I enjoy watching food documentaries and over time I have learned to look at them objectively. I have to admit, some of the information (or mis-information) still gets me fired up but that’s just because it’s something I am passionate about. Nutrition can be very personal and something we avoid talking about socially because people are overly passionate about their views. That is probably my favorite part of these documentaries, they inspire conversation and to a lesser extent they can inspire change. Watching the “What the Health” documentary I tried to go in with an open mind, I believe there is always something to be learned or something to take away. Even if the take away is that you disagree with everything (don’t worry, I didn’t), maybe it inspires you help others or even write a blog post…
Below are a few of my personal take aways.
At one point in the documentary it is presented by a few doctors that Sugar and even Alcohol plays no role in weight gain or inflammation. To me, this was the most shocking thing said. It goes against everything I have learned and honestly goes against common sense. I’m not going to present statistical data to disprove I will just say I have had experience with clients that would debunk this. One female client in particular made no other significant changes other than giving up Alcohol for a month and lost almost 20 pounds.
I wish nutrition was an educational requirement for doctors. There is reference to a requirement of doctors to complete 7 hours of continuing education every 4 years and how that was fought by many medical institutions. Although it feels like a very small and reasonable commitment to me I understand that this may be outside of what they see as most important. If a doctor isn’t supposed to be an expert on nutrition, they shouldn’t be looked to for that advice. I would love for the future to see Nutritionist in every hospital. If nothing else this would give patients who actually want to make a change an expert they can trust.
The focus of the film seems to be on meat from irresponsible corporations that is processed and hormone filled. I agree, I wouldn’t let myself of my loved ones eat that either! What about locally sourced, Grass Fed animals that are humanely farmed and sold at farmers markets? Sure, this isn’t the majority of meat consumed in our country but maybe instead of vilifying all meat we put a focus on supporting these local farms and we could see some real change. Most people don’t want to stop eating meat and eggs, how much of a bigger impact could this documentary make if it took 5 minutes to explain to these people how to find good quality instead of just telling them not to. I understand playing both sides of the fence probably doesn’t sell a documentary, but if the true intent is to make Americans healthier it would make sense.
At the end of the documentary their is interaction with two people who had switched to a vegan diet for 2 weeks and seen incredible results. Always one of my favorite parts of these documentaries is seeing the positive results and the lives improved. Although I am all for a nutritional plant based detox of the body for severe cases like these I don’t think it is “proof” of the power of being Vegan. I would expect anyone who stops eating crap and pumps there body full of micro nutrients would experience the same results. The question for me involves sustainability. Is this something they can stick to long term? I know some really healthy people. Some are Paleo, some are Vegan, some are Keto, some find a great mix. The one thing they all seem to have in common is that they eat unprocessed Real Food and focus on finding Quality Sources.
At MINT our mission is to help others realize their incredible potential in health, fitness, and happiness. I literally pulled that from our mission statement. What that means to me is offering opportunities to everyone that we reach to experience healthier, fitter, happier lives. I hope by watching this documentary or reading this post I have inspired you to make a positive change or at least seek more information and start the conversation.