After hearing the buzz about the “What the Health” documentary, I decided to watch it last night. Although it wasn’t enough to make me want to become a “full-fledged vegan”, it was enough to scare the hell out of me as it did to everyone else who watched it. It was intriguing, insightful, and impactful. Although I still consume chicken, fish, and turkey, it made me want to re-evaluate how much of it I consume. My body thrives off of protein, but it can come from different sources.
This documentary has sparked quite the controversy around the dinner table, on the internet, and in the workplace. The documentary definitely changed the culture of food and how we view food from the humane aspect, the corporate aspect, the political aspect, and from the consumer’s perspective.
Not Surprising Statistics
I wasn’t surprised at the fact that 350 million people suffer from diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other illnesses brought on by food. These illnesses run rampant on both sides of my family. This is one of the reasons why I decided to change my eating habits over 20 years ago and I helped others along the way. As I mentioned in a previous post, my highest weight was 230 pounds. While it didn’t take long to lose the weight through diet and exercise, I had to understand that it was a lifestyle change.
An interesting point that came out of the study mentioned in the documentary was that processed foods and meats increase our risk of getting cancer by 18%! Additionally, I had no idea that dairy increases men’s risk of prostate cancer by 34% and it’s a direct link to breast cancer, according to one of the contributors in the documentary. He stated that the leading source of sodium is in chicken and that consuming meat causes diabetes. Even fish was under attack because it contains mercury, saturated fat, and cholesterol! I am not saying to take this at face value, but it gives you something to think about.
One of the contributors stated that consuming meat is equivalent to smoking cigarettes! The discussion surrounding the environmental pollutants and the antibiotics that are injected into the meat that we consume was also disheartening. The hog houses and waste disposal fields that are in lower-income communities is disturbing. Residents complained about the chemicals being used and the smell of the dead animals near their homes. Many lower-income communities are food deserts. Why add to the issues that residents are already facing?
Contributors go on to talk about the different organizations that promote meat and dairy as “healthy” because they are being sponsored by the manufactures of these products. They also stated that the farmers and the government benefit from the promotion of dairy. This research definitely caught my attention.
The documentary ends with the doctors, contributors, and researchers promoting veganism. They said that the biggest, strongest animals such as gorillas and elephants are herbivores and that human beings will thrive off of a vegan diet. They interview people whose health improved dramatically when they stopped eating meat. The interviewees claimed to have lost weight, no longer had to take medication, and no longer suffered from illnesses brought on by obesity. Some people stated that their athletic performance improved.
Although I received a wealth of information from watching this documentary, I would need to conduct my own research before making any drastic changes. However, I am willing to consume less meat. I feel as though my diet is pretty balanced right now and it works for me. I would encourage you to watch the documentary and formulate your own opinion. If there are any vegans reading this, can you suggest some good books for our community to read about the benefits of a vegan diet? Can you share with us how your body has changed since you began eating a vegan diet? How has your lifestyle changed? If you are interested in becoming a vegan and you need some recipe ideas, visit http://plantbasedonabudget.com/. The creator, Toni Okamoto, spoke about veganism on the His and Her Money Show titled “Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Bank.” Do your own research and do what works for you!