Quite a number of people indicated they were interested in supporting future film projects which take a contrarian view of health and sustainability compared to films such as What the Health. To say these topics are controversial and emotional is about as understated as saying “the surface of the sun is hot.” This post is primarily about the proposed film “Dispelling The Lies” but please keep an eye open for a project Diana Rodgers is working on. I will do a comprehensive post on that project soon.
Before I go further let’s set the stage a bit:
1- I CLEARLY have a bias or orientation in all of this. I sell books, seminars, etc that advocate for a paleo diet or Ancestral Health template. The keyboard warriors who are going to point this out in some kind of Straw Man attack should consider that most of the folks appearing in the vegan backed films such as What the Health do precisely the same things, only promulgating a different message.
2- Let’s call things for what they are: “Plant Based” is some kind of Orwellian NewSpeak to avoid the more polarizing and controversial label “vegan.” A paleo diet is “plant based” whether we are talking percent of calories, scale weight or what have you. So, let’s just be honest and say “vegan.”
The vegan backed agenda is the following:
3- ALL modern diseases are caused EXCLUSIVELY by animal product consumption. This is the case made in What The Health, and in fact the producers go out of their way to exonerate sugar and processed foods, so long as one avoids any and all animal products. If you think this is hyperbole, please watch the film in it’s entirety while also reading my review.
4- ANY amount of animal husbandry is exclusively injurious to the environment. Films such as Cowspiracy suggest that there is NO sustainable way to produce animal products and that there is no net advantage to an animal inclusive food system. NONE. No culture on the planet should consume animal products of any kind due to the suggested damage to the environment and “ethics” of consuming animals.
These two claims, sustainability and health, are the cornerstones of the vegan message. These folks have painted a compelling picture by holding up the clearly failed medical system we are all subject to, while highlighting the legitimate horrors of the modern industrial food system.
But only ONE solution is offered: Veganism. There is only one truth, this story is apparently black and white, and the many films produced in this genre suggest it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a sustainable food system that is animal inclusive, and animal products are toxic in a dose dependent fashion.
Perhaps the vegans folks are right. Perhaps grazing animals, which have been the cornerstone of terrestrial ecosystems for hundreds of millions of years, are in fact DANGEROUS to the environment. The enormous herds of bison which covered the Pre-Columbian Americas were in fact not an integral feature of the overall ecology, but a pest that was poised to destroy the planet via methane emissions (there were more bison in Pre-Columbian times than there are cattle in the Americas today). Perhaps the vegans are correct that although every human culture studied, ate varying amounts of animal products (and were largely free of modern degenerative disease), somehow, now, today…animal products are the root cause of ALL modern disease, not hyperpalatable processed foods.
Again, perhaps the well intentioned folks from the vegan camps are correct. Or, perhaps they are wrong. Dead Wrong. Perhaps our modern industrial food system IS unsustainable, but perhaps the only way to address a multitude of issues is to employ not centralized mega-food production (which ironically the grain based vegan diet supports), backed by multinational conglomerates such as Monsanto, but rather we may need to decentralize our food production, leaning heavily on local and regional comparative advantages in integrated, animal-inclusive food production.
There have been a number of films and books tackling these topics from a vegan perspective, we are only now seeing well formulated counterpoints from the Ethical Omnivore perspective. Dispelling The Lies is tasked with looking at this complex topic and providing (ideally) a science backed perspective….but clearly, that’s a slippery topic as What The Health claims to be steeped in science. Two opposing views, which one (if either???) might be correct? That’s up to you and the rest of the world to decide. I will make the case that getting this story “right” is important. It will have profound implications for our food systems, political agendas, national security interests, and on and on.
So, if you would like to contribute to the production of an alternate view to this story, this is your opportunity. Please check out the landing page and also note that there are some fantastic perks for folks who decide to donate aggressively, but the filmmakers will be grateful for any and all support you can offer to the film process.