My biggest take-away and realization from watching the documentary “H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters” is that the cure for disease is in our diet, not in conventional medicine. Additionally, It is more sustainable to eat a plant based diet in comparison to a meat based diet. After watching “H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters” recently and “What The Health” in the past, I find it somewhat comical but also frustrating that conventional medicine is seen as the logical cure for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
It is comical because some people think that what you eat has little to do with diseases acquired later in life, and people believe that medicine is the best way to deal with disease. It is frustrating that people are unable to open their eyes and see that food can be a sort of medicine if consumed correctly but it can also be poison if consumed incorrectly.
In summary, this film talks about the negative impacts, on the environment and on the human body, of consuming products that come from animals such as dairy and meat.
The film explains the science behind their claims and presents an opinion using multiple real life stories of people affected by eating a heavily meat based diet. The documentary begins by attempting to make you feel guilty for eating meat. It does a good job of casting a shadow on the meat industry and it points out all the negative effects of eating meat.
The graphic images and videos of the horrific conditions at slaughterhouses makes you feel bad that you eat meat and it also likely makes you slightly disgusted by the thought of eating dirty, sick animals.
The film then goes on to talk about consumption of meat throughout history and offers statistics about how increased consumption of meat products is adversely affecting today’s society more so than previously. Sprinkled throughout the film are stories of people who had suffered from numerous debilitating diseases, until they restructured their diet to be plant based. Additionally, the film shows the almost immediate effect of switching from a meat based diet to a plant based diet. In many cases, chronic diseases have disappeared and the diet change is believed to be the main reason for the persons drastic change in health. Finally, the documentary ends on a slightly more positive note by saying that each and every person matters and can make a difference in the world. All hope is not lost, something can be done to change the current system that is in place.
I do believe there is a lot of truth behind the claims presented in this film, but I do not agree with all of the reasoning behind the opinion that a strict plant based diet is superior to a diet that includes meat. My first disagreement with the opinion of the film-makers is about the severity of eating meat. The film uses a false dichotomy by implying that any amount of meat based products in your diet will cause disease later in life. Additionally, the film implies that everyone should aim to be 100% plant based, which is an impossible expectation. Another issue with the films reasoning, is when the film blatantly implies that God wants us to follow a plant based diet. A man was featured in the film for having heart problems for much of his adult life until he stopped eating meat products.
This man claims that he looked to God for guidance and that it was God who pointed him in the direction of a plant based diet. It is ridiculous to make a connection between God and a plant based diet and I believe that the film used this example to unfairly sway religious people to believing that God is in favor of plant based diets. Lastly, the film decided not to talk about lifestyle choices and other factors that also could lead to disease. Lifestyle choices such as lack of daily exercise can be just as detrimental to one’s health as eating meat occasionally can be. It seems as if the film-makers have tunnel vision and put the full blame of chronic diseases on ones diet, when in reality, diet in conjunction with other factors likely lead to disease.
With all of that being said, it is also worth noting the things that the filmmakers did a good job of. The film does a good job of sharing the perspectives of multiple credible people from different cultures, fields of study, and backgrounds. Doctors from a variety of fields, farmers, former slaughterhouse workers and people affected by poor diet choices provided the film with trustworthy opinions on the topic. Additionally, I found it especially helpful to be shown visuals such as how arteries become clogged over a long period of time. Other visuals such as the horrifying conditions that pigs, chickens, and cows live in while in slaughterhouses will leave an impression that will not be forgotten anytime soon. These visuals have likely been helpful for a lot of people when forming an opinion about something because it is hard to get behind a movement that you cannot see in your mind.
In conclusion, the film has convinced me to cut back on my animal product consumption, but due to multiple logical fallacies and subjective beliefs presented in the film, I will not completely follow the recommended diet that the film suggests. I do think that these films do a great job of scaring people into eating a more sustainable and healthy diet and I hope that much more research is done so that more documentaries can be released on this topic. These documentaries are a good way to get the ball rolling for some people so that they can start to be conscientious of their dietary choices. All in all, I would recommend this documentary to anyone that asks for my opinion and I am glad that I watched it.