The Science Behind It

How To: Plant Based Eating in Boise, Idaho

Videos and documentaries that impart scientific, anecdotal and visual concepts quickly and in a memorable way are a fantastic way to launch into the whole food plant based lifestyle.  I have listed them in the order of importance, in my opinion.  I have also listed them by three topics:  suitable for family viewing, adults or older teens and animal activist (graphic).  At this time, they are grouped by the service carrying the content.  Green print contains viewer warnings for young audiences.


  1. NEWEST, just added to Netflix after a few days in theaters, “The Gamechangers”, now nicknamed “The Manchangers”.

Very focused on elite athletes who are now getting a competitive edge by changing to vegan lifestyle.  There are a few swear words thrown in here and there and a ‘penis segment’ that is maybe not for young kids.  There isn’t any animal violence, altho the MMA wrestling/fighting sequences were pretty bloody with fighter violence.

  1. Forks Over Knives 2011, 1 hr. 36 min.  “According to the research of two food scientists, the popularity of processed foods has led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases.”

In a unique and powerful meeting of research and clinical science, this documentary includes ‘The China Study’ science done by Dr. Colin T. Campbell, PhD and the work by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, with cardiac patients.  Esselstyn’s cardiac study with 18 patients whose cardiac disease was reversed was published in 1995.  All 18 patients, many of whom were told to ‘get your affairs in order, go home to die’, survived the initial 12 years of the study, and in 2011 14 patients were still alive, two decades after the study began.

  1. What The Health? 2017, 1 hr. 32 min. “This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries.”  (A follow-up to the 2014 Leonardo DeCaprio-backed documentary feature, “Cowspiracy:The Sustainable Secret.”)

Excellent content in an occasionally annoying format where the man verbally assaults receptionists over the phone and in person, asking questions they can’t answer….and he wonders why nobody from the government or food industries will return his calls.  Includes Dr. Michael Klaper, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Garth Davis, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Greger.  Excellent graphics explain concepts like the complex connection of meat/dairy/eggs = diabetes.

  1. Cowspiracy, 2014, 1 hr. 30 min. “Learn how factory farming is decimating the planet’s natural resources—and why this crisis has been largely ignored by major environmental groups.”

Same guy as in ‘What The Health?’ this documentary starts with Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.  The principle character questions why the science that points to methane (animal-produced) tremendous impact and contribution to greenhouse gasses is ignored by all major environmental groups.  His hypothesis is that the victim/perpetrator mentality keeps funding rolling into Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc. and avoids pissing off more people who might donate.  Animal agriculture is a powerful lobby.

Dairy cattle footage, with violence, starts at 48:05 followed by elephant slaughter, then wild horses from 52:10-55:18.

Duck killing in the presence of children starts at 1:08:40 to 1:11:49.  Not young child-friendly film.

  1. Fed Up 2014, 1 hr. 35 min. “’Fed Up’ blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and exercise, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry—aided by the US government to mislead and confuse the American public.”

Good pieces on the history of US food policy, obese kids.  When fat was villainized and removed from the American diet, sugar replaced it.  Good comparisons of cost of processed foods vs whole foods.

  1. Food As Medicine, 2016, 1 hr. 26 min. “’Food As Medicine’ is a documentary film that follows the growing movement of using food to heal chronic illness and disease.’

Dr. Terry Wahls, MD, a physician with MS goes from wheelchair to riding her bike 18 miles with her family.  Anecdotal patients in Tigard, Oregon, a nanny in Bend, OR and an artist in Portland, OR.

  1. Hungry For Change, 2012, 1 hr. 29 min. “Exposes shocking secrets of the diet, weight loss and food industries don’t want you to know about deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what’s keeping you from having the body and health you deserve.”

Being overfed but starved for nutrients is well explained.  Includes filmmaker Kris Carr ‘Crazy Sexy Cancer’.  Includes all the names that MSG goes by in food labeling, which is in 80% of processed foods.  An interesting study of MSG fat-induced mice.  Diet sodas and aspartame toxicity discussed, including the formaldehyde that forms in the brain.  Large juicing component, with the ‘better fast juicing than fast food’ comment.

  1. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, 2010, 1 hr. 37 min. “Morbidly obese Joe Cross endeavors to drink only fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days in an effort to lose weight, reboot his health, and inspire others along the way.”

Juicing is the focus of this documentary, but it is still worth watching for the dramatic disease reversal and a hard look at SAD (Standard American Diet) by an Australian.

  1. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2, 2014, 1 hr. 29 min. “In Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2, Joe travels around the world and meets experts who present viable strategies to make and maintain long-term improvements to eating behaviors and overall health.”

More information on the dramatic disease reversal and a hard look at SAD (Standard American Diet).

  1. Eating You Alive, 2018, 1 hr. 48 min. (Purchase only)  “’Eating You Alive’ addresses why 30.4 million people die each year and provides evidence based science, expert testimony and inspirational stories of disease reversal and a discovery that can cure our top killer disease.”

Drs. Campbell, Ornish, Drs. Greger, Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller), producer James Cameron, actor Samuel L. Jackson, John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, Neal Barnard, Doug Lisle.  Many before/after people’s personal stories.  One of my favorite science-based documentaries, with lots of cancer reversal stories and hope.  Children would find this to be rather dry but so encouraging for adults.

Animal abuse warning, from 1:18:09 to 1:19:41

Global concerns, from 1:19:41 to 1:21:59

Recipes demonstrated in the last part of the film are favorite WFPB comfort foods.

  1. Is Sugar The New Fat? 2016, 43 min. “Obesity is a disease that is spreading rapidly throughout the world, in both rich and poor countries. We used to think a high fat diet was to blame.  In fact, refined sugar is linked to many preventable illnesses from childhood dental problems to diabetes, liver problems, stroke, heart attack, impaired brain function and obesity.  This film argues that sugar is at the root of a global health crisis.”

This New Zealand film features Prof. Dr. Robert Lustig, shows all the sugar put in processed foods, even in unexpected places like tuna, mayo, etc.  “Oh God” response several times may offend.  Sugar is a cheap substitute for fat and increases sales.  No downside for food industry.  Costs of chronic disease discussed.  High sugar intake leads to higher triglycerides and sticky blood.  Huge piece on babies having teeth removed due to decay.  Squeemish bit from 24:56 to 26:56, an excruciating 2 minutes at dentist.  Again from 42:12 to 42:35.

  1. That Sugar Film, 2015, 1 hr. 42 min. “In the vein of ‘Supersize Me’, Damon Gameau becomes a human guinea pig when he puts himself through a grueling 6 week diet consuming the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day.”

Australian film, fun ‘talking labels’, good shelf visuals for kids as well as other kid-friendly visuals like ‘sand paintings’.  But guy in his orange underwear showing his weight gain over the 6 weeks.

Naked aborigines start at 35:22 to 35:50, cooking dead kangaroos on fire.

Mobile dentist in Kentucky, in Appalachian Mtns.  A 17-year old getting bloody painful dental extractions from 52:23 to 54.

Brain studies at an Oregon research facility are fascinating.  This film really shows how sugar increases triglycerides.  Basically Keto is what he returned to after the experiment.

  1. Foods That Cure Disease, 2018, 4 hr. 16 min. “Over 4 hours of crucial video.  Diagnosed with high cholesterol, Craig McMahon took control of his health and beat his genetic fate by consuming a whole plant-based diet inspired by Drs. Campbell, Esselstyn, Greger and McDougall.  Certified by Cornell in Plant Nutrition, Craig asks experts hard science questions and creates delicious healthy meals in his kitchen based from years of research.”

Good, long, science interspersed with cooking demonstrations.

  1. In Defense of Food, 2015, 1 hr. 55 min. (Rent $2.99, buy $5.99)  “’Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants’.  With those seven words, journalist Michael Pollan distills a career’s worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people’s health by today’s industrially-driven Western diet.  Pollan offers a clear answer to one of the most urgent questions of our time:  What should I eat to be health?”  (I watched this quite awhile ago but don’t own it and don’t have viewer notes)
  2. Widowmaker, 2015, 1 hr. 35 min. “Four million Americans dead.  And they need not be.  The Widowmaker uncovers a chilling tale of greed, ego, and a conspiracy of silence around that most vulnerable of human organs-the heart.”

Anyone on statins, with a family history of coronary artery disease or currently under the care of a cardiologist should watch this film, just to be informed.  Yes, there is open heart surgery, blood and tragic stories of personal loss, but it should not deter anyone from having this knowledge in their head.

Surgeries throughout the film, but integral to the content, not gratuitous.

  1. Fork Your Diet, 2019, 1 hr. 46 min. (Not WFPB) “To prove its never too late, Fork Your Diet, with wellness physicians Drs. Mark and Michele Sherwood and doctors from all parts of the country, take two mid-lifers approaching senior status and turn their health and lives around in this wonderful wellness adventure that will have you laughing, crying and inspired as you follow our subjects on their journey towards a Wellness Lifestyle.

I don’t like the piece about FMI going in all SWAT-like on a Mom feeding her kids SAD.  They mean for it to be humorous, but I was not particularly amused.  Just bad form.

Good explanation of how excess sugar ends up elevating triglycerides.  Also addresses low testosterone and Alzheimers and the huge cost.  Also deals with sleep problems and cardiac implications.  Mindset addressed, language about food, rewards, holidays, sugar.  Parents modeling exercise as normal, eating healthy as normal.  Food as fuel.  NOT WFPB.

  1. Vegucated, 2011, 1 hr. 16 min. “’Vegucated’ is a guerilla-style documentary that follows three meat-and-cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it’s all about.”

Starts out rather naïve, sweet, snarky and light, but not one I would recommend for children.  A fair amount of biometrics and blood tests were used to track their health changes, but there are also some visuals that are gut-wrenching, even for adults.

Sneaking into slaughter houses and farms left me with images I wish I could remove from my brain.  For being slightly goofy at the beginning, it really disturbed me, so be aware.

  1. The Brain That Changes Itself, 2008, 55 min. “As new discoveries are made about the brain, scientists are finding that our minds are not hard-wired by age 18.  This extraordinary film tells the amazing stories of men and women whose brains have changed and adapted over time.  In some cases, the brain evolves to adapt to new environments or circumstances.  In other cases, it’s our way of overcoming physical and mental disabilities or injuries.”

Neuroplasticity, building on the work of Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita.  A lady with ‘chemo brain’.  Dr. Taub with MS.  Rewiring the brain in stroke victims, TBI, military veterans, cerebral palsy in kids.

  1. The Gut: Our Second Brain, 2013, 55 min.  “For years, scientists have known about the existence of another brain within our bodies.  Our stomach functions totally independently and does far more than just digestion.  It reigns over a spectacular colony of 100 thousand billion bacteria that have a strong impact on our personalities.  Some diseases of the brain, like Parkinson’s, may stem from the degeneration of intestinal neurons.”

Relies on a lot of evolutionary dogma.

  1. It Takes Guts, 2016, 53 min. “’It Takes Guts’ reveals cutting edge research that turns conventional medical wisdom about weight loss on its head.’



  1. PlantPure Nation, 2015, 1 hr. 39 min. “From the Producer and Writer of Forks Over Knives, the documentary film PlantPure Nation tells the story of three people on a quest to spread the message of the most important health breakthrough of all times.”

Campbell family loss inspires next generations to seek the cause of disease.  China Study.  Jump Starts in Kentucky and legislative battle to get wording (finding of fact) included in the legislative record.  North Carolina, Chapel Hill at Reeds Downtown Table for Jump Start.  Nobody with less than 175 total cholesterol could participate, involving Kentucky State University.  Jump starts were 10 days in length, blood tests taken at beginning, food provided to subjects for 10 days, blood tests taken at end.

Such a great film to watch more than once.  I am hoping an active pod can be started here in Idaho.

  1. How To Begin A Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle, 2016, 25 min. by Jeanne Schumacher

Cute video with fun graphics that covers the basics of this lifestyle, altho her voice is sooo soothing, watch it when you are alert.

  1. Processed People-Plant Based Documentary, 2008,

Good rundown on why plant-based works….lots of before and afters, cured MS, etc.  Includes Drs. Pam Popper, John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Milton Mills, John Robbins, Jay Gordon.

  1. 2:09:17    Alzheimers discussed by this dynamic couple who researches in Loma Linda, the only Blue Zone in the United States.  Interviewed by vegan athlete Rich Roll.
  2. Dr. Doug Lisle & Chef AJ regarding Pleasure Trap
  3.  Dr. Neal Barnard “What The Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know”
  4.  Dr. Neal Barnard “3 Nutritional Studies That Will Turn You Vegan Overnight”
  5. Dr. Michael Greger “Daily Dozen Checklist”
  6. Simon Hill, creator of Plant Proof interviews Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. MD