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Five food documentaries to binge on this winter

by Marion Piper on Saturday 7 July 2018

As the temperature drops and your desire to stay inside goes up, there’s no better way to nourish your mind than to feed it a documentary… or five. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a strict vegetarian or a steak-loving carnivore, the following food documentaries shed some light on food industry trends and controversies, as well as sharing inspiring stories from regular folk who have used food and nutrition to change their lives for the better.

So invite your besties over, curl up on the couch under your favourite blanket, and settle in to learn some interesting facts about nutrition and the realities we face as a culture when it comes to the production and consumption of food.

1. Sustainable (2016) 

If you’ve been looking for a better understanding of where the food that ends up on your plate comes from, this is the doco for you. Chef Rick Bayless goes on a quest to get to the bottom of factory farming practices by talking to policymakers, farmers and restauranteurs. This film focuses on finding better ways to source and make our food, with positive steps that you can do today to eat better and stay healthy.   


2. Barbecue (2017) 

Directed by Matthew Salleh, this documentary explores the history and tradition of barbecuing meat in different cities and villages all around the world. It’s more than just using fire to cook meat – barbecue is a big part of the cultural rituals of many communities – and not to mention a delicious way to connect with other people. Be warned: this doco may leave you craving some barbecued meat of your own!   


3. Vegucated (2011) 

This award-winning documentary sets a seemingly simple challenge: can three meat-loving, dairy-obsessed Americans last six weeks without eating animal products to test the supposed health benefits of becoming vegan? Part comedy and part social experiment, this film gives you an inside look at some of the awful parts of the livestock industry, so if you’re squeamish you might want to watch it with a friend.   


4. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (2010) 

Join Aussie businessman Joe Cross on a 60-day road trip across the USA as he journeys towards better health. Diagnosed with Chronic Urticaria – an autoimmune disease that produces hives all over the body as a result of mixed signals sent from the brain – Joe embarks on a 60-day juicing cleanse. On his road trip, he meets other people suffering similar illnesses and educates them on the health benefits of juicing and a plant-based diet. Funny, intelligent and deeply moving, this documentary advocates for food as medicine and how we can heal our bodies using plants, not pills. 


5. Forks Over Knives (2011) 

More and more people are suffering from lifestyle diseases, like heart disease, and this documentary is very vocal about the cause: a bad diet. Using scientific evidence to back up its claims, Forks Over Knives asks you to consider getting rid of processed foods and switching to a plant-based diet to improve your health. This film is full of great information and offers a unique perspective on what makes for a good diet.   


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