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School is back in session here at Washington State University and the phones are inconsistently busy.  That means a little down time but not enough to really think.  Normally, I spend my extra time reading or writing but the call volume makes that difficult.  So I thought this might be a good time to watch all those food documentaries I’ve been meaning to watch.

Last week I watched Food Inc.  I highly recommend this film.  It’s well rounded and pro-farmer.  It’s less likely to offend than many of the other films I have watched.  Food Inc really talks about how big business has ruined the way our food is made.  It shows how fast food has lead to the need for food to be produced just as fast to meet the demands.  However, this is not without cost to us and the environment.  It harms the farmers just as much as they are locked into practices they may not agree with just to keep their contracts.

The saddest part was realizing just how many farms produce our food – small farms are being edged out by larger commercial farms.  It also shows how we, as consumers, can change the way our food is produced just by buying one product over another.

This was a fun film and beautifully done.  It’s rather artsy and in French so you have to pay attention.  France is one of the world’s largest users of chemical in their agriculture.  This film talks about what that has done to the health of the country while showing a rural community that has opted to make their schools organic.  There were some good points but I think some of the culture was interesting to me more than the statistics.  I loved that the children ate their school lunches family style and had constant interaction with the food staff.  It made the children more aware of what they were eating and gave the staff instant feedback.  I think that was my favorite part.

My second favorite part was the school garden.  The children spent a great deal of time in the garden with their studies.  They measured the growth as part of their math.  They dialogued about the history of the plants and how they liked to eat them.  I think it had a lot more to say about how we teach our children about their food.

Some interesting points were about the agriculture.  They’ve used so many chemicals that they can no longer not grow without the chemicals.  They’ve stripped all the nutrients from the soil and the plants no longer are able to support their own defenses.  There was an interesting comparison between a traditional field and an organic one.

Many of the farmers have to wear hazmat suits just to work in their fields and many still have illnesses related to chemical exposure.  Some confessed to not even eating their own produce because they know how unsafe it is.

As informative as Forks over Knives was, I found it to be the most off-putting film.  It definitely went the way of scare tactics and extreme ideas.  I still enjoyed it and found the information useful but I don’t believe that a completely vegetarian diet will save us all from disease.

There was still a lot to learn here and it had redeeming qualities but I think this is one better saved for later than to be the first you watch.  Now after several films there was nothing overly new for me to learn but that didn’t mean it didn’t get me thinking.

Of all the films I have watched so far – this one has been the most entertaining.  The film starts with Joe who is overweight and sick.  He decides to spend 60 days consuming nothing but fresh juice for every meal.  The movie documents his progress and how his health improved.  During his journey, Joe meets Phil.

After Joe is finished he gets a disturbing call from Phil – he’s just had it and needs help.  He is severely overweight and has the same condition as Joe did.  Joe helps Phil go through the same process.

I liked Joe and Phil a lot.  They were both amazing men and I am so glad for their success.  They are real people and at no point in time did they say you have to do this and you have to be like me.  They talked about their struggles and there were others who tried and were not as successful as they were.  Their responses were – at least you tried.

The changes in their health and lifestyles was inspiring – so much that I’m tempted to try some juicing.  I’m not sure I’ll go the same way but I think it’s time to really re-think the whole diet we are on.  We’re already hitting a rut and it’s time to refresh before we lose completely.

I have decided that we can revamp and go organic – it’s takes some thinking and it won’t be easy but these four films have given me the drive to make it so.  Our health is important and I can’t wait to see how healthy we can become with just a few changes to our diet.