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A Belated Review

by Meghann on August 18, 2009

I have a little surprise waiting for you at the end of this post so I will make the food portion of this post quick.

My snack was courtesy of my Healthy Living Summit Swag Bag.

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The amazing people at Peeled Snacks shipped us an assortment of their nothing added organic dried fruit. I love how all the packaged of color coded. Today I choose the dried apricots which came in a pretty pink container.

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The dried apricots were perfect. They were just a tad sweet like nature intended, not like overly processed sweetened junk. I loved it! I managed to snag a couple more bags to sample and am looking forward to trying those as well.

Lunch was simple and delish.

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I had some spaghetti squash left over from the other week which I had frozen and let thaw in the fridge over night. I popped it in the microwave at lunch with some chick peas (I wanted black, but didn’t have any 🙁 ) and topped with Parsley, Jalapenos, Salsa, Cheese, Pita Chips and Avocado.

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A yummy Mexican fiesta of flavors!!

I couldn’t help digging into one of my cookies I got for dessert.

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Lindsey gave me this cookie she had purchased from the HLS Bake Sale so I’m not sure who originally made it or what the name is, but it contained oats & dates. It was thick, buttery and delish!

Derek’s Review of Food, Inc.

I hate to bring up a topic that has been played out plenty of times on my fellow blogs, but many of you requested it so I am delivering. 😉

* Please note this is Derek’s opinion and not mine. He understands, as do I, this will bring out both negative and positive comments. We just ask you respect his freedom of opinion as we respect everyone else’s. Thanks!

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Hey there everyone. 

It’s my second official post and, again, I have no idea how Meghann does this everyday. I’ve been searching and searching for time to write this one post let alone 2-3 posts a day. But, the time has come where all you inquiring minds get to read my thoughts on…dun dun dunnnnnnn….Food, Inc.

When I saw the previews for the movie it definitely looked interesting. I’m the kind of person that likes to, in general, be informed so it seemed like my kinda movie. My initial reaction when they began detailing the dark & dirty secrets about multinational corporations and the way our food is processed/prepared/delivered was that I always knew, but didn’t know the specific details until now. Any reasonable and common sense person should know that hormone inhalation, cramped living quarters, and bully tactics by food companies is nothing new. I’m a “why” person. By that I mean that I don’t want to focus on what the food companies are doing or the content of the movie, but rather the bigger issue of why they’re doing it that way and what I believe the message of the movie is.

The movie began by placing blame on McDonald’s. What a shocker. Why is it that when we feel that we’ve been wronged in some way we always rush to blame the biggest or most popular company in that respective area? Some examples are McDonalds, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, etc. The companies in Food, Inc. are not the problem…just part of the problem. The only reason any company starts up is because they’ve identified a demand and want to be part of the supply while turning a small (or large) profit along the way.

Companies don’t go out and operate the way they do because they’ve lost their moral compass or because the executives weren’t raised right. They act the way they do because if they didn’t, it would hurt the bottom line and that’s not good. We’ve all heard the phrase “time is money”. Well, it applies here. Companies are constantly asking themselves, “how can we do what we do but faster and cheaper without compromising quality?” This is the nature of business and the food industry is no exception. Do I think they compromise quality? Yes I do. But does the majority of the country? I don’t think so. Companies ask themselves this question because they’re looking for our business. If they didn’t, they’d lose us to the competition. That is why those food companies fed hormones to their chickens and made them grow freakishly fast.

That is why they have mechanized their processing of food the way they have. It’s the answer to a lot of the questions you have for them. This brings me to my point…like it or not, but we as a society have created these monsters and continue to feed them. I would say that a good number of people don’t really understand the concept of “We the People”. That’s how our constitution starts. Not only are they the first 3 words, but also the largest handwritten words. Basically, they mean something. We ultimately dictate how food companies will behave.

The best example of this from the movie that I can think of is when Wal-mart introduced Stonyfield to its stores. Many products want to be on Wal-mart shelves because of its customer base. This allows Wal-mart to be selective with its vendors since they don’t have unlimited store space…even though it seems unlimited when you walk around in there. Don’t forget. Wal-mart wants to supply a demand while turning a profit…and they put Stonyfield on their shelves. Ahh, good and evil collide!  =)  I really like what Stonyfield is doing though because I think it really fits into what I believe Food, Inc. is saying.

Consider other healthier and local options. I think Food, Inc. would like us to consider all our food options much in the same way Stonyfield would like all Wal-mart customers to consider their yogurt as a healthier option.

Have I changed how I eat after watching the movie? Not really. I will still go to a nice steakhouse and eat cow without knowing where it came from or how it was fed. However, I will be trying to notice food labels more closely and often and utilize fresh markets when I can. I don’t think companies are motivated to change and I doubt government will do anything drastic. The movie had a good segment on how political relationships played a big part in who controlled wh
at. So what does that leave us with? Well…us to motivate them.

Like I said before about us feeding the monster…We the People need to slowly stop. Food companies will supply what we demand. It’s just not something that will happen quickly, but Food, Inc. was a great start. I’m not sure how my opinion will match with yours. I’m thinking that mine may not be the popular view overall. We’ll see.  =)  Hopefully you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the movie.

One last thing…if you still haven’t seen it and have a showing close to you, go!

Derek

1 HelpMeghanRun August 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Great review, Derek! Ultimately, I agree with you. The blame is shared with the companies and the people. It’s kind of like the chicken-and-the-egg theory; we’re not sure which one came first. Regardless, now they’re reinforcing each other.

Sure, McDonald’s turns a huge profit and produces crappy food. But if people stop eating their crappy food, they will no longer make a profit. Companies are only doing this because they can. That doesn’t make it right, but we are the only ones that can change it. Like they say, vote with your shopping cart.

2 elliebelle August 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Wow, Derek, your review was great. Very well thought out, logical and level-headed. Thank you for a very informative review. I think you bring up many topics that most people ignore because of emotions they have toward the animal industry. I also like your big picture viewpoint. Good job!

3 Lisa A. August 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I haven’t seen it, but I think your thought process is right on. I will keep this perspective in mind when I do see it.

4 Eliza August 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I enjoyed your review! Although I personally eat locally and organically as much as possible, I get frustrated with the black and white thinking that many people take on these issues. Things are not good or bad, they are complex.
My primary frustrations with Food, Inc., and the uber-popular Pollan books are that they are sold and marketed to a population that is already knowledgeable to some degree about the issues at hand. This crowd (I’m totally generalizing, but roll with it) goes to see the movie, and walks out angry with big business, and feeling proud of themselves for eating healthy, organic foods and frustrated with those who “just need to educated themselves” and “stop eating bad food” so that big business won’t be successful anymore.
In many ways, they reinforce a sense of elitism that seems to go hand in hand with “organic” food.
And it ignores the fact that conventionally grown foods from “big businesses” are cheaper, and not everyone gets to make the choices that we do when we decide to spend the extra amount to buy organic milk.
I used to facilitate a support group for teen moms in a pretty impoverished town. We talked about healthy eating occasionally, and they got it. But when it comes down to it, 200.00 bucks a month in food stamps isn’t going to buy organic milk, or even a lot of produce. And that sucks. And it sucks that the government subsidizes farms that grow corn more than organic tomato farms, and it sucks that the dollar menu is so bad for you. But things are a hell of a lot more complicated than some people eating “good food” and other people eating “bad food.”
Too often the dialogues around food Inc, and Pollan, turn into elitist shaming-fests where everyone complains about how people need to stop supporting crappy food companies, and starting making smarter choices. Some times, getting a serving of protein and carbs for a dollar is a smart choice.

5 Leah August 18, 2009 at 1:46 pm

“We ultimately dictate how food companies will behave.”

*applause*

6 Allison August 18, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Great review! It hate when people blame McDonald’s for everything – from obesity to food production. McDonald’s is a successful company, and isn’t run by ‘evil’ businessmen. They’re just trying to make money, and consumers loved what they were selling.

I love that you can get Stonyfield at Walmart, to me that’s an excellent example of how a corporation will respond to consumer demand.

7 Whit August 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Great points Derek! I completely agree that we as a country created this problem to begin with.

8 brandi August 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

great review. I still haven’t seen this, but I enjoy reading everyone’s thoughts on the movie.

I definitely think the world plays the biggest part in why things are happening the way they are and that it’s up to us to change that, one tiny step at a time.

this stuff didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to stop overnight, either.

9 Pam August 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I think this may be the best review of Food Inc. I have read! It was well thought out and nonbiased. Great job!

10 fitforfree August 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for the hearty dose of common sense — it’s so true that we’re quick to blame THE BIG BAD CORPORATIONS while not always doing everything we can to change their ways.

I don’t eat at McDonald’s (they’re pretty much a real estate company anyway and turn more of a profit off of buying/selling store locations than they do from selling food, so it’s no surprise that they don’t really care where their meat comes from!), and I think that factory farming is morally wrong so I don’t eat animals, but am I writing letters to politicians and trying to enact real change? No. Removing yourself from the equation is only part of the process — we should all be more proactive with the things we want changed.

Anyway, thanks for reminding us that the “moral compass” is only part of the equation — as warped as it is, we have to think of food as an business before we can really understand it!

11 Lizzy August 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm

holy moley your lunch looked amazing! i love mixing different textures and tastes to my meals! 🙂

12 Emily August 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Wow. I agree with a previous poster. I think this reveiw is the best I’ve read. I’m not saying the others weren’t good..but yours is the most unbiased!! Kudos!

13 Emily Eats August 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm

As a whole, I agree with Derek on this. I believe It will also take some time to dig out of the situation once people can and choose to change their choices. I think that this will take a long time – but it starts now with those who can afford it presently and drum up the demand.

14 Melissa August 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm

That was awesome, Derek!! Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

15 Rachel @ abundant life August 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I agree 100% with Derek’s review. It is refreshing to read a very practical and rational review when the web is plagued with so many one-sided arguments.

In college, I wrote a very similar commentary relating to poor working conditions for laborers outside the U.S. Yes, they were being exploited by big U.S. businesses, but we as consumers certainly appreciated the lower prices. Until “we the people” collectively stop supporting such practices (with our dollars), we cannot point the finger at companies who are forced (by their shareholders) to constantly increase the bottom line.

16 Frannie August 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Great review Derek! I absolutely appreciate the viewpoint of someone who is knowledgable, but not completely entrenched, in food production and policies. Also, Eliza, you have managed to nicely and concisely say what I have been trolling the blogs trying to point out for a while – bravo!

17 dishin August 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Great review – I’m still looking forward to seeing the movie.

As for your peeled snacks, I tried them in NYC last year and loved them but can’t find them anywhere. The mango was very tasty!

18 Amy August 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Thank you, Derek, for throwing a sensible voice into the mix of bloggers who have voiced their opinion on the Food, Inc. film! Yours is a refreshing voice to hear, and one that I had hoped would be the more common response to the film, rather than the lone dissenter.
Having not seen the film and not having a blog of my own, I had avoided entering the conversation, but it disturbs me to think people may be instantly transfixed by such a movie and convinced that some elusive culprit – some hybrid form of ‘big business’/’evil corporation’/’greedy moneygrubber’/’insensitive/morally reprehensible corporate executives’/what-have-you are to blame.

This is not a simple case of find the bad men, punish them – publically shame them? lock ’em up and take all their money? put them out of business and collapse the market?!?!? — and let the government take over matters (that should NEVER EVER be the solution.) Government regulations are NOT something that Americans should want if they want their country to continue to prosper as a free nation.

Businesses respond to market demand (as well as government subsidies, which are a big reason why our food industry has become what it is today –– and therefore, a sure indicator that greater government involvement, i.e. regulation will not be beneficial). Businesses grow and succeed to become ‘big businesses’ as they innovatively respond to the market demand. If you don’t want big food companies to use pesticides or GMOs, don’t throw aside the slightly imperfect apples and only take the nice, red, perfectly round ones, thus signaling to the company a refusal of less than perfect looking apples. Consumer behavior is what can improve the elements of our food industry that may now be reprehensible. And consumer efforts to educate themselves about where their food comes from will help them behave differently than they do now – in effect, changed consumer behaviors can change the market demand that the food industry now accommodates. This will compel big businesses to change their business practices if they intend to stay in business.

I hope to see Food Inc. soon, and I hope that it is an informative, though not indoctrinating film.

19 southerngracesblog August 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Wow, thanks for review! I want to see Food, Inc more than ever, now.
Love that Mexican Fiesta salad, Meghann!! Have a wonderful Tuesday 🙂

20 Serena August 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I totally agree that this is a great review – it’s spot on and frankly, I don’t think it’s controversial – it’s the truth. I think it’s really hard for those of us who are educated about our food choices and have the luxury of being able to afford fresh, local, organic to forget how the rest of the world thinks.

And I too drink organic milk at home and whenever I can, but that’s not to say that I’m never going to get a starbucks latte ever again just because they don’t serve organic milk. It’s about choosing what’s right for you.

21 Nina August 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Rock On Derrick!!!! my husband would love you 🙂

22 Rachel August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Derek,

That was an awesome review of the movie. I 100% agree with you that we, as a population can change the way things are run. I do think people should educate themselves on what’s really happening in the farms and I think places like McDonalds and Wal-Mart should stand up and promote hormone-free and organic ingredients. I think that will pave the way for other companies to stand behind the local farmers and the farmers that don’t treat animals poorly.

23 Rachel August 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm

“We the People” – well said! Interesting review Derek.

There’s been lots of talk on the movie (news media, food blogs and the like), but all of them have basically been saying the same thing…and focusing on the content. For those of us (likely many that are actually reading food blogs, etc.) that content is not so much new – that’s why we strive to eat consciously in the first place. Your review actually kept me reading till the end 😉 Thanks for posting!

24 Marissa August 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Derek,

Just wanted to say that I loved your review of Food Inc. I completely agree with your perspective that companies ultimately are businesses and supplying what consumers demand is how they increase their bottom line.

I grew up on a farm which was largely subsidized by the government to grow soybeans. It’s hard for me to hear people bashing farmers for growing so much corn or soybeans…they are doing it because they make money growing those crops.

Anyways, just wanted to say that I enjoyed your refreshing and completely different take on Food Inc.

25 chipped nails & all August 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm

wow Derek. Way to look beyond what other reviewers have said and really formulate your own well-stated opinion. A great article is one that is quotable; your’s definitely has some great, interesting lines in there:)

great job Derek!

26 jentrinque August 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I have to agree with everyone else, Derek, that was a great review with a different spin than I’ve heard from other bloggers. It’s so true that the companies are just giving us what we ask for. I, personally, have been a veg for many years and haven’t eaten McDonalds in forever, but I’m not the majority of our population. If I was, McDonalds would probably be serving vegan burgers on whole grain bread with a side of carrot sticks! But until that day, all we can do is support what we believe in and the big companies will follow our trends. Good call!

27 Debbie~ August 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I agree with you 100%…thank you for giving a non biased, non emotional, straight forward review of this movie.

28 caitlin August 18, 2009 at 5:30 pm

derek, you so smart. 🙂

29 D August 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I thought this was a fair and rational review of the movie, and it seemed very well thought out. I totally agree that it is about “we the people”.

Everyone gets worked up and offended by what these companies do, yet the problem wouldn’t exist if this society weren’t so focused on instant gratification and on everything being as cheap and accessible as possible. However, you mentioned that you will continue to eat at steakhouses, which seems contradictory to your message of “we the people”. To truly believe in that statement, you have to walk the walk. That’s how this situation exists in the first place – by people consciously ignoring the problem and refusing to take a personal stand. It isn’t about “they the people”, it’s WE the people. I personally do not eat meat, but even if the day came where i desperately wanted a piece of steak, I wouldn’t eat it. When you are presented with the information in Food Inc, and then continue to participate in the problem, you are choosing to condone the situation.

Anyway, just my opinion! Your review was very thoughtful and I enjoyed reading it.

30 carolinebee August 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Great review derek! Very K.I.S.S. 😀
And Meghann- i don’t know why, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone put parsley on their salad before?? haha i love your creative edge!

31 loreejo August 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

It’s funny how Meghann asked for everyone’s respect of Derek’s opinion and has rec’d nothing but that. I’ve just seen so many people “go off” on these blogs when their opinion is different over food choices, pet care, whatever! So I wonder if those instances are more of a female v. female attack? I know, this is off the point, but I’m intrigued…..I’ve never seen so much agreement before! 🙂

32 Kat August 18, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Loreejo, I find your observation really interesting and I wholeheartedly agree that there is something about women pouncing on other women- in all parts of life, but especially the blog world. Really interesting to see that play out here. I was also amazed to glance at these comments and see so much agreement.

33 katie s August 18, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Awesome review, Derek! Thanks for sharing with us!!

34 Deva@Vorilee August 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I loved the thoughtful review, Derek. Meghann – great looking lunch!

35 Christie August 18, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I loved reading your review of Food Inc. It’s not playing near me so I haven’t seen it yet but obviously I have heard a lot about it from the bloggers. I really loved the part about “we the people” and how we really dictate what these big box companies sell. Really interesting!

36 Leila August 19, 2009 at 8:35 am

I think Derek’s review is great. First, really candid (as it should be!) and I think the best point he brought up is that we do live in a capitalist society where the dollar decides what will be done. Everyone watches their bottom line, from the individual to the corporation and we shouldn’t be shocked when Company X wants to save a buck. It’s only when we’re more willing to spend a bit more and demand better – whatever – that things will change, like Derek said with the Stoneyfield and Wal-Mart example.

Glad to hear another pov.

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