Film Review: Hungry for ChangeBy:
Hungry for Change: A New Look at Dieting and Healthy Living
Over the past several years, food documentaries have become immensely popular. Teaching us about factory farms, processed foods, GMOs, organic, vegan, and sustainable food—we’ve been told so often what to eat and what not to eat that it’s hard to know where to begin. While many of these films have indeed been important contributors to our culture’s growing awareness of the need for changes in our food system, what Hungry for Change (2012) gets right is that its message is personal. Yes, people are looking to eat more responsibly; but many of us are also just trying to loose weight, get healthier, and, most importantly, to feel better about ourselves. Hungry for Change takes an individual approach to healthy eating, explaining how food affects us while teaching us how to finally take control of the way that we eat.
According to the film, one third of women and a quarter of men today are on a diet of some kind. Yet, 68 percent of adults are overweight or obese. What is the cause of this paradox among food culture and body consciousness? What Hungry for Change very convincingly argues is that we are not at fault for the weight we cannot lose, and the weight we continue to gain. The film examines our cycles of food cravings, pointing to ancient biological functions within our bodies that tell us when and what to eat, based on survival instincts programmed into our psychology. Today, the film explains, we are being dangerously manipulated by food industries that understand these intrinsic human needs and cravings, and have mastered ways of encouraging us to eat too much of the wrong foods. In addition, the film explains why fad diets don’t work, and why they are hurting, not helping, efforts to get healthier and look your personal best.
The film is directed by James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch (Food Matters, 2008), who have made a health documentary that will hopefully make viewers sit up, listen, and be motivated to act accordingly. Hungry for Change is passionate in its message, but its overall tone is also refreshingly honest and lighthearted. In other words, it’s one of those documentaries that will make you feel better, not worse, about your life and the world around you. Interviewing a colorful cast of nutrition experts, authors, and doctors who use science and natural history as evidence for their message makes for a compelling argument which says that you, the viewer, are not alone in your health and body struggles. Many of these activists have succeeded in loosing hundreds of pounds themselves due to drastic changes in their eating lifestyles, and their stories prove to be as entertaining as they are inspiring.
In many ways, the film is a how-to for achieving and maintaining your ideal weight and body, getting beautiful, luminescent skin and hair, having more energy and confidence, and leading a happier life. It sounds impossible that an 89-minute film could accomplish all this. But the truth is in the message, and these 89 minutes just might have the power to transform your body, your health, and your life.
Hungry for Change is available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon, and on its website, www.hungryforchange.tv. It has also been made into a book.
Ariana Hendrix is a native of northern Michigan, currently residing in San Francisco where she is pursuing an M.A. in English Literature at San Francisco State University. She finds enlightenment in the beauty and complexity of the natural (and cultural) world, and practices activism through sustainability, political involvement, and the promotion of art as a medium for social change.