We try to keep the tone light, airy and full of piss here on the website â€” we want you to laugh at your desks while your boss isn’t looking or find some excuse to get off your duff even when the cash flow has gone into a trickle. But there are many issues that we are passionate about here at Broke Ass HQ, mainly that of food.
Over the past year, after making â€œfoodieâ€ friends, working in the Ferry Building and finding people that share the same passion for persimmons and prosciutto as I do for hitting dumb asses at Critical Mass with 40′s, I’ve realized that what you put in your body matters. And whether you like it or not, its going to come back to bite you in the ass.
I have struggled with weight all my life. As a child, my parents were often too busy with work to take time to cook a meal, which meant I ate fast food…almost four nights a week. After discovering I was smart and realizing that my brain might be a cash cow, my parents encouraged me to read, draw and cultivate my academic interests [read: sitting on my ass and never getting into sports]. And with the diets they grew up with, one with a meat-and-potatoes religion and the other with a lard infested fried paradise, I was bound to only inherit their tastes for pork, whole milk, soda and potato chips.
After recently going on a diet, losing 20 lbs in 2 months without exercise or coke and not drinking, I’ve reached a state of mind that is something I’ve never known before. I’m full of energy, I push myself to try different foods all the time, I’m newly vegetarian and I’ve turned into a big grandma. But nothing quite hit home until I went to see one of the best documentaries in the past couple of years.
If you can only spend $10 at the movies this year, choose Food, Inc. Director Robert Kenner got together with two big journalists who write about the food industry constantly, Eric Schlosser and the Bay’s very own Michael Pollan, and chose to do an eye-opening, but tasteful documentary with one goal in mind: to change what you think about food.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: If I want to watch PETA videos or listen to vegans moan, I’ll go to CafÃ© Gratitude and cozy up to some protein deficient, Burning Man hippie. But Food, Inc. does more than that. It calculates the idea that our fast food culture, one that was raised on Frostees and Big Macs, is costing us way more than we realize.
In the film, there is a family of four that is shown both at Burger King and at the grocery store. For $11, the entire family is fed at Burger King with burgers, fries and sodas. After going to the grocery store and realizing that broccoli is $2 a pound, the family gravitates towards the $.99 Coca-Cola that is obviously cheaper.
Though you’re assuming this family is a bunch of dimwits, the major point here is this: junk food, fast food and processed food are all geared towards low-income, busy families and people who are either too tired or too broke to try and afford other alternatives. The fact that you can buy a Rodeo Cheeseburger for $.99 at Burger King, but will still have to pay $2 a pound for broccoli is absurd.
Additionally, the father of this family has contracted diabetes. His medicines run the family about $500 a month, a sucking black hole that they are just draining money into. By eating low-cost food of questionable quality, they are killing themselves slowly and surely. Even moreover, the epidemic of this has spread quicker than anyone imagined â€” 1/3 people born after the year 2000 will contract diabetes at some point in their lifetime, most before they’re 40. Can you fucking believe that?!
In essence, the federal government is subjecting us to â€œnotionalâ€ GMO tomatoes, hamburger meat that is drenched in ammonia before being packaged and chickens that grow three times the size in a third of the time. This stuff is in no way, shape or form healthy. The reason for mad cow disease and E-coli outbreaks is not because of some bad crop or a bad egg in the bunch â€” it’s in everything you eat at least some of the time.
This film encourages change at a national level to help families with low income afford organic, sustainable and fresh produce and animal products to feed themselves with. This isn’t about inhumane practices â€” that’s part of it. But its more about the idea that we are punishing ourselves with sub par food that, lets face it, isn’t all that great anyway. And in return, we get high health care bills and more kids with obesity than you could even try to kidnap.
As a fellow Broke Ass, I realize that shit is expensive. I realize that not everyone can feed their families or themselves slow, organic, sustainable food. But by putting an extra dollar into that tomato, you could possibly be saving your life. By eating healthier, you’ll stay out of the hospital and out of debt, look thinner and cuter and you can support honest farmers that are trying to make a living, just like you. By signing a petition and reading up on the issues, you can help make change at a grassroots level and be able to afford good produce and meat. Badass.
Also, on July 16th, there will be a FREE SCREENING OF THE MOVIE! Get there early, since a lot of people will probably be waiting in line to see what the fuss is all about. It will be at the Embarcadero Theater at 7:30 p.m., no RSVP required.