Zooey Deschanel’s Max series, “What Am I Eating?” answers many questions about food — a subject in which the former “New Girl” star has been interested for quite a while.
“I’ve been working in this space of asking questions about food for six years,” Deschanel, 43, told The Post. “We did a short-form series [for Facebook] called ‘Your Food’s Roots.’ They were 10-minute episodes … so I’ve been on this journey for a while and I feel very prepared.
“Then I started asking all kinds of questions because I had two kids back-to-back and I was like, ‘Where is this food from?’ Questions I’d never asked before all the sudden starting popping up in my brain. It’s not like we’re perfect — and it’s not like my kids aren’t picky, like every kid — but ultimately it inspired me in lots of ways to expand how I do things.”
“What Am I Eating?” mixes a bit of Bill Nye The Science Guy with consumer information (via animation and fun, catchy graphics) to shatter myths about food groups with whimsically titled episodes including “Big Fat Lies,” “Cereal Thriller,” “Down to Fruit?” and “Is Chocolate The Lover You’ve Been Neglecting?”
Deschanel introduces each episode and is featured throughout providing information, comment, and often taking a hands-on approach alongside the food experts, chefs, food scientists and nutritionists featured in on-camera interviews. She’s assisted by a team of field reporters.
“We’re really sharing all this knowledge that we have,” she said. “Nothing is meant to scare anyone or make people feel bad about how they eat. It’s more important for people to try new things — to expand their view of food and enjoy it in a different way.
“I’m a seeker of information,” she said. “Years ago I got into baking and then I’d buy books on baking chemistry because I was curious, like, ‘What type of flour makes this lighter?’ Food helps us be healthy or not healthy, connects us with our families and friends, it’s how we participate in our community and it’s how we show off.
“It’s such a privilege [on ‘What Am I Eating?’] that I have access to all these experts — farmers, bakers, chefs, etc. who know so much.”
Deschanel said her love of — and interest in — what we eat stretches back to her childhood.
“I have foodie parents,” she said. “My dad is half-French, his father was from Lyon, so we would always to go France and eat with our cousins and go to restaurants and really enjoy ourselves.
“My parents are very, very healthy … they’re ‘everything in moderation’ people and eat in that European way and I think there’s something to that.
“You don’t want to be so extreme that you can’t enjoy these wonderful things.”
Deschanel said she was a Vegan “for about six months” but that it didn’t work for her. “My sister [actress Emily Deschanel] has been a Vegan for a very long time … and I’m happy for her,” she said. “If people want to be Vegan I’m 100 percent behind that … it’s one of the best things you can do for the environment and it’s very healthy.
“I want everybody to eat as they see fit.”
Toward that end, she’s branched out as an food-oriented entrepreneur.
“I started two companies, Lettuce Grow, which helps people grow food hydroponically at home — and have fresh produce in a small space — and Merryfield, which is basically a couponing app but … it helps people eat healthier and get rewarded for it.
“I was really disturbed by the fact, when I started looking into healthy eating, that it felt like it was outreach for a lot of people because it was too expensive — like it was some kind of ‘California privilege’ thing.
“Everybody should be able to eat healthy if they want to.”