Have you seen Food, Inc., the Oscar-nominated documentary exposing the inner workings of our industrialized food industry? As I recently re-watched the film’s interviews with experts like author Michael Pollan (find out the one food he won’t eat here) and took in the truths about how our food is grown, treated and processed, I was reminded of what a powerful influence this movie has been on how I, and probably many of you, make food choices and think about food. (If you haven’t seen the movie or want to watch it again, tune in to PBS on Wednesday night. Check pbs.org for TV schedules in your area.)
So when I interviewed director Robert Kenner by phone last week, I was curious about how he’s changed his eating habits since he made Food, Inc.
“Now my diet is a political act, not a personal act,” he told me.
That’s a pretty powerful way to think about an act we do every day. You can vote three times a day when you pick up your fork!
Here are 5 ways Kenner said he's changed his diet and some tips to help you make the same changes in your diet:
1. Choose Sustainably Raised Meat & Poultry: Kenner said he was a pretty good eater to begin with, but after the movie, “eating industrial food,” specifically mass-produced meat, didn’t feel right to him. He still eats meat, produced sustainably, but he eats less meat and less frequently than he used to because he doesn’t think the planet can sustain it and because it’s better for his health. Some research suggests that pasture-raised meat and poultry are richer in omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than those raised on grains. Click here to find out what to look for on labels when you’re trying to buy sustainable meat and poultry.
2. Grow Your Own Food: Kenner has a garden at his home where he grows some of his own food. Growing your own food is not only cheaper, it’s healthier because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be inspired (and committed) to eating all the vegetables you grow. (Get a downloadable garden plan and tips for how to start your own vegetable garden here.) Plus, fruits and vegetables picked at their prime ripeness have more nutrients.
Want to start small? Growing salad greens in a planter is a super-easy way to begin (and you won’t have to wash all the lawn clippings off your lettuce!). Get easy tips for growing you own salad greens in a container garden here.
3. Shop at the Farmers’ Market: Kenner said he shops at the farmers’ markets where he lives in Los Angeles. He likes that he can talk to and ask questions of the people who grew his food. Click here for 7 reasons to shop and cook from the farmers’ market.
4. Buy Local: Kenner says he tries to buy as much locally produced food as possible. Buying local not only supports local farmers, food producers and food systems, but it helps sustain and promote local jobs. How can you do it? Get 5 ideas for eating local beyond the farmers’ market here.
5. Eat at Home: Kenner and his wife cook at home, which helps him enjoy his locally sourced ingredients and makes it easier for him to make informed choices about what he eats. He said his wife is a great cook, so that helps too! Need ideas for delicious meals you’ll make at home and love? Find easy, healthy recipes for 30-minute spring dinners using in-season ingredients here.
If you've seen Food, Inc., did it change the way you eat? If so, how? Tell us what you think below.