More like: “what the hell am I supposed to eat?” There are SO many diets, fads, tips, tricks, this is good, this is bad news reels out there it can be super overwhelming to find ANY kind of peace with what you’re putting in your body. Here’s my low down on What the Health and also a little Forks Over Knives for ya as well 🙂 Also check out my interview with 88.9 WERS on the vegan diet here.

[Educational disclaimer: why am I qualified? I’m a registered and licensed dietitian with two nutrition degrees (including a master’s) which means 6 years of nutrition schooling plus multiple internships in hospitals, rehabs, schools, community settings, nutrition research labs, and the like. I’ve also been a vegetarian since I was four. Appx. 30% of my clientele are vegans/vegetarians and I use evidence based clinical applications to help them be the healthiest vegans and vegetarians you’ve ever seen.]

The goal of these types of documentaries is to get you to sway a certain way (i.e. vegan for this one). So keep that in mind. My takeaway is this:

  1. Everyone SHOULD be educated about where your food comes from. Ignorance is not bliss. So I am grateful for these documentaries (somewhat) because it opens our eyes to our food culture, especially American factory farming which is a HUGE issue and has been for decades.
  2. DO NOT FEAR FOOD! Food is not the problem. HUMANS are the problem, and eating certain foods with a complete lack of moderation. (In the beginning of the 20th century – Americans each ate about 120 lb of meat annually, and in 2007 that number was an estimated 222 lb. In 1909 we ate 294 lb dairy, and in 2006 it climbed to a whopping 605 lb.) (Forks Over Knives)
  3. At the end of the day, what is most important is not forcing everyone to be vegan (this doesn’t work) but presenting the information and allowing people to make decisions that feel right for them. At Shanti Nutrition my goal is to help people find peace with their health. Whether that means following vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore diets. Because what brings about the most change is allowing people to find their own very best versions of themselves and sometimes nutrition can be that vehicle. Not hitting cheeseburgers out of people’s hands.
  4. Takeaways from the movies/research/data so that you can make a decision that works for you:
  • 40% of Americans are obese; 50% taking a prescription drug; 2.2 trillion dollars a year on healthcare which is 5x more than the defense budget (Forks over Knives)
  • America pays more per person for healthcare than any industrialized country in the world yet we are sicker than ever. “Theres no money in healthy people, and theres no money in dead people. The money is in the middle. People who are alive, sort of, but with one or more chronic conditions,” they explain. (Forks over Knives)
  • Statin drugs (for high cholesterol) makes up a 35 billion dollar industry, and stents make up a 5 billion dollar industry. Money is in drugs, treatments, surgeries, and keeping people just sick enough. (What the Health)
  • You hear all the time how when people eat right, exercise and take care of their bodies they come off all the drugs – SURPRISE! So then if this works, where are the TV ads for fruits and veggies? (What the Health)
  • The answer to that^^ is because Pharma supports your doctor, and Tyson sponsors the American Cancer Society. There is no money in healthy people, there is money in sick people. The organizations designed to prevent certain diseases and the doctors who care for us in our healthcare system are sponsored by the meat, dairy, pharmaceutical and processed food industry. Let that sink in.

^source: @galacticyardia

So my advice is to keep it simple. Reduce refined and processed foods as much as possible. Eat real food. If you do eat meat, choose the most locally sourced organic straight from the farmer versions as possible. This will reduce your antibiotic, toxin, parasite, fungal, bacteria exposure as much as possible. Most importantly, find a balance that brings YOU peace for YOUR body, no one else’s.

And if you wonder, “can I get enough protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet?” just google David Carter NFL or click here.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,

“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage.”

My personal food peace:

I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian (since I was four years old, read my full story here), I eat eggs from my mom’s chickens, organic local goat and sheep’s cheese when I can, and no cow’s milk products because I don’t tolerate it well. I have general guidelines but I don’t freak out if I’m at a restaurant and they don’t use organic eggs. The stress and anxiety that comes from obsessively following a “diet” can kill us sooner than eating non organic eggs will. So be educated, make informed decisions, and find peace. And if you need help along the way I’m here for you and won’t judge or shame or blame you 🙂 

In peace and health,

Lexy