In the age of binge-watching, it’s no surprise that a Netflix show can trigger a wave of lifestyle changes. Recently, ‘You Are What You Eat’ has been making waves, sparking conversations about health, diets, and the impact of the media on our choices. As I delve into my own journey with food and health, I can’t help but reflect on the influence of documentaries and health trends on our eating habits.
A few years ago, I found myself on a health crusade, inspired by the plethora of health documentaries available on Netflix. From ‘Cowspiracy’ to ‘What The Health,’ I immersed myself in a sea of nutritional information, hoping to discover the ultimate diet that would make me feel invincible. The result? I became a whirlwind of health food activities – soaking pulses, chugging apple cider vinegar, fermenting anything I could get my hands on, and swimming in an ocean of coconut oil.
However, my enthusiasm for this newfound lifestyle had unintended consequences. I transformed into a self-righteous health crusader, and the stress of maintaining such a strict regime took a toll not just on me but on those around me as well. It was a valuable lesson about the importance of balance and considering the context of our choices.
Now, with ‘You Are What You Eat’ sparking discussions on veganism, I can’t help but draw parallels to my own experience. While I have no qualms with individuals choosing veganism for ethical reasons or as a lifestyle choice, I do take issue with documentaries that push a single narrative about what constitutes a ‘healthy’ diet.
Veganism, like any other diet, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It may not be the perfect fit for everyone, especially those who may struggle with eating disorders. It’s crucial to be mindful of the information we consume and approach it with a pinch of salt – quite literally!
One valuable piece of advice I received during my health journey was to consider ‘context’ in everything. Yes, there is research linking processed meat with cancer, but context is key. The lifestyle, overall diet, and other habits of an individual play a significant role. One person’s diet high in processed meats may be coupled with smoking, drinking, and a sedentary lifestyle, while another person might enjoy processed meats in moderation, alongside a variety of whole foods, and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.
Often, we absorb information presented to us as absolute truths without considering the broader context – such as the idea that consuming processed meat will inevitably lead to cancer. What we miss is the bigger picture. Increasing the intake of whole foods and fibre is undoubtedly crucial, but we must also be mindful of the non-food factors we ‘consume,’ like the media we watch and the narratives we unquestioningly accept.
The importance of a balanced, informed approach to our plates and minds cannot be overstated. I invite you to join the conversation. Have you watched ‘You Are What You Eat’ or any other health documentaries? How have they influenced your eating habits? Let’s share our experiences and perspectives, helping each other find a balanced, informed approach to what we put on our plates and in our minds.