What you don’t know about food can harm you and others. These informative and sometimes troubling films may motivate you to change what you and your family eat.
The industrialized food industry and our own government have been quite successful in convincing us that the food we buy is safe and okay for us to eat as long as we get enough exercise.
However, the increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic health problems seem to be telling a different story. The wellbeing of the people growing, harvesting, and processing our food is largely ignored as is the harm that is being inflicted on our planet.
We can change the food system by first learning about how our food choices affect our own health, the wellbeing of others, and the condition of our environment and then taking action.
Over the past several years, I have read books and articles and watched films to educate myself about the relationship between the food industry, health, and the environment. I am recommending these five films because they provide a good overview of various food related topics.
After you watch these movies, I hope at least one thing will have sparked your interest and will inspire you to take action.
Imagine you are driving to work and see a group of people standing on the sidewalk holding signs that say things like “I am human too” or “I go hungry today so my children can eat tomorrow.”
This is an actual scene in the movie Food Chains showing a group of tomato pickers and their supporters on a 6-day hunger strike outside a Publix corporate building. They were asking the giant grocery market chain to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes.
The film tells the story of how the pickers formed the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and founded the Fair Food Program to improve working conditions and wages for farm laborers. Their story is heartbreaking, yet hopeful demonstrating what a small group of people on a mission can accomplish.
Watch Food Chains because the people who harvest our food deserve a dignified life with adequate pay.
Food Choices chronicles filmmaker Michal Siewierski’s three-year journey across the country exploring how our food choices affect not only our own health but also the health of the planet and other living species. His focus is on eating a plant-based diet, however; the film addresses a wide range of topics from eating carbohydrates to organic food.
Watch Food Choices because, in addition to explaining the health and environmental benefits of eating a plant-based diet, it covers other food topics in short easy-to-understand segments.
The United States produces more food and sells is at a cheaper price than any other country in the world. But, at what cost to the environment, the animals we raise and kill for food, and the people who grow, harvest, and process our food? Is our highly mechanized and seemingly efficient agricultural industry actually producing healthy and nutritious food? Who controls this vast food system?
To answer these questions and more, Food, Inc. goes behind the scenes and exposes the hidden world of industrialized agriculture that big Ag does not want you to see.
Watch Food, Inc. because it is an eye-opening disturbing film and sometimes that is what we need to propel us to take action.
Sugar Coated explores the question, “Is sugar the new tobacco?” meaning a toxic product marketed to us as safe by a powerful industry.
Dr. Cristin Kearns is a dentist who became concerned about how the ever-increasing amount of sugar used in processed foods was affecting her patients’ health. While researching sugar, Dr. Kearns stumbled across the records of a now defunct sugar company documenting how the sugar industry orchestrated a nationwide public relations program during the 1960s and 1970s to assure legislators and the public that sugar was safe and did not cause any health problems.
Watch Sugar Coated for two reasons. First, because we should be concerned about how much sugar we eat and feed our families. Second, it behooves us to remember that sometimes the government does not fulfill its responsibility to protect the wellbeing of its citizens unless we demand it.
Super Size Me
Super Size Me is a film about how the fast food industry influences our eating habits and therefore our health.
After hearing about two teenagers who had attempted to sue McDonald’s for causing their obesity, Morgan Spurlock was inspired to investigate how eating fast food affects physical and psychological wellbeing. Using himself as a guinea pig, he ate only food from McDonald’s for one month and accepted the suggestion to “super size” whenever it was offered. The results were shocking!
Watch Super Size Me because it gives you an opportunity to look at what fast food really is when you are not hungry and waiting in line at the drive-through window.
Please share your thoughts on these films with other readers and let us know if you have any recommendations for other food related films we should watch.
- A Healthy Diet is Good for You and the Planet
- Environmental Impact of Eating Meat
- Food Rules – Book Review
- Organic Food – What Does the USDA Organic Label Mean?
- The Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer – Book Review
Books and Films
- Appetite for Profit (book)
- Fast Food Nation (book)
- Fed Up (film)
- Food Politics (book)
- Hungry for Change (film)
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma (book)