• Amber ANN MPH,CHES, LMSW

My Reaction to What the Health


After watching What The Health, like many of those who have seen it, I am rethinking my food choices. This is not the first time that I have been here. While I understand that the film has a sensationalized, pro-vegan tone, I also feel that it presented legitimate and well-research food for thought.

This is my post What the Health reflection:

In 2012 , I watched Food Inc. as a homework assignment for an Anthropology of Eating course that I was taking. In addition to my natural hair journey, completing my first Daniel's Fast and introduction to yoga, this film strongly shaped my food values.

A lot changed in my life for the better in 2012. I felt like I was beginning to get in touch with my true self. I was doing better in school and I let go of toxic relationships. I was focused on my goals and was on a path to achieving them. This is also when my interest in holistic health began to develop.

As far as my eating habits, I ate a balanced diet. I still ate meat, but I opted for organic meats paired with organic vegetables and fruit. I tried to eat organic and natural foods as much as possible. Although I was on a college student budget, I received Food Stamps because I worked 20 hours a week while being a full time student. This helped supplement my food budget. I have maintained these habits since this time.

Fast forward to 2014, I was extremely committed to vegetarianism for the whole year as part of an extended fast. I gave up eating meat because I wanted to study abroad in Ghana. It was more of a sacrificial fast. I was able to travel to Ghana that year for a Maymester study abroad. It was truly a life changing experience. I am glad that I stuck to my fast. It was wonderful to proof to myself that I could give up meat. Practicing discipline for the entire year showed me my own strength.

During my second year of being a vegetarian (2015), I allowed myself to have meat twice. I had my Mom's irrestitable fried chicken at Easter dinner and a spontaneous Chick-fil-a sandwich while visiting my fiancé (we were still dating then). It meant a lot to me that he let me to have that moment without judging me.

After 2015, I decided that being a vegetarian didn't make me happy anymore. I really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I felt for sticking to my commitment and the title of vegetarian, but after a while this wasn't enough. Choosing not to eat meat felt punitive. By 2016, I returned to my 2012 eating habits.

For the last year and a half, I have continued to eat healthy. I still buy organic, local and natural as much as possible and seek out restaurants that offer these options. I also have my fair share stress induced cheat meals now that I am a full time social worker. I indulge myself with what I consider to be unhealthy food choices just for the sake of indulging from time to time too.

After watching What the Health this past weekend, I find myself in a similar place to where I was after watching Food Inc. I am thinking about revamping my food choices. I have been flirting with the idea of Veganism. My favorite thing has always been cheese! This is why I was a vegetarian previously and not a vegan. But post What the Health, I do not have a desire to eat cheese. Therefore, I think that I have a fair shot at Veganism this time around.

Food has enriched my life in so many ways. From my ever evolving eating habits, interest in and pursuit of holistic health and my educational and professional experiences with local food, nutrition and holistic health, food has always been a defining factor. I am looking forward to what this experiment with Veganism brings.

I know that I can do this as I have done it before. My plan is to chronicle this journey honestly. Every success, moment of weakness, paradigm shift, good recipe or product and bad recipe or product. Stay tuned!

Have you seen What the Health? Are you thinking about changing your diet as a result? Join the discussion and share your journey! Comment below via Facebook Comments!

Want to know more about the film? Click here!

Photo Credit: whatthehealthfilm.com


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