mom (moms know best right? or was that fathers.. oh well, i am getting off topic!)

I will leave it to you to decide which documentaries you want to watch.

The common thread through all these films is that the food we buy and prepare or enjoy at restaurants is drastically different than that of our parents and grandparents.

What I learned that really bothered me and made me sit up and take note:

  • Today our meat comes from several major slaughter houses, 
  • Feeding cows a corn based diet is actually KILLING them! Their systems are not meant to digest a corn based diet.
  • The majority of our produce is shipped 1000s of miles before it gets to us (meaning its weeks old before you get it) 
  • And we are eating huge amounts of processed foods stuffed full of corn, hydrogenated oils and other preservatives.
  • Agriculture in the U.S. is run by lobbyists and politicians and not by consumer demand or variety of produce.
  • Corn and Soybeans in the U.S. are being genetically modified and some seed types are actually patented by large companies.
  • French Fries are considered a vegetable in US School Lunch Programs!
Depressing Right?!  I know... Watching a few of these docs really made me sad and left me with a desire to pack up and move to a farm, going off the grid and living off the land.  I like to think I eat healthy 90% of the time and the realization that the food I am buying is hurting my body before I even begin to think of covering it in cheese or butter was too much for this foodie to accept!

There is good news though my friends!  With all this gloom and doom comes a ray of hope.  There is a huge movement throughout the US and Canada to go back to the basics.  
  • Farmer's markets are sprouting up all over the US including inner city/urban neighborhoods who are in desperate need of affordable and healthy produce.
  • Local farms are raising free range, grass fed and happy cows, pigs and chickens to sell at local markets
  • Mainstream media is starting to see the affects of 50 years of industrialized agriculture/butchering and helping to affect change.

I don't want to lecture any of you so I won't go on and on about each film (I leave that torture to my mom and co-workers who for some reason continue to listen to my rants about each film I watch. I am sorry guys!)

I want this post to inspire you to educate yourself about what you buy, where you buy it and how you decide to prepare it.  Food should make you feel alive, energized and ready to conquer the day, not sluggish and depressed.  These films will hopefully give you the knowledge to decide what you put in your cart the next time you are at the supermarket or out for dinner.

I would love to hear what you all think about these issues after watching a few films.  Do you think I am a crazy lady for watching all these films or do you think there might be something here.

Not sure this post is coherent to anyone... To be honest, I have been working on writing it for a few weeks now.  I have taken in so much information from these films and I want to share it all with you. Trying to focus this post into one theme has been harder than I thought.  So instead of spending another 2 weeks editing this, I am leaving it to you!  These films are here for you to review, digest and reflect on.  Good luck!

Food Related Documentaries:

Deconstructing Supper: Is Your Food Safe?

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Food, Inc.



King Corn (Green Packaging)

Super Size Me

The Future of Food

To Market, To Market: To Buy a Fat Pig

What's on Your Plate?