To Your Health: A Journey into the Plant-Based World
A Film by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, and Jesse Pomeroy
A Hillrose Street, LLC and Julieanna Hever Co-Production, 2011
DVD, $19.99 includes tax and shipping
Hever, who calls herself the "plant-based dietitian," has used her boundless energy to partner with filmmaker Jesse Pomeroy to create To Your Health, a 51-minute film espousing the benefits of a whole-food, low-fat, plant-based diet.
"The ultimate goal of this film is to introduce an audience that may be unaware that the best medicine they can take is that which ends up on the end of their forks," says Hever. " Medical procedures, pills and treatments may cure symptoms but they do nothing to address what causes disease and less to prevent the onset of what, through a whole food, plant-based diet, can readily be avoided."
Hever, not content in relying only on her knowledge gained working on her Master of Science Degree in Nutrition from California State University, Northridge, embarked on a 3000-mile journey across America to elicit the views of some of the leading proponents of plant-based nutrition in the preparation of this film.
Her co-stars in the film are 10 individuals, seven of whom are doctors, who agreed to be interviewed. All the interviewees are strong advocates of a plant-based lifestyle to promote good health.
The doctors presented convincing arguments to demolish the common myths surrounding protein, calcium requirements, and the need for supplements. Both Drs. Pam Popper and Joel Fuhrman stated that the average person's protein need is 2.5% of total calories, yet most people consume 18% of total calories from protein. They also dispel the myth that animal protein is superior to plant protein.
High on the list of myths are those associated with human calcium needs. "Calcium needs are overstated," says Dr. Fuhrman. Dr. John McDougall supports this view and declares that the plant-based diet is not deficient in calcium. Filmmaker and activist Mike Anderson stresses that much misinformation about calcium is directed at the public.
Most of the doctors questioned reject the idea that supplements are necessary for good health. Dr. T. Colin Campbell says, "Supplements don't work," while Dr. McDougall declares, "They're just a waste of money. No studies support their use."
The doctors did not agree on whether sufficient Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D could be achieved through diet and adequate sun exposure. A few suggested supplementation of both.
Food addiction is another major topic covered in the film. Dr. Alan Goldhammer reveals that food companies add chemicals--salt, sugar, and oil--to foods to make them addictive. Dr. Barnard says stressed-out people turn to junk foods loaded with these chemicals. He emphasizes that one of the most addictive foods, cheese, possesses opiate-like qualities.
The film looks to the future emphasizing that businesses like Veggie Grill, a restaurant chain, are helping to make a plant-based diet more popular. "We've served 900,000 people in our first three years," says owning partner Kevin Boylan. "We don't want to beat the health drum and alienate people. We want to be the Whole Foods of the restaurant industry," he added.
Amazing to the viewer is that Hever and Pomeroy have told this big plant-based story in less than an hour. They have introduced some of the prominent new wave of doctors who feel "the best medicine is in our food." Pomeroy manages to capture Hever's enthusiasm and personality to make the film engaging.
To Your Health opens with the statement, "No animals were eaten during the making of this motion picture." The film could well conclude by saying, "Following the counsel of these medical experts by turning to a plant-based diet may be instrumental in fostering a lifetime of excellent health. It could even be life saving."