Many of my followers have asked me to watch What The Health and give them my impression. So one night, my family and I piled onto the couch to watch this latest documentary by Kip Andersen.
A brief background
What the Health is a pro-vegan film. The producers, directors, specialists in the movie are all Pro-vegan but without disclosure until the end. Though they have great points which we all need to hear, they skew a lot of information to make an impact. Let’s take a look at what they got right, what upset me, a word of caution, and take away points.
what they got right:
- there is a rise in chronic disease and in use of chronic medications
- we need to address diet as the first line of treatment for chronic disease
- we need more fruits and vegetables at every meal
- conventionally grown animals live in filth and inhumane conditions
- the meat sourced from conventionally grown animals is filled with infections, antibiotics, and chemicals
- processed food is abundant and consumption leads to chronic disease
- processed meats high in nitrites and additives are as dangerous as cigarette smoking
- food companies use a lot of money to influence opinion and research
- a plant based diet can help a lot of people reduce medications, improve quality of life, decrease chronic disease
what upset me:
- meat is bad, but sugar is good
- simple carbs are no big deal for the body on a plant based diet
- eggs consumption is the same as smoking cigarettes
- conventionally grown meat is the same as free range pasture raised organic meat
- wild caught fish is the same as farmed fish
- plant based diet is great for everyone
a word of caution
Should we all become vegan? No. There is not one diet that fits all body types. A diet that will nurture an iron deficient woman is not the same diet that will heal a 17 year old angry teen with fatty liver disease. I think a Vegan Life Style is a great option for many, but not all. It takes a lot of work and planning. A nutritionist should be involved. Why?
- I have had to treat a lot of nutrient deficiencies in my patients on Vegan Diets: deficiencies in iron, B12, zinc, and vitamin D.
- Not eating meat or dairy is not the same as eating a plant based diet. In other words eating toast for breakfast, pasta at lunch, crackers for snack and a pasta with broccoli at dinner is a diet that does not contain meat/dairy, but it’s not a Vegan Diet. This is a Carboterian Diet. Not good for anyone.
- Many increase their consumption of processed foods in an attempt to not eat meat or dairy. For example, non dairy cheese contains 10-20 ingredients that simply gross me out. Margarine is one of the most processed lethal items you can have in your fridge. Some soy milks come from GMO crops, contain Carageen and a few more ingredients I can’t pronounce.
5 Take Away Points:
- Fill your plate with 75% of fruits and veggies at every meal
- Substitute almond milk or coconut milk when possible for dairy
- Opt for olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter, never margarine
- Avoid grilling often and at high temperatures (over 400F)
- Free range grass fed organic meat and dairy along with wild caught fish are worth the price for your health and environment
In Good Health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD