What The Health is a compelling account of how we need to pay far better attention to what we eat, where our food is sourced, how the vast majority of food manufacturers show a general lack of concern for public health, the negative implications of the “American Diet”, etc.
Knowing that I’m a wellness enthusiast, a few friends recently asked me if I have seen What The Health, as they found it rather revelatory and were profoundly impacted by its message. While I was thrilled to hear that my friends intend to make some positive changes in their diet as a result of seeing the film, something far deeper occurred to me when I heard this. My first knee-jerk thought was….haven’t you already seen Food Inc, Forks Over Knives, and all of those other documentaries with an identical message?? My second thought was – SHIT – have you never read my blog?!
Half joking aside, this same exact “food revolution” type of content has been presented to us over the years time and time again. Yes, admittedly the information is always one-sided and very dramatic (by design), but it all centers around a profoundly true message. The message is very clear and easy to understand. If we all collectively adopt more of a plant-based diet, we will improve our health, the health of animals and the health of our planet. There is absolutely no way to scientifically dispute this fact.
While I certainly appreciate What The Health and other films which promote this altruistic message — and it IS entirely altruistic, as the producers of the films stand to gain ZERO if you adopted a vegan diet — I truly wonder when this message will finally “catch on”. I wonder if it will happen in my lifetime. I wonder if it will ever happen at all….
I believe the only way this message has the potential to catch on is if/when someone with SERIOUS INFLUENCE makes it a priority to educate the masses, tell everyone that we are all moving in a very dangerous direction and we desperately need to course correct. And I’m not talking about some hippie MD that no one knows….I’m talking about someone that everyone knows, trusts, likes and respects. The deterrent is that any major progress in this area unravel the entire animal agriculture industry. The ramifications on our nation’s economy could be fairly widespread — some negative (meat and dairy industries) and some positive (out-of-control healthcare spending spiral). I’m guessing the uncertainty of it all is why we don’t see more of a concerted effort in this manner being served up by any of our public leadership? Perhaps with a healthy side dish of apathy? Not to mention threatening the “free will” that Americans so cherish so deeply. Because if someone wants a cheeseburger, they should be able to snap their fingers and get a cheeseburger….right?? UGH.
Americans may not realize this, but we have had some “close calls” over the years when it comes to the concept of national dietary overhaul. Bill Clinton effectively REVERSED his heart disease by adopting a plant-based diet. I wish that Bill and the Clinton Foundation was more involved in promoting his incredible story of transformation to the masses but, since there really isn’t any money to be made in it, nothing much has become of it. And Michelle Obama tried to fight childhood obesity more recently through her “Let’s Move” program, but this was just barely scratching the surface of the issue and didn’t have sharp teeth. So while there has been some activity around this subject, no one of any relevance has made this their UNWAVERING CAUSE and changed our collective mindset on food. I think we may need an upheaval to initiate a total overhaul in how we eat and it must come soon. I believe that the issue of public health is AT LEAST on par with the climate change issue and, like climate change, I’m afraid we may potentially be past the point of return. We are too divided on the topic, it is too controversial and the damage is done. I sincerely hope I am wrong. I hope I will see this change in my lifetime. Our health depends on it.