Food Inc.

102 comments

Last night Eric and I watched Food Inc. I have been meaning to see it forever now and I finally got a chance to watch it after getting caught up on my orders.

food-inc-poster

Here is a bit about the movie:

"In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults." [Source]

One of the main messages from this film is to educate yourself where your food comes from. It is not as simple as it seems either. The government and giant food companies work very hard so that we have no idea what happened to the food before it got to our plate. Robert Kenner did an amazing job at uncovering the veil that has been placed in front of us for so long.

The movie was just as I expected it would be:

Incredibly thought-provoking, horrifying, sad, emotionalyet inspiring.

Eric and I both teared up at a few parts in the film. At a couple points, I actually thought I might burst into tears and never stop crying. It was pretty overwhelming I will admit.

I actually didn’t know if I would be able to watch it because some of the parts are quite graphic. I had to turn away when they were showing the slaughter of the chickens and cows. The windowless, extremely overcrowded, and unsanitary chicken slaughter houses horrified me. I mean I knew they existed, but actually seeing one was just disturbing. Factory animals often spend their entire lives knee-deep in their own feces. It never occurred to me why there are so many E-coli outbreaks in our food system- well, the factory animals are often covered head to toe in their feces and it is impossible to fully remove the feces from the animal. So the feces end up in our food system. On our dinner plates. The feces also leak into the waterways and contaminate other vegetables like spinach. Pretty disturbing, isn’t it?

I found myself holding my breath at many parts in the movie and I noticed that I was quite anxious while watching it. It is one of those movies that you know you need to watch, but at the same time you know that you are going to have negative emotions while doing so. It is extremely depressing to think about what our food industry has turned into.

Here are some of the important issues touched on by the film:

Factory Farming

  • Approximately 10 billion animals (chickens, cattle, hogs, ducks, turkeys, lambs and sheep) are raised and killed in the US annually. Nearly all of them are raised on factory farms under inhumane conditions. These industrial farms are also dangerous for their workers (they frequently get infections), pollute surrounding communities (manure, anyone?), are unsafe to our food system and contribute significantly to global warming.

Pollution

  • The average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store. Transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

Cloning

  • In January 2008, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the fact that Congress voted twice in 2007 to delay FDA’s decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies could be completed

Pesticides

  • Cancers, autism and neurological disorders are associated with the use of pesticides especially amongst farm workers and their communities.

Genetic Engineering

  • Some of our most important staple foods have been fundamentally altered, and genetically engineered meat and produce have already invaded our grocery stores and our kitchen pantries. Today, 45% of U.S. corn and 85% of U.S. soybeans are genetically engineered under a government-regulated system. In the 2008 election cycle, the food industry donated $65 million to candidates for federal office.

[Source]

There is really so much more to this movie that I don’t have time to touch on, so you really should go see it if you haven’t already done so.

This movie also left me hungry for Canadian statistics. I would love to find out more information about how Canadian factories operate. If anyone has any information on this, I would greatly appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.

But the movie also gave me hope! We have the power to change this system now more than ever!!!

The Food Inc Website also provides some great tips on how we can make a difference in the system:

food_inc_5x7_v3

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It is important to note that the movie is not saying you have to go vegetarian to make a difference. If you can even reduce the meat you eat by one meal a week, you are making a HUGE, huge, huge impact on the food industry. If you choose organic meat, you are making a huge impact. You can make small changes each and every day that add up into something big.

I was asked last night on Twitter how the movie impacted the way I felt about the food that I eat. I simply said that it completely solidified my decision to eat a vegan diet. For myself, eating a vegan diet is my way of saying to the ‘system’ that we deserve better. The environment deserves better, the animals deserve better, and society deserves better. It also made me realize that organic is definitely worth it. For the past several months, we have not been buying much organic produce for cost-reasons, but the movie reminded me why it is important to vote for organic food. If it means that we will have to make other cut-backs in our lives, then so be it. I am going to try to buy organic whenever I can afford to do so to have my say in the system. I am also going to make more of an effort to buy locally.

As consumers, we have the power to influence the market. If there is a demand for organic, sustainable, and plant-based products- the super companies will deliver. Wal-Mart now carries many organic products because there is a demand for it. Don’t be fooled, I personally don’t think Wal-Mart cares about its’ consumers…but it is all about the bottom dollar for these super companies. If we demand it they will produce it.

I loved this take-home message:

Every time you eat, you are voting for the type of food that you want to see on the store shelves.

I really think everyone should watch this movie. It will change your life forever.

You can also download a postcard to help spread the message around the world!

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Have you seen Food Inc.? What were your thoughts? Did it change how you ate or how you viewed the food industry?

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{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 21, 2009

Wow this IS powerful. I need to see it. Thanks for the review.

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2 Molly @thevegandorm October 21, 2009

i NEED to see this movie.
I have seen all the graphic parts (Thanks, PETA) but I would love to learn more about the government’s shady actions.
Thanks for the review!

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3 Vicki October 21, 2009

Hi there. I’ve been reading (and loving!) your blog for a few weeks now. As someone who is currently training for her first half marathon and switched to a vegan diet only a few months ago, your site is loaded with great recipes and tips, so thank you. :)

I’m really interested in seeing this movie and can’t wait for it to come out on DVD in a few weeks. Thanks for the in depth review!

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4 Gabriel Hummel October 21, 2009

This movie was really solid and drove home a lot of important points that I have been recently implementing into my workout/diet regimen. Let it be known that I dont eat almost any meat (fish if any) and have cut back on literally all refined grains and greatly increased my consumption of vegteables and fruits. What is amazing is that I have had msucle growth and not deteriortion, my complexion got 100x better, I have more energy, I can go with less sleep and not be a zombie, and I look damn good ;)

I reccomend everyone check this out, along with the books, The China Study, Good Calories Bad Calories, and In Defense of Food

PS. I am not a hardcore vegan or anything, everything in moderation is your best bet for a long life. I just know that eating piss and shit is not a great idea ;)

Cheers

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5 MonicainDallas October 21, 2009

Thanks so much for commenting on this movie. I saw it in the theatre a few months ago. It covers a lot of the same info that Michael Pollan (who is also in the movie) talks about in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
The monopoly in the soybean industry by Monsanto was definitely new and disturbing information. We should really be helping our small independant farmers instead of supporting a legal system that bankrupts them and puts them out of business.
We can’t be reminded often enough that we vote every day with our $$$.

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6 Greer October 21, 2009

Hi Angela,

Thanks for the great review! I have a related question — would you be willing to write about your journey to becoming vegan? I eat meat (though admittedly, not very much any more) and I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian, if not vegan. While I don’t eat much meat, I still think it would be difficult to give up a good burger once in awhile or turkey at Thanksgiving here in the states. Was the transition hard for you? Do you have any tips?

Thanks :)

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7 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

I will keep this in mind for a future post :)

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8 Julie @savvyeats October 21, 2009

I’m going to second this one. I eat mostly-vegetarian, but can’t quite bring myself to make that last step to going 100% vegetarian. I like the occasional chicken pot pie and such. I’d love to see a post on this topic!

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9 Rachel October 21, 2009

Ditto – I’ve been eating more and more veg. as the years have gone on and have started to toy with the idea of going full veg. I would love to know more about the state of Canadian food industry, and if it’s as gruesome as the US portrayal in Food Inc. I think (and perhaps fear) that this kind of information could sway me to the veg side.

Thx for the review! and look forward to more follow up on this.

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10 Marcia October 22, 2009

I’m right there with you guys. I started eating more and more vegetarian and vegan meals at the beginning of this year. I’m very healthy, I’ve been training for a 1/2 marathon, and I feel great! (I didn’t get the benefit of better skin though…still too much stress!)

I had the discussion with my MIL and her best friend when they were visiting…I prefer to cook vegan and vegetarian at home. I prefer to eat vegetarian when I eat out (which is rarely), though I will order meat at a nice restaurant that gets sustainable local meat (that’s, like, once in the last year). One reason I haven’t gone 100% veg is the convenience factor.

I don’t want to be that pain-in-the-behind when my friends are having me over for dinner or I’m visiting family. I’ve come to a balanced state where I don’t stress about eating the occasional piece of meat at someone’s house. (You don’t have to be all-or-nothing.)

Strangely, I don’t find it painful cooking for others. Okay, it’s hard to make a meal without onions for my one friend. I do find it somewhat difficult to cook meat when I have people over, because I do it so infrequently I stink at it.

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11 natalie October 21, 2009

I’ve never seen it but i’m going to see it for sure. I’m going to go see if its on netflix right now and watch it at work. yay!

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12 Laura October 21, 2009

I LOVED this movie. We just saw it over the weekend, and while I’d known about a lot of what was in it, some was totally new. As soon as it was over, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “That’s it. We’re done consuming grocery store or restaurant meat.” I don’t care whether or not we can afford it; the way I see it, we can’t afford NOT to. We’re lucky enough to have a farmer’s market just a block away every weekend that sells eggs, cheese, and humanely raised chicken, turkey, and beef from organic and/or Amish farms nearby, so we have absolutely NO excuses. if we don’t know where the meat came from and that it was procured in ways we can support, then we can make do with veggie meals. As uncomfortable and upsetting as it was to watch, Food, Inc was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the last push I needed to stop supporting such a sick, dysfunctional industry.

I also loved that they didn’t shy away from political messages – the food industry gets away with this stuff (in the US, at least) because the government PAYS them to. The farm bill is a huge issue in this country that should be a much bigger priority than it is right now. and the FDA needs to not be allowed to look away. That statistic about inspections performed blew me away! There just need to be some serious, serious changes, and until they’re made, it’ll be local PA farmers working for themselves that will be getting my dollars.

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13 Jil October 21, 2009

Ahh, I have never seen this movie, but I have read “Skinny Bitch” which talks about the horrors of out food industry. Oy, it makes me happy that I RARELY eat meat…I think I am a happier and healthier person for it…I think I need to start making the switch to a different “milk” product, too.

Thank you for the wonderful review…in all honesty, I don’t know if I could watch that movie…not because I want to live in ignorance but because I just don’t do well with that sort of thing. I remember crying when reading the “Skinny Bitch” book — oy.

Either way, I TOTALLY agree that we can make a HUGE difference. If we stand up…eventually the companies will have to as well.

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14 Danielle October 21, 2009

Amen. I’m so glad that filmmakers came together to make such an important life-changing film. I’ve seen it, I loved it, and I will never forget it: http://bit.ly/33cJgz

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15 Estela @ Weekly Bite October 21, 2009

I have yet to see this movie… I MUST SEE IT!

What a great recap! Is it on DVD yet?

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16 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

The movie is currently playing at 20 Carlton Street in Toronto at the Cineplex Odeon Carlton

Its not on DVD until Nov 3rd I believe

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17 Mel October 21, 2009

Thanks for the great post Angela!! I think it’s so important for everyone to inform themselves about how their food is made and where it comes from!

I too have recently transitioned to a vegan diet and can attest to the multitude of positive side effects of eating this healthier, more peaceful diet…it’s fantastic, and not hard at all! There are so many great cookbooks out there now that you can literally change your lifestyle with the click of a mouse (psst: check our Dreena Burton on Amazon!).

I agree with you Angela, I’d really like to learn more about how our food in Canada is produced. I think as Canadians we somehow think our health and safety practices are better than other countries…but sadly, we’re usually right on par!

Thanks again for talking about this important subject and suggesting this film.

P.S… everyone should check out Oprah on Thursday, she’s having a vegan chef on to demonstrate some vegan cooking!!

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18 Courtney October 21, 2009

Yay Angela! I am glad you did a review of this movie. I have yet to see it because I have seen so many documentaries about this situation. I really recommend “The Future of Food.” My husband works for Whole Foods and it is required viewing for most employees. The other movie that really sealed the deal (for my husband and I to be veggie) was “Fast Food Nation.” Ugh! those images stayed with me forever. I think blogging is so great to spread the word. It’s not a vegetarian message, it’s a human message that evil companies like Monsanto (sounds evil Ha!) are not going to lead us blindly down a path that has dire consequences. Viva la revelution!

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19 Kate October 21, 2009

I agree about “Fast Food Nation”. That movie was a huge wake up call about how the meat industry really handles things. And it was absolutely real. It wasn’t a dramatization or anything! I’ve never cried so hard before in a movie!

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20 Megan October 23, 2009

I’ve seen the movie but the book is an amazing read. You’ve really got to mentally prepare yourself to be upset when your done. It’s pretty shocking.

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21 Angie All The Way October 21, 2009

I was given the opportunity to see this film at it’s premier in Halifax a while ago. I felt the exact same way (my review here: http://tinyurl.com/oxc8tk) In fact, I was so angry that I couldn’t even write my “official review” post and set it aside for later. I still have it in draft. I started looking into our Canadian system (in progress. I was surprised to see that you have to “pay” for a copy of the organic standards regs) because the movie didn’t touch on our system at all. It’s hard to know what is the same and what isn’t.

I am not vegan and I am not a vegetarian, nor do I plan to be, but I will tell you this: I have never been so angry in my entire life! I felt duped and lied to. It’s easy to turn a blind eye and buy the cheaper mass-produced meats because you don’t “see” the difference when you do it. For most people buying “Food Inc. meat” feels like the more affordable option. That said, in my opinion many, many people who assume that they can’t “afford” to buy organic are spending the money that they save not buying the organic on something that I personally see as not nearly as important. Last night, I stood in the isle of Planet Organic with a package of frozen organic chicken breasts in my hand. It was over $22 for two large chicken breasts (I tweeted about it because it’s appalling what we have to pay (in Canada at least) for organic meats.) The thought crossed my mind to put it back and go to the regular grocery store for it. Then I reminded myself of Food Inc and the message that I took home by voting with my dollars.

After watching that movie, while I do not plan to be a vegetarian, my bean consumption has gone way up so that I can enjoy organic chicken on a less regular basis. Paying that kind of premium for meat (although absolutely ludicrous) sort of puts a higher appreciation value on it as well. I’m no longer just eating chicken anymore. (Sorry for the long comment!)

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22 Courtney October 21, 2009

Way to stand up for what you believe in………what a great and positive impact one movie can make!

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23 Kristen October 22, 2009

I think there is also a way to eat more “ethical” meat without spending $22 on the chicken breasts.

You just have to do a little more work and buy the whole chicken. You can usually get a whole chicken that is organic/hormone free/antibiotic free/ethically raised for less than $20. They cost more than the “conventional” chicken, but less than it would be to buy the already cut up parts.

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24 Maggie October 21, 2009

How freaking amazing was this movie. Bobby actually stopped eating meat for a few days after we saw it. I was shocked at how much it impacted him. I did already know most of the info but to see it all together like that… scary, sad, and depressing. But yes, hopefully inspiring :)

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25 Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries October 21, 2009

Thanks for this great recap! I’ve been meaning to see it–and now I definitely will (After Where the Wild Things Are, of course ;))

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26 Mo October 21, 2009

“Every time you eat, you are voting for the type of food that you want to see on the store shelves.”

AMEN to that!

I say that every time you spend a dime of your money (or your time), you are making a statement about what you care about. I make these decisions everyday in some small way and I take great pleasure in knowing that my money is spent only on things that I feel good about. This is not to say that I make perfect decisions every time in every aspect of my life, but I certainly try. My vegan diet and lifestyle definitely make me feel as though I am doing no harm to animals and as little harm to the planet as possible.

I loved this thought provoking post! Thank you!

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27 Cynthia (It All Changes) October 21, 2009

I have not seen it yet but even from reading the reviews I’m trying to make the small changes we can afford right now. We rarely eat meat now and we try to spend our money wisely on organics.

I’m hoping to see this soon even though I don’t really want to see the horrors.

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28 Jessie (Vegan-minded) October 21, 2009

I saw this movie back when it was out in theaters, and I actually cried during some of the graphic scenes. I stopped eating meat years ago for that very reason, but it is always shocking and disturbing to see it again. It makes me happy to know that I am not supporting the inhumane practices of factory farming. Thanks for the informative post.

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29 Erica October 21, 2009

Wow – very powerful. I’ll be honest – I don’t think I could handle sitting through this film from some of the scenes you described. But just what you said makes me really think about what I buy and what we eat.

This is a great post, thanks for spreading the word. And I’ll definitely be making some adjustments to our eating habits.

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30 Jolene October 21, 2009

I cannot wait to see Food Inc. I was waiting for it to come out to rent in Canada – but it looks like it has if you rented it! I will be going out to get it very soon!

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31 Amy October 21, 2009

I haven’t seen this movie, so I cannot comment on the film specifically.

I will say, that I don’t like the generalization that comes with farming in general. Films like these tend to learn towards the fact that ALL meat is bad news.

There are still ways to eat meat that was raised in an ethical way.

Its all about education.

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32 Laura October 21, 2009

I totally agree – oftentimes people forget that your dollar/vote can be used for good, too, rather than opting out altogether. This film actually did a really great job of making the case for small, independent farms that practice ethical farming. it even explained why so many farmers can’t, and how that can be changed.

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33 Amy October 21, 2009

Thanks Laura! I will check it out for sure! :)

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34 Diana October 21, 2009

I haven’t seen it but I’ve been curious. I’ll definitely to watch it…
I think everybody knows that organic is better, but most people don’t even try to buy it because it’s just so expensive. I know I would prefer to buy organic vegetables but I honestly can’t bring myself to ask my parents for that. It’s just a lot of money. :/

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35 Mama Pea October 21, 2009

I couldn’t agree with you more, and I’m so glad you convinced Eric to watch it too. I think they should ABSOLUTELY show this movie in schools. Can you imagine the fight of the meat and dairy lobby to keep it out?

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36 Kelly October 21, 2009

I consider myself relatively educated about the items discussed in Food Inc. I grew up on a farm (beef cattle, and then later, horses), and I’ve seen it from that perspective. I also have developed a relatively healthy food lifestyle for my husband and I as an adult. (I’m still a meat-eater, and won’t be giving that up. But still). I went to see the film with several co-workers, who, for lack of a better explanation, aren’t quite as “up on” healthy food tactics as I am.
The biggest thing that disturbed me walking out is those people who were NOT as educated as myself seemed to have missed part of the message. They repeatedly told me they’d “just eat all organic now”. Well, organic is great — *I* eat organic. But did you miss the part where most of your grocery store organic brands are now owned by the larger corporations who also deal in the foods you just saw horrifically explained? Even the Stonyfield guy had to admit, not all the organic brands have kept their integrity.
I’m just worried about people like my co-workers not taking the appropriate messages from it. I guess a little education is better than none at all, though.
The only aspect I couldn’t watch was the pigs. I think I actually said out loud “OMG — did they just crush those pigs?!”
And I cried about the Safe Food Advocate. I couldn’t help it!!!
On the good side, Food Inc was shown in one of our local theaters, brought here by the organic/natural food industry in our town and surrounding area. We had kids bussed in from PHILADELPHIA (2 hour drive) to see the film! The theater actually arranged special showings during the week for it! :)

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37 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

The pig crushing was by far the most disturbing part of the whole movie…my jaw hit the floor. Who decides that that is a good idea?!! It infuriates me.

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38 Michael M. October 26, 2012

Is that the part where this huge pusher of sorts pushes a whole pen of pigs into a chamber and then all you hear is screaming and thumps against the side?

I agree, this was the most disturbing part of the movie – as far as animal welfare is concerned.

I understand that animal farming requires killing of animals. For me, that is not a problem but to do these sorts of things is horrible. I am seriously looking for CSAs in the next few months.

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39 Paige @ Running Around Normal October 21, 2009

Thanks for posting your review! I can’t wait to see this movie. I’m so glad I made the switch to become vegetarian just recently – statistics like this solidify my choice in doing so.

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40 Alina October 21, 2009

I agree with you 99%… I’ve been looking forward/dreading this movie because I haven’t fully changed my food habits yet, but I think this post is pushing me to finally go watch it. Personally, I’ve been switching slowly toward organic, and this winter my boyfriend and I are getting a freezer and a cow share from a local farmer with very humane and environmentally friendly practices. Real food tastes better too, and if you plan, it doesn’t have to be that much more expensive. However, it makes me sad that even though I can make an ethical meat choice, it would be impossible for everyone to do so, because the food system is just not set up that way. In the meantime, I am voting with my $ as much as I can afford to (which is still not enough).

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41 Katie O. October 21, 2009

Great post. I have been meaning to watch Food Inc. but have been putting it off- I am going to make it a priority to rent it as soon as it comes out. I have been toying with going vegetarian for a few weeks now; however, I really like the message the film conveys regarding how one can make a difference by going organic or foregoing meat one day a week. That is something I can definitely do until I make the decision as to my “food future.” Thanks for the great info!

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42 Mellissa October 21, 2009

I did find the movie very interesting but want to play devils advocate a bit- remember this is one persons view and interpretation of the data. While I did find a lot of the points very valid some of the stats were manipulated in their favor.

Both sides do manipulate, but as someone who does a lot of research I always have to remind myself to look at the integrity and validity of the data before I make any final decisions. Is it a true study accounting for all factors, are the methods valid and does the data say what the proclaim it does.

That being said, I do choose to eat as much local and organic food as I can but I also purchase things from larger companies as well. Here a few organic/natural companies who are part of much larger corporations:

Stoneyfield: Danone
Burt’s Bees: Clorox
Naked Juice: Pepsi Co.
Horizon Dairy: Dean Foods
Seeds of Change: M & M/Mars
After The Fall: Smuckers
R.W. Knudsen: Smuckers
Kashi: Kellogg‘s
Garden Burger: Kellogg‘s
Back to Nature, Boca: Kraft
Cascadian Farms: General Mills
Health Valley: Hain Celestial/Heinz
Arrowhead Mills: Hain Celestial/Heinz
Tom’s of Maine: Colgate-Palmolive
Dagoba Chocolate: Hershey‘s
Body Shop: L‘Oreal

Source: Leigh Peele’s Body By Eats

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43 Kelly October 21, 2009

LOL I could’ve written your entire comment!
Thanks for posting :)

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44 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

That is not surprising at all. It seems almost impossible to support organic companies who have no ties with the `big guys`. It is quite discouraging actually!

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45 Michael M. October 26, 2012

Don’t forget Ben & Jerry’s – owned by Unilever. Apparently B&J is autonomous but still…

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46 brandi October 21, 2009

I haven’t seen this yet, but I want to. I know what’s going to be in it, and that it will be hard to watch, but I think everyone needs to know more about where their food comes from.

I try to buy as much local food as I can and to buy meat from places I know are working in an ethical manner. It is hard, especially living on a tight budget, but it’s worth it.

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47 Emily October 21, 2009

Thankfully the Government of Ontario banned pesticides. HUGE statement for a government to make.

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48 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

They did indeed ban pesticides for land (cosmetic) use- you can`t spray your lawn with it anymore…but farmers are still able to use pesticides on agriculture.

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49 The Voracious Vegan October 21, 2009

Glad you liked the movie and I loved that it solidified your decision to stay vegan. I really enjoyed the movie, it was an absolutely horrifying depiction of things I had been studying for years. What I didn’t like was that it touted ‘happy meat’ as an answer. While I know it wasn’t a vegan or animal rights film, but a film examining the power of big ag, it still dissapointed my rabidly vegan self! I think that people will comfort themselves after watching this movie by buying free range or organic meat/eggs/dairy thinking that that is the answer. But free-range/cage-free is a meaningless marketing ploy. Not only do those animals often live a life every bit as vicious and brutal as their conventionally raised counterparts, they are always shipped to the same slaughterhouses to be murdered. There aren’t ‘organic’ slaughterhouses where they cuddle the animal while it dies peacefully in its sleep. It is always terrifying and brutal. So, the film was good but I really wish it had advocated for sustainable veganic farming.

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50 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

I understand what you are saying and I too struggle with those thoughts about it.This is a VERY slow process and change takes time. I think had the movie touted a `you must go vegan` message, many more people probably would have turned a blind eye to it…and ignored the movie all together. The movie was a great stepping stone for future research into the industry and I am hoping that there is a second, and third, and fourth…

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51 Eliza October 21, 2009

Don’t you think that its a little limited to assume that the vegan diet is the correct and morally right choice for everyone? Do you really mean everyone? What about other countries, or cultures that are different than yours?
I don’t mean to come off as grouchy, or try to start some big fight, but global statements are usually something to think twice about. Your ideas about what is right are simply that: your ideas, constructed from your experiences. Other people have different ideas, constructed from their experiences, that should not be viewed as less valid or morally right.

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52 Eliza October 21, 2009

sorry- i just re read that and it sounded really antagonistic! I didn’t mean too! (and I meant to reply to the comment above Angela’s, not that that makes a difference)

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53 Anika October 21, 2009

I would have to agree with The Voracioius Vegan and Angela on this one. Eliza, although I would agree that making big changes can be a lot of work, there is really nothing good about eating meat. Michael Pollan had a great quote in the New York Times last week…if you wouldn’t murder it yourself, then you shouldn’t be allowed to eat it.

Vegan is even becoming outdated. Someday vegan will be the norm and all those people who murder animals will have to introduce themselves as “animal murderers and consumers of flesh and animal mucous.”

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54 Jess October 22, 2009

Anika is obviously incredibly naive. There is nothing wrong with eating meat. What is wrong is the way the animals are treated and the way the meat gets to our table. If you can’t accept diets that aren’t the same as yours then don’t ask others to accept that you are a vegan. Simple as that. What you can ask is for everyone to become educated and then make decisions about what they want to put into their mouth and what industry then want to support.

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55 Marcia October 22, 2009

I have to agree with Eliza on this one. I don’t eat a lot of animal products. And I don’t feel bad about the ones that I do eat. You know, I get my eggs at the farmer’s market. I know the farmer, I could go see the chickens if I want. (Our CSA farm sells eggs too. And has goats.) At least around here, the chickens are NOT sent to the same slaughterhouses, and they aren’t trapped in cages.

I grew up in a family that hunted. In a small town with farmers, and family who raised and killed their own cattle, chickens, etc. (Not my parents, aunts and uncles.) The “you shouldn’t eat it if you can’t kill it yourself.” Well, a lot of people DO kill it themselves, and still would. I could say that you shouldn’t use your cell phone unless you are willing to come into a semiconductor fab and make your own chips. You’re willing to get the benefit without spending 9 hours a day working with hazardous materials.

What I want for the food industry and animals is for them to be treated humanely when they are alive (like my family hunting deer…a great life, one bad day). The disconnect I see with my family now, who eat a lot of meat, is that they are no longer getting it from the local guy, and they really don’t realize that what they are eating now bears no resemblance to the “normal” food they had growing up.

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56 Jennie {in Wonderland} October 22, 2009

Does it honestly not bother you… the idea of murdering sentient beings? They feel pain and fear and love their babies and communicate…

Just because they aren’t human beings does not mean they should be killed for sport *or* food.

I’m curious. I don’t understand. Why would that be pleasurable for you or your family members? How do you rationalize it?

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57 Marcia October 22, 2009

It honestly does not bother me. Animals are food. They are not people. Sentient? Not at the same level as humans. If I had a problem with the fact that an animal died to feed me, then I wouldn’t eat it.

But that does not bother me. Again, grew up in a hunting family, chatted with my cousin as they slaughtered cattle, talked to my mom as she wrapped up the deer that my stepdad had killed that day. Eaten fish that my friend caught. Doesn’t bother me.

But eating a chicken confined to a cage its entire life spent living in its own feces? Um, no thanks, not on any level.

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58 Faith October 21, 2009

This is hugely eye-opening. Thanks for the detailed review…I NEED to see it!

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59 Caroline October 21, 2009

Lets not even mention the fact that the waste from factory farms can’t even be used as fertilizer because the animals are so pumped full of chemicals that it would kill the plants instead of nourish them. (I’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma :) )

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60 LindsayH October 21, 2009

This is a really well-written article about a fairly recent ecoli outbreak: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=2

It’s long, but so worth reading in my opinion. Again, really eye opening (even though I’m vegan). There is a video too.

You know what I thought was the most disturbing part of the whole movie (Food Inc.)? The BLEACHED MEAT. It was so gross.

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61 Carrie October 21, 2009

Thanks for the review! I missed this movie in the theaters but I am going to rent it ASAP!

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62 Caz October 21, 2009

I haven’t seen this movie yet but I want to! I’ve read a few books on the subject though (The Omnivore’s Dilemma etc.) and it’s fascinating but disturbing…

I’m a Canadian living in Australia and I too wonder about the comparisons here. I generally assume Canada’s very similar to the US just because of it’s shared trade and shared borders but I know that isn’t completely true… Australia on the other hand is different, but how different? I know they’re not as corn-dependent. All their drinks etc are still sweetened with cane sugar not HFCSs, but is that much better? What about their meat? I know chicken’s not much better than the USA…. what else?

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63 Julie @savvyeats October 21, 2009

Thanks for the review! This movie really made me question my future career path. I am getting a degree in food processing & engineering, and this movie helped me realize that I can’t morally justify working for a lot of the big food companies when I rarely eat their foods myself. So while I am still getting the same degree, I hope to use what I learn for good, like finding ways to make better, nutritious, minimally-processed foods!

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64 Vanessa @ Chic and Charming October 21, 2009

Another beautifully crafted entry from you. Thanks for the review! I would love to see this movie myself, but it just wasn’t playing around my neck of the woods! :(

Instead, I’ll have to wait for the dvd release, I guess. It sometimes makes me wonder why some people can’t stop and think what their putting in their bodies.

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65 Gina October 21, 2009

My husband and I just saw this the other night. I had to look away a few times and also got really upset about the conditions these animals have to live in every day.
I am, for the most part, a vegetarian. But, after seeing this I have already started to look at where my food comes from. And after being a vegetarian for the month of October, I think I may even try becoming a vegan after seeing this movie. It really is that powerful.

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66 Karla October 21, 2009

I recently saw Food Inc was well. Since then, I decided to become vegetarian.

My only big issue with the movie is that it didn’t talk about organic labeling and regulations. While I wish I could buy only organic foods not only for health purposes but for farm worker safety, when I do I’m a little bit weary about where my money is going when I buy organic because of the lax regulations in many states/countries.

Other than that, I think it was a really interesting film that solidified my knowledge of our existing food system and made me look into food systems planning as a possible career path. Thanks for the post!

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67 maria October 21, 2009

I have not seen the film yet, but I will as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it didn’t come to theaters anywhere near my hometown back in the U.S. I agree with a lot of what you’ve said and it’s nice to know that just one meal can make a difference.

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68 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 21, 2009

Its interesting how some of you said that the movie didn’t come to your hometown. Why do you think that is?

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69 Julia October 21, 2009

Hi Angela,

I’m SO HAPPY that you brought attention to this film. It’s been eye-opening to so many people – I’ve heard so many people say they’ve turned veg after watching it. I agree with Voracious Vegan’s observation re “happy meat.” There’s no such thing and it’s delusional to think that there is. Happy Meat is the meat industry’s way of giving consumers an excuse to continue supporting the unnecessary torture, slaughter, and murder of animals. I don’t like the compromised position the movie took on the issue – they should have gone all the way and fully advocated a vegan lifestyle. It’s like if you saw a move about the genocide in Rwanda and the conclusion was “well they should just kill the Rwandans in a more loving manner.”

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70 Eliza October 21, 2009

I feel a little creepy, because I’ve posted similar comments on other bloggers reviews of this film, the Pollan books, etc.

I understand the outrage at the food industry. I consume only locally produced, small-farm raised meats (as in, I trade labor or something else for part of a pig that my friends raised along with one other pig in their backyard), and only locally produced dairy. I buy local produce when I can, and organic if its from far away. I’m with you all on that.
However, some comments here border on judgmental of other people’s choices. And I want to make it really clear that having the option to choose locally produced foods, or organic food, is a privilege. Straight up. Even if it means you sacrifice something else, or cut back on spending in other areas- it is still a privilege.
Poverty in this country is out of control. People are starving to death this very minute, in this very country, probably in the towns everyone here lives in. So lets be cautious about making statements along the lines of “people need to be smarter about what they put into their body.” And be aware that this issue is far more complicated than any of Pollan’s books or this movie make it seem to be.
My beef with the film, and all the related media that has come out recently about this topic, is that it is targeted and directed to a very specific audience. That audience is probably already fairly conscientious about their eating habits, and probably knows something about the food industry. So people go see the movie and walk out of the theater angry that this is going on in the world (justifiably) and feeling proud of themselves for the food choices they make, and disappointed that everyone can’t make equally smart food choices.

If you want to do something really great, please consider donating money or food to your local food shelter. Give them a call, and ask what they prefer. If money is tight, consider asking your partner if your holiday gifts this year can be donations to the food shelter instead.

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71 Anika October 21, 2009

The whole point is that people are starving because it takes too much energy to produce too little meat.

If you had done any research at all on this issue, it would be abundantly clear.

This issue is not complicated. Stop raising animals and then slaughtering them. Simple.

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72 Eliza October 22, 2009

World hunger and poverty is a far more complicated issue than people producing/eating meat.
My point had nothing to do with a vegan diet. It was pointing out that while systemic change is very important, making statements like “everyone should buy organic food” is ignorant, and that it is a privilege to make choices about what food you consume. In 2007 18 percent of children living in America were living in poverty. For a four-person family, the poverty line was at 21,000 that year. Regardless of where you live. Those people cannot just decide that tomorrow they are only going to buy organic, locally produced food. Because not only do they not have the money for that, they probably also don’t have the time to cook it after working a 10-hour day and dealing with two children. I think that developing an understanding for other people, their autonomy, and their lives might be helpful for you.
I think you have some very valid points, and I would agree that a plant-based diet is best for the environment, and in many cases, best for the consumer. My point was not meant to make a claim about what diet is best. It was simply to show that not everyone has the ability to choose, and not everyone even has a diet to begin with. I find it hard to imagine that there are many people who read Oh She Glows that don’t have enough food to eat, so I figured I’d pipe up in their honor.
I am a social worker, and I deal with poverty, hunger, and really crappy situations daily, so you have to understand if I seem a little punchy.
I apologize if I offended you.

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73 Stephanie October 22, 2009

Eliza, you shouldn’t have to apologize for having your own view. Why is it that people who comment with a different view than the ‘popular one’ feel the need to be so careful about every word they post worrying that they will offend people? I do not see the people who support the movie being concerned about your feelings (aka Anika who says you must not have done your research. What? Is Eliza’s research not as good as yours?). Everyone should be respectful of others opinions and a lot of times on these blogs they are not.

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74 Marcia October 22, 2009

You raise a good point Eliza about having the priveledge to choose organic and local.

Do I continue my quest for low-in-the-food chain beans and rice, and use the saved money to donate to the local food bank?

or do I spend more money on local and organic food “voting with my dollars” is a great way to put it.

I do both. And I’m definitely spending more later this year. I can afford to, and I almost feel like it’s my duty to support the local farmer because I can.

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75 Julie @savvyeats October 22, 2009

I agree with you on this point, Eliza. Yes, ideally we’d all eat a plant-based diet full of unprocessed, wholesome foods. But, as you pointed out, that isn’t always the affordable option. It would be wonderful if it becomes affordable for everyone someday, but the change isn’t going to happen overnight.

I worked for a large food company as an intern this summer, and our entire team went to see this movie. Our group worked on one of the less-than-healthy food items this company produces, but some of my coworkers brought up a good point. Our product was widely bought because it was cheap, kids liked it, and it was super-easy to make, and most consumers were not concerned with the nutritional aspects of the product. If people want to buy this food because their kids like it and its cheap, then the best way for the company to make changes is via “baby steps.” Our group’s projects all focused on removing trans fat or lowering the sodium content, etc without making the product more expensive. Someday, eventually, they could make it a more natural, less processed product, but for now, this is the best way for them to help their poorer consumers eat healthier.

After working there this summer, I have decided that I don’t want to work for one of the “big names” in the food industry, but I can say that the one I worked for is starting to take steps to improve their products, which is a good thing.

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76 Nicole October 21, 2009

Hey Angela

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77 Nicole October 21, 2009

Hey Angela!

I’ve yet to see Food Inc. but i was looking through your review and when i got to the part about round-up ready soybeans it reminded me of a film i recently saw (made with funding by the NFB of canada). its “the world according to monsanto” and it takes about the shady stuff going on with the company in terms of GMOs and control of global food supply, it can be boring at parts but its pretty interesting.
heres the link on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_OJcPKEYDE

Enjoy ;)
Nicole

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78 Menden (Skinny Menny) October 21, 2009

How weird – my boyfriend and I also watched this movie last night!

I think one of the most heartbreaking parts of this movie was watching the family that chose to purchase processed fast foods over healthier options because they needed to feed their family, and felt that fast food was the only option for them on their limited budget. And yet the father was diabetic, the daughter was pre-diabetic, and they clearly were dealing with health issues. The mother said that she had to choose between being able to purchase her husband’s diabetes medication and healthy groceries. I think it’s criminal that a head of lettuce is more expensive than a crappy burger from a fast food chain!!

Watching this movie was also the first time I’ve seen “behind the scenes” of what goes on at a slaughterhouse, and I too was in tears. Those scenes replayed over and over in my head last night. I am not currently a vegan, or a vegetarian, but I certainly am motivated to make smarter (and kinder) choices about what I eat after seeing this film.

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79 Pure2Raw - Twins October 21, 2009

Round of applause. Well said, we did a post on this movie as well and had the some thoughts you did. I love eating vegan and could not be more proud!!! I agree with movie is graphic and it is so sad to say that it had tome to that. That we have to see such horrific things to make change!!!! Hopefully now people will make better decisions not only for the environment, or animals, but for themselves and their families. We all deserve better!!!

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80 Michelle Gay October 21, 2009

I can’t wait to see it. I live in Oz and I haven’t seen it yet.

I think one of the things which struck me was the school lunches. I think that school lunches are some of THE MOST appaling food served to people. I remember when I was student teaching all of the kids that would get food, would get served it in a plastic bag that could be heated in an oven. In fact, it’s so rare now for cafeterias to actually make their food that the NYTimes ran an article about one such school in NY.

It’s disgusting when you think about the food that is being served to kids. I am not going to go on about being vegan or vege or meat eating. I think that fundamentally it comes back to what we evolved from. Sustainable, organic homesteads. Now, we all can’t have gardens and animals. However, we CAN make a concious effort to buy from those who do follow this regime and mental framework.

It’s about investing in our health by the fuel we put into it. It’s about teaching our kids to value healthy food. It’s about cutting back in other parts of our lives so that we can be organic, sustainable food.

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81 Barbara October 21, 2009

I saw it opening weekend in Austin…wow, what a movie! I now only buy free range and try to buy organic everything. I do NOT eat fast food ever…never ever and this is why!

There are a couple other movies like this that I really want to watch. Consumers hold all the power yet they don’t realize it!!!!!!

I’m moving closer to a plant based diet and feel i could go completely meat free and be fine!

B

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82 Taylor October 21, 2009

Angela! Oh my gosh you need to read the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan if you haven’t already. It’s about this same kind of thing (corn industry, beef industry) etc..and goes into detail on all of the stuff in Food Inc. You would love this book.

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83 Ali October 21, 2009

I was wondering if you’ve ever done a post about the terms like “free range” or “cage free” and what exactly they mean? I agree with the one commenter that challenges us all to donate money and/or healthful foods to our local food banks! Great post, thought and conversation provoking!

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84 jessi October 21, 2009

Hey girl!! i was reading shape magazine today and guess who i saw…Oh She Glows!!!! i was so excited hahaha…love your blog keep up the great work!! i too wish to own my own vegan bake shop :-)

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85 Betsy October 21, 2009

I’ve read many reviews of this movie on other blogs, but your review made me definitely want to see it. Actually, right after I finished reading your post I called my boyfriend and told him about the movie. We have now added it to our “must see” list. Thanks for the info!!

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86 Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 22, 2009

I haven’t seen it, heck I didn’t even read that yucky chapter in Skinny Bitch when they talk about the treatment of animals and how the are raised. I’m very sensitive and squeamish. I think I should watch it though, maybe even get my bf to watch it. I’m sure it would make him better understand the decisions that I personally make and the decisions I push for in our household and refrigerator.

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87 Julie October 22, 2009

I LOVE this movie! You are completely right, everybody needs to see it! Even my fiancé who doesn’t really care about what he eats, started thinking after watching it.

I was wondering if you could do a post on how eating vegan has changed things for you? Both mentally, but also physically…

Have a wonderful day :)

Julie

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88 amy October 22, 2009

I am not a vegan, or vegetarian, and have nothing against it as I was veggie for 17 years. However, my husband and I are both hunters (not for sport…for food) and we typically shoot one moose, caribou or sheep each year, this is enough meat for us to eat all year long!!! I would much rather be connected to my food, because every time I grill a moose-steak I know where it came from, and how much sweat, mud and cursing it took for it to make its way to my plate. I am hugely grateful for the animal and understand that it came from an ANIMAL. a WILD, FREE animal.

The other movie to watch that is similar is “End of the Line” which discussing the problems with over-fishing. Again very enlightening

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89 Jenny @JennyLikesToRun, on a mission to run a marathon to fundraise for the Breast Cancer Foundation October 22, 2009

That movie hasn’t come out in New Zealand yet, but I’ve read heaps of reviews about it on different healthy living blogs and I’m so keen to see it! It looks fantastic and I love the tips it offers. I’m going on a wild goose chase to hunt down a copy of this!!!!

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90 Joanna October 22, 2009

Hello,

I think one of the comments above already touches on this, but any vegetarian or vegan also needs to very carefully consider where the grains and vegetables they eat come from. They can chalk up a lot of miles, especially when “exotic” or tropical fruits are flown from warm countries to colder ones in refridgerated airplanes to keep the produce fresh – a HUGE carbon emissions issue. And soy is a real problem – the Amazon rainforest is mainly being cut down now for soy farming. Most of this soy is for animal feed (so reducing the demand for meat will help), but human consumption of soy also needs to be in moderation – better to stick to other sources of vegan protein if possible.

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91 Mo October 22, 2009

Joanna, those are good comments. I try to almost always eat local produce and am lucky to live in CA, where it is abundant. I will look into the soy issue and should probably keep what you stated in mind and begin reducing my reliance on soy products.

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92 lexi. October 22, 2009

Have not seen this yet! thank you for reviewing it. I hope to catch this flick soon!

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93 Stacey October 22, 2009

I felt the same way when I saw that movie! My boyfriend thought I would NEVER stop crying…It’s like you said…you know that stuff is happening out there, but when you see it for real, it’s overwhelming. It made me happy to be vegetarian! And now I’m showing it to my classmates too :)

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94 Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance...after a 100+ POUND weight loss! October 22, 2009

Great Post! Thank you for all the “educating” information……..I would watch it if I could handle it! =(

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95 Kate October 22, 2009

I just had a colposcopy and biopsy done yesterday, strangely enough. Hope your results turn out well! I’m actually in the middle of writing a How To Survive a Colposcopy post :)

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96 Kate October 22, 2009

Woah, wrong blog! Sorry about that random comment that had nothing to do with your post… feel free to delete :)

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97 Annie D. October 22, 2009

We turned vegetarian once and for all. It’s a horrifyingly great movie. It caused me to have panic attacks. Incredibly influential, and a movie everyone needs to watch.

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98 Charm City Kim October 23, 2009

Not that you need any convincing about going vegan, but if you get the time – “Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry” by Gail Eisnitz is an equally informative (and horrifying) book about the meat packing industry.

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99 Mary October 23, 2009

Thanks for the review. I just picked up the book from the library. Can’t wait to sit down and dive into it.

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100 Kayla @ kayla.eats.healthy August 14, 2010

I watched this movie last night! So inspiring, sad and emotional! It really gave me a new perspective on food. Lately I’ve been very conscious about the food I eat and food labeling, but this movie made me want to go even more extreme. I would love to know exactly where all my meals come from. This movie made me want to eat locally grown produce and eat local meat. I almost want to become a vegetarian after this movie! But great movie, overall.

I’ve been lurking on your site for quite some time and I feel bad that I’ve never commented! I’ve been reading the “Words Of Wisdom” posts and the social comparison stuff really got to me.

I love your blog! Thanks for inspiring me with your healthy choices and lifestyle!

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101 Sara May 2, 2012

Hi Angela,

Just thought you might want to know someone copied almost your entire post and posted as their own. I know it was a long time ago … but it would really annoy me if someone copied my writing! I stumbled upon it because I was searching for that Food Inc quote at the end of your post, when I found this post and realized I’d just read the same words – on your blog.

http://theparkwife.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/food-inc-hungry-for-change.html

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102 Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2012

thanks for letting me know, I will check it out!

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