These days, I'm very interested in food. As an American who has spent time as a resident in rural Europe, I am fascinated by the differences in food culture.
Here in the U.S. we spend a lot of time talking about food and watching cooking shows with celebrity chefs. We eat out a lot. We scour shelves for healthy ingredients that may be altered to enhance protein, lower fat, salt or sugar. Some of us garden, purchase shares in community supported agriculture, pledge to eat local and support our local farmers' markets. Some of us have transitioned to plant-based diets, tried Meatless Mondays and some of us eat organic. Some of us eat paleo, high-protein, low-fat or vegan. Yet, with all this interest in food, the United States is still alarmingly obese and riddled with food and lifestyle-related maladies.
From where I live part time in Europe, it's very different. People grow food, not lawns. They shop in the market for what they don't grow themselves. They know the local farmers and for the most part, they know exactly where their food comes from. They eat cheese and bread and sausages, but also kale and potatoes and figs. They love sardines and pastries and strong coffee. They use olive oil and salt. Primarily, they eat at home, reserving cafes and bars for a cup of coffee, a drink, a snack or dinner out for a special occasion. Food is important, but not over thought.
For now, I spend most of my year here in in the United States and it's important for me to make the best choices I can make about what I eat. I've watched a lot of documentaries about food lately, and here are five that challenged my thinking and the approach I take in choosing what I eat.
Forks Over Knives
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
Today, food is a political issue. The fight over food covers topics from poverty to the disappearance of bees, from aspartame in milk to pink slime, from fair trade to sustainability, from allergies and food intolerance to calories in versus calories out. When did this happen? How did this happen? When did food become more than how we fuel our bodies?
Whether we buy into the politics of food culture is our own choice, but nevertheless, making informed choices is key for health and peace of mind.