What if the secret to eating well was as simple as cooking more of your own food? That’s the good news delivered in this fun new animation by Kerry Hyndman and Damned Fine Media for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce or RSA. Narrator Michael Pollan, of The Omnivore’s Dilemma fame, explains that the single factor predicting a healthy diet is whether your food is cooked by a human being versus made by a corporation.
“It’s not necessarily the nutrients, good or bad, that you’re consuming or staying away from, or even the calorie count,” Pollan says. Corporate food chains and snack food empires cook with mounds of salt, fat, and sugar–a dangerous trifecta of super cheap and super addictive ingredients. Of course, food advertisers substitute words like “craveable” or “snackable” for “addictive,” but, as Pollan explains, these salty-sweet foods press the on buttons in our dopamine network, much like addictive drugs do. “They traffic in addiction,” Pollan says of the food industry.
To represent fat-pushing fast food industry execs, London-based illustrator and animator Kerry Hyndman dressed up actual French fries in little paper clothes. “Kerry draws all the backgrounds ‘live’ on camera and manipulates all her paper characters,” Dave Percy of Damned Fine Media tells Co.Design. Her expressive, simple line drawings paired with kitchen devices and real food as props–cupcakes, carrots, pots, and pans–makes the animation feel like an entertaining break from your day instead of a preachy lesson in healthy eating. “The cakes at the end were made by our local baker in Brixton,” Percy says.
Home-cooked meals are rarely as grease-soaked and stuffed with sugar as packaged or fast food, Pollan explains. How often do you have time to deep fry your own French fries? Once or twice a month, tops? Eating fries that often is perfectly fine, Pollan says, but regularly gorging on the industry-made kind is far too common and too easy when there’s a McDonald’s on every other corner. It’s tough when these burger joints are wafting their tempting scents at you and promising full meals for just a dollar. But Pollan doesn’t demonize all sweets and fats–he ends by recommending a surprisingly exciting diet plan: “Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.”