Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Last week one of my co-workers asked me what I was planning to do to ring in the new year. When I said I didn’t have plans, she asked me if I would just go to the gym. Lady, it’s fine if you want to be condescending but I’m not the one complaining that my pants are all too small. Besides, even I wanted to go to the gym, it closes early because it’s New Year’s Eve and normal people have plans. I, on the other hand, happen to have a free one month trial for Netflix.
I refuse to pay for Netflix. Sure, if you’re American, it’s great. But like a lot of things, the experience is not the same for the rest of the world and the selection leaves much to be desired. Basically, I end up spending as much time looking for a movie as I do actually watching one. It was in this aimless browsing of titles that I stumbled upon Hungry for Change, which I am now reviewing because I feel mildly annoyed that I was tricked into watching this documentary.
Let’s start from the beginning: The movie begins by looking at the seemingly infinite number of ways that food in our society is totally fucked up. I’m going to suggest that the first part of the movie will be a revelation to approximately no one, since we live in a society that consumes truckloads of processed food and empty calories while simultaneously suffering from an obesity epidemic. And ya, the fact that we’re all fat and malnourished is probably causing us a lot of emotional issues. I didn’t need an expert to tell me that.
So I’m watching this movie like a good little spectator and I start to feel annoyed. Most of the “experts” here are people who were once fat or who were authors. Writing a book that makes it on to the New York Times Bestseller list does not make you a nutrition expert. See for example, Tim Ferriss. And if you lose a lot of weight, congratulations but again, you’re not an “expert. The fact that I’ve managed to tackle some of my own issues in no way qualifies me to even begin tackling other people’s food issues. So why should I listen to you?
It’s one thing for me to listen when I agree – for example the assertion that we eat a lot of “food-like” products seems like something I want to know more about. But then when you start talking about how all the artificial additives in food cause your brain to ferment and then in turn lead you to gain weight… you’re starting to lose me. Calories in = calories out. But since there do seem to be one or two smart people and I agree in principle that our food system is all out of whack, I continued watching… Actually, in the interest of disclosure, I did take a nap during one of the more tedious segments.
Anyway, when I awoke from my nap, it was just in time to see what these “experts” were recommending as a solution for dealing with all of our modern food and health related woes. Seriously, I’m only writing this review because I feel like I was tricked into watching up until this point. Let’s recap: you make a movie about how our current diets are overly processed, don’t give us the nutrients we need and cause us to be fat? You take issue with lose weight quick schemes that aren’t sustainable? So what do you propose? A change in our manufacturing infrastructure? Moderation? A caveman diet? No. Obviously, the answer is juicing.
Wait, what? This movie makes no sense because you’re essentially endorsing one of the least sustainable diets ever as a long-term solution. Let’s apply some Logic 101 to this bad boy. If your current diet is lacking in essential micro-nutrients, it does not makes sense to advocate a diet that is lacking entirely in one of your essential macro nutrients, namely protein. If your current diet is overly processed, you should eat more whole foods – so you probably don’t need to smash them to smithereens in your blender first. If you need to fix your relationship with food, going on a liquid-only diet that eliminates whole foods probably will not provide you with a long-term solution. And if you think your body is incapable of filtering its food, you should probably reconsider the function of your liver and intestines.
I admit that I will never endorse a caveman-style diet, but at least I can understand and support their philosophies. The same can be said for something like Clean Eating. Personally, I believe I will always be an IIFYM kinda girl because deprivation just does not work. If you tell someone they can never eat cake again, you risk finding them face-down in a birthday cake, reeking of desperation. Or they’ll throw a slice in the blender and down it in a single gulp – that’s juicing, right?
Juicing doesn’t work, or at least it is not a long-term solution. I feel like since it’s that time of year when everyone looks back at the Christmas baking they’ve consumed and resolves to lose 10lbs. You can probably lose 10lbs with a 30 day juice, but guaranteed they’ll come right back and your critical thinking skills will still be lacking. Don’t do it. You know what, I wouldn’t even recommend watching this movie. There are better ways to ring in the New Year.