Friday, February 15, 2013


Last time I blogged about a documentary I mentioned I had a couple more on my list to watch.  I am happy to report: mission accomplished last weekend. Saturday to be exact.  I like to call it utilizing my resources, but really I was a bum.  I managed to watch two documentaries, the K-State basketball game, and Taken 2.  I did fit a walk with my Dad in there and I made some salsa so I wasn't totally useless.  Just mostly useless.  If you look though, half of the television viewing consisted of documentaries, which is basically like being in school. Right?  

I wasn't kidding when I said I needed to utilize my resources while I could.  I was in Kansas City for the weekend and my brother was in town from Houston.  Said brother has Netflix and he was leaving town on Sunday.  You see, I really had no choice but to sit and watch hours of television taking advantage of his Netflix account.

First up, was Vegucated.  I have to be honest...I liked it, I didn't love it.  I would definitely recommend it to people to watch as it's very insightful.  So, just because I'm not over the moon about it doesn't mean I'm saying you shouldn't take the hour and a half to see if for yourself.  It will be time well spent and you will learn some things.  

From their website, here's the synopsis:

Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. This entertaining documentary showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who discover they can change the world one bite at a time.
Marisa Miller Wolfson put an ad on Craigslist to find the three New Yorkers to go vegan for six weeks.  She found Ellen-a doctor, Tesla-a college student, and Brian-a bartender.  All three of them adopted a vegan diet and found it pretty difficult.  I found following their six weeks was quite entertaining. 
Here's what I liked about it and found interesting:
  • All of their taste buds changed some during the six weeks.  They tried new vegetables and fruits they had never had before and found out they ended up liking many of them. 
  • This documentary states that America's demand for protein is so large we can't keep up with it the natural way.  I liked this statement because sometimes we blame the farmers and the large manufacturer's of meat for their unhealthy and unnatural meat.  However, due to the amount of meat consumption in the U.S. they aren't left with much alternative.
  • Tesla has the hardest time going vegan because she lives at home and she hates not being able to eat with her family.  She states, "It's not a good thing if everyone around you isn't vegan."  I think there is so much truth to that statement; it's hard if you're not cooking the food for yourself or if you go to some one's house.  I think this documentary was very honest.  It shows it is extremely difficult to go vegan in an animal protein obsessed culture.  I appreciated the honesty.
  • If you've seen anything about the way the animals are treated you know it's horrible.  With the risk of losing a few of you animal lover readers I'll go ahead and say it: I don't like animals.  I mean, really don't like them.  I tell you this, because I'm one of those people who can't be convinced to give up meat because of the way animals are treated.  And, now that you all think I'm a horrible person I'll get to my point.  I've seen videos and images showing how animals are treated, but it never really got to me.  I was more concerned with how poorly they were treated in terms of not being fed right, being shot up with growth hormones and having no space to roam and therefore, resulting in a lesser product on my plate.  However, Vegucated managed to pull on my heart a smidgen.  I've said for years every time I pull out a chicken breast and see it's almost as big as my head-there's no way that's normal.  I never really thought about the state of the chicken, I always thought of myself and the hormones I must be ingesting from this piece of meat equal to three servings.  Vegucated shows a chicken whose top half is so overgrown and large it can't even stand on it's feet.  It is top heavy and just lays like that all day.  For a split second I felt sorry for that chicken.  Then, the old me came back.  Is that really the meat I want to eat?  If you ask me why I rarely eat meat, my answer is I don't trust where it came from, what the animal ate, or what hormones it was injected with.  (Don't be too discouraged...there's more and more options out there as more awareness is brought to this.  For a higher price, you can find good, quality, hormone free meat.  For me, it's come down to what I mentioned above.  Just like the three participants taste buds changed, mine have too.  Even when I fork over the extra money and buy quality, trusted chicken breasts it doesn't taste good to me.  I'm just used to not eating it and I don't feel deprived at all.)  Vegucated does an excellent job of digging deeper and showing the production side of animal products.  It really is an eye opener.
  • Vegucated really motivated me to find local products.  I've never liked milk.  In fact, it really, really, bothers my stomach.  However, if I was a milk lover I wouldn't be anymore.  One discussion in this documentary tells of the abnormal amount of milk the cows are forced to produce to keep up.  They get infections and just keep on going and therefore, puss is found in a lot of our milk.  Go ahead and let that sink in.  Yuck.  Gross.  Disgusting.  Etc.  Now, not only do I need a chicken, I need a cow too!  (For Josh, not me, silly)
Thing I didn't like/don't agree with:
  • Everyone has their opinions on how to eat. (Just call me Captain Obvious!) In this documentary, Marisa shows some items that are vegan and introduce the three participants to vegan cheese, vegan "meat", etc.  This is where I have some hesitations.  Now, I understand they were going vegan cold turkey and she was trying to make the transition as smooth as possible.  However, when you look at a package of vegan cheese or soy crumbles there are a TON of ingredients.  I love, love, love Michael Pollan's books and completely agree with his book, Food Rules.  In my post on this I show a picture of some of his rules, one of them stating: Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.  Personally, I would rather eat an all natural, organic, hormone free chicken breast, than a fake soy "chicken" strip with many ingredients, with tons of them I can't even pronounce.  (Furthermore, many soy products are genetically modified.  I'll save that for another post, and I'm all for some soy products, but you have to be careful.)
  • These three volunteers were all hoping to lose weight.  Although Ellen lost about 10 pounds, the other two did not lose a significant amount of weight.  (Although all of their blood pressure did go down.)  I'm guessing this is because Marisa showed them Oreos are vegan. Again, I know she was trying to help them stick with their vegan lifestyle, and I know a couple Oreos never hurt anybody, but I do think it proves just because you go vegetarian or vegan it doesn't mean you'll lose weight.  You still MUST look at the ingredients.
In conclusion I found this documentary very interesting and insightful.  Did I agree with everything?  No.  Did it convince me to go vegan?  Not even close.  Is it worth watching?  ABSOLUTELY.  I think Marisa's point is that if America keeps up with their animal protein consumption at this rate, there's no way it can be done humanely or safely for consumption.  I am a huge believer that American's eat way too much animal protein and can cut back a ton and that will make a difference.  Perhaps you could consider going vegetarian one day a week. Anyone? Meatless Mondays are super fun! 
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