When I was a kid, we rented these things called VHS tapes from a grungy movie store and we had to "rewind" them or pay a fine! Oh yeah, and we walked up hill both ways to school. But "now-a-days" the world is at our fingertips, and how sweet it is! The internet is exploding with resources and information, and with a discerning eye, one can find instant empowerment, especially in the realm of health and nutrition. Granted, there are a lot of opinions out there, and it's always possible to find "good news about bad habits," if that's what you're looking for (see the Time magazine cover about butter, for example.) So for this post, I'm going to offer up some of my favorite movies and resources that can help inspire you to start, or stay on, a whole food plant based diet. The more information you have from credible sources, the easier it can be to stick with your goals, however large or small they might be. So let's go!
Top of my list is the classic, "Forks Over Knives." Find it on Netflix and it just might change your life. The movie makes a very convincing case that the ideal human diet is whole food plant based, and it follows the journey of several "normal folks" as they turn their health around. You'll also get a great introduction to two of the most important researchers in the field, cardiologist Caldwell Esselstyn, and biochemist T. Colin Campbell, author of the ground breaking book, "The China Study." This is THE movie that jump started my health goals. Nuff said.
Next up is the holy grail of scientific evidence based information on food, nutrition, and factual insight into how the food we eat changes who we are. Doctor Michael Greger's non-profit website, Nutrition Facts.Org, has thousands of videos and articles on endless health topics, and they are all based on peer reviewed studies. I always search this site when I have a question about a particular food, or want to learn more about prevention or treatment of specific diseases. His books are great, and there are a multitude of his live talks on YouTube that I highly recommend.
Of the large "crop" of movies out there that will pull on your heart strings and blow your mind with all the cover ups by the agricultural, pharmaceutical, and food industries, I prefer "What The Health," which is also available on Netflix. It has its fair share of gruesome imagery from factory farms, which can sometimes in and of themselves change your mind about eating meat and dairy. However, even more stunning in this movie are the lengths that organizations will go to protect their piece of the pie, even when it means misleading the public. This is one of those movies that can get you angry, and make you want to change your way of life as the credits are rolling. It's a tough one, but a good one.
Lastly, I want to mention a few folks that I really enjoy watching on YouTube (links below.) Yes, if you go down that rabbit hole, you will eventually end up in a strange corner of the world wondering what is wrong with us humans. But on the way, I recommend checking out these advocates for whole food plant based diets and veganism, who each have their own appeal, depending on what you're into.
Neal Barnard, MD - Dr. Barnard, of the Physician's Committee For Responsible Medicine, has one of those faces and voices that you trust immediately. He's an incredible resource of information and inspiration. I like to put on his videos while I cook. (I'm a nerd.) He's also a great teacher, so get ready to learn!
Mic The Vegan - Highly informative and hilarious at times, Mike covers a wide range of topics, and he really knows his stuff. Part of his schtick is responding to other misinformed takes on vegan diets. Slightly confrontational, but quite polite about it!
Simnett Nutrition - When I'm focusing on fitness and strength, I like to tune into Derek Simnett. He's got a lot of great recipes, and his work ethic and commitment will make you want to take an extra lap around the block on your daily walk, run, or bike ride. I don't know him personally, but he seems like a genuinely nice guy, and he's Canadian, so how could he not be?
Anyhoot, that's a good start. I'm constantly discovering new movies, videos, books, podcasts, you name it. So if you got one you think I forgot, please let me know, I'm interested. Take care everyone, and stay healthy and happy!