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What the Health Review!

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As an avid researcher of the latest trends and breaking news in the food industry, I was excited to sit down for an evening with my partner and watch the documentary showcased on Netflix, “What the Health.”

In cutting to the chase, I found it very much a scare mongering documentary that didn’t come with to many solutions, other than to eat plant-based foods.  I wish they focused more on the positives of plant-based eating; sharing studies and facts about consuming more vegetables.  So many documentaries out in the media currently try to push ideas without offering full perspectives, and again, an emphasis on solutions to the issues they raise. If only ‘What The Health‘ took on a more positive tone like the recent documentary, Time to Choose!healthy dining

 From an emotional stand point, ‘What The Health’ really hyped me out of my tree, and I felt like calling all of my diabetic friends and asking them if they’d watched it.  I did call a few, and I’m wondering if this is one of the desires of the people who wrote the documentary; to get a conversation going?  One thing is for sure, it has gotten a lot of people to talk about their food choices. 

After taking some time to further research into the information offered in this documentary, and to look at other people’s perspectives, it is clear a lot of people are not sitting well with this documentary for differing reasons.  One of the biggest issues people raise is this documentaries softening of sugars bad reputation.  

I’m really surprised this documentary takes a soft hand to white sugar consumption, even though it is a highly processed food that ‘yes’, turns into glycogen, yet also has no nutritional value and is an empty carb… As much as this documentary would like to share healthier choices in the form of plant- based foods, they should definitely have grouped sugar as part of people’s poor diet choices. In my opinion, consuming fat by itself isn’t overly tasty, it takes sugar to tango with to make something taste edible.  IMG_6578

What is also clear is how doctors can be found on either side of the food meat/no-meat debate spectrum with varying degrees of studies to pull from: to be a carnivore or to be a vegetarian… Absolutely, there is an open-heated debate going on.  The old saying, not one glove fits everyone rings true here when it comes to a persons diet.  I doubt the world will ever be full of vegans, or meat lovers.  We must work together to find some sort of balance.

It is also important to not over do things; all things in moderation; including our food choices.

Robb Wolf who is a well researched individual/biochemist and author of The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat offers his thoughts on the documentary, click here.  Notably, this gentleman does eat meat, is not a doctor, and supports a paleo diet.  He is quick to point out that every person being interviewed for this documentary is a vegan.  One interesting point he raised is how we do now have a far greater aging population and also population growth is at an all time high.  When looking at cancer statistics, it is important to take these into consideration.

healthy diningOver all, this documentary wants you, the viewer to eliminate all forms of processed meats, red meats, chicken, eggs, dairy, and fish.  They want you to leave the animal kingdom alone to do its own thing. The overall feel of ‘What The Health’ is fear-based, gripping ‘when accepting the facts, as presented’, and truly, it doesn’t give the whole picture of the food we consume in a whole concerning the pros and cons of both kinds of diets.  For one, I know white sugar is not good for us, nor large portions of fat either, and veggies are not as nutrient dense as they used to be due to the soil microbiology changes occurring…  And, then there are the major issues with fruit and vegetable fertilizers they we all are consuming to often.

Notably, this documentary states cancer and diabetes is largely caused by consumption of meat, dairy, basically animal products, yet they would do well to dive into environmental stressors as another leading cause of health issues.  As I briefly share below, there is a whole other area food critics, and doctors pushing for certain diets should also consider. 

The great anthropologist, Edward T Hall back in the 1970’s wrote a Book Called The Hidden Dimensions, here is a link to the PDF version.   I think anyone looking into environmental stressors, and health issues should take his findings into consideration, even when we look at how food affects us.  To get the whole picture, it isn’t ‘just’ food that causes health issues… We are as he states biological organisms, and “no matter what happens to human beings it happens in a spatial setting, and the design of that setting has a deep and persisting influence on the people in that setting.”(3rd page, authors preface)

Overall, I can say, I am still consuming some meat, yet not without conscious thought. I am looking to support only grass fed beef farms, free run chicken farms, and wild fish when possible. I am also very much looking to increase my veggies and fruits intake. 

Please feel free to share your own thoughts on the film.  I’m always up for new perspectives, as we all have our own filters…

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Crystal Knutson

Founder, Healthy Dine Out. I hope that our health-focused foodie site will make a difference in people's dining-out experiences and help with their food choices at home, too. Personally, I love eating healthy foods and sharing my choices with others. I enjoy cooking at home, and sharing recipes. Notably, you'll find me sharing others people's recipes as well on this site! What else, I enjoy sharing the latest foodie news about cool new brands, restaurants, and products that help to promote healthy choices. You can follow my tweets @healthydineout, and @healthydinein

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