A few weeks ago my family and I watched the documentary Fed Up and have had an ongoing conversation about it ever since. This is an important documentary, especially to those struggling with being overweight or obese. It was released in the spring of 2014 and was directed by Stephanie Soechtig, with Katie Couric and Laurie David as executive producers. Katie asks some very deliberately cutting questions in this film and it makes me respect her ever more than I did.
Fed Up came tumbling into my mind yesterday as I was partaking in my guilty pleasures that I really need to end: watching the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) followed by Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.
You may recall last year I wrote the post Inclined Towards Dessert, sparked by yet another documentary, from PBS Frontline, called All of Me. That documentary was about how a group of women went through the process of losing very large amounts of weight, mostly through weight-loss surgery. It was also about body awareness and acceptance. I also found that documentary compelling, and yes, I'm inclined toward dessert.
Lately though, when I watch Barefoot Contessa and/or Pioneer Woman, I am offended and repulsed. Quite quickly I get disgruntled. I think the two women are lovely and make no mistake about it, they're very different from one another. I enjoy the lifestyle aspect of each show but the cooking, now that's another story.
Paula Deen has been under fire for her buttery and fried up recipes, among other offenses but really just about every show you watch on Food Network or the Cooking Channel is capable of slinging the butter right along with her. My two former favs, Ina and Ree are no exception but I watch them so I can speak to their recipes. If memory serves, pounds of butter are used in a week of shows along with probably a full 5 pound bag of sugar; not to mention the red meat, dairy and gluten-rich flours. So yesterday, when I saw a recipe calling for 4 sticks of butter (a pound here in the US, for my UK friends) I switched off the TV. I felt dirty. Like I'd been partaking in food porn and needed a walk or a shower--maybe both.
I thought back to Fed Up. The guests, including Michael Pollan and Mark Bitman, speak a lot about the evils of sugar and I know you've been bombarded recently, hearing about sugar detox, so I won't take it up here. Fed Up focuses more around the sugar industry than the sugar in your kitchen but still. I was looking for ideas for dessert for last night. Why oh why did I watch the Sugar Network, oh, I meant to say the Food Network, for ideas.
Now last week, I created the yummiest fudgy cupcakes using a roasted beet base and cacao powder. This was inspired by one of my new fav bloggers, Dana over at Minimalist Baker. Alas, I do have a "safe" cookbook for these times when I get Fed Up with mainstream ideas that literally make my body and mind sick, it's called "Choosing Raw" by Gena Hamshaw. I absolutely love this cookbook, if you can call it that since most of the recipes require food preparation rather than cooking. Anyway, Fed Up as I was with seeing foods slathered up with butter and heaped up with sugar and wheat flour, I turned to Gena and came up with this:
Sugar? Wheat flour? Dairy products? Cooking? Not here...there are just 9 ingredients. This is a dessert called a Fig Bar. I just changed its shape slightly to make it pie-like. Delicious and this morning I added the leftover fig water to sweeten my oatmeal. Altogether yummy and without the guilt at just around 164 calories.
With our growing middles, diabetes rate and doctor visits, it's about time we all get Fed Up.