The popularity of becoming a vegan has rocketed in recent years as society begins to recognise the potential health benefits alongside the environmental and cruelty-free benefits.
With many books and TV shows covering the subject, and the mainstream press including vegan recipes in its Sunday supplements, it is no surprise there are also a growing number of documentaries about veganism.
We have watched dozens of films on the subject, but there are four that stand apart from the others, for a variety of reasons. Here are the four you should, no, MUST see!
Forks Over Knives
‘Forks Over Knives’ is a documentary exploring not just the health benefits of veganism as a diet, but also the possibility that such a diet could reduce or eliminate the risk of cancer, diabetes and more such ailments.
A controversial subject it may be, but this critically-acclaimed 96-minute 2011 film, directed by Lee Fulkerson, examines the subject thoroughly and offers some convincing evidence that removing meat and dairy from our diets may be of great benefit.
Reviews of the film comment on the sensible approach it takes to the subject – ‘Forks Over Knives’ refuses to insist that veganism is the way to go for everyone but poses the questions we need to ask – this documentary has undoubtedly influenced the way the human diet is now considered.
The Game Changers
A fascinating look at how diet across the world differs and is interpreted, ‘The Game Changers’ is a 112 minute journey with produce and star James Wilks – a major name in the vegan world and a former MMA professional – as he talks to elite athletes, professionals, and armed servicemen who follow a vegan diet, uncovering the benefits they feel and enhancing the benefits of eschewing meat and dairy products.
Lewis Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger share their views on the benefits of switching to a plant-based lifestyle and one of the world’s strongest men demonstrates that it’s not necessary to kills animals in order to be considered a king among men.
Wilks talks to many scientists who have researched the many benefits of plant-based diets and uncovers some important facts, making this one of the most essential vegan movies that you will ever see. A genuine must-watch for everyone who is already attempting a plant-based diet or has yet to be convinced.
The title of ‘Cowspiracy’ implies a humorous film, and while it is presented in a fashion that involves some light moments, this is a serious investigation into animal agriculture.
Producer and Director Kip Andersen is a well-known activist who, in this film, presents the problems involved with farming animals, including facts about the effect on the greenhouse gas problem that the extensive farming of cattle apparently presents.
Often shocking, frequently enlightening, there is a lot of interesting information in the film – and it has met with some controversial responses from the scientific and farming world – that is most certainly factual, yet the premise that we stop this sort of farming and save the world is a touch over the top. Nevertheless, this is an excellent film and will be of interest to everyone interested in sustainability.
What The Health
Another Kip Andersen film, ‘What the Health’ is produced by film star Joaquin Phoenix and – much like ‘Forks Over Knives’ – looks into the possibility of a plant-based diet being important in preventing and, somewhat controversially, possibly curing the likes of cancer and other diseases. It also explores the how diet and disease are closely related, while also considering the industries that have vested interests in how we, as consumers, behave.
Interesting and well-presented, there are some contentious points in this film yet that does not make it eminently watchable, informative and surprisingly entertaining at the same time.
What The Health is free to watch with a Netflix subscription or it can be purchased from Amazon. There is also a popular ‘What The Health’ book that reveals the startling truth behind the foods we eat and suggests ways to improve our diet with some very practical ways to do so.
2021 Update: Seaspiracy
Produced by Kip Anderson as a follow-up to the ground-breaking documentary, Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy looks at the plight of the world's oceans. From the well-publicised damage being done by plastics and over-fishing to some truly-shocking events that will open your eyes and change your view of the world's prospects forever.
The 90 minute documentary is available to watch on Netflix and you can watch the trailer below: