As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently watched What the Health (WTH). WTH is a documentary that follows Kip Anderson, a filmmaker, as he investigates national health organizations, meat production in the US, etc. Why is he doing this? To understand the connection between food, disease, and health.
Ok, so first thing’s first. This is a documentary. A very one sided documentary at that. With that comes the viewer responsibility of keeping an open yet critical mind. Personally, before I eat up every word and change my entire life, I would want to research and read some of the studies quoted in WTF as well as look into the backgrounds of the experts and doctors interviewed.
Overall, I agree with a lot of what is shared. Mainly, the fact that meat production in this country is a huge problem. One of the reasons I became a vegetarian almost seven years ago was because of Food Inc., a similar documentary that focuses mostly on meat production in the US and the food industry. I would be lying if I said WTF doesn’t have me considering a vegan diet. In all honesty, I’ve been thinking about doing a post-pregnancy weekday vegan diet for a while now. Just haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet. Perhaps WTH will push me over the vegan edge.
Another point that really hit home for me is that in this country we focus on treating disease more so than preventing it. It makes total sense. Treatment equals big bucks for so many industries (i.e. Big Pharma), whereas prevention would obviously do little to bring in money. Makes you think, huh?
WTH opens up with an introduction to processed meats and how bad they are. For example, per the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meats are a group one carcinogen, which means they are labeled the same as cigarettes. I also found it interesting that consuming processed meats has an instant impact on our blood vessels and arteries (and not a positive one), with grilled/smoked chicken being the biggest culprit (this shocked me!). Fish also have carcinogenic properties, however, it’s not as bad for you as meat.g But just because something is less toxic doesn’t mean it’s healthy, it means it’s less unhealthy. I found this very last point to be thought-provoking.
The next part of the documentary looks at the role of dairy in causing disease (and this is where the hard hitting pro-vegan stance comes in). WTH mentions how cow’s milk isn’t necessary for humans. In fact, the majority of people are lactose intolerant, and the connection between milk and strong bones is a myth (one that’s sponsored by the dairy industry via the “Got milk?” campaign). To support this, WTH shares that the countries with the highest milk consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Again, something I found mind-blowing.
Throughout the documentary, Kip tries to set up meetings/interviews with individuals from different national health organizations (ADA, AHA, ACS, Susan B. Komen, etc.) to discuss the relationship between disease and food. It’s not surprising that every single one, from what is shared, was either cancelled beforehand or during the interview when the role of food is questioned. It’s not surprising because these organizations are sponsored by big food companies, fast food chains, or entire industries. For example, the American Heart Association (AHA) is supposedly sponsored by the beef industry and various fast food chains. If that’s truly the case, I’m appalled.
The documentary also goes into detail on the role our government plays in all of this, human anatomy and how we’re not really omnivores, the protein deficiency myth, etc.
WTF ends with a bit about how medical doctors aren’t taught about the power of food and nutrition in medical school. Because of Vishnu, I know how true this is, and again, I’m appalled. And when legislation to change this was put forth, many government officials blocked it, saying seven hours of mandatory nutrition education is just too much. I’m calling BS! I think this goes back to the whole concept of treatment versus prevention. It really does feel like we don’t want people to be informed about their bodies and how to keep them in tiptop shape. It’s all about what they should/can do after the fact. A very sad thing if you ask me.
I don’t buy every single claim put forth in WTH, but I do think there’s some validity to the overall concepts/ideas. I’ve thrived on a vegetarian (re: NOT vegan) diet for years now. I personally don’t think meat is necessary for humans to consume, and given how it’s produced, it’s definitely not something I will be reintroducing anytime soon. As far as other foods are concerned (e.g. eggs, dairy, etc.), I’m still on the fence. Do I think they’re must eat foods? Not at all. Do they make life more convenient and delicious? Absolutely.
If I choose to change up how I eat in the next few weeks/months, I’ll be sure to share my thinking, journey, etc. You know me. I’m all about experimenting!
Until then, if you have approximately 90 minutes to spare, I recommend watching What the Health. Even if you 110% disagree with the whole thing, at least you’ve given the other side a chance.
Have you watched What the Health? If so, what did you think?