Food Matter's Story (it's a longy but a goody)
Our story begins with our family. In 2003, my father, Roy, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. At the time, we didn’t realize how much this was going to impact all of our lives. We thought we could outsource treatment to the medical profession and move on. How wrong we were….
For the next five years, Roy’s days were spent in bed, and his nights were often filled with sweaty panic attacks, the anticipated side effects of his medications. The vicious cycle continued as Roy was on two to three medications for his condition and another two to three medications to curb the side effects. He had gained more than 55 pounds and was increasingly lethargic.
Not one medical professional suggested he change his diet or eating habits or recommended different ways to handle stress. Their advice: take the pills, and we’ll see how it goes. Not surprisingly, Roy’s health began to deteriorate further. He continued to consult with his doctors, who prescribed more and more medications.
The more medications he took, the worse he became...
Laurentine and I knew we had to intervene. But every attempt to help was met with keen resistance. “These doctors have spent their entire lives training to help me. What makes you think you can do better?” As Roy’s health and spirit spiraled, Laurentine and I continued to look for answers.
We grabbed every book we could find and started researching. We soon learned that healthy food could be used to heal. We also discovered that the healthcare, food, and agricultural industries were not particularly concerned about our health. They were primarily interested in profits. For example, we learned that the processing of many of our basic foods was not for any health or nutritional benefit. Instead, it was introduced as a way to increase the shelf life and marketability of the industries’ products.
We couldn’t believe what we uncovered. Our new discoveries convinced us to formalize our knowledge through the Global College of Natural Medicine’s Nutritional Consultant program. After completing our studies, we felt even more confident that we could help Roy. We started sending him some of the books we had been studying. Unfortunately, getting him motivated to read three hundred pages on natural healing remedies was like trying to make water flow uphill. We needed a better way.
This is how Laurentine and I came up with Food Matters. If we couldn’t get my father to read about nutrition and natural health, we figured we could probably convince him to watch a film on the subject. We had researched many of the films that existed on the topic. Although many were good and some were excellent, we weren’t convinced that any of these films would win over my father. Let’s face it, the alternative health industry has a bit of a bad reputation. When most people picture a natural therapist, they envision a man or a woman in sweatpants or a dashiki spinning crystals in his or her backyard. They certainly don’t picture a doctor who can help them get better. And Roy was no different. We knew he needed to see natural health in a new light. So we decided to make a film that would restore the image of the wonderful men and women who, through their life-changing work, live up to Hippocrates’s famous saying, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
We invested our life’s savings into making Food Matters. We bought some film equipment and traveled around the world—from Holland, Laurentine’s home country, and England to the East and West Coasts of the United States, and then Australia—to interview all of the doctors, nutritionists, scientists, and wellness experts we had been studying throughout Roy’s illness.
After our second month of filming, we brought the raw footage to Roy, telling him we weren’t leaving until he got well. We were on a mission, and no one could stop us—not even Roy or his team of doctors. As a family, we watched the unedited interviews. Before long, Roy was hooked. What stood out, he told us later, was the story about one of his many medications and how it often caused suicidal thoughts. This was Roy’s worst fear. He couldn’t believe the pharmaceutical and medical industries would knowingly produce and sell a product that could potentially cause people to physically harm themselves. Not only was modern medicine’s better-living- through- chemistry approach not helping, it was making him worse. Almost immediately, he went from believing in the medical profession to believing in the age-old adage “You are what you eat.”
Together, Laurentine and I conducted what we like to call a “fridge audit.” We threw out any food that wasn’t real. This included all of the diet products, all of the processed foods and fats, and all of the factory-farmed meat and dairy. We then guided Roy through a detoxification program, adding in more and more healthy foods to his diet. At the same time, we helped wean him off his medications by putting him on a special—and closely monitored—natural supplement regimen. Roy agreed to our help against the wishes of his team of doctors. They tried to scare him and pushed for more medications. When he told them he wanted to stop, the doctors responded with horror stories about what would happen if he did, including all of the potential symptoms associated with withdrawal.
Within a few months, Roy was back to his old self. Maybe even better. He was out of bed, moving freely and energetically around the house. He lost weight and was no longer anxious or depressed. He slept through the night and woke up each morning refreshed and ready for the day. He even started jogging again, something he hadn’t done in years. He was renewed. A simple commitment to natural foods freed him from the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that had trapped him for over five years. It was amazing to watch.
Laurentine and I knew we had to show our documentary to as many people as possible and explain where the food, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries have gone wrong, while offering the audience natural solutions to everyday health problems. Since its release in May 2008, Food Matters has been seen by millions of people online, in theaters, on television, on airlines, and even in hospitals and community centers around the world, from Connecticut to Cambodia, in nine different languages.
Why we stock Food Matters
Because food matters.