Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Much Do You Know About the Food You Eat?

My friend Marly shares my fascination with our nation's industrialized food system so we love talking about the books and articles we're reading and changes we're making in our eating habits. She just told me about a new documentary called Food, Inc. and I cannot wait to see it (especially since my food crush Michael Pollan is in it!). Here is the synopsis:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli--the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an
epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising -- and often shocking truths -- about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are
going from here.

I cannot wait to see this movie. The website is also FULL of information about the issues surrounding our nation's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights. The site offers a great reading list and suggests these simple tips on how you can take action....
  1. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
    You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).

  2. Eat at home instead of eating out.
    Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.

  3. Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
    Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.

  4. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
    Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

  5. Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
    An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.

  6. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
    According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

  7. Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
    Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

  8. Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
    The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

  9. Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
    Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

  10. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
    Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

Watch the trailer and check to see if it's playing in a theater near you. It will be playing at the Varsity in Seattle on June 19th. Can't wait.

No comments: