Halfway through my turkey wrap from Trader Joe’s, I am starting to watch What the Health, the documentary on Netflix that apparently tells us how badly we eat, and I decided to document my watching of this movie. One of my roommates, after watching this documentary decided on vegetarianism (but a turkey wrap is pretty healthy right?). And she was not alone. Apparently lots of people have changed the way they have eaten simply because of this documentary. Some have even gone vegan. (VEGAN!)
I am about five minutes in, and so far the message has been that processed meats are really bad for you (particularly because processed meats are linked to cancer). This is not the first documentary that I have seen to say this, and I have cut back on the amount of meat I eat (though I am afraid I will never fully kick the habit. I love steak).
Mr. Doctor Something says that the American meat-based diet is what is causing the buildup in arteries that causes diabetes (ahh), and that carbs and sugar are not nearly as much to blame. So, when eating a sugary cookie, the sugar is not really the problem… it’s the butter and the fat.
One serving of processed meats a day increases your risk of developing diabetes by 51%.
Despite the misconception that it is healthier, chicken is not any better for you. (Also egg yolks are not so good for you.)
Fish can have a lot of toxins. Just because some claim to have less toxins does not make it healthy. And animals in general are often fed with feed that have steroids, hormones and GMOs… which end up in you too. Also cheese is bad for us? (Wanting to just close my eyes because of how much I love cheese.)
A majority of people in the world are lactose intolerant, and one doctor says that after having a mother’s milk, there’s no need for milk. “We don’t need the milk of a cow any more than we need the milk of a giraffe.”
But we need milk for bone strength…?
The doctors on this documentary are saying that drinking milk to protect your bones is a myth and linked to cancer (especially those linked to hormones: breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc.) and other health risks such as cardiovascular disease (the fat, carcinogens, etc.).
The man doing most of the research in this documentary is interviewing people in North Carolina in a place where lots of pig farms are located. The health effects on these people linked to the farms is sad to see. They are getting sick just because of what proximity they live in. I feel a little sick just watching.
After an interview with a representative from the American Diabetes Association during which the representative refused to talk about diets that could prevent or reverse the effects of diabetes, the researcher looked up the ADA’s sponsors: Dannon (dairy), Kraft (processed foods and dairy such as Velveeta, Oscar Mayer, and Lunchables), Bumble Bee Foods (processed canned meats).
American Cancer Society sponsors: Tyson (meat) and Yum! (owner of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell).
Susan G. Komen sponsors: KFC, Dietz&Watson and Yoplait.
American Heart Association sponsors: Texas Beef Council, South Dakota Beef Industry Council, Kentucky Beef Council, Nebraska Beef Council, Colorado Beef Council, Idaho Beef Council, Tyson, Dairy Max, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Farmland (Pork), Nestle, General Mills, Draft, Kelloggs, among several others.
The researcher said that this situation is the equivalent of the American Lung Association taking money from the tobacco industry.
When the researcher tried to confront these organizations about their sponsors, they declined to be interviewed.
The USDA has said that eggs cannot legally be labeled: “healthy,” “part of a balanced diet,” or “good for you.”
But the advertising:
“Milk life” or “Got milk?”
“Pork, be inspired”
“Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.”
Sounds nice… but there’s nothing about it being healthy or good for you. The researcher makes the argument that marketing can trick us into thinking things are healthy without anyone ever having to say the word “healthy.”
The researchers argue that several medical industries, being more concerned with profits, are focused not on the actual health of customers and the prevention of their problems, but rather the treatments and the drugs that they will need to take for the rest of their lives. Dealing with the symptoms, not the cause.
When he looked at the sponsors again, he found many pharmaceutical companies alongside these food companies.
MOST meat has traces of fecal contamination. Ew.
One of the care physicians interviewed says that it is not necessary to eat animal tissue to get enough protein. Vegetables are loaded with protein, and he says that all protein comes from plants originally. The doctors and researchers being interviewed are saying that we don’t really have problems getting enough protein, but rather that we don’t get a lot of fiber. One of the doctors says that some of the strongest, most muscular animals are herbivores. Extra protein isn’t what we need to get stronger. Several athletes were also interviewed, who claimed their athletic performance improved dramatically after switching to a vegan diet.
A woman painfully using a walker changed to a plant based diet and went off her medications and was able to walk without assistance. She said she could feel the inflammation leaving her body because of the changes she made. Several others were interviewed throughout the documentary, each claiming that changing to a plant based diet reversed the effects of their illnesses, and allowed them to go off their medications. For two of these patients it only took two weeks.
“Diet trumps genetics,” says one doctor… who also said she was not taught about the power of diet and in medical school.
Okay so the documentary is over and now I want to eat ALL THE GREEN BEANS! (But also a little ice cream because old habits die hard and there’s cookies n’ cream ice cream in my freezer).
While I may not be convinced to go full-blown consistent vegetarian, I am planning to try to make a meal with meat more of a treat or a special-occasion thing than an everyday thing. I have already started to eat meals with less meat or no meat in them, and I do not really eat as much cheese or yogurt anymore anyways (after watching a very similar documentary to "What The Health").
Highly recommend if you have Netflix. (And please, I know you do. And if you do not, then you are mooching off your besties like I am.)
If you want some plant-based but also highly delicious meal ideas, please see the links below for some of my new favorite recipes!