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Friday, October 24, 2014

Fed Up, the Documentary

I recently got a chance to view Fed Up, a documentary by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric, who also co-produced the film.  You can click through to the trailer for it here: .

I was generally pleased with the overall message of the film although of course I always think these efforts could go further and I found some information not specific enough.  (For example, a very vital point made about how many cases of Type 2 Diabetes in adolescents were reported in 1980, zero, and how many were found in 2010, 57,638, gave no point of that in the U.S., worldwide or what?).  A quick check on the CDC's site did not give me this info.

I know other bloggers and investigators have questioned other statements and statistics purported in the film and I expect even more fallout will ensue (especially from individuals connected to the powerful food products industries that would be negatively impacted by radical change).

Regardless of actual facts and statistics, it doesn't take any hard science (other than maybe a field trip to Wal-Mart or other large grocery box store) to see that (1) we have a serious health problem in this country, that we are now exporting to the rest of the world and (2)  food choices are a big part of that problem.

As a vegan for over 4 years now (yeah!), I know how very limited my options are in any food store or restaurant, and this is in a day and age when awareness about whole food is on the rise. And yet, how can it not be understood that encouraging and facilitating the consumption of fresh, whole foods will help with our current health threats?

To say there is no connection between the amount of processed food Americans consume and the unhealthy lunch choices available to our children and the enormous rise in childhood obesity is just beyond logic.  Even the most avid soda pop drinker I know has an understanding that consuming this beverage is not a healthy choice to make and yet in one store I visited recently, the pop display vastly out-sized the entire produce section by a factor of 3 in my estimation.  Soda is a highly profitable commodity and is in part subsidized by our government.  For more on unhealthy subsidies:

Even more troubling is the consumption of pop by our kids and I remember serving on our local school board's Superintendent Advisory Council when BIG SODA offered money to be put in our vending machines in our high school.  I voted strongly against it, but the money was too enticing and 'desperately needed' to be turned down.

And this is just the pop selections and vast advertising campaigns and doesn't even touch the other candies and sugar-chemical-laden choices that bombard us at every turn.

Again and again we choose money and profits over health and taking the harder road.  I worry about the bigger lesson that is being taught here to our children.

Fed Up is, I think, a good film to refer people to who are maybe not making the best food choices, want to do the best for themselves and their families, yet don't know exactly where to start.  The overall message of getting off of processed foods, or at least reducing them and going back to the basics of cooking real whole foods is prominent in the film.  It is heart-breaking to see the obese children featured in the film who are suffering, but through their bravery in exposing their stories, inspiration to take that harder road can be found.

In the end, we can start by focusing on ourselves and what we CAN do to better improve our own health and for those we hold dear.  I've been taking my little 4 year old grand-daughter shopping after our play time in the parks and trying to teach a bit here and there and encouraging her to pick out the fruits and veggies she wants.  She LOVES broccoli and this week we went to a rural year-round farm market, the only one I know of in our area, and she found some beautiful broccoli.  I was even more excited to hear her ask for carrots and to tell me that 'they are good for me, Mi-ma.'.  This is something I told her a few shopping visits ago but she turned up her nose at them.  Now, she couldn't get them into the basket fast enough.  Progress.

If we don't have our health, all else is impacted drastically.  It is worth all that it takes to live healthfully.  I wish you success on your journey to optimal health!

Sue, snacking on kale, in Ohio