Are we living to eat or eating to live is the question, and a very multifaceted one at that. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I can definitely argue that it is important to enjoy your culinary life and revel in the foods you love. But, nevertheless, food is still just a substance we use to keep our bodies nourished and alive. Even for the pickiest eater or non-foodie soul, we all still have to eat to stay alive. Throughout the past few years, I have been slowly altering my diet and becoming more selective about what I choose to ingest.
After years of avoiding soda, I decided to finally stop drinking soda a little over 3 years ago (with minor exceptions of sparkling juices at parties or special occasions and ginger ale to soothe a nauseous stomach). On January 1, 2014 (15 months strong!), I decided to stop eating red meat, including beef and pork. However, I did vow to never stop eating French Onion Soup, even if it contains beef broth. If I can develop a decent recipe for a vegetable based onion soup, then I can toss the beef broth out the window. I have made a conscious decision to avoid fast food restaurants and foods with modified or elaborate ingredients. I am not a dietitian, nutritionist, doctor, or anything in that category but I do like like to encourage people to take a second look before deciding to put it into your body. I did not just sit down one day, watch a whole bunch of movies, and just decide to change my eating habits overnight. My journey towards a cleaner diet is far from over (and, to be honest, it probably will never be) but I want to share a few movies that I often ‘cite’ when discussing food.
| FOOD INC |
This award winning documentary ruthlessly exposes the dangers of factory farming and is the primary reason why I decided to stop eating pork and beef (and, hopefully soon, I will only eat antibiotic-free chicken and naturally raised fish). Watch with Caution. I cannot be any more serious when I say that this movie could possibly change your life, let alone your eating habits. Completely transforming the way I see food, Food Inc. is highly recommended.
| A PLACE AT THE TABLE |
While the other documentaries encouraged me to change my diet and pay more attention to what I put inside my body, A Place at the Table opened my eyes to poverty’s affect on the access to nutritious food. It draws attention to the ramifications of a poor diet, noting effects far beyond the obvious health problems, such as a child’s inability to function in a learning environment.
| SUPER SIZE ME |
I was actually forced to watch this in school at least 2 different times. Personally, I think this movie is what spurred the health kick that my generation has translated into anti-fast food or at least the glorification of “high-end fast food”, such as Chipotle.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear people with special diets (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc.) condemn others who don’t make the same choice. This can be extremely difficult for people like me who feel strong about food in general. I won’t hesitate to tell some to step away from the pack of frozen burgers that list over 30 artificial ingredients. What I have to remember is that it is important that people are informed about their food, but not everyone will make the same diet choices given that information.
I’m often asked if I will ever return to eating pork or beef. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I was never an avid beef eater even before I denounced red meat. And, while I much preferred pork, I feel like reverting back would be a counterproductive to my long term health. Would I ever take the plunge and go completely vegetarian or vegan? Probably not, but nothing is impossible! I think being 100% pescetarian would be my ideal diet (with wild fish and naturally raised seafood, of course). My current diet choices and my perspective on the food industry happened over a number of years and after many experiences – living in France, listening to narratives from my vegetarian friends, etc. All I hope to do is incite you to begin your journey as well.