Thursday, December 27, 2012
Film Review: Vegucated (2010)
I have been wanting to check out the documentary Vegucated for quite some time and lucky for me I was able to catch it streaming on Netflix! Vegucated is a documentary by writer/director/editor/narrator Marisa Miller Wolfson about three people from NYC with varied backgrounds who decide to try the vegan lifestyle for six weeks. You can check out the official synopsis written by Marisa Miller Wolfson below:
Vegucated is a guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it's all about. They have no idea that so much more than steak is at stake and that the planet's fate may fall on their plates. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. Before long, they find themselves risking everything to expose an industry they supported just weeks before. But can their convictions carry them through when times get tough? What about on family vacations fraught with skeptical step-dads, carnivorous cousins, and breakfast buffets? Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who are trying their darnedest to change in a culture that seems dead set against it.
The reason this documentary intrigued me was that it followed three regular meat-eating, dairy-swilling Americans that were pretty set in their ways and diets. It not only showed their amazing journey to truth, but it also shows how ignorant most people are about where their food comes from, the negative effect meat/dairy/egg consumption has on our bodies and the environment, how awful conditions are for farmed animals and the revelation that we don't need animal products in this day and age. I remember in my pre-vegan days when I was oblivious to the negative implications of my Standard American Diet (it is abbreviated to SAD for a reason) and only found out the horrible truth after proactively doing research myself.
The same happens to the three volunteers in the film...all three of them did not have any idea about the cruel factory farming practices that are standard for all animals raised for slaughter. The participants also learned about the detrimental effects factory farming of animals has on the environment as well as the positive effects a plant-based diet has on our health. Though more and more people are finally discovering the truth about SAD diets and adopting more plant-based diets, it still shocks me that most people are oblivious to the many problems of SAD diets. It's crazy how the meat and dairy industries have fed the public outright lies for so long!
The three volunteers started on their journey with a visit to Dr. Joel Fuhrman where their blood work, cholesterol and vital signs were checked. He also explained how a plant-based diet fulfills your body's nutritional needs better than a SAD diet. They were then introduced to vegan cuisine and went grocery shopping for vegan and "accidentally vegan" products. They were educated on factory farming (though no "hardcore" footage is seen, the images used in the film still made me cry), visited an animal sanctuary and a smaller farm and even attended a vegetarian conference where they learned more about a plant-based diet and listened to speakers like T. Colin Campbell (professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and co-author of The China Study) and Howard Lyman (ex-cattle rancher, director of the book and documentary Mad Cowboy and the book No More Bull).
Though they quickly took to veganism with ease, they also had to deal with hardships like cravings for animal products, eating vegan on vacation, family and friends that didn't understand their decision to go vegan as well as having to explain why eating/using animal products is not ethical or sustainable. I really felt for them while they went through these challenges, because those are all things that vegans do go through! For me, I really empathized with the college-aged girl named Tesla whose family and friends didn't understand her switch to veganism. I still have friends and family who just cannot fathom why I choose to eat compassionately and their inability to see my point of view gets me frustrated! I thought Tesla handled her family and friends really well and did a great job explaining veganism. I loved that she stuck to her guns even when a visiting cousin spouted off "what if..." scenarios to Tesla! No honey, hunting is not ethical either.
I loved seeing the process of the three volunteers and how just some simple education could get them to change their world view! I really think that if people would just listen and let themselves be educated about veganism that many would go vegan cold-turkey (like I did after learning about the horrible cruelties of factory farming). At the end of the study, all participant expressed their desire to continue living compassionately and it seems that most stuck to at least being "mostly" vegan. Huzzah!
I liked the different aspect of the documentary and how it focused on three regular people who accepted the "challenge" of going vegan. In the end, I think Vegucated proves how easy and how important it is for anyone and everyone to adopt a plant-based diet rather than a SAD diet.
Highly recommended for both vegans, the veg-curious and anyone that gives a sh*t about their health, compassion towards animals, the environment, the future of the earth and so on!
For more info, visit www.GetVegucated.com.