Okay, so it’s actually Thursday by the time I’m getting this up because it ended up being a little bit more of an undertaking than I intended. This is definitely a topic that I could talk about for forever, but I had to try and find a way to write about it without boring y’all lol. This was initially supposed to be more of a review over the documentary What the Health, but after struggling through the first half of the film I finally made it to the part that I could actually get on board with. I’ll precursor this post too by saying that documentaries are stressful and they need footnotes. I need to see the research they’re looking at for myself lol
I started watching this film when it came out in 2017 and I couldn’t get past the first half because I was so bewildered by what the medical professionals featured on this film were trying to say and all the fear-tactics they used, I had to shut it off.
I’m far from being a clinical researcher or doctor, but they certainly say some things that get you scratching your head, especially about diabetes – Dr. Neal Barnard goes into the belief that fat actually causes diabetes and not carbs. Dr. Garth David continues to backup this idea by saying “this idea that carbs make you fat is utterly ridiculous.”
I’m by no means an expert on diabetes, and there is still so much about it we don’t know, but these statements were enough to trigger me into some research before I could proceed with this documentary any further. Luckily the research helped alleviate some of my anger and confusion with this film. I found a video of Dr. Garth David himself “schooling” a What the Health critic where he went into more depth regarding this idea that “fat causes diabetes.” According to David, there is research that shows that fat in the muscle cells (intramyocellular fat, to be technical) inhibits the muscle cell’s ability to create insulin receptors which causes the insulin resistance we see in Type 2 Diabetes. This fat storage is triggered by the high fat, high sugar diets we as Americans know and love a little too well.
Again, I’m not a professional and I could spend weeks trying to dig up study after study to try and backup what he’s saying or come up with something against it. But seeing this video (which I’ll link here) helped me see where they were coming from and what they’re trying to get at. I think my biggest complaint about the documentary at this point is that they do a very poor job executing the lesson they’re trying to educate viewers about. I had to do a lot of outside research to understand the science behind what they were saying. There are still a lot of health professionals or those educated on human physiology that cringe at the idea of Dr. Barnard and Dr. David definitively saying “fat causes diabetes.”
But I digress. They continue on to talk not only about diabetes, but cancer and heart disease as well, which I didn’t have as hard of a time jumping on board with. If you’re fairly well versed in health, it’s pretty well known that cholesterol plays a significant role in heart disease, and cholesterol is most commonly found in animal products and byproducts. And there are several tesitmonies of people who implemented plant-based, alkaline diets and saw their cancer reversed. People get to come off medications they’ve been on for years on end; people gaining freedom from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, even cancer. It’s really incredible. Read some testimonies for yourself here! Even after being a part of Arbonne for a year, I’ve seen testimonies left and right about how the program helped ease people into this lifestyle change and lose weight and reverse chronic diseases.
During my time with Arbonne and doing the 30 Days to Healthy Living program I’ve come to have an appreciation and understanding of how plant-based diets work. I use nut milks (specifically almond or coconut, I don’t consume soy), and I avoid dairy like yogurt and cheese where I can – although I can admit that cheese is the hard thing to cut out. I also avoid gluten and refined sugars. If I buy meat, I try and buy better quality meat (although What the Health claims there’s no such thing). In recent years I’ve tried to be very conscious of the hormones and antibiotics that go into animal products and byproducts and challenge myself to think about how they could effect me if I consume them on a regular basis.
I am a firm believer that what we eat has the ability to heal us or make us sick – and in our current healthcare system, it’s more common to think manipulating the symptoms with medications is the answer than fixing the problem at its source. If you’re like me and respond to numbers, here’s one that really puts it into perspective:
“chronic diseases account for 75% of the $2.2 trillion we spend on healthcare each year in the U.S.” (Fighting Chronic Disease)
Could you image how different our country would be if we had a prevention-based mindset than pharmaceutical quick-fix one? I truly hope I live to see the day that we have a true wake up call regarding nutrition and how we approach health + healthcare.
I’ve never been one to quite have the strength to go completely plant-based, but I’ve noticed that when I succumb to a less-than-healthier way of eating, my diets consist of junk + fast foods and foods with little nutritious value. I consume a lot of cholesterol, but not enough fiber (critical in helping maintain healthy cholesterol levels). I’m always so concerned with having a hearty, protein-focused meals that I hardly get any fruits and vegetables. I used to think that if you don’t have meat, you’ll struggle to get protein. Since joining Arbonne I’ve been able to knock that stereotype down. I use vegan protein daily, and have learned to stock my meals full of quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, chia seeds, and protein-rich vegetables like kale to get what I need throughout the day. I air on the side of limited animal sources versus cutting it out completely, and I truly believe as a result, I feel better for it.
If you want to read more about the research behind plant based diets, I’ve linked some articles for you to check out:
- Nutrition 2018: New data confirm health benefits of plant-based diet
- Vegging out: The truth about plant-based diets
- Plant-based diets: Are they nutritionally complete?
- Healthy Plant-Based Diet: What Does it Really Mean?
- plantbasedonabudget.com (not an article, but perfect for if you’re looking to try starting a plant-based diet!)
This is one of those topics that could be expanded on for forever. All I can say is that I personally have shifted my diet to a more plant-based style of eating have have noticed a significant impact on my mood + mental health, bloating, weight loss, joint pain, and energy levels – just to name a few. Is meat worthy of being as demonized as it was in What the Health? Maybe not entirely, but I do have to say that they’re onto something.