8 Thought-Provoking And Persuasive Documentaries To Inspire You To Choose A Plant-based Diet
You have most probably seen the term plant-based diet thrown around quite a lot recently, and for good reason. It is thought that following such a diet not only has positive implications for your health, but for animal welfare and the planet too. A plant-based diet is pretty much self-explanatory and consists of eating food that is derived from plant sources, i.e vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and legumes. If you would like to find out what all the fuss is about, I have sourced 8 informative and educational documentaries for you to watch. So, whether your motivation is health, animal rights or wanting to mitigate climate change, pick a documentary, sit back, relax and prepare yourself for a whole lot of vegucation.
The Health Persuasion
The consumption of animal products has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, whereas there is increasing evidence to suggest that well balanced plant-based diets could reduce your risk of, or even reverse these ailments. Studies have shown that diets centred on a wide variety of plant foods can provide all the nutrients needed for good health, including essential fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
This documentary features Dr. Colin Campbell - nutritional scientist, and his son Nelson, as they try to raise political and public awareness of the health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet. Nelson runs a pilot program in his hometown, where participants experience 10 days of plant-based eating. The film documents the dramatic improvements in the participants’ biometric test results, providing further evidence of the positive health benefits of a wholefood plant-based diet.
Featuring interviews with 28 world-renowned experts, Food Choices documents filmaker Michal Siewierski, as he travels the U.S. exploring the impact that food choices have on people's health. He also explores the unethical treatment of animals raised for human consumption and the environmental effects of such practices.
The Environmental Persuasion
Animal agriculture contributes to deforestation, land and water degradation, and biodiversity loss to give but a few examples. Not only that, but it is now widely known to be one of the largest contributors to global warming and climate change. A new study suggests that choosing a plant-based diet could be the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on earth. In fact a 2010 UN report warned that a shift toward veganism was vital to save the world from climate catastrophe and food shortages.
This film follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he explores the environmental impact of animal agriculture, such as deforestation, excessive water use and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Since the film’s release, there has been some scepticism as to the accuracy of some of the statistics quoted in the film. However, regardless of the dodgy statistics, animal agriculture is still widely considered to be a primary driver of climate change and I am still happy to recommend this insightful documentary.
MEAT THE TRUTH
Meat the Truth is a ‘Ted’-style documentary, presented by Marianne Thieme (leader of the Party for the Animals). An informative talk which demonstrates, through the use of statistics, charts and graphs, how livestock farming generates more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than the global transport sector. Meat the truth presents the idea that it would be far more efficient to use agricultural land for crops that can be directly consumed by humans, rather than consumed by animals farmed for human consumption.
The Animal Rights persuasion
Worldwide, more than 70 billion land animals are killed for food every year. Many farmed animals suffer in a myriad of ways in the name of efficient production and profit. Even when ‘livestock’ is reared as free-range, you are led to believe that their slaughter will be humane, however, the harsh reality is that this is often not the case. To quote Peter Singer, professor and pioneer of the animal liberation movement - “if it is possible to survive and be healthy without eating meat, fish, diary, or eggs, one ought to choose that option instead of causing unnecessary harm to animals.”
Dominion uses drones and hidden cameras to capture the heart-wrenching world of modern animal agriculture. I think it is impossible to watch this film without questioning the morality of rearing animals for our consumption. I warn you that this is a hard film to watch, however, if you are a consumer of animal products then I think you at least owe it to yourself to witness how these animals are treated during their short life. If you feel an aversity to watching this, than at least ask yourself why? - Should we not know how our food is prepared?
Earthlings is an American film documenting humanity's exploitation of animals for economic purposes. The film is broken down into five main chapters: pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research. Including footage obtained through the use of hidden cameras, Earthlings is a real eye-opener to the industrial practices that go on all over the world. It has been said that “for those who watch Earthlings, life will never be the same” - Tom Regan (philosopher).
And just for good measure, I have included an extra two films below which take an all-encompassing look at the issues involved in the production and consumption of meat and also the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Vegucated is a lighthearted film that follows three people who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and the challenges they face. During that time, the documentary addresses the resistance that some people may feel towards vegetarianism and veganism, and looks at the origins of omnivorism and the ethical, environmental and health benefits of a vegan/plant-based diet.
H.O.P.E - WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS
This multi-faceted film explores the impact of a meat-based diet on animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and human health by looking at issues such as obesity, food insecurity and factory farming. The film offers compelling reasons why we should choose a plant-based diet, illustrating just how far the positive impact of such a lifestyle can reach.
N.B. All of these documentaries can easily be found on the internet
If you decide that you would like to try a plant-based diet, there is an abundance of useful information and recipes to be found on the internet. Here are a few links to get you started:
Plant-based health professionals and Healthline explain more fully what constitutes a plant-based diet, how to follow one and what the benefits are. 10 tips for transitioning to a plant-based diet is also a useful read.