5 Netflix Documentaries To Change The Way You Think About Food.

5 Netflix Documentaries To Change The Way You Think About Food.

Since officially turning vegetarian at the beginning of 2017 (I say officially because I spent most of my Australia and South East Asia travels vegetarian before consciously cutting down my meat intake on my return to the UK) I’ve been continuously trying to educate myself on the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Not so much to convince myself it’s the “right” thing to do, but more so to widen my awareness of the bigger picture. Because being vegetarian goes far beyond the want to “not eat animals”.

More recently I’ve been looking more into taking that step into vegan life. I suppose this conscious effort to expand my knowledge on the impacts of a meat based diet has quickly been drip fed facts on animal-based produce in general. There’s so much I didn’t realise before opening myself up to this information. So much that has drastically changed the way I look at the food I’m putting into my body.

And I will never be one of those people that preach for everyone to turn vegetarian. I will never judge anyone for eating meat and I will never intentionally make anyone feel uncomfortable for doing so.

We are all individuals. We all have our own needs and wants in life.

What I do want to do, and what I hope to do through posts on this blog, is to encourage others to simply take the time to explore other options. Even if it simply pushes your awareness… knowledge is power, after all.

Luckily Netflix features a whole host of documentaries to help you do this. The site has reams of environmental and food-based full length documentary films, and I’ve rounded up my top 4 (plus an BBC IPlayer must see – soz for the misleading title) that cover most bases and provide an insightful and inspiring insight into the world of veggie-life.

1. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

cowspiracy_cow

ph cr: Cowspiracy

I couldn’t do a list and not start with Cowspiracy. This documentary totally blew me away… although that won’t come as a surprise due to its key focus on the environmental impact of animal agriculture.

Its glaring message comes down to how animal agriculture is one of the most destructive industries facing the planet. The documentary describes why it is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill.

It also, perhaps most surprisingly, brings attention to the international refusal amongst environmental groups worldwide to address this.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. The documentary also rounds off with an alternative: a path to global sustainability for a growing population.

2. Vegucated

vegucated-documentary

ph cr: Plant based recipes

Vegucated follows three meat and cheese loving New Yorkers as they embark on a 6 week challenge to go totally vegan.

Compared to other vegan documentaries, it’s pretty lighthearted. Although it does give a disturbing insight into the food industry (with some pretty uncomfortable scenes) it mostly focuses on the trio’s journey as they realise that, actually, vegan life isn’t all that crazy.

They’re taken to farms (both organic and factory) and educated on the reality of animal-based food production and why it’s paramount to really think about where your food is coming from.

I’d recommend this one for those wondering how difficult a vegan transition is on lifestyle: the film shows snippets of the three as they take to family occasions, holidays and meals out. It’s these situations that concern me personally when I think of turning 100% vegan. This documentary reduced those concerns, a little at least.

A good introduction to vegan living with a strong, uplifting message attached.

3. Food inc.

foodinc-648x330

ph cr: PBS

Food inc gets down and dirty with exactly what is in our food and how little we really know about the potentially life threatening things we’re unintentionally putting into our bodies. Yes the documentary draws in on the inhumane treatment of factory farmed animals, but its focal point is the dangers of GMOs and the environmental implications of mass meat production.

It educates on the role animal-based food has on obesity, cancer and diabetes and unveils some pretty shocking facts on e-coli. Basically? It’s the whole, gritty picture.

4. Fork Over Knives.

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ph cr: The Vegan Road

Fork Over Knives is all over the health angle on meat consumption. It argues how most, if not all, degenerative diseases can be controlled (or even reversed) by cutting out animal-based and processed foods.

Like Food inc, it pulls together evidence on diabetes and heart disease presenting the case that a whole food, plant based diet could be the primary approach to treat many of the serious ailments associated with them. It follows a range of individuals with such illnesses (as well as someone packed to the brink with drug prescriptions) and tracks their health improvements as they move to a carefully controlled diet away from these food types.

It’s packed full of research and stats with nutritional scientists and pioneering researches pleading their findings and beliefs. A heavy going documentary, this is a great one for anyone looking to fully dig beneath the surface.

5. Carnage

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ph cr: BBC

Needless to say, all the above are pretty exhausting if taken in at the same time. I mean, educating yourself is crucial. And I adore it. But you can find yourself a tad deflated by the end knowing we may never find ourselves in a time when everyone is on the same page. You almost find yourself feeling defeated.

So why not end on a high? And okay, this isn’t a Netflix jobby but you can catch it on BBC IPlayer. Created by comedy hero Simon Amstell, Carnage is a mockumentary around a utopian future where society has all gone the big V.

Despite being laugh out loud funny (my favourite bit had to be the AA style meeting where everyone had to call out a cheese they had eaten in their youth whilst fighting breakdowns), the underlying message is seriously inspiring and shows a glimmer of hope for the future (albeit, the far far future…).

For something more lighthearted, this is the number 1.

Would you add any to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Before the Flood.

Review: Before the Flood.

“Clean air, water and a liveable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics it is a question of our own survival.”

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

U.N. Messenger of Peace for the Climate

I’d been meaning to watch it since it came out in October. Wanted to. Needed to. But something stopped me. Some niggle, deep below the surface pushing me away from it. Keeping me still, ever so slightly, in the shadows.

And now, after watching it, I know why.

I was scared.

I was scared of reality.

Because Before the Flood is exactly that. Reality. Global reality.

I pride myself on being all too aware of the critical implications of climate change on our environment. I’ve seen them firsthand diving into the grey coral of the Great Barrier Reef that once glowed in a kaleidoscope of colour. I’ve studied it during my degree. I’ve always had a deep interest in it.

The tears I wept when Trump became President (amongst SO many things) were fiercely rooted in his stance on climate change (or the “myth” of it as he foolishly promotes). The implications of his influence on public opinion and international development left me defeated and, in all honesty, despairing of the future of our planet.

Yet despite all of this I avoided the National Geographic film. Because I knew it would be a raw and frankly harrowing portrait of the damage we are all doing, each and every day.

Now I’ve seen it? I couldn’t be gladder.

I mean, yes it was raw. Yes it was harrowing. And yes, I cried A LOT.

But it was needed. It was an urgent reminder that whilst there is extreme change needed to repair the damage… it is achievable. It can be done.

And as a documentary, Before the Flood is flawless. With unparalleled direction from Academy Award winning film maker Fisher Stevens and camera work that needs to be seen to be believed, it really is a piece of film that you simply cannot take your eyes away from.

Following Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels across five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change first hand, the documentary takes you on expeditions with scientists working to reveal the reality of climate change, meetings with political leaders fighting inaction as well as the terrifying truth behind calculated disinformation campaigns led by some of the world’s most powerful figures to confuse the public about the urgency of the growing climate crisis.

It’s both frightening and inspiring in equal parts. The frank glimpse into the work being done to deny climate change is simply unbearable to accept. And yet the consistent campaigning and research to counteract that…

It’s hope. It’s something to cling on to.

Before the Flood is perfectly positioned regardless of your knowledge on climate change. And that is why I recommend it wholeheartedly.

If, like me, you need a reminder that change is possible and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: watch it.

If you think that one person can’t make a difference:watch it.

If you’ve been pulled into the “myth” analogy and need convincing that this issue is real and it is here: watch it.

Educate yourself. Drive yourself to make some simple changes in your life for the future of our world.

*The carbon emissions from Before The Flood were offset through a voluntary carbon tax. Learn how you can offset your own carbon emissions by going to CarboTax.org.