Written and directed by
Marisa Miller Wolfson
Brian, Tesla and Ellen agree to try a vegan diet for six weeks. One of the first steps is to go through a battery of tests administered by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Shortly after that, there is a trip to the grocery store to shop for vegan food. Since this exercise can result in a lot of wrinkled noses and looks of distaste, something must be done to keep the test subjects from fleeing. The would-be vegans are tantalized with goodies like Oreos, Teddy Grahams, cookies, and Aunt Jemima pancakes. Apparently ingredients like trans fat, soybean oil, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, and other chemicals can be part of a healthy vegan diet. The Aunt Jemima box shows a square of butter melting on the pancakes. I guess they carefully ignore that image or assume it is margarine. . . . because trans fat is okay. Later the new converts go looking for vegan or vegetarian shoes.
Tesla, originally from Honduras where they like their meat, has the hardest time adapting to the diet. In the long run she is not able to stay fully vegan. Brian sounds a little uncertain whether he can stick with it when asked at the end. Ellen seems to be all right with it, at least on film. Ellen is a part-time comedian who likes to joke about being the love-child of Mick Jagger and Carol Burnett. That’s funny because she really does look like a cross between Mick and Carol. In a way, a vegan diet can be kind of funny. Maybe that appealed to her sense of humor.
There is some discussion in the video of human health aspects, but more time is spent looking at animal abuse on factory farms. That seems to be the prime motivator in this video. Some scenes are very gruesome. When it comes to the atrocities of factory farming I am in complete agreement with the vegans. That’s about all I agree with them about. They don’t want to talk about small, humane farms, which do exist and demonstrate that humane animal farming can be successful for all concerned.
As far as human health issues, I’ve found that studies show whatever you want them to show. Until you know who performed them, who paid for them, and what their agenda is, the words “studies show…” are not enough to confer legitimacy by themselves. It is also absolutely necessary for history to have a voice in the final conclusion. You have to look at what kind of nutrition has kept people healthy over the long run, not for a few years or even for a few decades. Without historical perspective, the job is not done. Thumbs DOWN.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2013.