Sep 27, 2017
Food News, September 2017
It seems like everyone is watching that new documentary on Netflix, What the Health. Several of my friends have even “gone vegan”, and say that their bodies feel much healthier and that they have more energy.
Although I enjoyed the documentary overall, I did find the arguments somewhat one-sided and sensational. The focus on plant-based diets versus animal products is narrow—there is no one diet that works for everyone, as I discussed in my book Think and Eat Yourself Smart.* We should place greater emphasis on where our food comes from, that is the quality of our ingredients, because there is one diet that is definitely not good for us: the modern American diet of highly processed and refined products (MAD). These products are by and large high in salt, sugar and fat, providing empty calories that keep us coming back for more, and are processed in a factory, not a kitchen.
The MAD diet impacts the health of millions around the globe. Today, for the first time in human history, more people are obese and suffering from malnutrition than undernourishment. And the people that suffer the most are individuals living in middle to low income communities, as was revealed in the New York Times investigative report How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food. We have a non-profit, the Whole Mind Project, that tries to combat these issues by helping local communities learn to grow their own food and live more sustainably.
Of course, that is not to say that What the Health doesn’t have anything good to say. It always pays to eat more fruits, vegetables and plant-based products. For many, a vegan or vegetarian diet does wonders. The key, however, is not to focus on one diet and condemn the rest, but to focus on good quality, real foods that are as local as possible, organically grown or raised, seasonal, sustainable, whole and, if possible, wild. So visit your local farmer’s market, join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program or even start growing your own food!
For a more balanced look at diets and today’s food production system, I would recommend two other Netflix documentaries I really enjoyed: Sustainable and In Defense of Food. They are fascinating and inspiring, and will leave you hungry for more!
*We also have an online app for Think and Eat Yourself Smart, which is a 63 day program to kickstart mind & body health, which includes recipes and many other resources!
*If you prefer listening, you can purchase the audiobook for Think and Eat Yourself Smart at Amazon.