One night about 2 years ago, my “food is my favorite thing about life” boyfriend called me up and said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to eat meat anymore. Huh what!? Was I hearing this right?

Every day we’re bombarded at all angles by cat videos, friend’s engagement photos, political ads or scandals and stupid people doing stupid things for attention. And it’s not just social media anymore– even the local news networks are doing segments featuring a YouTube video of the day. Modern attention spans are 10 seconds or less, and to be honest most things I see are hardly worth those 10 seconds. But once in a while, amidst the barrage of worthless information you come across an article, a documentary or even a book that changes your outlook about life. It can be about food, farming, business or politics, something near or dear to your heart or something you’ve never even thought about before. The people creating these kinds of stories are the ones that give me hope in humanity. 

I think that people are more likely to press play on a video than to read an article or go out and buy a book, so listed below are the 6 best food documentaries and TED talks that have changed the way I think about food– the way I choose what to buy, who I buy it from, how I prepare it, how I talk to my clients about it, and so on. Formal education only taught me so much. These documentaries and talks have forced me to dig deeper.

1. Forks Over Knives

This was the doc that inspired that phone call. The film examines the notion that sickness is caused by food and that most diseases can be reversed simply by eating the right foods. There are interviews with farmers, scientists and normal, average, every day people wanting to live to see another day. At that point in my life, my dinners revolved around meat. I didn’t know how to begin to plan a meal that didn’t have chicken, beef or pork at the center of the plate. I started my blog in 2013 after a few months experimenting in the kitchen and as you can see 98% of my recipes are meatless. It took some creativity and a little research but now I can’t imagine my life any other way. Don’t let the meatless message scare you off. It’s not about being vegetarian or vegan. It’s not an all or nothing choice. It is about being conscious of your decisions and taking an active role in your health with your fork.

2. TED Talk with Birke Baehr

If you’ve got 6 minutes, listen to an 11-year old explain in simple terms what’s wrong with our food system. These issues are not just something that dietitians or scientists care about, they are issues that are effecting every single person, adult and child, in the US. [Full talk in link]

3. Food, Inc.

Food, Inc. accomplishes a very simple task: showing you where your food comes from. You can choose to remain blind and ignorant to how your spaghetti and meatballs shows up on your plate or you can choose to have a say in what you put in your body, how it’s raised and where it comes from.

4. Farmaggedon

Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms aiming to provide safe, healthy foods to consumers as well as feed their own families who have been shut down by government-backed agencies and corporations. The film exposes what most of us are unaware of– we don’t have as much freedom as we think when it comes to choosing our food.

5. TED Talk with Jamie Oliver

How and why we need to teach every child about food [Full talk in link]

6. TED Talk with Dan Barber: A foie gras parable

Foie gras is made by force feeding ducks so much food that their livers become fatty and enlarged. How is it possible to make this a sustainable, cruelty-free practice? [Full talk in link]

So tonight, instead of watching zombies eat each other or reality stars trying to find their next husband, take some time to educate yourself about something that you do at least 3 times per day. I promise you’ll learn something.