In this episode of Abbey’s Kitchen, Abbey’s having a movie night! Abbey’s checking out the popular new Netflix food documentary: What the Health.
First of all, this is not Kip’s first rodeo – he also directed Cowspiracy and don’t let this documentary fool you, because Kip’s been following a vegan diet for a long time now, despite this film making it seem like he’s stumbled across it.
Issue number one: Poor Journalism.
Kip has got like no game. Kip acts surprised when he calls a 1-800 number and person he talks to can’t answer his questions. The people he chooses to reach are not experts on the vast body of research out there. In another scene, Kip’s trying to vocalize his feelings to a security guard. Kip makes it out like it’s a conspiracy, but he’s just really bad at journalism. In journalism, it’s important to show both sides of an issue, however Kip only chooses to speak with doctors that all happen to follow a vegan diet. So Kip has a problem with corporate sponsorship, however does not have a problem with only choosing vegan doctors?
Issue number two: Dramatics
This film does not stop short at showcasing dark rooms and vivid imagery.
Kip makes the claim that eating meat is the same as smoking cigarettes, but it’s clear he misunderstood the WHO report. Processed meats were placed in the same category as tobacco and asbestos solely because of the strength of the evidence and not the risk. The report did not give us any clue on how much processed meats would increase your risk of getting cancer. This is not the same thing. Abbey wants to reiterate: the only thing that is similar is the strength of the evidence. And the fear continues, one interviewee uses the word pus six times, one doctor uses the term: dead meat bacterial toxin, another equates eggs with cigarettes.
Issue number three: Art of Testimonials
The finally issue Abbey has with the film is the use of testimonials. Throughout the film, we’re introduced to a variety of individuals struggling with chronic diseases. We drastically see them change appearance and health just after two weeks of eating a vegan diet. It’s impossible to say whether a vegan diet had that much of an impact on their health. In Abbey’s professional opinion, there is a ton of more information needed to make that call, and with only a sample size of a few, it’s impossible to make those claims.
At the end of the day, many of these food docs become irrelevant, because nutrition research moves fast and we’re always learning. This doc makes a strong point that yes, we eat too much meat, and yes, it is having a devastating impact on our environment and even our health in excess. We can all stand to eat more plants, and we can benefit from cutting back on meat. When done right, a vegan diet can be super nutritious and contribute to a healthy lifestyle and healthy environment. But pushing people down that road with fear is just not cool. Nutrition isn’t simple, so don’t expect to “get it” in a 90-minute documentary.
For more tips on staying healthy, recipes, dieting, and information fit for consumption by foodies everywhere stop by Abbey’s blog.http://abbeyskitchen.com