Food Inc.

I’ve found myself incredibly interested in food and what we put into our bodies and why. I’m thankful that Netflix, though its selection sometimes lacks, has an incredible selection of documentaries. I watch documentaries every chance I get, about various topics, and lately it’s been about food. Last month, we watched Forks Over Knives and just three days ago, I added Food Inc., Food Matters and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead to the queue. We watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead on Saturday night and Food Inc. on Sunday.

I don’t think I could possibly put into coherent words the range of emotions that Food Inc. brought upon me. I’m probably the last vegan on the planet who hadn’t seen this film and it’s an absolute must-see to anyone who hasn’t. I was weary when we turned it on: the title alone warned me what the content of this film would be about. I do not handle blood well. I can’t watch violent movies. I don’t surf the PETA website. I know about the brutality that goes on in America’s slaughterhouses and knowing has been enough for me. I have no interest in seeing it because at this point, I can’t do much more than what I’m doing. I don’t eat animal products. I am taking myself out of animal-tested product usage. I am trying to find alternatives for my leather shoes. Watching the sort of goings-on that are so oft ignored is going to do nothing but leave me with a heavy heart. But I watched the movie anyway, because I knew there would be more to it than scenes of brutality, but most importantly, I thought it was important for my Boyfriend the Omnivore to watch.

At times, this movie had me in tears. At times, my jaw dropped. At times, I had to look away, shut my eyes, plug my ears. At times, I was angry. At times, my heart was incredibly heavy–not just for the animals, but for the people. The people who work at these farms earning only $18,000 a year. The people exploited. The people whose income has them choosing dollar cheeseburgers to feed their families over produce and whole grains. The people who lose children over meat that should have been recalled but wasn’t. The system is fucked up, plain and simple. When I first went the vegan route, it was initially about my health and about a personal choice. Increasingly, as time goes on and I learn more, the choice is becoming more and more about the animals. The things that you see in this film are nowhere near as bad as what they could be showing you. The film is rated PG, after all. But still, the things I saw cannot be unseen. It is horrific. Even my boyfriend, who is typically desensitized, was in shock and awe.

My boyfriend’s father’s birthday was yesterday and our plan was to go over to his parents’ and cook them dinner. I liked this plan because it put me in charge of what I could eat without being a hassle yet still afforded us the opportunity to spend his father’s birthday with his family. They are all meat eaters and my boyfriend cooked steaks on the grill; I cooked Gardein “chick’n” patties inside. To my complete surprise, my boyfriend opted for the fake chicken rather than the steak. This was a small victory to me, a small triumph. I know he will not convert to veganism. He won’t even convert to vegetarianism. But for a small moment in time, I felt like I was able to effect change, albeit small it was. He doesn’t have the budget for steak dinners and he let one of the few opportunities he would have to indulge in steak pass without batting an eye. He even used my earth balance and tofutti sour cream for his baked potato rather than the actual margarine and sour cream that the rest of his family was using. My heart swelled with pride.

He has cut back his meat consumption considerably since I’ve embarked on this diet change. I am trying to teach him that veganism is delicious and hearty and at the same time, good for the body, soul, planet, and animals. I really don’t think I’ll ever live to see a day where he can stop eating meat entirely, but the small steps make a difference. We are but two people, two freckles on this planet, but every small bit helps. I hope for everyone to be able to see life through these eyes. So many people are tripped up by the incomprehensibility of change. It’s easy to say “I’m just one person and I can’t make a difference and I’m only here for a short while, I may as well enjoy life and do/eat [x, y, z].” Maybe our lives are short but that doesn’t give us license to ruin these body-vessels we inhabit, or this planet.

Please watch Food Inc. if you haven’t. Next up, I’d love to read Omnivore’s Dilemma. Michael Pollen is a smart man.

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14 thoughts on “Food Inc.

  1. Really good, thoughtful post. I haven’t seen Food Inc., yet, but feel like I need to after reading this.

    • I so hope you do. While at times painful to watch, I think the message is incredibly important. The last 5 minutes left me feeling so inspired and it was humbling to realize that though I feel I do a lot, I can (we all can) do so much more. Let me know what you think if you do watch it!

    • Shira says:

      It’s a must watch that I watched with my two girls (then 12 and 6) – both vegetarians from the time they were born. At times they had to look away but it is such an important film!

  2. Shira says:

    Thanks for posting about this…this movie was part of the evolution that led me to start my blog project. Seeing the small things that can add up is such a good take from this movie! If everyone just made small changes…imagine what we could do!

    • I absolutely agree! Now if only we could get others to watch the film and not disregard it…I know plenty of people (family members, friends, coworkers) who would dismiss this as “liberal propaganda.” So many conversations I’ve been in have been with people that don’t believe farmed animals are treated this way. They flat-out disregard it, forget it, and go on their merry ways. I just want to shake them and say “no! please face the facts!”…but I’m too much of a people-pleaser to do that. 😉

  3. Kinenchen says:

    It’s easy to be dismissive and it’s easy to just eat everything up at face value. Research is worth its weight in gold. YouTube has a lot of great exposé style videos in agribusiness settings as well as the full length ‘Earthlings’ movie… that was a hard one to watch. Keep consuming that information!

  4. tbjohns10 says:

    Thanks for the post. I recently watched Food Inc., and it generates a lot of emotion for me too. I have also read the Omnivore’s Dilemma before. The general theme has a lot of overlap with Food Inc., but I think you would get a lot of details from it. You might also like a book called No Impact Man. It takes more of an environmental motive, but it has the perspective of a blogger with ideas similar to you.

    It was nice of you boyfriend to pass up that steak!

  5. I absolutely love Food, Inc.! I’m almost done with Omnivore’s Dilemma right now, and it’s amazing. Michael Pollan presents the information in the most unbiased way, just like Food, Inc., so you don’t feel that he’s trying to persuade you one way or another, but simply giving you the truth, which you can then take and use however you want.

    • It’s amazing that he can be so unbiased given the facts he presents. I envy him that–if I were in his position, I’d find it very difficult to remain level-headed and neutral!

  6. Have you read “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer? Or have you asked your boyfriend to read it?

    JSF is a brilliant writer and the fact that he has devoted his only book of non-fiction to this important topic is truly a blessing.

    Great post, by the way.

    • Neither of us has read it but thank you for the tip! His meat-eating is a perfect example of “old habits dying hard”–he can’t seem to give it up because he says it’s hard in a social context to be so strict. He sees every point I make but it doesn’t seem to translate over. I actually take offense when he says it’s “hard” or “impossible” to be vegetarian/vegan in social situations because hey, I do it! and he stands by my side and watches me do it! I hope if I keep finding ways to educate him, maybe one day he’ll convert to the enlightened side. It’s a long road ahead though. 🙂

  7. unholyground says:

    Definitely pick up a copy of Omnivore’s Dilemma. It’s amazing!

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