Published on June 17th, 2015 | by Andrea Bertoli
14 Best Food Documentaries to Watch Now
Feed your head! We’ve gathered together the 14 best food films that you can watch for free (or almost free).
These films, all made within the past few years, address the big problems with our food system: the power of a plant-based diet, our daunting health crisis, industrialized agriculture, GMOs, sustainability, and farmworkers rights and justice for all within our food system. We hope that these awesome food films will inspire you to eat better, feel better, and continue to learn more about our food system to make it better with every bite.
1. Food Chains
Food Chains is the newest film on the list, and it looks at the often ignored struggle of farmworkers in America. Farmworkers are exposed to dangerous levels of chemicals in the fields, subjected to poverty-level wages, and are at risk for sexual harassment and intimidation from their bosses. The film, produced by Eric Scholosser (author of Fast Food Nation) and Eva Longoria, is moving, frightening, yet inspiring and hopeful. Taking a peek into the lives of farmworkers across the country will make you thankful for the all the work that it takes to get food into our markets and onto our plates. Read our review of Food Chains here. Available on iTunes, Amazon and elsewhere for just a few dollars.
2. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
A contender for best film title, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is the story of Joe, a man who let partying and bad habits get the best of him until he felt as the title suggests. He makes a decision to take back control of his life, and spends 60 days juicing fruits and vegetables to boost his wellness. The results are truly amazing, and the story chronicles his journey across the US as a juice evangelist. Bonus: the sequel was just released last year! Watch the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 trailer here. And if you’re inspired to start juicing for yourself, check out the famous Fat, Sick and Nearly dead juice recipe from our sister site, Eat Drink Better. Both films available on Netflix for free.
One of the newest films on the list takes on the environmental disaster that is meat and dairy production on an industrial scale– and how it’s often ignored across all sectors of the society. The producer faces challenges in confronting this difficult subject: ignored phone calls, disappearing financial support, and daily frustrations as he takes on the topic that no one wants to talk about and addresses the myth of sustainable meat. This film must be purchased from the Cowspiracy website here, and you can check out a review of the film right here.
4. Fed Up
Another very recent film to add to the list is Fed Up, a feature-length documentary produced by Katie Couric. Fed Up looks at the health crises in our country and how it’s linked to an excess of sugar in our diet. Couric narrates the film, and explains how our high sugar intake affects our brain, our bodies, and our future as a nation. It is my personal favorite film on our list for it’s beautiful production, high quality research, high level of importance, and accessibility of information. Available for free on Netflix.
5. Hungry For Change
Are you feeling down, unwell and unhappy with your life? Are you hungry for change? This film, part documentary, part fiction, looks at how food plays a huge role in our daily outlook on life, and helps viewers realize that the steps to health and wellness are within our reach and are vitally important for our mind, body and spirit. Available on Netflix for free.
6. GMO OMG
We’re not such big fans of GMOs here, for so many reasons. This film looks at the hows and whys of GMOs and the biotech industry that wants to keep us in the dark about our food supply. Learn why GMOs are used as ingredients in nearly 80% of processed foods and in almost all meat and dairy production in this country, and what it all means for our health. Read a review of GMO OMG here. Available for free on Netflix.
7. King Corn
The story of the staple food of the Americas, and how it has changed from a healthful, sustainable grain crop into a massive commodity that is linked to lifestyle disease and ill health. King Corn was created by two Iowa boys who wanted to learn more about the fields that surrounded them. They look at all aspects of corn farming with an unbiased eye, including finding out how the farmers feel about corn, how it’s processed, and whether or not corn truly is king of the crops. Available on Amazon and iTunes for a few dollars.
8. Food, Inc.
Of all the films here, Food, Inc. is the film that most health-minded folks credit with changing their life and their eating habits. Food, Inc looks at the business of food, and how that affects the fields, the animals, the environment, and ultimately, our own bodies. Featuring Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and other big name foodies, Food Inc has the star power (and the staying power) to be powerful for many years to come. Available on Netflix for free.
I have to be honest, I’ve not watched this film. I know it’s really important to share with the world– most of whom do not understand how animal agriculture functions, which is why it’s included here on this list– but the trailer (which is prefaced with a warning) was the saddest, scariest trailer I’ve ever seen. Despite two decades of vegetarianism and research into the animal industry, I was NOT prepared for the harshness, violence and horror of this trailer. Please watch with caution. Watch the film for free on the Earthlings website.
10. Forks over Knives
Forks over Knives is a film that grew an empire of health eating! Forks Over Knives looks at the high cost of a meat and dairy-based diet, and concludes, with the help of long-time heath advocates Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Esselstein, that a low-fat, plant-based diet is the best diet for our bodies and for our planet. They have since created a lovely website, and multiple cookbooks to make eating with forks over knives easier than ever before. Watch on Netflix for free.
Vegucated does what many health activists sometimes dream of doing: take three long-time meat eaters and put them on a vegan diet to prove the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Putting the vegan diet to the test is funny and charming, and makes a compelling case for the ethical and environmental benefits of a vegan diet. This film contains some truly horrifying images of animal agriculture that should make any warm-blooded human pause before eating animals again. Watch on Netflix for free.
12. Supersize Me
A film that I would consider a classic of the food movement, Supersize Me put the fast food diet to the ultimate test. Morgan Spurlock wondered what it would be like to eat McDonalds everyday, for every meal, for a whole month. The results are funny, scary and point to a fast food industry in crisis. Rent the film on Netflix or watch for free here.
Ingredients is surely the most beautiful film of the bunch. It’s an hour long session of food porn, highlighting the beauty of the bounty, from blueberries in Oregon to peaches in California, Ingredients features the farmers and the foods that not only nurture our body, but also our soul. Rent the film on Netflix or watch on Hulu for free.
14. Food Matters
Food Matters is an earlier film, but covers many of the basics of our chronically malnourished and overfed population. A great starting point for those looking to learn more about why our food system is the way it is. Available on Netflix to rent, or purchase from Food Matters TV.
Feed your head and your body well with a binge of these healthy living documentaries. And since many of the are free to watch, you can start right now. If you’re feeling like you need a snack along the way, we’ve got a recipe for Homemade Vegan Caramel Corn and our friends at Eat. Drink… Better have a post for healthy popcorn snack ideas! Let’s go!