I don’t know if you recognize this but Netflix-binge-evenings always leave me feeling a bit uneasy, unproductive and a little bit guilty. So the other night after indulging in some 80’s classics I decided to watch Cowspiracy, you know, to balance out the evening. I’d heard a bunch of people talk about it before and wanted to see what the fuss was all about and it got me thinking. It got me thinking for days and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to talk about it, and the more I talked, the more I felt like I needed to do something. Change something. And I think its amazing how something so simple as watching a documentary, can have such an effect.
I don’t know if it is because I’m getting older or if its because there’s such a boost of focus on healthy lifestyles, but figuring out how to be healthy and strong has been on my mind a lot lately and often times its a struggle figuring out what works best for me and what I find important. The wonderful thing about the internet is the abundance of information out there but the flip side to it is that we’re often so overwhelmed that we don’t even know where to start or what to believe. Now I’m by no means an expert and I definitely haven’t figured it all out but here are 5 of my favorite documentaries about healthy food and the food industry that I think everyone should watch. Because ignorance is NOT bliss.
1. Food Inc. (2008)
I still remember the first time I saw this documentary. I was about to graduate high school and one of my best friends had recommended it to me. To be honest I had never thought much about how food was processed and this was the first documentary about the subject I ever saw and I was definitely in shock. It tells you about the power of big corporations and how they control the food industry. Watch the trailer here!
2. Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (2010)
Personal stories always get me so obviously I liked following the journey of Joe Cross, an Australian man on a roadtrip through the US, determined to go 60 days on only fresh juice. He goes from being overweight and taking a ton of pills to a whole lot healthier. While he’s on the road it is so striking to see people’s responses to what he is doing, but even more so what they say about healthy food and their food choices. See, most people seem to know what is good and not good for them in general, but this knowledge doesn’t seem to influence their choices as much as you’d think it would. Definitely fun to watch, not to say that we should all live on a juice fest, though! Btw, there is a part 2, if you want to see how Joe does after a couple of years) Watch the trailer here!
3. Forks Over Knives (2011)
Oh boy, the amount of things we believe to be good for our body because its what we’ve been hearing our whole lives, but turn out to actually be bad for your health. yikes. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer, can we reduce the prevalence of these diseases in our population by simply changing our diet? According to the makers of this documentary our so called “western diet” which is so reliant on animal-based and processed foods is the cause of our generations major diseases. Such an interesting film, food for thought for sure! Watch the trailer here!
4. GMO, OMG (2013)
You’ve probably heard of GMO’s right? Genetically Modified Organisms? I had too and I had a vague idea that they were no good but I actually didn’t know what they were exactly and what their effect is on us, and the environment. Apparently neither did Jeremy Seifert (the maker of this docu), a concerned dad looking for answers about GMO’s. His search for answers isn’t without trouble and you can’t help but get frustrated by the way so much information is kept from us. Very informative indeed! Watch the trailer here!
5. Cowspiracy (2014)
What if you passionately care about the environment and want to take care of our beautiful planet? You’d do all the things environmental organizations tell you to do to make a difference right? (ie. take shorter showers, recycle, take the bike to work etc.) So now imagine you find out there is something that has a much much bigger effect on the environment but no one wants to talk about it. That would make you suspicious right? This film is such a wake-up call, I still struggle to believe everything that is in there simply because I’m not educated about it well enough but oh boy the message is clear; animal agriculture is a threat to our environment, and the industry doesn’t want you to know it. Please watch the trailer here!
Besides telling us some things that we probably already know but need to hear again every once in a while, I was so shocked by how little we know about some of these subjects or about how policies work. I’m no expert, so I’m not telling you that everything in these documentaries is 100% accurate. But I do think each one of these films gives us something to think about and kind of forces you to make more conscious decisions about what you eat. So next time you go on netflix, instead of watching re-runs of a show for the tenth time, why not watch one of these documentaries. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and if you have many recommendations for other documentaries (food related or not!) I would love to hear them!