Looking to take control of your health? Want to be more ethical with the choices you make regarding food? Want to learn more about the food industry in general?
One of the things that helped me improve my diet and my overall outlook towards food, sustainability, and the food industry was learning. I read books and watched movies/documentaries that opened my eyes towards what healthy and ethical eating is really all about — as well as how governments try to coerce the masses into making all the wrong choices.
In this article, I want to share with you 8 movies and books that can help you learn more about food — as well as change your mind about any previous conceptions you may have had. All you really need is a few subscriptions to streaming services and a Kindle.
Ready? Let’s make a start.
Food, Inc. (Movie)
Food, Inc. is a documentary made by filmmaker Robert Kenner who takes a closer look at how a few gigantic U.S. corporations have grown to dominate the American food chain over the last 50 years.
Their tentacles are as far-reaching as this documentary, and it’s surprising (and shocking) just how much the food industry has changed over the last half-century.
Warning: The way health and safety is often ignored in the pursuit of cheap food might make you feel sick.
Where to find it: YouTube
Food and Sustainability In The Twenty-First Century: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives (Book)
Food and Sustainability In The Twenty-First Century: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives isn’t a book that’s easy to get hold of. But if you can find a copy, you should definitely treat yourself.
Essentially, this is a book that uses cross-disciplinary perspectives from scholars of various backgrounds (including ecology, biology, and anthropology) to highlight the sustainability problems we face, as well as what we can do going forward.
Packed full of case studies, it’s one for those who want to go deep into the sustainability crisis and level up their knowledge.
Where to find it: Berghahn Books
Fed Up (Movie)
Are you feeling fed up with the way things are in the world right now?
Unfortunately, Fed Up might make you feel even more fed up! Damn.
However, with its sights set on the American obesity problem and its links with the American food industry, Fed Up is a must-watch documentary. Gripping from the start and narrated by Katie Couric, Fed Up shows how the U.S. government completely ignored the role sugar plays in the onset of diabetes, obesity, and other startling health issues.
Warning: This movie might make you angry.
Where to find it: Netflix
Super Size Me (Movie)
You’ve probably heard about this movie. It came out in 2004, it gained huge traction, and it’s pretty infamous.
Its concept is simple: Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock wondered what would happen if he entered a McDonald’s for 30 days straight, ordered the usual burgers and fries — and accepted the offer to “supersize” his meal each time.
The result was unsurprising but still startling. Spurlock saw a whopping 13% body mass increase, while his cholesterol shot up to 230 mg/dL. He also experienced sexual dysfunction, volatile mood swings, and developed a fatty liver.
It then took him 14 months to shift the extra poundage via a vegan diet.
The film was a roaring success, and it persuaded McDonald’s to discontinue its supersize option.
If you’re still unsure about fast food and what it does to you, Super Size Me is well worth a watch.
Warning: You may never want to eat fast food again.
Where to find it: Amazon
Fast Food Nation (Book)
Fast Food Nation is sort-of like an unofficial companion piece of Super Size Me (at least, I see them that way).
Written by Eric Schlosser, it takes us through the history of fast food in America, showing us why fast food originated there — and what corporations have done to essentially make American’s “addicted” to hamburgers.
It’s essential reading for anyone who’s fascinated by the American food chain.
Warning: You might start to feel differently about Disney Land (seriously).
Where to find it: Amazon
Food Wise (Book)
Food Wise has been described as “the definitive food lover’s guide to making the right choices amidst a sea of ever-changing information.”
I think that’s the perfect description for a book that shows you what it means to eat healthily.
At the heart of the book is the idea that we should eat our food W.I.S.E:
- Experienced with family and friends
If you need a practical guide to help you eat W.I.S.E, Gigi Beradi’s book is here for you.
Warning: You might become ridiculously healthy.
Where to find it: Penguin
May I Be Frank (Movie)
May I Be Frank is centered on Frank Ferrante, a fifty-something, overweight Sicilian-American whose life changes when he joins a vegan group.
It’s a warm, at-times hilarious and often frank documentary that shows you how good, healthy eating has the power to change not just your mental and physical state but your whole life.
Warning: You might cry.
Where to find it: Amazon Prime
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (Movie)
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is a little similar to May I Be Frank in terms of its premise, and you may wanna binge-watch them both in a movie marathon.
Basically, this is the documentary that caused thousands (maybe even millions) of people around the globe to juicing.
At the heart of the film is Joe Cross, an overweight man struggling with an autoimmune disease. To claw back both his health and life, he went 30 days living off fruit, veg, and his trusty new juicer.
To ensure the film is more interesting than just that, Cross traveled the country at the same time.
This is a poignant, emotional but ultimately uplifting movie that demonstrates the power of the human spirit — and juicing.
Warning: You might become addicted to juicing.
Where to find it: The official website
So if you have any suggestions of your own, please let us know in the comments below!
If your liked this article, make sure to check out Meal Prep 101: How to Create Your Own Meal Plan, and How to Develop Healthier Eating Habits.