Interested in a vegan diet? One of the best sources of inspiration is watching a vegan documentary. The great news is that there are so many excellent ones to choose from. Where to start? One of the best vegan documentaries is What the Health.
In this 2017 documentary film, filmmaker Kip Andersen, who also directed and wrote it along with Keegan Kuhn, takes us on a journey into the how our diets impact our health and the world around us. The reason it's a great documentary to watch is that it not only covers the health benefits, but it also goes into why the general public is unaware that certain foods are so damaging to our bodies.
The documentary begins with Kip Anderson discussing his fears of disease and how he thought he was eating a healthy diet. He goes on to interview several health professionals about how dairy products and animal foods affect our bodies. The message is very clear.
Worried about heart disease? You can prevent it or even reverse it with a vegan diet. How about cancer? Eating processed meat has a very strong correlation with developing colorectal cancer. Cholesterol levels too high? Take out the animal products from your diet and they will lower.
A major problem in the United States is diabetes. The typical American diet, full of animal products, is causing the rates of diabetes to skyrocket. The studies highlighted in the documentary show how eating meat products and dairy consumption greatly increases the risk of diabetes. So the American Diabetes Association promotes a vegan diet, right? Absolutely not.
Hiding the Truth
After learning about how eating vegan can prevent so many kinds of diseases, Kip Andersen is angered that many health organizations continue to promote a diet full of meat and dairy that they call "healthy eating". These include the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. The recipes on their websites include ones with red meat and diary products. To understand why, he tries to schedule interviews at these health organizations. Unfortunately, they either refuse to meet with him or cancel last minute when they learn he wants to discuss diet. When he does manage to get one interview, the professional walks out once he brings up diet.
Why wouldn't these organizations want to discuss how to prevent chronic diseases through diet? Kip Andersen reveals that, not surprisingly, it all comes down to money. There are billions of dollars at stake between the food industry, pharmaceuticals, and the healthcare industry. Many of these health organizations take money from the dairy industry and the meat industry. They are unwilling to speak out about the harm those foods can do. It's both eye opening and disheartening. They draw a strong comparison between Big Food and Big Tobacco in this way.
One part of the documentary that is exceptionally effective is when the environmental impact of animal agriculture is discussed. Instead of talking generally about the impact, Kip Andersen interviews residents in North Carolina where pig farms are wreaking havoc on the environment and people's health. Pigs outnumber human beings in the state and their waste is polluting the land and the air. At the pig farms, the waste is used to spray back on the crops leaving those who live nearby at the mercy of the farmers. Some days they can't leave their homes or else they are covered in the toxic spray.
To see the people who's lives are so negatively affected by factory farming really humanizes the issue. For some, animal rights are at the forefront of why they adopt a vegan lifestyle. But for those who may not feel strongly about animals, seeing how people are affected by this kind of farming might steer them into a more plant based diet.
A lot of people believe that you need to eat animal protein if you're an athlete. What the Health debunks this theory. The film shows several elite athletes excelling in their sport who eat vegan. They make a clear point when they talk about the strongest animals and what they eat. Gorillas, rhinos, elephants - they get their protein from plants. More and more athletes are going vegan and improving their performance. Just Google Vegan Athletes and you'll see!
What the Health details how the food industries are promoting foods that have negative health impacts and how health organizations are covering it up. The good news is that there is an easy solution. Eat vegan! Whether you want to reverse your health problems, or prevent cardiovascular disease and other diseases, your diet can be the way to a much healthier and longer life. Want to help prevent the negative environmental impact of factory farming? Eat vegan. Don't want to contribute to animal suffering? Eat vegan.
Eating mainly plant foods is a simple way to take care of your body, the animals, and the planet. Looking for more inspiration? There are many other excellent vegan documentaries out there!