Are you easily influenced? Do you believe everything that you see? If so, you should avoid What The Health like the plague as you will never eat again. For those of us who don’t fall into that category and have same amount of common sense, you should probably avoid it too.
What The Health is from the same people that bought us Cowspiracy, that is Keegan Kuhn and Kip Andersen.
Now, Kip is front and centre in What The Health which, from the get-go, is a no-holds barred attack on every food that isn’t plant-based. Eggs, red meat, processed meat, milk, you get the idea.
In the beginning, and probably as I’ve not seen Cowspiracy, I was finding it shocking, it’s a barrage of stats thrown at you at a thousand miles per hour, this is most likely so you don’t think too hard about any of them.
It was, after about 20 or 30 minutes, when I started to ask questions and notice some strange goings on in What The Health, that the whole thing started to fall down.
Now, before I get into that, Kip has an annoying habit (which Michael Moore also does) of ringing companies up and asking the person that answers the phone, who will most likely be a volunteer or a customer service rep, about why they are recommending red meat, for example.
As if that person would have any idea how to answer that question! But, of course, Kip expects everyone to know anything and how shocking it is that they don’t. It would be like me ringing up my local Pizza Hut and asking them how the AGM went and what decisions have been taken…
Even when he does eventually get an interview with someone, from the American Diabetes Association in this instance, he again starts asking them about the meals listed on the website. He doesn’t appear to have told them what the interview will be about
The man, MD Dr Robert Ratner, doesn’t want to answer these questions stating that he’s not the right person to talk about that. This is probably true, I have spent my life creating websites for businesses large and small and very rarely do I deal with the MD.
Kip however, decides to link this ‘strange and erratic’ behaviour to who gives the ADA money, some large food producers such as Dannone. He claims to have found this by Googling ‘American Diabetes Association Sponsors’.
You too can do this and see that one product from Dannone sponsors them, along with a plus size clothes store, foot care products and more that, unsurprisingly, aren’t mentioned.
That’s not where I started to ask questions though. No, it was when he started to talk about pollution and how this pollution can go from the ground, into the cow as it’s eats the grass and then into us as we eat the cow.
I was with all that, I was on board, but that was then the end of that segment and we’d moved on to something else. Hang on, I thought. What about vegetables grown in that same ground? Never mentioned. Strange I thought.
Or when he’s talking to residents of a town about pollution from the nearby factories. Ok, sorry about that, obviously awful, but…did you move there knowing the factories existed or did they come afterwards? Because…if it’s the former, that’s like those people who move into flats near nightclubs and then complain about the noise…May well be the latter, but it’s never asked.
Kip goes on to talk to a plethora of ‘medical experts’ who talk about the dangers of meat and dairy and all that kind of stuff. However, he never asks them if they eat meat, or dairy, or eggs. Which is odd, surely if someone is so against it you’d ask, right? As they of course would avoid it…hmmm.
My biggest beef (pun intended) is that Kip tries his best to say that all this research he’s found, all these stats are true and real. Yet fails to say that both he and fellow director Kuhn, describe themselves as ‘vegan environmental activists’.
Look, What The Health should have come out and say exactly what it is. A film to promote veganism. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s absolutely fine. What’s not fine, is to say you’ve created something that’s shocking and that health organisations don’t want you to see. You haven’t. You’ve created a film to promote veganism. Just say so.
Because of this, the whole film crashes around your ears. In the beginning the film talks about the confusion that is around with regards to health and what we should and shouldn’t be eating. This is true, but this film just adds to it in ways that are just as bad as any of the ones mentioned in it.
I’ve no doubt that some of the elements in the film are true. We know it’s true that the meat industry is incredibly bad for the environment for example. It uses a tremendous amount of water and the waste, from the animals and the dead animals, is horrible.
But in such a one-sided documentary, those of us who aren’t PETA members, or vegan, will simply tune out, and that’s not good for anyone.