Documentary Talk: What The Health

What The Health is the new documentary that has everyone rethinking whether they want to drink a glass of cow milk, or if they should opt for a glass of almond milk.

Netflix recently released the documentary What The Health, which follows filmmaker Kip Anderson on his quest to uncover why health organizations do not try to prevent, or help reverse chronic diseases, through an actual healthy diet. Anderson interviews various physicians, many who are part of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit organization, that promotes a plant-based diet, and alternative medicine to prevent or reverse diseases.

While consulting with various physicians that are part of the non-profit, Anderson discovers that diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease can simply be prevented through a plant-based diet. Many of the doctors interviewed in the documentary believe that diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease can be prevented even when you have the pre-disposed genes, through a vegan diet, of course.

Throughout the film, Anderson calls various health organizations, including the American Heart Association to address some of his concerns, regarding the dietary tips, that are provided on their websites. This includes “heart-healthy” red meat recipes, which studies have shown should be limited or in many cases avoided.

Now, what do I think?

First off, I approach any activist and politically charged documentary with apprehension. These are the questions that I ask myself throughtout any of these kinds of films: Who is the filmmaker interviewing? What’s their stance? What’s the filmmaker trying to achieve? Where is the data coming from? And How many studies back up his claims? This is not me trying to reject new data, but rather to make sure that the data and research that I am presented with are sound.

Millennials, we are living in the age of deception and misinformation. We should be apprehensive.

When it comes to the film, most of the information that is presented makes sense. However, there’s the underlying message which I think gets distorted. Many of the physicians are vegans not because of their health, but also of the believe that animals should not be eaten. That said, it does not discredit the information that the physicians and the filmmaker presents. In today’s food industry, particulary here in the United States, we are fed meat and dairy products that are bombarded with antibiotics, pesticides, and other harsh chemicals that are dangerous to the human body.

Meat, which is not bombarded with all of the chemicals and antibiotics can be eaten and it won’t kill you.

However, as one of the physicians in the interview pointed out, even foods including animal meats and products labeled as “organic”, are very likely to be contaminated with the pesticides and antibiotics that are said not to be in the food. This, of course, made me question, if we know that animal meats and animal products are contaminated even when labeled as “grass fed” or “organic”, then aren’t our vegetables and fruits as well?

It confused me that the film wanted to point out how animal protein and products are harmful, mainly because of the chemicals it carried, but genetically modified fruits and vegetables, which can also be harmful, were not really talked about.

Overall, I thought the film was, well, interesting.

Do not freak out and think that you cannot eat anything. It is true that your plate should have all kinds of veggies and grains. Meat, of course, in moderation. Eat a balanced diet. Watch out for portions.

As we eagerly wait for a new health documentary to come out, let’s remind ourselves that many vegans and vegetarians are not healthy–think of all the synthetic vegan foods out in stores.



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