Monday, December 14, 2009

Food, Inc.

After holing ourselves up in the condo all day yesterday (dreary weather and Adam has a cold), we finally watched a movie I'd been wanting to see for awhile last night, Food, Inc.

I'm so conflicted as to how I really feel about the movie. There were so many parts that were difficult to watch and I had to turn my head several times because some of the animal scenes were so bad! I remember in high school history discussing Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and hearing the horrors that happened in the early 1900's meat packing plants. Unbeknownst to most of us, we have the same things going on now in our meat industry but most of the workers are undocumented, illegal immigrants so it's happening in our country and right under our noses and nobody seems to care about it.

They did a scene with a Latino family from California that bothered the hell out of me. They were at the Burger King drive thru because they were trying to make the case that they can only afford to eat off the dollar menu. Later they tell you that the father has Type 2 diabetes and needs two medicines that were upwards of $130 a month each. They show you how inexpensive it is for the entire family of four to eat off the dollar menu, rather than buying "expensive veggies" at the market. I believe this to be extremely unfortunate but only partially true. First of all, if what happens on the Biggest Loser is true, we've seen several contestants completely reverse their Type 2 diabetes and come off all of their medications. If that family had the extra $260 to spend on food, they'd be better equipped to afford what is truly nutritious. Plus, their bill at Burger King was $11 and some change, almost $4 of that was toward two Sprites and a large Dr. Pepper. Instead of drinking the sodas, they could have had water for free and bought quite a few pounds of veggies instead of the burgers and chicken sandwiches. I do see the filmmaker's point (to a point) that the food industry has figured out a way to manipulate everything so that processed foods are cheaper than buying most nutrient-high foods. Just look at bottled water for example, in most places it's more expensive than buying a coke.

As far as personal changes that I want to make, I was horrified seeing the parts about our meat supply. It's easy to see why obesity is an epidemic in this country after seeing Food, Inc. It's not always the quantity of the foods we eat, it's sometimes about the fact that almost everything we eat has been genetically or hormonally engineered to be bigger. I know that we can afford to buy organic. And in reality, Whole Foods is far and away the closest grocery store to our house. I want to start making better choices not only to make my "vote" for our food supply count but also because I feel like I'll be putting better things in my body. It's hard though because so many of the things that are great for the WW Plan are heavily processed. A case in point is the Fiber One bars that many of my fellow meeting participants are in to. Look at the ingredient list on the box of one of those bad boys... I'll stick with the Kashi bar equivalent, thank you! In order to keep the processed foods down, I try to eat lots of veggies. To go back to the Latino family I mentioned above, the mother tried to make the case that the burger filled them up better than eating an apple. I counter with it's all what your body is used to. My first week on WW, I was ravenous all day every day. The second day, we went to a restaurant and I ordered a salad to stay on points and I wanted to punch everyone else at the table for ordering things that I wanted (lasagna, french fries, etc.). I remember feeling SO CRANKY that night because all these veggies that WW considers to be "filling foods" were not filling the hole in my stomach at all. Fast forward two weeks, I can eat the apple instead of the burger and still feel satisfied. My body took some time to get used to this new regime that I forced upon it but now I'm feeling filled up by the so-called filling foods. If that family gave it some time, I know they could live a healthier lifestyle.

This post has really been all over the place but I really struggle with food and how I feel about it on a regular basis. I went all out veg for awhile after reading the vegan-Bible, Skinny Bitch (not vegan though, I love cheese and milk too much and raw food diets, uh, no). I feel off the vegetarian wagon after a trip to Argentina. I had to have the steak!! And it was the best meat I've ever tasted in my life, most likely because it wasn't all jacked up like our beef supply. Movies like Food, Inc. make me want to run away to Europe, where the food and alcohol hasn't been completely processed and tainted with preservatives! I want to buy my eggs non-refrigerated. I want to eat lots of butter and cheese and be skinny like the French. I want to be able to go to a market like this:

In my next life, can I come back as a Parisian?

I want to re-evaluate the choices that I'm making on a regular basis. There are farmer's markets even here in the city and I want to commit to going to them more. I want to start buying organic dairy products for sure and look at the meat choices I'm making. We'll see how it all works out.

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