Vegan documentaries……. I love nothing more on a Sunday afternoon than turning on Netflix (other film providers are available), making some vegan treats and watching a good old vegan film that puts the world to rights.
But for me, these films mean more than a bit of Sunday viewing pleasure. They help instruct and maintain historical records. They document aspects of modern life and reality that often get overlooked in the mainstream media. They inform. And they inspire people to make fundamental and lasting changes in their lives.
If you are vegan, then you will know what I mean. We have all had that moment in life when the penny finally dropped. It was a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon in November. You have just been to the supermarket and are overdosing on sweets that are rotting your body and your mind. You are sat flicking through film options when a thumbnail catches your eye. You start watching and within 15 minutes your whole life has been turned upside-down. You have just realised you are living in the matrix.
The reality for most is that once you know the truth there is no going back. Within days you have removed all animal products from your house. The freezer, the fridge and even your cleaning and toiletries are not safe. Your family thinks you are having a nervous breakdown.
The documentary you watched on Saturday provoked such strong emotions that you were compelled to change your diet and lifestyle forever. A lifestyle that had remained largely unchanged since birth.
That is the power that well-made vegan documentaries can have over people. And these type of documentaries have probably done more for veganism in the last 15 years than anything else combined.
Below I have listed some of my personal favourites. Documentaries that have had profound and lasting impacts on my life. I hope you find the list useful, and if I have missed off any great choices then leave a comment in the comments section below and I will update the list regularly.
Fork Over Knives is a documentary that examines the claim (or as I like to call it, TRUTH), that most, if not all of today’s degenerative diseases can be prevented, halted and even reversed by rejecting animal products and replacing them with plant based foods. The majority of the story is focussed around the work and research of two leading Dr’s. Dr Colin Campbell and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn. The film also discusses the findings of Dr Campbell’s 20-year China-Cornell-Oxford project that were laid out in Dr Campbell’s book, The China Study. The China Study shows how the majority of diseases in the western world (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes and obesity etc) are a direct result of animal based foods and other processed foods in people’s diets. This is a must watch film for anyone who is concerned about their family’s health.
Is one of the best vegan documentaries out there! The producers follow 3 New Yorkers for 6 weeks as they give up meat, dairy and eggs and adopt a vegan diet. The film documents (with hilarity at times) their journey as each of the participants discover how they can create a greener, kinder and cleaner world, one bite at a time.
I am not going to lie; Earthlings is a very tough watch. It was made in 2005 and documents how humans have created a total reliance and dependence on animals purely for economic purposes and greed. The film is broken down into 5 elements: research, pets, food, clothing and entertainment. If you are easily upset, then I suggest you watch some of the other films on the list and avoid this one.
Is one of the first vegan documentaries that was funded almost entirely through crowdfunding. And it has probably turned more people vegan than all the other films combined (slight exaggeration there!). The film chronicles the journey of Kip Anderson as he uncovers animal agriculture as the most destructive industry facing the planet today. You are taken on a journey where you learn that the meat and dairy industry is the number one cause of deforestation on the planet. The industry creates more pollution and greenhouse gases than all of the transportation industries combined. And many, many other mind-bending statistics are revealed. The story gets really interesting as Kip approaches leading environmental groups with his research only to find that there is an intentional refusal by these organisations to discuss the issues in hand. But why is this and what are the consequences for Kip’s personal safety?
This is the unbelievable journey of Kris Carr and her battle with cancer. She changes her diet, juices, takes up yoga and changes many other aspects of her life in order to beat the disease and obtain optimal health. The emotional fight is sprinkled with humour and even romance. A must watch for anyone who wants to understand the disease in greater detail.
This film uncovers what farms have been struggling to keep secret for years. The conditions that animals are kept in, as well as their treatment and diets are all exposed. This is one of the great vegan documentaries that takes viewers on a white-knuckle ride that crawls through bushes, flies in planes and hides in factories, all to come face-to-face with the farmers who are rearing animals in such poor conditions. A must see!
The Cove was released in 2009 and is an Oscar-winning film. The film follows a group of brave and courageous animal activists as they expose a small Japanese town, that is home to an industry that slaughters dolphins for meat. The film also follows the story of a former dolphin trainer (from hit TV show, Flipper), as he tries to forgive himself for exploiting these intelligent creatures in his earlier days. A great all round watch!
I only saw this for the first time a few months back, but it quickly became a personal favourite of mine. Blackfish chronicles the story of a captive killer whale, that has taken the lives of several people. The film undercovers the poor conditions that these creatures are kept in and highlights problems within the sea-park industry that have been deliberately covered up for years.
Is one of the lesser known vegan documentaries out there, but it’s still a great watch. This feature film documents the human relationship with animals. It also looks at the history of veganism and the reasons underpinning why people turn to veganism. The health reasons, the ethics and environmental reasons are all discussed.
This is a great documentary that documents the journey of 6 Americans with diabetes as they switch to raw vegan diets in an attempt to reverse this disease. The participants give up meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, nicotine, caffeine and all cooked foods for 30 days. The results are startling. A must watch for anyone who has diabetes or who has family members battling with the disease.
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The average person on a standard western diet is often unaware that they are consuming between four and six times the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein. The biggest issue with this is that these unnecessary proteins are derived mainly from animal proteins. And why is this a problem? Well we know from 30 years of evidence that animal proteins cause a much faster rate of growth in cells. This would be fine if we didn’t have that little thing called cancer to contend with. Higher amounts of animal proteins are also known to increase risks for heart disease, diabetes, strokes, kidney failure and neurological degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, you can get all the protein you need from fruits and vegetables. You actually only need 5-10% protein in your diet for optimal health (as outlined by the World Health Organisation) and fruits and vegetables will provide you with this. And the biggest thing to remember is that plant based proteins are not associated with cancer, heart disease, strokes or any other condition for that matter. In fact, we know that plant based proteins will help prevent and reverse many of the leading causes of death.
But why is it that plant proteins are healthier than animal proteins? Surely a protein is a protein and an amino acid is an amino acid? If you assume so, then you would be wrong. Animal proteins have much higher concentrations of sulphur based amino acids. The problem with this is that these get metabolised fundamentally very differently from plant based amino acids (which are lower in sulphur). When highly sulphur containing amino acids gets metabolised the metabolites remaining (the substance remaining after the body has used the amino acid) are very acidic in nature. Your body needs to have an alkaline PH level of approximately 7.35-7.45. When you eat lots of acidic foods and proteins the body becomes acidic and in an attempt to counteract the acidity your bones dump calcium and other minerals into the blood. Which explains why those who eat and drink more animal based proteins have much higher rates of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. So no, animal and plant based proteins and amino acids are not the same. People with a consistently acidic bloodstream have much higher rates of cancer, strokes and heart disease. All the references are below.
You Need Milk for Strong Bones
We have all been brought up on the marketing that milk=calcium=healthy bones. And this myth has been perpetually running for 50 years. The truth is though that milk is not or has never been a great source of calcium. And we know this because countries who consume lots of milk tend to have the highest rates of osteoporosis (low bone density).
Without getting involved in the ethics of it all, cow’s milk is designed to support the rapid growth of calves. Our species has never required or needed cows (or any other species milk for that matter) for optimal bone health. On top of the fact that it is not a particularly great source of calcium for humans, (many vegetables such as broccoli provide more calcium) it is also home to unwanted toxins such as growth hormones and antibiotics that have been injected into the cow in attempt to prevent disease, increase growth and keep the cow lactating. Cow’s milk also contains high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. Study after study (see below) have linked milk and dairy to heart disease, strokes, cancer, dementia, diabetes and kidney disease. Remember, milk is not a healthy source of calcium and it should never be described as essential and healthy for humans.
If you want to find a better source of calcium then look no further than vegetables like bok choy, kale and broccoli. On top of this, these vegetables will also provide you with lots of vitamin K which is essential for bone health. Other particularly good sources of calcium are beans, which can increase calcium and other mineral absorption because of their phytate content (an antioxidant).
Many nut milks, such as almond milk, are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D. But remember there is no need to concentrate on one food or drink to gain your calcium requirement. It’s about eating a wide variety of plant based whole foods which will provide you with all the calcium you will ever need.
Meat, Eggs And Fish Are Healthy Protein Sources
Yes meat eggs and dairy contain vitamins and minerals, but they also contain very high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol (even in lean meats). And all of the below studies show that the risks outweigh the benefits where animal proteins are concerned. In contrast, fruits and vegetables contain absolutely no cholesterol and only very low levels of saturated fats (with the odd exception). But it’s not just the cholesterol and saturated fats you need to be mindful of. Meat and fish is often heavily contaminated with pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, faecal matter, mercury and other chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
As stated above, you can get all the protein you will ever need from plant based sources. Some particularly good choices are: quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, nuts and seeds. These also have the added benefit of being very good sources of fibre (another important nutritional element missing from meat and fish).
Carbs Are Bad For You And Will Cause Weight Gain
This is another belter of a myth. Many people often believe (because of stupid fad diets) that carbs are bad for you. As a consequence they replace these carbohydrates with proteins and fats. This then leads to people becoming nutritionally deficient in a number of essential nutrients that are found in high carbohydrate foods. And we know that people who live on protein and fats instead of a high carbohydrate diet are dramatically more likely to suffer from chronic disease and premature death. Just look at the rural Japanese diet. It’s based on approximately 75-85% carbohydrate with only 3-5% of calories coming from animal proteins. This dietary approach sees these populations living longer and healthier lives than anyone on the planet.
What you need to remember is that there are good and bad carbohydrates and these are not equally healthy. Unhealthy refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta will spike blood sugar levels and cause weight gain. In contrast, naturally occurring carbohydrates in the form of polysaccharides and starches have high amounts of fibre and contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals such as B-complex vitamins and they also provide the body with lots of slow release energy. Fruits and vegetables are healthy essential carbohydrates for the body. Refined and processed breads and pasta are not.
Eating Healthy Is More Expensive
Many health foods (lentils, brown rice, frozen fruits and vegetables etc) are among the cheapest foods on the market, especially when bought in bulk. Admittedly, some organic fruits and vegetables will cost a premium, but the choice is quite simple. Pay more for quality food during your life or pay with poorer health as you age.
For some reason many of us have got our values inverted. We would rather spend our money on fancy cars and houses rather than provide our children and ourselves with the most nutritionally dense foods we can get.
Below are a list of the most comprehensive studies ever done that show why the above myths are absolutely false. They are show beyond any doubt that you your diet is largely based on fat and animal proteins (instead of healthy high carb diets) then you will inevitably run into the below diseases during your lifetime.
Candida is caused by a genus of yeast and is by far the most common reason for fungal infections throughout the world today. And in todays article we are going to talk about the best foods to eat for candida treatment.
Ordinarily there will be very low levels of candida present in the gut, but they will normally be kept in check by your healthy flora or “health gut bacteria”. The problems will start to arise when the candida becomes overgrown and unchecked in the body. When this happens the potential symptoms caused can be endless. You can have mental clarity issues, bloating, sugar cravings, wind and constipation, floaters in the eyes, irritability, mood swings, thrush, joint pains, skin rashes and persistent and regular coughs. The list is literally endless.
The real problems arising from candida are caused when it starts to either irritate or penetrate the gut wall. When this happens you will be far more susceptible to food sensitivities and all of the above symptoms have the propensity to become a lot worse. This is because undigested food particles are able to pass directly into the blood stream and the body mistakes these as “invaders” or infections and triggers autoimmune responses. Again, this will dramatically make the above symptoms worse and certainly problematic to treat. When food particles are able to pass into the blood stream on a regular basis the condition is known as “leaky gut”. It is therefore imperative that you are able to keep candida levels low in the body through a healthy diet.
Candida In The Intestines
One of the biggest triggers for candida today is the use (and over use) of antibiotics. Similarly, diets high in processed refined sugars will cause candida to proliferate throughout the body. Other causes include the long term use of contraceptive pills, medications for diabetes and steroid medications. The stress placed on a woman’s body during pregnancy can also cause candida to spiral out of control.
If you believe you may have candida based on some of the above symptoms, or you have recently taken a course of antibiotics, then visit your GP and request a stool sample/blood test. If candida is detected, then the following should be an effective candida treatment for you.
Candida Treatment – Foods To Remove From Your Diet
After initially diagnosing candida you should remove all yeast and fermented foods/drinks from your diet. The worst culprits are breads, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, refined vinegars, (this obviously includes foods where vinegar is a major component: tomato sauce, baked beans, salad cream and picked foods such as pickled eggs).
Also look at removing all refined flour foods that contain any sort or yeast or processed/refined sugars. Pizzas, pasta or anything along these lines will be a no no.
The main foods to remove above all are foods that contain refined sugars. Yeast loves sugar and will overgrow very quickly in its presence. While you are getting the condition under control you will also need to remove almost all natural sugars from the diet as well, which includes high sugar fruits such as melons, bananas, grapes and kiwis. Some of the other low sugar fruits (blueberries/blackberries/raspberry’s etc) may not necessarily feed the yeast directly by their sugar content; but they are likely to contain mould, especially if they have been stored for a while during the transportation process. Mould will help exacerbate the problem. Artificial sugars should also be removed from the diet.
Also avoid malted foods and drinks completely. If you are partial to a Ryvita or Horlicks drinks, then can them while you are getting the condition under control.
Also avoid all nuts as these commonly harbour mould. Again, this will only make the problem worse.
Milk and dairy. Usually very high in sugar, so again, got to go.
Some people also struggle to get rid of candida while eating foods that can easily be converted to sugars in the gut. Sweetcorn, carrots and potatoes can also be problematic but this is only usually in patients with bad yeast overgrowth.
Candida Treatment – Foods That Will Help Kill Off Candida
Garlic has a highly potent capacity for killing off yeast because of its anti-fungal properties. It is best to be eaten raw. Simply swallow a whole clove of garlic once a day.
Increase your vegetable intake. Green beans, leeks, onions, parsnips, tomatoes, spinach, sprouts and watercress are all good go to choices for fighting candida. These types of vegetable will enable the populations of your “healthy bacteria” to increase and fight off the unwanted yeast and “bad bacteria”.
Generally speaking, the fruits that are generally ok to eat while removing candida from the body are: cherries, small amounts of pineapple, apples and pomegranates.
Replace milk with healthier nut milks instead. Almond or oat milks are great choices.
Brown rice, quinoa, lentils and millet are also good foods while removing candida (or anytime for that matter!)
If you need to have bread in your diet then opt for yeast free rye breads.
Two of the best herbs for helping to fight off this infection are thyme and coriander. So add abundantly to all your foods.
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Only a small percentage of people have bad luck when it comes to their health. There are only approx 5% of people who have a genetic disposition to develop diseases from their inherited genes. For the rest of us, the luck is created by what you eat and what chemicals you expose yourself to. Period!
I often hear “oh well, it runs in my family so there is little I can do about it”. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their poor nutritional choices, lack of exercise and the skin creams and lotions they plaster all over their bodies? Nope, we will just sweep all of this under the carpet and pass the responsibility on to someone else.
We have known for the last 20 years of the ability that plant based diets can have in preventing and reversing many of today’s leading diseases. The issue is the lack of education. Lots of studies have demonstrated how widespread this problem is. For example, this study by the American Institute demonstrated that less than 50% of people were aware that you can dramatically reduce your chances of ever developing cancer simply by eating a largely plant based diet. And the same lack of education/knowledge can been seen with the links between red meats and colorectal cancers. The evidence is beyond question, yet still less than 35% of those surveyed were aware of the associated risks between eating hot dogs and bacon and developing cancer.
All the time the media, healthcare organisations and governments fail to provide clear information people will continue to die unnecessarily. Heart disease can be prevented and reversed with dietary changes. Dr Dean Ornish has shown this for decades. Cancers can be prevented and in some cases reversed with plant based diets. Similar pictures can be painted with strokes, dementia, diabetes etc etc. The information maybe muddied at times by poor decisions from the media and governments, but the science is very clear.
Here are just a few of the leading studies that have been produced in the last 6 months that demonstrate how powerful diets can be for preventing and reversing disease:
Are these studies just good luck? Is it luck that populations such as Japan who primarily eat plant based diets and have dramatically lower disease rates? Is it luck that more and more people are reversing serious illnesses with dietary changes? The answer is an overwhelming no. For the vast majority of people there is no such thing as bad luck and poor health. There are only poor uneducated decisions. Luckily, by educating and empowering yourself you can take ownership and responsibility of your health and influence your own destiny. It’s as simple as loading your plate with nuts, beans, seeds, vegetables, fruits and legumes!
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disease affecting more and more children every year. In the UK current estimates suggest that at least 1 in 10 boys and 1 in 30 girls are affected by the disease. Higher rates are seen in many other western countries.
For many years these children were simply labelled as problem children that were a result of bad parenting. We now know that many different factors feed into the development of ADHD. Poor nutrition, smoking and alcohol exposure during pregnancy, allergies and various other environmental pollutants.
Unfortunately, because of the standard medical approach, children are often prescribed medications such as Ritalin (which come with serious side effects). This is usually at the expense of looking at nutrition, testing for certain allergies or even looking at therapy. All of which will more often than not work far more effectively that medications.
While in most cases ADHD is not solely a nutritional deficiency disease, the vast majority of children afflicted with the disease will respond very well when dietary modifications are implemented. It is essential that there is a correct balance of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and healthy fats in the child’s diet.
First and foremost you need to get the child’s blood sugar levels in balance. Remove ALL refined sugars from their diet. Study after study has shown that children with ADHD are far more sensitive to sugar and will experience more pronounced hyperactivity symptoms when exposed to it.
You need to ensure that the child eats lots of plant based wholefoods and complex carbohydrates. Foods such as quinoa, brown rice, lentils, beans and oats. These foods will provide a slow release of energy and sugar and prevent erratic sugar swings. You can further aid this slow release by adding some protein with the complex carbs. Nuts and salmon are both good choices.
Omega-3’s are also imperative for improving ADHD symptoms. Aim for one or two portions a week of oily fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel are fine). Restrict the amount of tuna as this often contains higher amounts of mercury which can be counter-productive when treating the disorder. Healthy plant based sources of omega-3’s can be found in flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and also pumkin seeds. These can all be added to porridge or salads.
You also need to ensure that the child is getting enough vitamins and minerals. When the child eats foods that contain lots of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium it will help to control their levels of hyperactivity. If the child is eating lots of fruits and vegetables then they will have no problem in getting sufficient quantities of these essential nutrients.
A recommended strategy that many parents use is keeping a log of foods that trigger the hyperactivity symptoms. If these symptoms appear after consuming wheat or dairy products then the child could potentially have a gluten, wheat or lactose allergy and you should seek further advice from your doctor so that the child can be tested.
Lastly, remember there are no quick fixes. It may take 3-6 months to see dramatic improvements in the child’s symptoms, but it will certainly be worth it. It is a trial and error process that will eventually provide the child with a healthier and happier life.
The young and old generally have weaker immune systems. This is why health authorities target these groups during the winter for various vaccinations . These groups are said to be immunocompromised.
Over the last 20 years there has been much speculation over the extent to which diet can boost the immune system. A recent leading study in 2010 looked at this very subject. Dublin University looked at the immune function of a group of participants aged between 65 and 95, and their findings were startling.
They divided the participants into two groups. The first group consumed 2 or less portions of fruit and vegetables a day and the second group were encouraged to eat 5 or more portions a day (although not all complied with this). They followed this dietary plan for 28 days and then were given the standard pneumonia vaccine.
The below graphs shows how the immune systems of both groups of patients responded. You can see that when the first group (red line) were given the pneumonia vaccine their immune systems didn’t respond particularly well. Their immune systems should have been buzzing with activity and releasing antibodies to intercept the “perceived threat”. In contrast, look at the immune system responses from those in the second group (green) after receiving their pneumonia vaccine. They become a hive of activity.
Throughout different countries around the world diseases such as influenza and pneumonia are often in the top seven leading causes of death for the elderly. What this and other studies show is that potentially hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved every year by simple dietary modifications.
Tips to Boost Your Immune System
Eat lots of fruit & vegetables: Aim for at least 9 portions a day. By doing this you will get enough essential nutrients for an effective immune system. Nutrients such as: Selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc.
Water: A lack of water can significantly impact the efficiency of your immune system. Make sure you drink 1.5-2 litres of water a day. More when you exercise.