I know, I’m a little bit behind but I finally watched the documentary Fed Up this weekend. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it. You can find it on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and on DVD or Blu-Ray.
Watched it? Ok, let’s continue.
I knew going into this I would probably come out on the other end all fired up about eating healthy. This always happens when I watch food documentaries. Not only did I get fired up, I got mad/sad/full of despair and full of hope. That’s a lot of emotions to come from just one documentary.
Fed up takes a look at our food system and let me tell you it isn’t pretty. Most things that we have been told about food and eating healthy in the US have been dead wrong. How many times have you heard, “It’s all a matter of calories in vs. calories out” or “All you have to do is eat less and move more” or “The reason we’re so fat as a country is we’re so sedentary”? A million times right? Those are our health mantras as a nation, yet we’re still more obese and at risk for health-related diseases than ever before. Why can’t we lose the weight? With all the technology and health advances we have, why can’t we fix this problem? One simple but so complex factor.
To be more precise, food products. Man-made, processed, big food-company products are keeping us stagnant in our fight against obesity and the majority of the public isn’t even aware.
That’s what makes me so mad.
While watching Fed Up, I knew most of the information that they were presenting. I’m a health blogger so I daily immerse myself in all things health related. I want to gain as much knowledge as possible so I know how to help myself and others. That isn’t the average American though. I would say 80-90% of the population isn’t as immersed in all things health as I am. Most people get their health information from doctors and advertisements and that is where the trouble starts.
People trust companies and their healthcare providers to give them the best information and to keep their health at the center of what they do but sadly that isn’t always the case. Money plays a huge role in the decisions made about the food that is produced in our country and it has come at the cost of our health. There are people who are trying to fight against big food companies but it’s an uphill battle. For every step forward the good guys try to make they get pushed back five steps. It can start to feel hopeless to even try.
We have to try though. The documentary followed four overweight teenagers as they tried to lose weight by exercising more and eating what they thought to be healthy food products. They were so confused and distraught as to why they were eating less, moving more, and still not losing the weight. My heart ached as I watched one girl cry as she talked to the camera saying, “I don’t think people realize just how hard this is.” I know how hard it is and I know how desperate and frustrating the whole process can be especially when you think you’re doing everything right. This is why we have to keep trying to make our food system so much better than what it is today.
It starts with you.
You have more power than you realize. Remember money talks and as the consumer you have the money that food companies want. Every time you go to the store, you have the choice to decide where your money goes. Use your dollars to help your health instead of hurt it. Instead of buying the low-fat, zero-calories, “health” food product, buy the real health food, fruits and vegetables. Instead of getting the food with an ingredient list a mile long, buy the food with one ingredient. Arm yourself with knowledge about your health and your food. Watch documentaries like Fed Up, Food Matters, and Forks Over Knives. Follow health blogs, read books, ask your doctor questions and seek second opinions. Follow up on what congress is doing when it comes to what’s on your plate. Keep learning as much as possible because that is the only way we can turn our health around.
Is it a lot? Yes. It can be a daunting task to keep up with everything. It can be difficult to wade through everything that is out there. A lot of you are telling yourselves you just don’t have the time to sit here and figure out all this stuff. Let me ask you this though, do you have the time to be sick? Do you have the time to have heart disease, diabetes, or any other of the hundreds of obesity related illnesses?
Your health starts with you. You can do more than you think. I made this blog to help you on your journey to get healthier and I’m here to help you in anyway I can but you have to take the first step and make the effort. Even though one person can’t change the entire food system, they can change their own lives for the better.