“Overfed & Undernourished” examines a global epidemic and our modern lifestyles through one boy’s inspiring and personal journey to regain his health from the inside out.
“One should eat to live, not live to eat.” – Benjamin Franklin. In today’s fast paced society, many of us don’t have time to stop and eat a proper breakfast, lunch and in many cases, dinner. So what do we do? We grab a burger or a sandwich or a soda and for many, that will suffice. I remember growing up in Dublin, Ireland back in the 1970s and 1980s and neither I nor any of my friends were overweight or obese. Granted, back then, food had more nutrition in it than it does today and as kids, we didn’t spend all day sitting in front of the TV playing X-Box or Playstation, admittedly, we did have Atari but that was only used on rainy days or when we were grounded. Back then, kids played outside and wanted to stay there for as long as possible. My mother and every other mother on my street, after calling us in, would hear the customary “Just 5 more minutes!” Today, it’s a miracle if parents can get their children to play outside for any length of time.
“Overfed & Undernourished” interviews wholefood nutritionists, doctors, exercise physiologists and everyday normal people but for me, what sets this film apart from other comparable documentaries like “Fed-Up” and “Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying To Eat”, is the fact that it has an emotional core. As well as listening to these professionals and their expert opinions, we are introduced to Liam, a young boy who lives with his father Paul and siblings on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. He is overweight and nothing he seems to do can get rid of the excess fat. Even his father admits that when he shops for groceries, it’s not so much about buying healthy but more so about buying quantity so that he has enough for his family. With three months off for summer vacation, Liam and his father decide that he should spend his vacation with his aunt and uncle who eat healthy and exercise regularly and who offer to help him get in shape.
Naturally, he is gung-ho and eager to go but after Day 1, having eaten healthy and walked up and down hills and other exercises, he hates it. He has his own camera and sporadically, he talks into it, telling us how he feels and his aunt and uncle do the same thing with their cameras, explaining what kind of day they have set up for him and afterwards, how they felt he did. We all know what constitutes healthy eating and living as opposed to non-healthy and yet no matter how many films or documentaries are made or how many magazines or books are published on the subject, we still reach for the bag of chips and bypass the fruits and vegetables altogether. Why? Personally, chips taste better and let’s face it, if chips and donuts and sodas were actually healthy, the whole world would be a different place but back to reality and it’s not just that junk food tastes better, it’s out of habit as well.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen overweight mothers and fathers in restaurants and their young children who are just as, if not bigger, than they are. That is not healthy yet it’s so easy to point our fingers and judge others when we can be just as guilty of treating our own bodies the exact same way. It’s all in the brain. We know what we need to do in order to get healthier but taking that first step that is the most difficult part. Just like going to the gym, if you haven’t been in a while, you know after the first day your muscles are going to ache but once you keep up your exercising, the pain will go away. This movie really hit that point home for me. It explained various aspects I wasn’t aware of, such as how beets can help eradicate problems one might be having with their heart or arteries and how walnuts, pecans and macadamia nuts can target complications in the human brain.
Naturally, all fruits and vegetables are good for you, carrots can help eye vision and the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” yet so many of us continue to overlook these factors, myself included and close our eyes every time we eat a chip or a candy bar or take a mouthful of soda and hope that we won’t turn into another statistic who has just developed diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that overweight and obesity may soon replace more traditional public health concerns such as undernutrition and infectious diseases as the most significant cause of poor health and by the year 2030, diabetes is predicted to affect one in 10 adults. We all need to open our eyes and see what’s waiting for us down the road, not just what’s right in front of us because it’s long-term results that matter most.
As we cut back to Liam, we see his ups and downs and hear that he’s been throwing out his healthy foods and eating junk from his friends and getting pissed off with his regular exercise routine and it’s at this point, he’s ready to pack it all in and go back home but after some encouragement from his aunt and uncle and his father, he reconsiders and by the end of the three months, his physical transformation is incredible. He has lost so much weight and is actually able to compete in a local marathon and I found myself cheering for him and his achievement. He did what most of us aspire for but lack the conviction in actually implementing and believe it or not, he actually inspired me to get out there and make me a better person. Thank you Liam. Just remember what St. Francis of Assisi said so eloquently: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, And suddenly you are doing the impossible.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. “Overfed & Undernourished” is very highly recommended.
“Overfed & Undernourished” is available for download, purchase and rental at overfedandundernourishedmovie.com
For more info about James visit his website at www.irishfilmcritic.com