One day at work, my co-worker announced “that’s it! I’m not eating sugar anymore!”.
What? What brought this on?
It seems another co-worker had watched a documentary on the evils of sugar: That Sugar Movie
Sugar? The stuff that makes cupcakes so good? Bad for you?
Sigh and sigh again because you know it’s true. You KNOW it’s true.
But to give it up. Really? No.
My co-workers gathered around to hear more about this evil substance ruining our lives and health. Suddenly people were mentioning other documentaries they’d heard of or seen. In quick succession they were thrown out:
Eating a whole food, plant based diet solves health problems, makes you feel great and have tons of energy.
Our food system is poisoning us and the pharmaceutical industry is there to clean up the mess.
How the food industry has grown and changed, includes quite a bit on the treatment of animals.
So, I thought about it. I had Vegan friends. I had discussed the pros and cons of vegan cheese. I, no way shape or form, thought I could ever, and do mean ever, give up dairy. Cheese, yogurt, butter… these are necessary in life.
The following Monday I returned to work and was almost immediately accosted by the co-worker most skeptical of sugars evil:
"Amy! We’re all going to die!"
"Um… yes, I think that is correct. Also I haven’t had enough coffee for this conversation."
"No!" She exclaimed followed by rant on all things food: animal mistreatment! Sugar will kill us! GMOs! Pesticides! Growth hormones! The envionment!
Her arms were flailing and she appeared wild eyed. Then I noticed what was in her hand.
"Wait, hold up. What are you drinking?"
"This is an organic kale smoothy."
This from the girl who routinely ate the meat lovers panini for lunch.
"I watched them", she said"The documentaries. I watched ALL of them."
She had a crazy look in her eye, as if she had seen things we weren’t supposed to see. In two days she had subjected herself to part of the agribusiness that no food loving person should want to be aware of. Do you really want to know where your food comes from?
I decided I did. I could not watch all of the documentaries in two days. But over a week I watched all of them and more:
Joe Cross travels around the US juicing, losing weight and educating people on the benefits of juicing.
Six New Yorkers try veganism and are educated about the food industry. This one has some fairly graphic photos of animal treatment.
Trust no one
Netflix will just keep recommending them to you (along with, inexplicably, Fuller House, but that is a story for another day). And if you watch them back to back to back, I dare you to not change how you think about what you put in your mouth each day.
The way animals are treated, the cost to our environment, our desire for the cheapest food possible. Surely the healthcare issues we see in the western world are correlated. Nothing I could write could make you understand the visuals in these films, so I encourage you to watch them, form your own opinions and make your own decisions.
All I knew is that I could no longer support that industry. I couldn’t live with knowing what I now knew. Every dollar you spend is a vote because corporations only respond to money.
Oh, no. I never, ever want to be one of those preachy foodie, vegetarian, vegan types, but…. I was horrified. Disturbed. Disgusted. Though I am 100% sure there are wonderful farmers out there, farmers who don’t do the things described in these films, but I’m also 100% sure there are huge agricultural businesses that do these things every day and I have no reliable way to know the difference. I am currently reading a book about Organic food labeling that doesn't make feel I can trust it.
If you had asked me a year ago, six months ago even two months ago for a list of things I would never do, going Vegan would be pretty high on that list. I love cheese. I mean I LOVE cheese. Yet here I am. What's next? Run a marathon? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. One life change at a time.