What I've Learned 10 Years After Being In 'Super Size Me'
Ten years ago, we were sitting on the couch when the “big idea” happened. Morgan Spurlock and I were dating, and visiting his mom in West Virginia for Thanksgiving when our ongoing conversation about food and health took an inspired turn.
Morgan asked, “What would happen if I ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days?”
The light bulb went off and a few weeks later, we were filming the movie Super Size Me. If you’ve seen the film, you know what happened: Morgan got sick, gained 25 pounds, his cholesterol shot up 60 points, and his liver got so sick he was giving himself non-alcoholic hepatitis. In 30 days!
Until that point, no one had shown how quickly and dramatically you could change your health with food. And while he ate all this fast food, “super sizing” his portions whenever asked to do so at the drive-thru window, he traveled around the country, interviewing top health and nutrition experts to uncover what was really going on in our food culture:
- School lunch programs were serving nutrient-poor and ultra-processed foods
- Kids were being brainwashing into brand loyalty with high-impact marketing
- Emotional eating and food addiction are epidemic
- Those who need it most lack access to healthy, affordable, fresh food
Super Size Me ignited a spark and brought awareness to a growing food movement. And since then, we’ve done a lot to improve our health and food culture, but there’s still a lot to fix.
This overwhelming health care crisis we’re in won’t be solved by more access to health insurance. We need to #fixfood:
- Fix more of our own fresh food at home
- Fix our relationship with food
- Fix the toxic food culture we live in
The first step is to fix, and eat, more of our own food at home.
One hundred years ago, in the US, only 2% of meals were eaten outside the home. Today we eat 50% of our meals out – and one in five meals are eaten at McDonald’s.
Studies show that kids who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way. They’re less likely to be obese, get better grades, have healthier relationships, and are less likely to get into drugs. And the same is true for adults: when we eat more homemade food, we’re healthier, slimmer and happier.
It’s time to reclaim the kitchen and take charge of your meals. When we make our own food at home, the food is usually healthier than anything made by a machine or corporation. Fresh food, made with your own hands, unprocessed and nourishing ... It doesn’t matter if it’s vegan, paleo, low-carb, macrobiotic, gluten-free or raw. It can be super simple.
Just get cookin’.
It’s time to fix our relationship with food.
Like Alice Waters says, “food is precious,” but it has become a drug, addiction and punishment for so many of us. Food is just food – and it’s everything else. We connect with each other and our past through culinary traditions. We heal and comfort with home cooked meals. We punish ourselves with food, too.
Food has picked up a lot of baggage over the years. In order to untangle the emotional eating habits we’ve developed, we need to bring a new awareness to how and why we eat. Fixing our relationship with food requires us to be vulnerable, brave, and accepting of ourselves. It also requires we accept how other people eat so that we can all move forward to the big goal…
We must come together to finally fix our toxic food culture.
No matter how you define your diet or “eating style,” we can’t do this as separate groups of vegans, paleos, or rawtarians. To truly heal the landscape we all live in, we must put our energies towards the same goals:
- Expand education for our kids about how to fix and enjoy real food
- Increase access to real, affordable food for the working poor
- Hold the Food Industrial Complex to higher standards by raising our voices, and our wallets, in support of real food.
This isn’t just an anniversary of a movie. This is a movement.
Let’s #FixFood together.
How will you fix food today?