Food Matters

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Each food documentary I watch has a slightly different angle. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead focused on the lives of two extremely relatable men and their food/health journeys. Forks Over Knives delved into the science behind the concept of “you are what you eat.” If I had to summarize the ‘angle’ of Food Matters, I would say that it emphasizes the strong connection between food and medicine. The film makers trace this link all the way back to Hippocrates. And as one commentator states, “good health makes sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.” The film addresses this theme head on, essentially asking the rhetorical question–is it in the financial interests of some companies to keep us ignorant to the linkages between food and health, eating food that has traveled for miles and hence laden with compromised nutritional value, growing our food in depleted soil, resistant to vitamin and other forms of natural therapies, and plagued by chronic disease (and ever increasing healthcare costs)?

In addition to this overarching theme (and admitted run-on sentence!), the film discusses the nutritional value of a number of superfoods like spirulina and cacao, and also discusses a number of historical and contemporary models of vitamin therapy (which I had actually never heard of before). I won’t belabor the point that you should watch this film :). Instead, I’ll give you two additional points that peaked my interest while watching movie.

1. Cooking food is a ‘process.’ I know you might be saying, ‘duh, Tiffany,’ but when I think of ‘processed’ foods, I think of prepared foods–foods with a ton of sodium and fat, etc. I do not think of food that I make myself. The fact is though that cooking reduces the nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables, so when possible, it’s better to eat them raw, in order to reap all of the nutritional benefits. Again, you might all have known this, but I didn’t know the full extent (watch the movie for the deets!).

2. We have our values inverted. One of the commentators remarked (and I paraphrase), “we’d rather spend our money on rent, a car, clothes, etc. rather than on the best food ever, rather than on feeding our children the best superfoods and investing money into our families’ health.” For some reason that struck a cord with me. The power is in the purse and how we chose to spend our money has huge implications on our health. It made me think, how are YOU spending your money Tiff???

This film addresses everything from cancer to the benefits of prevention. The one part of the film that I felt was lacking was the theme of ‘access.’ In fact, one commentator stated, “One of the few choices we have is what we will and will not eat.” I would have to respectfully disagree. For a growing number of Americans, there is very little choice about the food they eat and minimal access to fresh, healthy food. When you broaden that lens to the entire world, the picture gets even more bleak. I do not think Food Matters is alone in giving too little attention to the economic and social forces that prevent folks from eating healthy food. It’s actually my critique of most food documentaries and it’s a point I’ve discussed on Como Water before. Notwithstanding that caveat however, I would totally recommend the film and appreciated the candid discussion of how food, health, and our healthcare system (and those that stand to profit from illness) are intertwined.

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!

Comments

  1. Diet is very closely linked to health.

  2. Very informative. I think we all should think more about what we feed our bodies. We do have things backwards… we spend more money of things (that are really useless to us) than the food that is a necessity.

  3. Sounds like a good movie, I will have to check it out!

  4. Thanks for the tip, this sounds really intersting my friend 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Thank you for bringing the movie to our attention.

    Your two interest points highlighted things that we “foodies” or Culinary Artist would like to say we focus on all the time (well…some of us). Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of cooking food, that we often forget the word “process” has adopted a negative meaning with negative repercussions when eating processed foods. This helps put things back in perspective that “we are what we eat” in addition to “money makes the world go round”. We now need to refocus our focus and know that although the rent has to be paid…we can’t pay it if we’re terminally ill or dead from the foods we eat.
    (sorry for the run-on sentences)

  6. This movie does sound like it would be worth watching. It brings to light a lot of things that we rarely think about when it comes to food. However, I do feel that when you are short on money, the worst foods are out there as the cheapest as well. Working towards being the cheapest with the best nutrition is something food manufacturers do need to start thinking about. Great post Tiffany!

  7. Sounds like a great movie – gonna have to check it out soon :)

  8. Great movie with nice tips on food and the amount we spent. Compared to many years ago, I sort of pay more for better quality ingredients now, esp on the oil, salt, sugar and rice. Again others may not be able to the same. I still think we can find ingredients esp the veges which are nutritious and comes with a reasonable price.

  9. Oooooh! There’s a church up the road from me that’s showing this movie next weekend. I may have to go see it!

    BUZZED

  10. Good review, Tiff. Honestly, I’ve read a lot lately about lobbyists trying to keep us ignorant of the relationship between food and health. Awful! Also, great point about cooking being a process…especially when it comes to fruit and veggies. Raw or lightly steamed to make it more palatable is best!

  11. I would definitely consider watching this movie. When it comes to food, no compromise on the quality. Great review, Tiffany!

  12. Thanks to your generosity I was able to watch the movie and I agree with your review. I was expecting it to be more like Food, Inc. but it wasn’t. It’s too bad that optimal health isn’t the goal of food and drug companies.

  13. Thank you for sharing Tiff. I find it quite challenging to eat seasonally and not be tempted by imports but it is sometimes the humble raw tomato in the depths of winter that breaks the rule! I don’t know if you have the equivalent in the US but this project maybe of interest to you, giving people the opportunity to grow their own food http://www.landshare.net/about-share/

  14. This film sounds awesome, I’m going to check it out :)

  15. I would definitely watch this movie because I believe in eating mindfully in terms of the environmental and health impacts of what we put in our mouths.

  16. Thanks so much for your insightful review–I’ve wondered how this film was.

  17. It’s so simple! You are what you eat, drink, breathe and put on your skin! We need to eat living and non toxic food to make living cells instead of toxic ones. Watch on youtube if you like: Gods way part 1 /the Hallelujah diet, Dr Robert Cassar, You are what you eat drink and breathe, more info on the link between food and health: Andreas Moritz on vitamin B12, D etc (just did my 5th liver flush by the way. Very helpful!)and robertmorsend explaining lymphatic system and to get it moving with fruit. And fruit does not rise blood sugar as long as it’s with the fiber and not mixed with oils!
    Have a nce and healthy day! I’ll have oranges for breakfast!