Green Smoothie |

Fed Up [and my own personal turning point in how I think about food]

Fed Up Movie Review |

Around the time I was finishing up the book Salt Sugar Fat, I came across the preview for a new film called Fed Up coming out in mid-May. The synopsis is this:

“Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.”

This is the kind of stuff that makes me giddy with excitement (anyone else?), and as I hit ‘play’ on the trailer, I held my breath for a moment, hoping the film might do the subject justice. The trailer is both alarming and powerful, and I couldn’t wait to see the movie in theaters.

I finally set aside the time this past weekend – taking a much-needed break from home buying obligations and culinary nutrition homework – to see Fed Up in its entirety. It’s about ninety minutes long, which is perfect, and while it really only scratches the surface of the obesity epidemic and processed food/sugar overload, I think it’s well-suited to a general audience and will get the wheels turning.

Rather than re-cap the highlights in my typical fashion, I’ll direct you to the Fed Up website, because it does an excellent job of summarizing key facts, provides discussion materials and resources, some ways to take action, and a ten day no sugar challenge. They’ve made the information accessible and approachable.

I can remember way back during the summer before my junior year of college when I was working one of my several jobs at my university’s social work library, and I happened to pick up a copy of Fast Food Nation. I had never given much thought to what I was eating beyond calories and fat grams, or where my food was coming from, and I could not absorb the information in Fast Food Nation quickly enough.

All it takes is one book, one film, one blog post, one conversation with a friend, to create the tiniest of shifts in how we view the world, and just asking ourselves whether how we’re living is serving us and others is the beginning of changing for the better.

After the film, Aaron asked me what I had learned and I explained that I hadn’t really learned anything new factually because I do my best to immerse myself in food policy and nutrition already. He was a little disappointed and asked what the point was in seeing the movie. The point, I think, was to support something I believe in, but even more so, to share it.

This conversation made me think about advising someone who’s eating a standard American, junk food diet to read a book like The China Study right off the bat – it’s going to be too much, too dry, too scientific for most, and probably a turn-off. But sharing a film like Forks Over Knives might make them re-think what they’re eating, and then seek out more information. I believe Fed Up will accomplish that, and then maybe people who were previously uninterested in food policy or nutrition will read books like Salt Sugar Fat, and then maybe they’ll swap their soda for lemon water or ask whether their eggs are really from “free-range” hens…because all it takes is asking one question to set off a powerful chain reaction.

 Did you have a turning point in how you think about food? If so, what was it for you?


P.S. The top photo is of my Deyhdration-Busting Pineapple Cucumber Mint Smoothie, a delicious way to satisfy a sweet craving and get in a big dose of greens.


Leave a Comment

  1. Cadry says

    You’re so right that one book, film, or post can cause a huge paradigm shift and set off a change of course in our lives. Two things that catapulted by journey towards veganism were the book, Fast Food Nation, and the movie, Supersize Me. I encountered both of them around the same time, and they greatly affected the way that I looked at food. Before reading/watching them, I was a meat eater who ate plenty of fast food. I stopped eating fast food after that, then I started seeking out so-called “humane” animal products, then I went vegetarian, and then I went vegan. Even though neither Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) nor Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) are vegan, they both played an enormous part in my journey towards the ethics I live today by being vegan.

    1. Amanda says

      Supersize Me also had a big impact on me too. As a kid, I remember begging my mom to take me to McDonald’s like my friends, and when she finally caved, I promptly got sick in the car on the way home! And then I understood why we didn’t eat there. 🙂

  2. Sonja says

    I’ve been wanting to see Fed Up for some time now. I totally agree that even those of us who are well versed in food policy and nutrition need to support films such as this because it is true, it only takes one post, article, or film to change someone’s way of thinking about what they eat and they are geared towards those who don’t really know much about the topic. I really feel like there are some changes brewing in the US when it comes to food and how people view it.

    I think my turning point was when I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I subsequently read all the books he ever wrote about food. Now when I see a book about food policy or our food system I’m probably going to pick it up and read it. I think it’s so important to know where your food comes from. I read a really good quote once and I can’t remember it word for word or remember who said it but it went something like, “every time you eat you make a social/political statement” and I wholeheartedly agree with this!

    1. Amanda says

      I agree that there are changes brewing with regard to food, and I very much hope that more people begin to question what they’re eating and how it arrived on their plates. I wholeheartedly agree with the quote you referenced as well. When I was just starting to think about writing a blog, my dad asked if I was going to talk about controversial things like politics and I firmly said, “No. No religion or politics.” But food really is very political.
      P.S. I’m about to re-read Omnivore’s Dilemma for my class. 🙂

  3. Sherry (BTLover2) says

    Loved this article, Amanda. Here’s how it went for me: Happened to watch some segment Oprah did on how cows were treated and slaughtered for our consumption. That stopped me from eating beef. But one thing leads to another, and through various searches, I stumbled upon Forks Over Knives (and many other documentaries). I cut out all processed foods and began to eat as a vegetarian. Some months later, I went vegan and couldn’t be happier or healthier. It’s all a matter of educating yourself, but most people are too lazy, too busy, too uninterested to do that. It does take effort and time. But small changes here and there really does work.

    Was this your quote: “All it takes is one book, one film, one blog post, one conversation with a friend, to create the tiniest of shifts in how we view the world, and just asking ourselves whether how we’re living is serving us and others is the beginning of changing for the better.” If so, I’d like to re-post it on FB and give you credit. Let me know.

    Happy Weekend!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Sherry! Yes, that’s my quote. I’d be honored if you shared it on FB. <3 Thank you for the thoughtful comment.

      1. Sherry (BTLover2) says

        You’re welcome! I loved that quote! It’s so very, very true. And it applies to many things in life not just the food we consume.

        I’ve posted it and already have a few likes! Maybe you’ll get some new followers too 🙂

  4. I loved Fast Food Nation! That was the first “Food Politics/Industry” Book I read and I have been addicted to reading all them and seeing all those movies ever since!

    1. Amanda says

      Yes! It’s sort of like once you start to become informed, you can’t get enough…I love that I’m constantly learning.

      1. Sherry (BTLover2) says

        That is so true, Amanda! You can also get totally overwhelmed with all the information, but it is well worth sorting it out and making changes for the better.

  5. Caitlin says

    my turning point was super size me. i felt so enlightened after watching it. and i still watch it every year or so. it’s just so poignant to me.

    1. Amanda says

      Maybe I will re-watch Super Size Me…you’ve inspired me. 🙂

  6. Shannon says

    The China Study is what encouraged to me to adopt a plant-based diet to address my health issues… but I believe it was watching Food, Inc. that set the wheels in motion for me. The fact that the “nutrition” information we receive every day is so influenced by money and politics really struck a chord with me. I’m, of course, very grateful that I chose to watch it that day!

  7. I can’t wait to see Fed Up in a couple of weeks! I’m currently reading Salt Sugar Fat (thanks to your previous recommendation) and am finding it fascinating.

    The turning point for me was researching homesteading and learning how to take care of chickens. I had never given much thought to where eggs, milk, and cheese came from. Learning about backyard chickens, however, forced me to finally make the connection. It was like a flip had been switched. After a brief investigation of factory farming, I knew I had to be vegan. Watching Vegucated only confirmed that belief.

    1. Amanda says

      I was the same way with eggs, milk, and cheese for a long time. I had never asked where the baby chicks come from, what happens to the male chicks (that part was horrifying to me), what happens to the baby cow who isn’t drinking his mother’s milk because it’s sold to humans, what happens to the dairy cow when she stops producing milk…there’s just no going back once we start asking questions.

      I’m thrilled you’re reading Salt Sugar Fat after seeing my post! I think it’s such an important book.

  8. Agreed! Actually meeting lots of vegetarian CouchSurfers was my turning point. All of my guests were veggie, and I kept wondering: What am I missing? Then I read “Eating Animals” and it all spiraled from there. I haven’t read “Salt Sugar Fat” or seen “Fed Up” yet — but they’re both on my list! I did a two-week sugar cleanse last month and have eaten only a tiny amount of sugar since. I feel great!

    Finally, to get to my point: I think that Mark Bittman’s “Food Rules” is an amazing starter book. I plan on giving it away as gifts this Christmas. It is simple, short, and wonderful.


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