What’s with ‘What the Health’ – My thoughts on this controversial documentary

Pono Burger in Santa Monica, California @stocksnap photographer Jay Mantri

Today, I’ve decided to share my opinion with you regarding one of the most controversial documentaries that has been released in years. WHAT THE HEALTH is making waves in the health and wellness industry. Not the nice perfect waves you might imagine while on a tropical vacation … I’m talking about waves that are choppy, unruly and extremely unpredictable.

You’ve probably seen it on your ‘Trending on Netflix” playlist recently and it’s definitely trending for good reason. This film seems to have everyone’s attention … & my opinion may not be what you might be expecting. It is a movie about food, it’s a movie that uncovers how much money is being funneled into our government agencies by big corporations … ultimately affecting the way our food is produced.

THIS kind of information is what I’m all about. I’m all for exposing and talking about the corruption happening in order to change the way people see food. It’s the other stuff that I had a hard time swallowing …. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

If you haven’t watched it yet, I encourage you to.

If you missed the mayhem and haven’t heard about it yet – here’s the website for the film: WHAT THE HEALTH

First and foremost before anything else – as with all documentaries and research around food – I challenge you to keep an open mind and take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Ultimately, I hope you form your own opinion even after all of the emotional turmoil of this film leaves you wondering ‘So what can I eat?”

I’ve asked myself this question way too many times over the years & I’ll do anything in my power to ensure that you don’t have to experience this frustration as long as I did.

As many of you know, my health journey began as a college freshman, walking across campus when a girl in a PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) t-shirt reached out her hand, holding a pamphlet, with a smile on her face.

I like animals, so I took it, slid it into my bag and went along my way to class.

I don’t remember anything else I learned that day, as I opened up the pamphlet as I sat down in class and I had been suddenly emotionally assaulted by bloody disgusting pictures of factory farmed pigs, chickens and cows living in their own filth while being slaughtered inhumanely for mass food production in the most disgusting processing plants your worst nightmares are made out of. You can’t un-see that.

My perspective of the food I was eating and the choices I had blindly made for my entire life, forever changed in that very moment.

I went vegan overnight. It’s what they wanted me to do. & It’s because they told me it would be my way of standing up against factory farming – my way of changing the world. What they didn’t tell me (as most vegans rarely ever do … is what to eat in order to survive). That day, I responded emotionally just like they wanted me to.

& in doing so, I made a radical life change without the necessary preparation or education to do it skillfully. As a college freshman with no cooking skills, no knowledge of micronutrients and a complete lack of awareness or even accessibility of organic, healthy substitutions to my now low-calorie , nutrient poor, standard american diet – needless to say, I was left hungry and always stressing over what was safe for me to eat.

I took a stand against factory farming beginning in 2005 and I practically starved myself in the beginning stages of my health journey because I was left questioning everything I was eating without any answers to back up my burning questions and rumbling stomach. I lost 10 pounds that year. 10 pounds that my already thin frame didn’t have to lose. I also ended up with a Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D deficiency along with a multitude of other issues I will share with you later. Long story short, being vegan didn’t work for me but I gave it a solid try. It was too much of  a strain on me mentally, physically and emotionally and I had to find balance in it all.

This is not my sob story.

This is my way of encouraging you to educate yourself and truly, intuitively, slowly figure out what works for you.

& you’re probably wondering what I eat now if I’m no longer vegan, as most people who have seen me eat tend to believe I still am. Suprisingly to most people,  I no longer label myself as any one type of eater. (Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Keto, Pescetarian … it’s all the same to me) I find labels to be restrictive, stressful and they come with alot of rules. I’d rather just eat real food. That’s why I avoid meat and dairy unless I’m craving it (which is rare) or if there is absolutely no better option available at the moment. Mostly, I just choose to eat a whole bunch of organic fruits and veggies to my hearts content. With coconut ice cream or a chocolate square (or two) every now and then.

Going Vegan works beautifully for some people …. But, if you’re not prepared or educated about the food that you’re eating, you’ll quickly make yourself worse off than you already were.

Now back to the movie.  Let’s talk about ‘What the Health’ & why I want to re-iterate the fact that it is so terribly important to take everything you here with a grain of salt!

They made GREAT points, and even discussed vital information I wish everyone was aware of :


  • Factory farming is terrible for the animals well-being, terrible for our planet and terrible for our health. Animals injected with hormones and antibiotics that are raised in ther own filth produce sub standard, highly processed and contaminated meat for fast food chains and large companies to profit from. These are not the animals you want to be eating.
  • Billionaire Food Giants and Pharmaceutical Corporations have become dangerously powerful when it comes to influencing the government and associations  involved in regulating our food supply when it comes to telling us what is safe to eat. Coca Cola sponsors Diabetic associations and cancer foundations … constantly bombarding Americans with sponsored ads and branded gear creating an illusion that these products are safe and healthy for us to enjoy.
  • The meat and dairy industry plays a big part in the food pyramid research and funding as well. Pharmaceutical companies that produce the medications to treat your chronic disease and companies like Yoplait yogurt provide funding to associations like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the American Heart Association, as well as provide funding for obesity education and diabetic research.
  • Fun fact – more antibiotics are used annually in factory farming than in the human population. & Yet the scientific community is seemingly dumb founded as to figure out why antibiotic resistance and obesity in America is on the rise. BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

It’s important to understand all of this.

But it’s also important to understand that when a documentary tells you that sugar consumption isn’t linked to diabetes and that sugar is not the enemy nor the cause of diabetes…. meat is. It’s time to question their authority. & Yes this is a “fact” that is shared at the very beginning of the film in order to help support their vegan message.

I work in an ER and take care of diabetic patients on a daily basis. If they watched this movie, went vegan overnight and started drinking all of the soda and eating all the candy they wanted (because sugar is supposedly not the problem) they would end up in the ICU or dead.

Using one extreme fact to argue another extreme situation just isn’t the way that it should be done. It’s ultimately a mute point & it’s because of information like this that American’s are so confused on what to eat.

Let me simplify it for you:


“Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly Plants” – Michael Pollan



  • Drink plenty of clean, filtered water daily.
    • Half your body weight in ounces to be exact. Here’s what that means -> a 150lb person should make it a goal to drink at minimum 75 ounces of water daily. More if it’s hot or if they exercise.
  • Eat Real Food & Read your ingredients labels.
    • I can’t emphasize this enough. I rarely if ever pay attention to the fat calories etc on a package …. The only thing that truly matters is what’s in it.
    • Do you recognize the ingredients as food ?
    • Is there more than one chemical additive that you can’t pronounce? Avoid it. Put it back & Don’t bring it into your home where you will be tempted to eat it.
  • Eat more plants.
  • Eat less Meat.
    • Protein is hard for our bodies to breakdown. Especially if we’re eating large amounts of it with every meal.
    • Switch it up and fill your plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans) etc … & if you still have room for a small piece of organic, pasture raised meat, free of antibiotics and hormones …. Then go for it.
    • Sometimes chicken is the dirtiest option on the menu (keep that in mind next time and ask the waiter if the meat they use is pasture raised) otherwise it’s most likely raised in a factory farm, injected with antibiotics and hormones, fed GMO corn and soy its entire life and is better off avoided.
    • It’s a great way to vote with your dollar and say no when it doesn’t meet your standards.
  • Enjoy yourself and move your body.
    • You can’t out exercise a bad diet.
    • The foods you eat matter.
    • As long as you’re eating real food, drinking lots of water and moving your body even for a little bit each day – you’ll be better off.
    • Your goals will grow as you make progress along your journey. Don’t set the bar too high – or you might give up before you’ve figured it all out.


Don’t make a radical life change overnight.

It’s not sustainable. & it will be accompanied by a lot of stress, frustration and overwhelm.

Adopt these changes slowly and they’ll become a more permanent part of your life, easily.



Slow Down. & start taking care of yourself again. Become aware of what’s in your food, begin experimenting with new ingredients and flavors and slowly adopt a plant based lifestyle full of color and a variety of nutrients.

It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Diet Plan after all …

Here are a few of my favorite posts that will help keep you on track:

  1. 5 Easy Healthy Habits that You Can Implement TODAY
  2. Sweet Potato French Fries
  3. Green Chef Review – Organic Meals Simplified

make sure you’re following me on social media @beachlifeorganic & don’t hesitate to reach out to me for any further questions via e-mail .

xo, bri

p.s. if and when I choose to eat meat – I take time to look for local places that focus on farm to table, pasture raised, organic options. Pono Burger in Santa Monica and Venice, California is one of those places I choose to eat. The Hawaiian chef makes it very well known that she cares about what she feeds her customers because she too cares deeply about where her food comes from. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area I highly recommend you check Pono Burger out. They have house-made veggie patties too, don’t worry.

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