Knowledge is Power: A Reading List to Protect Yourself from the Food Industry

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings. – Pearl S. Buck

 

The holidays are right around the corner, likely to be filled with tons of extra food. I would like to offer you an early holiday gift: information and awareness.

Below are some solid materials that will teach you a great deal about what you are eating and how it affects you. It is my hope that, armed with this knowledge, you can then create your own self-love and self-care program as soon as possible so that you can age with health, beauty, and grace.

Disclaimer: Much of this material has a vegetarian or vegan angle to it. Please know that I am not trying to force my ideals on you, or convince you to “go veg.” My only purpose is to provide you with information so that you are able to make your own educated choices.

When I read The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food by Michael Moss, I felt a deep disappointment in our society.

This was an article in the New York Times Magazine, adapted from his book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Moss explains in great depth how the food industry has transformed meals and snacks to literally hook us in to its products. He also explores the devastating, infuriating, unethical reason why: because it makes money.

It’s not that the food industry doesn’t realize the harm it’s doing.

These companies are fully aware of the effects caused by such unnaturally fatty, salty, and sugary foods. But they are unwilling to change their methods because, unfortunately, they are more interested in the profit they can make from our addiction than in helping us to get healthy.

So why don’t we protest?

Why not boycott and demand products that don’t make us sick, addicted, and overweight? The truth is, we don’t stand up to them because we don’t know any better. In today’s world of mega grocery stores and meals on the go, many of us don’t make an effort to understand food – where it comes from and how it interacts with our bodies.

This is where “knowledge is power” comes into play.

We can learn what is good for us, and we can take control of how we use food to fuel ourselves. We don’t have to blindly trust these companies who are focused on profit and not on our health. There are plenty of different ways to eat healthfully…and none of them include highly-processed, additive-filled, unnaturally-colored chips and gummies and goo in plastic pouches.

There are a number of fantastic books and films out there that address the dangers of the food industry.

They provide facts, and give clear guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls of misleading labels and misdirecting ad campaigns. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma

One of the pioneer books in this subject, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan explains each step of the food industry chain, including disturbing revelations about organic regulations and animal cruelty.

2. The End of Overeating

Dr. David Kessler’s book gets to the heart of why we eat even when we don’t need to, and how the food industry pushes us to consume far more than is necessary. He also offers great solutions and actionable advice to help us fight back against this trend.

3. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

This film expresses how – no matter where you’re starting from – you have the power to take your health into your own hands through improving your eating habits. It provides a truly inspiring tale of a man who, 100 pounds overweight and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, completely turns his health (and life) around by changing his diet.

4. Food Inc

This film provides us with astonishing facts such as, “The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000” and “The modern supermarket has, on average, 47,000 products.” This documentary is a fantastic exposé on how the modern food industry works, and its effects not only on us but also on the environment.

5. Hungry for Change

This movie demonstrates how the addiction to processed food works – including those products that we think are better for us (such as diet drinks and fat-free options). It exposes the paradox of our societal obsession with weight and health, which is completely at odds with our cultural habits of consumption.

6. Fed Up

In this film’s exploration of the American food industry, filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and TV journalist Katie Couric uncover the disturbing truth about the relationship between what we eat and our health. Even as society marches forward, making progress in the medical industry and creating policies to battle childhood obesity, our life span is actually decreasing rather than increasing.

7. Forks Over Knives

This documentary examines the link between degenerative diseases and the consumption of animal-based and processed food products. It follows Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn as they engage in their separate but related studies on food as medicine.

8. The China Study

This book is based on the work of the same Dr. T. Colin Campbell from Forks Over Knives, along with his son, Thomas M. Campbell, and the research it holds is quoted as being “one of the largest comprehensive studies of human nutrition ever conducted.” Again, the focus here is on food as medicine, with a focus on animal products and the detriments they pose to our health.

The first step to better health lies in reclaiming your power to understand both food and the contemporary food industry.

Armed with a new awareness and the knowledge from these fantastic sources, you can start making better decisions for your body, your family, and the whole planet.

What are you willing to do today to transform your relationship with food?
Do you know of further resources that offer helpful information about food or the food industry?


Please share in the comments below!

 

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