Recently, Vegan Wall created an online post which showed three easy steps to go fully vegan in 4.5 hours. The directions were to watch the following documentaries in this specific order:
Forks Over Knives (for health)
Cowspiracy (for environment)
Earthlings (for ethics)
At the end of the post it reads, “Congratulations a whole new universe awaits you…” I laughed because the information presented in these films is also what manifested a paradigm shift inside me. I could no longer indulge my taste buds with animal-based foods after knowing how much damage animal product industries do on both an individual and a global level.
Becoming vegan is pretty straight forward. The path to a healthful vegan lifestyle can be easily attained by following the steps described on the Vegan Wall. A summary of these steps is as follows:
Step One: Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates had a very basic yet profound philosophy on health: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The idea of food being used for disease prevention and healing purposes was brought to life in the documentary Forks Over Knives.
The film followed the journey of actual patients suffering from heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Doctors of Medicine Matt Lederman and Alona Pulde treat their patients by transitioning them onto a whole foods- and plant-based diet. Before and after blood panels revealed that removing meat, dairy and processed food consumption relieved all patients of previous chronic illnesses and eliminated any need for previously prescribed pharmaceutical medications. This movie also explores the global scientific studies of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, who separately discovered that a low-fat vegan diet can prevent and improve many health ailments.
Step Two: Filmmaker and environmentalist Kip Andersen investigates the most devastating industry on the planet in the documentary Cowspiracy. Their website’s “About” page explains, “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, and is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry. It is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean ‘dead zones’ and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”
Anderson brought astounding scientific evidence to government officials who all seemed to be well educated on these issues, yet they deliberately refused to talk about or do anything to resolve the concerns. Animal agriculture is also a big money maker; following cash flow discloses that the government gives a generous helping of cash annually. PETA’s article “10 Things We Wish Everyone Knew About the Meat and Dairy Industries” by author David Robinson Simon discloses, “The American government spends $38 billion each year to subsidize the meat and dairy industries, but only 0.04 percent of that (approx $17 million) each year to subsidize fruits and vegetables.”
The evidence in Forks Over Knives exposed that animal products do not support healthy lives, yet the government supports the meat and dairy industries. Is there some sort of business agreement between animal agriculture and government officials to keep profits growing? Ultimately, the consumption of animal-based foods leads to illnesses and floods into the health industry which is yet another leading profitable enterprise. I believe that Bill Maher said it best back in 2007 on the show “Real Time”: “There’s no money in healthy people and there is no money in dead people. The money is in the middle: people who are alive, sort of, but with one or more chronic conditions.”
Step three: Earthlings may be the most disturbing film that I have ever seen. Its visuals and information are incredibly overwhelming. The movie is narrated by Golden Globes winner Joaquin Phoenix and filled with gruesome hidden camera footage from puppy mills, dairy farms, slaughterhouses, science labs and inside the leather and fur factories. What makes this film so powerful is that it merely documents the conditions animals have to endure in order to supply humans with modern conveniences and impulses.
I will spare you the gory details, but just know that if a human did this to another human, they would be sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, rape, murder, and torture. Earthlings will force you to rethink your relationship and co-existence with animals. The correlation between racism, sexism and speciesism becomes apparent with the insightful film narrative: “We are all animals of this planet. We are all creatures. And nonhuman animals experience pain sensations just like we do. They too, are strong, intelligent, industrious, mobile and evolutional. They too are capable of growth and adaptation. Like us, firsthand foremost, they are earthlings. And like us, they are surviving. Like us they also seek their own comfort rather than discomfort. And like us they express degrees of emotion, they are alive.”
When I started doing research on health and nutrition, it was solely for selfish reasons as I wanted to feel better and recover from stage 3 ovarian cancer. But over the years I was led down a rabbit hole of knowledge which altered my beliefs. I cannot support industries that cause harm and suffering to innocent creatures. In my opinion, the products made from animals are completely unnecessary. Removing animal-based products from the market not only helps each of us with personal health but also improves the environment and creates a more peaceful way of life for all living beings on Earth.
By Sarah Woodward, founder of Tone That Fat
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