Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Food Inc.

Today was a very interesting day. I went to the beach and worked out and afterwards rewarded myself with a Double Double with fries and an extra large coke from In N Out.


In the back of my mind though was the obvious thought… “really Clarence? A fatty burger after burning all that fat? That’s why you don’t have abs son!”

Eh… but the burger was delicious.

Something that has been on my mind a lot over the past year is my diet. It really started for me back in October of 2009 when I broke my ankle. As I started the rehab process in the following February I noticed that the bone was healing slowly so in typical nerd fashion I analyzed my diet. I was getting only a fraction of the calcium that I need.

Not a good look.

The problem started in college where the cafeteria milk made me lactose intolerant (or so I thought). But with desperate times come desperate measures. I need calcium and I can only eat so much spinach.

Time to bring back the cow juice!

So I posted this declaration on my facebook status and immediately got hit up with a litany of comments from loved ones about how I was throwing away my life at the shrine of the white drink. Incredulous, I tried to ignore these well meaning, albeit quite annoying naysayers until I could stand it no longer.

To the wiki I went. And ohhh buddy were they right. It was on this day that I first felt compelled to watch Food Inc.

Food Inc is a documentary about the industrialization of food and how that affects the lives of all of us. I remember when it first came out. All of my hip and groovy friends swooned over it. I, on the other hand, knew better. There was not way I’d every watch that flic.

Why you might ask? I could give you all kinds of creative and cockamamie excuses but the truth is there is only one real reason: Ignorance is bliss baby!

But I can only be ignorant for so long.

I watched it today and was blown away mainly because it was not at all what I expected. I expected the movie to try to convince me that the food that I love was bad. That I am horrible for loving to eat four legged creatures and other miscellaneous critters with eyes and faces. I was ready with my subconscious defenses, the best of which is “how do you know that plants don’t have feelings too?” (seriously… think about that for a second… Gandhi is the only person that I will take heat from in the diet department).

But no, the movie very clearly articulated a crucial point. The problem isn’t necessarily the food we eat. The problem is how it gets from the “farm” to our plates and what that means for our food choices in terms of price, quantity, and quality.

It laid out a convincing case for how bad our food economy has become and what we can do as consumers to change it. I also enjoyed its treatment of Walmart. They were fair to the big box chain in showing their progress in line with their profit motives. It was refreshing to see a thoughtful look at a huge problem as well as some small steps that we can all take to help make things better for ourselves and everyone else.

Of course this movie does not claim to be the end all be all for how to save our diets, cure childhood obesity and diabetes, and feed the entire planet; but it is a good start for those like me who have avoided this issue like the plague. It is a good place to begin if you have ever wondered why you should care about what you put in your mouth everyday and what you can do to make better decisions in this regard.

After all our bodies are temples right? Living a fulfilling spiritual life starts within. What better way to affect our walk than to stop bringing the crap in the temple. Sure bad movies, music, and TV may not be ideal to consume. But the same goes for bad food.

My challenge to myself is to work at being the best I can be everyday. Food Inc was today’s step along that path.

And to all of the fast food in the world I say get thee behind me!! I am free from your clutches! Well… until I really really want some In N Out…

Baby steps you know? But moderation has begun. 


  1. Even Walmart has a strong line of organic now, which is good. Its luckily a lot easier to make better choices, but it is interesting to see how tainted and controlled our dietary lives really are.

  2. So good to hear that you have seen this film, and believe that it will change your eating habits. I'm working on a project, and it called for me to watch this flick and many others on the topic of sustainable farming.

    Clarence, you know how stubborn i am...but even I have drastically cut back on the fast food...and still haven't done it enough.

    moral of the story: Eat at Chipotle.

  3. I haven't seen it yet. But I'm reading Fast Food Nation right now and I think it's along a similar vein. Have you read it? It's great. I highly recommend it. :)

  4. Thank you folks. I'm glad that I am finally facing the fact that I eat poison everyday. Change is in full effect!


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