Things we know: Obesity and Diabetes rates are increasing, health care is outrageous, and cancer (#2), stroke (#5) and heart disease (#1) are among the top killers in the US. BUT, is our food to blame for this? Today was supposed to be Vol. 3 of the Burning Fat but I felt so compelled to release this first. We will release Vol. 3 of Burning Fat next Thursday.
In the past few weeks I’ve been watching several documentaries on Netflix like What’s With Wheat? and What The Health?. Recently, I’ve come across several people talking about these documentaries on social media and blogs and wanted to try to give an overview.
You have to remember the documentary (movie) has a point to get across. I’ve watched a few vegan and vegetarian documentaries before which had me ready to denounce meat. I’ve watched a few paleo documentaries that had me ready to go hunt my own bison on the plains and live in a hut like our ancestors. The documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead led me to a 4 day juice cleanse which was hard but doable. So, I wanted to share my take on What The Health.
WHAT’S WITH THE MEAT?
As I’m watching this documentary one word keeps popping up and it’s processed meat. Not organic grass-fed, grassed finished meat, but processed meat. The stuff chalked full of chemicals, antibiotics and grains. This makes sense to me, why when people eat this stuff they would have an inflammatory response. Meat has become tainted with so much other junk which shouldn’t be in it, our bodies don’t know what to do with it.
Let’s think for a minute. We spray the plants, the animals eat the plants, we eat the animals… You see where this is going? We are ingesting chemicals whether you buy processed meats or just the “pick of the day” ground beef from a grocery store. With loose regulations from the FDA the words, ALL NATURAL, or ANTIBIOTIC FREE mean nothing. For that matter, even if you are buying organic, loop holes are there too.
“Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork and poultry. The animals’ organic feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers.” – Whole Foods
For an animal to be organic, they must have “access” to the outdoors but that doesn’t mean ole Betsy is out roaming the open plains. Then we get to terms like Free Range and Pasture-Raised. To me, Free Range should mean exactly that, room to move around and be an animal not restricted and fattened to increase profit. Animals that remain stationary or confined can’t have healthy bodies. Think about what happens if humans don’t get daily exercise, exposure to sunlight, etc.?
“The USDA’s (and industry standard) definition for “Free Range” is that birds must have “outdoor access” or “access to the outdoors.” In some cases, this can mean access only through a “pop hole,” with no full-body access to the outdoors and no minimum space requirement.”
One of the most irritating things for me to learn was (not in documentary) just because a product says grass-fed doesn’t mean it’s grass finished. What’s the difference? Grass fed means the animal grazes on grass for the majority of its life. The problem is the animals are usually grain finished. What does this mean? The animal, after eating grass up to this point, is then for x amount of time (months to years) fed grains to fatten it up before it goes to market = increase $$$.
Why does this matter? The animals ate grass most of their lives so, it’s good meat right? The problem is what happens when you change the diet of the animal. Switching to grain does fatten the animal up but the bigger issue is this changes the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Grass fed, grass finished meats have higher omega 3’s than grain fed animals which is what we, as humans, want. In the documentary they do say even if the meat is organic, it is still subject to persistent organic pollutants (POP) which is bad news bears again.
THROW OUT THE MEAT!
WOOOAHHH! Hold your horses, or maybe cows and chicken in this instance. I’m not saying to literally throw out the meat just yet so, feel free to put the meat back in the fridge. But the documentary makes a great point to get rid of all processed meats. Deli meats, bacon, sausages, pepperoni, and anything else that is processed. These are laced with sodium and fillers, among other things and WHAT THE HEALTH gives several scientific-based facts how eating certain foods like these ones can increase your risk for disease. They go on to show several examples of how plant-based diets can rid the body of certain diseases and decrease the risk of others.
“LOW FAT, PLANT-BASED DIET IS MORE THAN TWICE AS POWERFUL AT CONTROLLING AND/OR REVERSING DIABETES, THAN THE ADA DIET RECOMMENDING MEAT AND DAIRY.” – What The Health?
I’m a fan of the concept, if it works for you and your body then do it. If whatever you eat makes your body perform optimally and rids it of disease and complications, do it. If that turns out to be meat, great! If it’s veggies, fantastic! Regardless of the lifestyle most of the diets all agree on eating well-rounded, whole foods to give yourself the best chance of success.
“ONE SERVING OF PROCESSED MEAT PER DAY INCREASED RISK OF DEVELOPING DIABETES BY 51%” – What The Health?
Dr. John Douillard promotes the 3-Season Diet in which based on the season the types of foods you eat changes. In winter, you would eat more meat, in spring more veggies and in summer more fruit. The exact diet has way more to it than that but you get the picture. In the winter food would be scarce so more animal meat would be eaten. In the summer and spring, the plants would be blooming and growing so we wouldn’t need to eat meat but instead, fruits and veggies. This makes a lot of sense actually.
If you watch the documentary What’s With Wheat you will see all the complications we now face with wheat and our produce due to the amount of chemicals we spray on them. What’s With Wheat eludes to more of a paleo and keto type diet. Again, this is fine by me if it works for you.
BEST POINTS OF THE DOCUMENTARY:
I can’t list all the amazing points this documentary make but these are a few that stick out to me.
1.) Diet can be a huge reason why health problems occur.
- By confusing the consumer with various studies, funded by corrupt organizations themselves, their point comes across and the consumer thinks the food is healthy. This study says don’t eat eggs but another one says to eat eggs… By the time you’re done, you’re so confused and fed up, you keep eating what you’ve always eaten.
2.) The American Diabetes, American Heart Association, and many more are taking money (sponsored) by the same people and corporations we know to not be healthy. Government funded programs can be behind some of your favorite fast food creations.
3.) The food pyramid is a joke.
4.) Regardless of what we consume Mike Ewell makes a point that pollution and other things don’t just skip over the organic fields and go to the non-organic ones.
5.) Dairy and processed foods aren’t a great idea for numerous reason for virtually anyone.
“FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD BREAST CANCER, JUST ONE SERVING OF WHOLE DAIRY A DAY CAN INCREASE THEIR CHANCE OF DYING FROM THE DISEASE 49%, AND DYING FROM ANY DISEASE 64%.” – What The Health?
6.) Big Pharma = big problems to say the least.
- The US has a big business in selling drugs for animal use and human use. There’s no money to be made if people are healthy.
7.) Plants = Bigger
- They make a compelling case for some of the largest animals on earth having plant-based diets. This includes rhinos, elephants, and many more. “The largest, strongest terrestrial animals on the planet are all herbivores.” Also, they show a handful of athletes that have benefited and gotten stronger and felt better since switching to a plant based diet. When you hear plant based diet, you probably think, How does someone get all of their protein? In a nut shell, you can get all of he protein requirements from this type of diet plain and simple.
8.) Checkoff Programs.
- “Animal products are promoted through federal (USDA) commodity checkoff programs.”What The Health. I had never heard of this term before but it’s very concerning. Big companies use checkoff programs to fund certain campaigns. In the documentary, several examples are given like the dairy industry gave Dominoes 12 million dollars to market “cheese heavy” products. Make since when you think about how all of a sudden triple cheese with cheese stuffed crusted pizza all of a sudden became a real thing.
POINTS NOT MADE OR COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
This wasn’t made to be an everything you need to live healthy guide. So, these points aren’t made to ridicule the documentary but give you insight and think hard on these topics.
1.) Problems with plants that aren’t wild or organic can be complicated. Switching to a plant-based diet is fine but if you start consuming all produce and grains that are GMOs or sprayed with tons of chemicals, are you really helping anything? I’d recommend What’s With Wheat? before moving on and seeing what’s really in the wheat and other agriculture we consume.
2.) The studies on the documentary are pretty much all one-sided for plant-based diets. This is fine but studies can say just about anything depending on who conducted them. On pubmed you can find tons of scientific literature backing ketogenic and paleo diets, among others, showing decreases in all-cause mortality for different factors and diseases when followed.
3.) Very little on gut microbiome.
- I understand this documentary can only cover so much but I think if you are going to mention it in the documentary, a more in-depth and clearer picture could have been portrayed.
4.) No real calorie consumption talk or mention about gluten.
- They just say meat is bad and some of the doctors talk about eating tons of sugar which I’m not so sure about. Through research one thing seems to be consistent though, if you are eating high fats you should to be eating relatively low carbohydrates. If you are eating high carbohydrates, you should be eating low fats. Either way your protein should remain moderate. When you overeat or eat high amounts of fat, carbs, and proteins all the time, complications can occur and fat storage is encourage in the body.
- “THERE ARE AT LEAST 450 DRUGS THAT ARE ADMINISTERED TO ANIMALS.”
- “PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY SELLS 80% OF ALL ANTIBIOTICS MADE IN THE UNITED STATES TO ANIMAL AGRICULTURE.” – What The Health?
I’m not a fan of cherry picking. Taking bits and pieces of what you like about something and then putting it with your own point to validate it. You either have to like something or not. I have to say, I completely love this documentary. The main point of creating public awareness for what we are actually eating and where it’s coming from is definitely achieved. WHAT THE HEALTH also, made fantastic points about the food industry and big pharma. WE need to realize as a society:
1.) The choices we make everyday are constantly being influenced by big corporation and possibly, even the government. I won’t get into any more detail but I was blown away by some of the information in this documentary.
2.) I can’t say meat is the bad guy. What happens if humans sit on the couch all day watching Netflix and are fed constantly? Besides weight gain, a tremendous number of health problems would ensue. Animals kept in restricted areas or pens probably have these same factors happening to them. So, we now are consuming these possible health factors and in turn causing harm to ourselves. Is it possible for everyone to have their own farm? Not really, but buying local is always an option and talking with the farmer to actually see how they manage their wildlife is an option.
3.) One of the ladies they interview had health problems and was on several medications. She decided to go on a plant-based diet and ended up stopping all of her medication use. She briefly mentions fasting along with her diet. I think fasting, regardless of the particular diet, has huge potential for health benefits because it allows cellular regeneration during the fasting period.
Watch it for yourself. If you have Netflix, it’s free. If not go to What The Health? and you can live stream it there. I can’t do the documentary the justice it deserves besides telling you to watch it for yourself and make your own conclusions.
If you actually read a study first, figure out who funded the actual study and if the scientist or organization(s) are sponsored in any way by people with “special interests” other than the truth. Then take the data for what it’s worth and follow-up with other studies. Again, I think different diets work best for different people and a one-size-fits-all may not be there. Remember each industry has their own set of studies and plenty of professionals paid or not, backing them up.
Personally, I’ve been on a low carb lifestyle with my high amount of fats mostly coming from oils and nuts. Fish and eggs are the main source of meat in my diet with the occasional grass-finished burger. I haven’t had any problems but I’m willing to go for it and try a 14-Day Plant Based Challenge with myself to see if I can do it. As I mentioned earlier, I have juiced for 4 days which isn’t really the same thing but I’m sure I can do this for 14 days. Will it be easy? Not at all, but by incorporating things like shakes and juices I’m sure I’ll be fine.
If you do watch the documentary, make sure to leave a comment and share it with us.
Wish Me Luck and Wishing You the Best!