Of all the messages presented in “Fed Up,” there are three facts most people will find surprising: all calories are not created equal; excessive weight and poor health are directly related to diet; and exercise alone is not enough to reverse our current obesity epidemic.
These facts are what make “Fed Up,” a new documentary about food and childhood obesity, so refreshing. While much of the conversation around health in America talks about the effects of our diet, “Fed Up” focuses on the cause. And the cause is the food we’re eating.
Why “Fed Up” is so interesting to Meatless Monday is because, like cutting meat one day a week, we can address many of our preventable health problems by introducing small, sustainable changes over time. If consumers had better information, if students were taught basic nutrition in school, and, as author and food advocate Michael Pollan suggests in the film, if people simply returned to cooking most of their own food, we could begin the process of reversing this epidemic.
Director Stephanie Soechtig, producer Laurie David, and Executive Producer and narrator Katie Couric, backed by the leading names in medicine, research, food advocacy and public health, offer a fast-paced history of the food crisis in America.
The message behind “Fed Up,” similar to Meatless Monday, is we need to change our eating habits. At Meatless Monday, we advocate reducing meat consumption by 15% as a sustainable way to improve your diet and reduce the incidences of diseases linked to excessive meat consumption. And in “Fed Up,” according to Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, there is a safe level of sugar that can consumed everyday. The problem is, there are added sugars in 80% of our food supply and the average consumer is simply eating too much sugar.
Both campaigns suggest people can take charge of their health in one simple way: cook more at home using whole, unprocessed, plant-based ingredients. For example, on Meatless Mondays, we advocate getting protein from plant-based sources such as nuts, seeds and legumes. The experts in “Fed Up” would recommend that most of the sugar in your diet come from whole sources like fruits and vegetables, instead of added sugar and processed foods.
To help us each understand just how pervasive added sugar is in our diets, The Monday Campaigns is teaming up with Katie Couric and the producers of “Fed Up” to encourage everyone to take the 10-Day Fed Up Challenge, which starts Monday May 12th. Participants will be challenged to avoid all added sugars, including honey, molasses, agave, high fructose corn syrup, and even artificial sugars. And by signing up, you’ll receive an email update from the Fed Up team each day with new tips on how to sustain healthy eating habits, including a few from us here at The Monday Campaigns.
Because so much of “Fed Up” deals with childhood obesity, The Monday Campaigns initiative to get more families cooking together, The Kids Cook Monday, is especially excited to be partnering with the film by providing information for families and delicious recipes the whole family can make every week.
And to help sustain your healthy eating habits, use the power of Monday by following these tips:
– Commit to continuing the Fed Up Challenge one day a week, each Monday. Fasting from sugar one day a week will serve as a reminder to read labels and monitor your overall sugar intake on other days of the week and to choose nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains.
– On Mondays, plan your weekly meals. When we don’t plan ahead, we’re much more likely to rely on processed convenience foods, which are precisely the foods that are contributing to our chronic health problems.
– Use Meatless Monday to not only help you cut down on your meat intake, but amp up your consumption of nutritious, all-natural fruits and vegetables. Commit to trying a new item of produce each week and browse our recipe section to find a new dish that features your selection.
– If you are a parent, participate in The Kids Cook Monday. Use Monday as an opportunity to start conversations with your kids about health, nutrition and where food comes from. Sign up for The Family Dinner Date, The Kids Cook Monday’s weekly newsletter that delivers a new family cooking experience every week.
– As the film depicts, many communities are saturated with sugar-laden products and other processed foods. Use Monday as a rallying day to change your “food-scape” for the better. Talk to your school board about improving the food in your child’s school, or organize a community-wide Meatless Monday potluck. As our research shows, Monday is the day that people are most open to these changes.