So you’re curious about going vegetarian or even vegan? Whether this is due to personal health reasons, wanting to do your part in preserving our environment, or animal rights, this documentary list has got something for everyone!
I commend you for checking out this list, friends! Making a major dietary shift is never easy, however it is a lot more simple than we have been made to believe.
The purpose of this list is not to convert anyone to vegetarianism or veganism nor is it to force any belief systems down anyone’s throat. However, it is important to acknowledge that much of the happenings in the animal agriculture have been purposely hidden from and distorted to the public. I simply want to make this information available to anyone who wants to be in the know. I believe everyone can benefit from watching these films quite frankly, like it or not.
One of the things that I strongly believe in is making conscious, mindful choices in our lives. If we do not have all the information though, we are not truly able to make informed decisions. Instead, we are making compulsive choices that we have learned since birth. Much of becoming more aware is unlearning what we were taught was true.
The hardest part for me was making the switch from the Standard American Diet (SAD) heavy in animal foods and processed goods to an ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet (includes eggs and dairy) over 3 years ago. Deciding to take the next step into a vegan diet (no animal products whatsoever) several months ago was a much easier shift for me. It was the next step in a logical progression for me personally.
If you’re curious about reading more about my journey to wellness, check out my post 7 Tips For How To Start Eating Healthy.
I recommend these particular documentaries for the profound impact they had on me as well as their sound scientific research. There are many other documentaries available on the subject of whole foods, plant based diets – these can be found with a quick google search. Many of these documentaries are available for free, and others for a small fee. I hope that these documentaries provoke some thoughts and valuable epiphanies for you as they did for me, dear reader.
When we become informed and have done our own research on these important issues, only then can we decide how we want to proceed in a conscious and responsible manner. Such is the gift or awareness, my loves! As we become more conscious in our actions and how they impact both ourselves and others, we start to understand the gravity of those actions.
Disclaimer: I of course encourage everyone to do their own research and use their own judgment before committing to any major lifestyle changes. I am not a healthcare professional. However after working in the healthcare system for over 6 years, a healthy dose of common sense, a whopping helping of personal research, and being the guinea pig of my own experiment (though really guys, let’s stop animal testing please?), I can say that a whole foods, plant based diet can be enriching for all well individuals. If you are on any medications or suffer from any health conditions, consult your general physician before making any major dietary changes. Personal discernment is key here! We must do what is right for ourselves.
1. Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives examines the standard American diet (SAD) and the detrimental impact of this diet on health. In uncovering groundbreaking research on the benefits of a plant-based diet for health, Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn advocate for empowering the individual to change their health.
They emphasize that the state of our health is largely due to our diet and lifestyle, which is fantastic news because it means that we are the ones who play the largest part in determining our wellbeing.
One thing I love about this documentary is the use of reputable sources for the research explained and the film’s focus on self-empowerment to make better choices. I really commend filmmaker Lee Fulkerson for choosing credible sources for his information. Rather than fixating on the negative impact of the SAD, Forks Over Knives makes it clear that we each hold the power to change our current state, which also means that we alone hold the responsibility.
When I first watched this film several years ago at the start of my wellness journey, I was astounded by the ability of a whole foods, plant-based diet to stop the progression and even reverse disease. If food has the capability to do all that, what can we conclude about what the wrong foods are doing to our bodies?
Watch Forks Over Knives on:
In Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn expose the inner workings of the animal agriculture industry and its destructive impact on the environment. We follow Kip on his journey to uncover information which seems to have been strategically hidden from the public.
This documentary catalyzed me to take the next step from vegetarian to vegan by providing infographic style animation on the carbon footprints and impact on the natural resources of the planet of those eating the SAD, vegetarian, and vegan diets. I was the most shocked to discover that animal agriculture is the leading cause for climate change.
Cowspiracy triggered me to the realization that even though I felt I was doing my part as a vegetarian, it was no longer enough for me. I wanted to do more. I wanted to do the most I could possibly do to reduce my part in the destruction of the Earth.
I could no longer consciously decide to contribute to the deforestation of the rainforest, the irresponsible use of water, and in doing so, play a part in global famine and climate change. How could I do this and still call myself an environmentalist? I simply couldn’t any longer. So I made an informed, conscious decision to change my lifestyle even further – gung-ho into a whole foods, plant based diet I went!
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3. Food Inc.
Emmy winning documentary Food Inc. analyzes the effects of the “food” industry on individual and environmental health. Filmmaker Robert Kenner dives into the massive corporations that maintain a vice-like hold on every aspect of the food production and distribution chain in the United States. The film also takes us through the eyes of those eating SAD and their diet-related diseases.
I remember in high school, a teacher had us bring home permission slips to watch Food Inc. during class. At my ripe age of 16, I decided to skip class that day instead, under the ruse of I couldn’t get permission to watch the film. When friends asked me about it afterward, I boasted that I didn’t want to see it because I knew what happened already in the food industry and didn’t need to see it to understand what was going on.
Oh, how wrong I was! Leave it to a headstrong, self-involved teenager to perpetuate the misinformation culture. Here’s the powerful (and frightening) thing about denial, if you don’t want to know, you don’t have to. If, instead, you change your mind as I did about being in the know, there’s several ways to embrace the knowledge.
Watch Food Inc. on:
4. Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead
Joe Cross takes the viewer on his personal journey to wellness on a 60 day juice fast road trip across the United States. Interspersed with animated breakdowns of the science behind body mechanisms, Joe shares his challenges and successes alike in a way that really gets the viewer invested in his adventure.
The wonderful thing about this documentary is how it illustrates the connection between the essential micronutrients in fruits and veggies when concentrated in fresh juices can help to reverse disease. The film doesn’t promote any particular diet. Rather, it brings to light the information that eating diets rich in plant foods is ideal for optimal human wellness.
I will admit I have a soft spot for this particular film because it triggered me into doing my first (failed) juice fast! At the time, my health was in a quickly deteriorating state and I knew a change had to be made. This documentary lit a “hey, pay more attention to your health” light bulb in my body that has never turned off since.
Watch Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead on:
5. In Defense Of Food
Film director Michael Schwarz adapts Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense Of Food to an eye-opening documentary. One of my favorite writers, award-winning journalist Michael Pollan has an incredible way of breaking down seemingly complex information to make it more digestible to the reader/viewer.
Michael Schwarz makes it entertaining with plenty of animated infographics, consulting leading experts in the field, and examines the relationships of culture on diet. The documentary gives loads of valuable information to the viewer and teaches us how to know what to eat in this confusing food culture we’ve grown up in.
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6. What The Health
The follow up documentary to Cowspiracy, Kip Andersen And Keegan Kuhn are unveiling the behind the scenes of the food industry again! What The Health examines how eating animals and animal products contribute to disease. Whereas Cowspiracy focuses mainly on the large-scale effects of animal agriculture and its impact on our environment’s climate change crisis, What The Health focuses on how our dietary choices impact us all on an individual level.
As you watch this film I encourage you to consider this question, if the way in which animal products are being manufactured is harming our planet on such a massive scale, what is eating these products doing to our bodies and our health?
One thing I do want to mention for those who need a drastic change in their health and have the means to do so is True North Health Center, briefly mentioned by one of the women featured in What The Health.
Watch What The Health On:
7. Live And Let Live
This documentary film explores humanity’s relationship with animals and how eating a plant-based diet has changed the lives of people around the globe. Filmmaker Marc Pierschel tells the stories of 6 individuals who have adopted a whole foods, plant based lifestyle.
The wonderful thing about this documentary was seeing the far-reaching effects knowledge has on the lives of individuals across the globe. The most startling story for me was seeing how a former butcher transitioned to a vegan diet. These stories really focus on the why of how these people have changed their lives for the better.
After watching the film, it becomes clear that the people of the United States are not alone on our quest for health – other countries are also addressing their own unique food challenges. We are a bit behind in the game though and could really stand to learn some things from how other nations address their relationship with food.
The great thing is that there are so many measures each of us as individuals can take to change the broken system currently in place.
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In his film Sustainable, filmmaker Matt Wechsler and producer Annie Speicher challenge us to go beyond what is good for our health as individuals and challenges us to think on a far greater scale. It examines the health of our Earth and everything from the bacteria in the soil, to the animals, and finally to humanity, which has a far greater impact on the planet than any other species on Earth.
Although I don’t personally agree that animal agriculture on any scale is sustainable food source for the entire human population (plus I can’t stomach the taste of exploitation and murder), the film presents interesting perspectives and valuable information. The documentary’s wealth of knowledge far outweighs its questionable aspects. Again, discernment in what this information means to you is essential here.
The fantastic thing about having such a populace in our species is that yes, we can have a tremendous negative impact on the world, but if we rise into our true potential, we have the power to impact our Earth in a wonderful, healing way.
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Co-producer and creator of Earthlings (another great film for exposing the shadows of how animals land on our plates), Shaun Monson is at it again. Narrated by huge names including Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and Kat Von D, Dominion tackles the job of unearthing the atrocities that occur in modern animal agriculture. The documentary also examines other forms of animal abuse, including using animals for clothing, entertainment, and research.
Filmed with hidden and handheld cameras and drones, Shaun Monson gives us an inside view of what really happens behind the scenes of the meat industry. Although Dominion was filmed in Australia, it is crucial to note factory farm practices are pretty much synonymous in industrialized nations.
I cried for the duration of this two hour film. And you know what? I’m damn glad I did. It means I have feelings and actually care for life forms outside my own species.
One of my biggest fears is that even if people watch this film and others like it, it won’t inspire or horrify people enough to change. I generally avoid making blanket statements such as the one I am about to make, but if you can watch this film without feeling any shred of empathy or pain for the suffering we inflict on other beings by voting for this slaughter and exploitation with your dollar, then you are dead inside (sorry not even sorry I said it).
Want to change my mind? Watch the film and we can discuss it.
Get ready for an eye-opening doozy, my friends. If you’re looking for a reason to make a change, this film will surely send you on your way!
Watch Dominion On:
If these films don’t make humanity as a whole question our choices and lifestyle, I don’t know what will. And perhaps that’s the life path for some of us. I know better than to judge. True, meaningful change can only come from the free volition of each individual.
However, if these films did impact you and break your heart as they did mine, know that YOU have the power to make a change. I know that every single day, three times a day, I am making choices that bring me wellness and reduce the amount of suffering and destruction to our Earth and all her inhabitants. By voting with our dollars, we can create a new, healthier, kinder and more ethical world.
Will you join me?
Share this post with a friend if it resonated with you. Please help to spread the word! What are your favorite health conscious documentaries?