Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Devouring Films: Food, Inc.
The most eye-opening thing I learnt from this film was that human beings are biologically predisposed to crave sugar, salt and fat; because these are foods that aren't really available in nature. So, obviously in the olden days, finding a bit of sugar or fat or anything in the wild was a real real treat and people were all over it, but then when it was gone, they went back to their berries and occasional animals and stuff. Only now, we have foods with sugar and salt and fat in them, and they're readily available all the time, and yeah, they taste great and eating them is really nice, but also they're kind of killing us. And I heard this, and I essentially went 'Oh FUCK!' and swore off all processed foods forever (not really. But still, very very bad!)
So yeah, there was that. And there was some documented chicken torture that was mildly alarming, but the most alarming part of that whole thing was that the farmer to whom the chickens belonged had become allergic to ALL antibiotics, because of her close proximity to all of the antibiotics given to the chicken. And here's the thing with that- if chickens are being pumped full of all the antibiotics there are, because the way they live is so disgusting that they'd just be fully diseased ridden if they didn't have them; then that means that antibiotics become less effective as viruses and whatnot mutate to defeat them. You know what that means? We will all be very ill, and probably die. This isn't the first time I've said this recently, but chicken is disgusting. Seriously.
Anyway, as I said, Food Inc's main aim isn't to stop people eating meat, but I think to just give us more information about what's on our plates, and, more importantly, what happened to it before it got there. So, we have information ranging from the heartbreaking (a mother whose child died from E-Coli poisoning from a burger) to the ethically horrible and also heartbreaking (the man who is being bankrupted by Monsanto for daring to suggest that farmers shouldn't, or don't have to use Monsanto's genetically modified soy beans) and essentially, you don't walk away from the film feeling good about anything you eat unless you basically grow everything you eat yourself. And if you do, I'm pretty sure I want to know you, because that is awesome! Having said that, I don't think this is a reason for anyone not to watch Food Inc- I think it's important to have all the facts about exactly what you're putting in your body, so you can make an informed decision about whether to keep putting it in there or not (double entendre totally intended. *snigger* But seriously.)
So, anyway, Food Inc is pretty much the perfect documentary to shock me, at least, into questioning my eating habits, because of my massive mistrust of giant corporations in general, and especially when it comes to what we eat. There's no incentive for them to treat their consumers well, and so they don't, unless not doing so is going to lose them money. Their bottom line is always their profits, and so what is best for the general population (let alone animals) doesn't even come into it. I think it's worth watching so that people can make informed choices at the supermarket, and really think about what they're eating.
This is probably my last food preaching for a while. Be thankful for that, until I can find something else to read or watch and then preach about! And just be thankful you don't live with me- There was a thing on the news the other day about the price of eggs rising because it costs more to treat the hens slightly better, and I was like 'GOOD! THEY SHOULD BE MORE EXPENSIVE' and my mum looked a bit scared. Ahem.
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Have you read The Omnivore's Dilemma? That one talks a LOT about food and our bodies and evolution and food history and the food industry. It does talk a bit about the things animals suffer from in food production, but that's not really the focus. Instead, the focus is on where our food comes from and how it affects us. The sections on processed food, particularly on corn usage in food, actually DID turn me off processed food. After reading that book, I didn't give up meat - I've specifically chosen to be an omnivore, because I believe that's what's best for human bodies - but I did start eating a whole lot more fruits, veggies, and plants. It made a world of difference to my diet, and nine months after reading it, I haven't gone back to the way I was before. I still eat a couple processed foods - like my breakfast cereal, I can't give that up - but nowhere near as many. It's helped me to be healthier in general.ReplyDelete
Just thought I'd mention it. If you haven't read it, it's a fantastic book.
I was about to mention the Omnivore's Dilemma for this same reason. Because the focus of the book isn't OMG if you eat meat you are a MONSTER but instead it's "hey, maybe you should know some info about the stuff you're putting into your body". So yeah, read that one!Delete
JEEZ guys, ok I'll read The Omnivore's Dilemma! But really, I have been planning to read it anyway, so yeah I'll give it a go! Even though I am more on the not eating animals scale of things right now, which is where I want to be, I can still get down with all the BAD processed food stories. Which I have got a taster of from this documentary, and may I just say... *shudder*Delete
Seconding Amanda's rec of the Pollan book. I think I read about half of that with my mouth hanging open, as I realized that I've never been quite as well-informed on "where food comes from" as I'd thought.ReplyDelete
I've been vegetarian for over five years and sometimes start patting myself on the back for my healthy diet - while forgetting that I also love, seriously LOVE, a lot of processed foods. When i got back to the States over Christmas and New Year's, the first thing I wanted to eat were fake chicken nuggets and tater tots which...yeah, real healthy. I am going to save this movie for a day when I need to be disgusted with myself and my love of cheap chocolate snack cakes. Because, like you say, it's important to have the facts about what food we're putting in our bodies, whether we want to hear the truth or not. Also, glad to hear that I'm not the only one who pulls that (kinda obnoxious) line about how some of our food SHOULD cost more than it does.
I still kind of believe that vegetarian processed meat is better for us than gross pussy animal flesh you know! But yeah, processed food=not so good. At least not mostly.Delete
Also, *high five* for being obnoxious! Not really hehe. But I don't do it all that often, and in this news report there were these chickens that were still in like 30 to a relatively small cage, and this farmer guy was like 'yeah, it costs more to keep them like this so the price of eggs is going up' and I was like THAT'S NOT A BAD THING! I'd feel a lot better about paying more for eggs and knowing the chickens were treated nicely than getting cheap eggs and being to sick about where they came from to eat them...
Pollan is good. I'll third that.ReplyDelete
I was really moved by Food, Inc. (read: I cried a lot in the movie theater). I've been taking steps for years to move towards a healthier and more sustainable form of eating, but it's kind of baby steps for me. I did try to be vegan for a while, didn't work. I do try to buy more local food. I also agree that we should pay more for food. We pay less than we even have, and what we eat should cost a large portion of our income, since it keeps us alive.
Aw bless! I thought I might cry at it, but I didn't- I think I was mostly just too disgusted. Also baby steps are better than no steps so, you know, keep doing that. And yes to paying more for food. Although I guess a lot of people would disagree with that...Delete