Monday, August 14, 2017

Have you seen What the Health? I say WTF.

I love a good, food documentary and my clients do too. For some reason, a film seems to stick with you longer or make more of an impression than an article or even a food-related book.
And so, when client after client asked if I’d seen What the Health, I had to check it out. I located the movie on Netflix and watched it.
The movie is presented as one man’s journey to figure out what to eat to minimize his risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. These are diseases in his family history but also conditions many of us are concerned about. The mission was interesting, the methods questionable. The best way I can explain it is to think of going shopping. You go to a store and try on an outfit. The salesperson works for the store. When you ask, “what do you think of this outfit?” tell me the chances of getting an objective response.
Attention- SPOILERS coming. The conclusion of this film is that veganism is the answer.
They assemble a slew of vegan doctors and dietitians who promote a plant-based diet. They refer to advocates/experts of the paleo diet as “paleo folks” but it would've been interesting to hear from an expert with a differing viewpoint. Now, I know who these experts in the film are and what they endorse. For viewers, not in health-related fields, it might appear every reputable, integrative wellness professional concurs.
Some things the film gets right:
1.     Many large, health organizations are biased by corporate sponsorship. There’s nothing good about organizations from The American Cancer Society to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics being swayed by corporate donors. We can all agree that’s not good for anyone (except these corporations or groups).
2.     We should all make a U-turn from the standard American diet. From processed meats to conventional meat and dairy production, processed and mangled food is no Bueno.
3.     When people exercise and eat real, wholesome food they feel better.
What the film gets wrong:
1.     Narrowmindedness and nutrition don’t go together. I understand having a point you want to drive home. Oftentimes, at Foodtrainers if we have a hunch about something we will look at see if the research supports this. What we don’t do is present things that aren’t true in order to boost our case. For example- when you have experts saying sugar isn’t inflammatory or carbs do not get stored as fat? That takes away from the veganism is the answer premise versus boosting it.
2.     Within every food group there’s a hierarchy. From fats to carbs and even animal protein there’s a spectrum of healthfulness. Lumping avocado in with trans fats or wild salmon with processed lunch meats doesn’t make sense.
3.     One size doesn’t fit all- while I do eat mainly “plant based” (term bugs me, it’s like a euphemism for vegan), I feel better (more satisfied, more energetic, less hormonal) with well-sourced eggs and seafood. I know this from a lot of methodical experimentation. This isn’t about me but something I feel needs to be sorted out for everyone, with professional help, blood work and time.
I’m all for anything shining a light on diet and its importance for our health and ongevity. I don’t like gimmicks such as sugar doesn’t matter, it’s all about cutting out meat.

Have you watched? Curious if you’re saying WTF like I am.

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