The other night I was able to Skype with one of my best friends from college, Tara. She has made a few cameos on the blog before because she is a pretty amazing human being. Besides being an awesome friend, Tara works for a really incredible organization called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (remind me to do a little blog spotlight on her soon!) which focuses on promoting a vegan diet as a preventative medicine. As a result, Tara is very knowledgeable about the food industry and how it impacts our health. Oh and she is also a marathon runner (casual!). Whenever we get time to catch up we inevitably get to the conversation of health, which basically means me asking a ton of questions and Tara patiently telling me things she has probably already told me a hundred times before (and yet it never stops being helpful!)
In the past few years several members of my extended family have had serious heart problems. Luckily everyone is okay today, but it was certainly a scare for all of us. The silver lining to all of these health concerns is that both of my parents (and extended relatives) are now making a conscious effort to be healthy. My parents both wear FitBits (which I am still kind of skeptical of, but as long as it gets them moving that’s all that matters!), go to the gym regularly, and are working on drinking more water.
As I told Tara this, I was explaining my frustration that many of the things my family is doing now, are things I have said many times before (ex: My dad up and decided a few months ago to stop buying large cases of water bottles and instead use a reusable. I have been saying this for YEARS!!!). Tara wisely said that when it comes to health, most of the time parents and relatives won’t listen if it comes from you, but instead an outside source. This could be a trained professional, a documentary, news article, etc. As long as you can provide those resources, they can hopefully take them and make their own conclusions. And I realized… wait Tara had done this for me before! She had mentioned the documentary Forks Over Knives multiple times before I ever sat down and watched it. Instead of forcing me to watch something that is incredibly eye opening, she allowed me to choose to watch it whenever. She has always be a resource for me, and a very understanding one at that. I love how open and knowledgeable she is about the health industry, and her lack of judgment on my own decisions. I may not be a vegan, but Tara is always willing to give me insight and healthy tips that I can easily implement into my own life.
Now that you have some background, there are some amazing documentaries I have been rewatching recently. All of these are available on Netflix/YouTube and are incredibly eyeopening to where our food comes from.
Forks Over Knives – Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer etc.) can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. This film shines light on the simple solution to all our health concerns, the solution that we overlook without fail…a plant based diet!
Food, Inc – A 2008 documentary, Food, Inc. examines corporate farming in the United States. This film shows the environmentally harmful conditions and abusive nature of these “farms” as well as the negative health implications it has for humans. It shows the industrial production of meat, grains & veggies, and the economic/legal ramifications of the food labelling regulations of major food companies. If you want to know where your food in the grocery store is coming from, this film shows every step in this gruesome system. You will never look at your dinner the same way.
Hungry For Change – Similar to the other two documentaries, Hungry For Change sheds light on the deceptive nature of industry diets, designed to keep people from losing and keeping off weight. Less of a focus on the “farms” but more so on the marketing and strategies to keep people craving more and more, this film shows the industry trap we are all in. If you want to find out what’s keeping you from having the body and health you deserve and how to escape the diet trap forever, check out this documentary ASAP.
Vegucated – This documentary follows three self-professed meat and cheese loving Americans as they adopt a vegan lifestyle for six weeks. I really enjoyed watching this film because it shows all viewers that it is not as difficult as we may think to become vegan! It was also much easier for me to relate in comparison to other films that are based more on the facts, this gave it a story I could follow. Each participant in this documentary dealt with the changes very differently so it was interesting to watch their stories simultaneously.
Jamie Oliver Ted Talk -Technically this isn’t a film, but it is very informative (and available on YouTube!). You may remember the show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (2010-2011) where Jamie Oliver traveled to the most obese city in the United States, Huntington, West Virginia to change the way Americans eat, and address their dependence on fast food. If you didn’t watch the show, it is definitely worth the time. His Ted Talk in 2010 shines light on the serious health problems we have created for the younger generations based on fast food, school lunches, and our lack of a focus on this dangerous health concern.
Each of these films are incredibly eye opening in their own way and I highly recommend them! The more we know, the sooner we can break this cycle. Also, given that it is Earth Day, I hope that these films show you the serious impact our food industry has on our planet! If you take the time to watch these, I hope that they each help to shine some light on what you eat and the impact it will have on your life and the rest of the world.
Although I don’t think I will be converting to veganism tomorrow, these films have inspired me to focus more on what I put into my body!