Eat Real Food

Laurie David is an award winning environmental activist. She talks to us about her latest project Fed Up, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, and how eatting real food will help change your life.

It's time to take back our children's and our country's health.

How was the story and project of Fed Up born?

Journalist Katie Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig had been working for a year on an idea to do a documentary about childhood obesity when I woke up one morning to an email on my computer from Katie. We had met once or twice but I didn’t know her well. She was reaching out to see if I would consider working with them to do what An Inconvenient Truth did for global warming. I was already engaged on food issues through my first cookbook The Family Dinner and it literally took me one second to reply YES! Katie has been covering the issues of food, diet, and exercise for her entire career. Now the problem has become an epidemic and she wanted to explore the whys, how’s and solutions once and for all to reach as big an audience as possible.

What is the fundamental message you want everyone to take away from Fed Up?

That enough is enough. I can tell you, I am fed up and I hope everyone that watches it feels that way, too. The exciting thing is that we can all take back control of what we eat and what our future will look like. One in three kids expected to have diabetes by mid-century is completely, totally, categorically UNACCEPTABLE and completely PREVENTABLE. It’s time to take back the control of our food from corporations and put it back where it belongs…your very own kitchen. Cooking real food from real ingredients is the simple answer. Let's rejoice that there is a simple answer. But it’s going to take all of us to make it work. That means we have to protect our children better. We have to ban marketing to kids, we have to remove the constant food cues everywhere. We have to get fast food and soda out of our schools, our YMCAs, and our offices.

What was the moment or story in Fed Up where you knew this story needed to be told to save lives?

It’s the impact our American diet has had on kids that truly breaks my heart. They aren’t born choosing to be overweight or have diabetes. The fact that once you are overweight as a child, you are pretty much guaranteed to be overweight as an adult helped make this mission to educate everyone so urgent. Personally, I want to level the very unlevel playing field. Everyone has a right to know the truth about what is being sold to them as food and drink. Then they can decide if they want to eat it. But most people don’t know the truth. Most people trust labels and advertising, just like I did.
Most people have no idea how much sugar is hidden in the foods they buy. It is time for some serious moral outrage. It’s time to take back our children’s and our country’s health. The filmmakers and team behind Fed Up really believes the future depends on it.

How has the project personally affected the way you engage with food and eating?

I always thought I knew what good food was. It was really shocking to me how much I learned during the course of making this movie. Like most people, I have been a victim of advertising and marketing. I trusted labels that said “all natural.” I thought cereal and yogurt were healthy breakfast choices. (Check that yogurt label your buying, it will shock you how much sugar is added!)

When I was a new mom I did try to buy organic food for my kids but I really didn’t understand how much food had changed over the years. I served more than my fair share of “chicken fingers” and French fries (how many did I eat off of my kids’ plates?) Hamburgers were the go to order when we went out. Then I started to learn about antibiotics in our meat and hormones in our milk. Even seemingly innocent snacks, like the every present goldfish (which I always had in my baby bag) I now know had chemical coloring and large amounts of sugar and salt.

The movie puts a lot of information in perspective, too. I didn’t really understand the huge role government has played in subsiding the bad stuff. I learned the extent to which food companies go to produce food that is literally addictive and then spend millions trying to addict children to these products! I also now understand the deep suffering that a whole generation of kids are going through because of what they are eating and drinking.

Even if you think you know everything about food, you don’t. I didn’t. That is one of the things that is so powerful about Fed Up. This issue isn’t just about weight. It’s about health. It’s about the fact that you can be thin, and still be sick on the inside with the same diseases we associate with obesity. I believe Fed Up will empower everyone who sees it to make immediate changes and help move them to a life filled with good health and all the great benefits that go with that.

What are the greatest benefits of eating real food?

Do you want to feel strong, think sharp, sleep well, perform well in school and work? Want to get rid of headaches, crankiness, hyper activity, stomachaches, and sluggishness? Well, that’s just a partial list of what eating real food does for your mind and body. Sign me up!!