Vegucated Documentary Critical Analysis

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In 2011, American filmmaker Marisa Miller Wolfson released a 76-minute documentary named 'Vegucated.' Wolfson, a vegan practitioner, cites her studies on food and, in particular, animal-based diets as her reason for deciding to go vegan. Notably, after she went vegan, she got healthy, shed weight, and even felt better that she was no longer contributing to the cruel treatment of animals. In his search to become a vegan, Wolfson made a film after moving to New York City. Her parallel concept in the film is the consequences of animal diets and the effects of vegan diets. Evidently, through its participants, the film illustrates that avoidance of animal products results to weight loss and reduces the chances of developing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Craig agrees with Wolfson's analysis and adds that vegan diets result in total fat and energy intake. However, his investigations have faulted vegan foods for poor nutritional value (615). This essay outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the film Vegucated by addressing the controversial notion which focuses on the morality of killing animals for food.

In her quest to assist others to adopt a healthy lifestyle, Wolfson conducts a social experiment on three people; Tesla a student, Ellen a single mother, and Brian. The six-week vegan study focused on the three participants who were consumers of meat, cheese, and milk. The participants were expected to abandon their former eating habits and strictly adopt a vegan lifestyle. The film presents two scenarios where vegans value animals and their rights, while non-vegans perpetuate animal cruelty. While the film's focus is on the benefits of going vegan, the director assures her audience that veganism involves much more than food consumption. In other words, veganism’s is a way of living that prevents all forms of cruelty to animals. The introductory phase of the film focuses on Wolfson getting to know the participants, visiting their homes, and checking on the kind of foods they stock. Besides, she seeks professional help from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the author of ‘Eat to live and the End of Diabetes’, who checks the participant’s physical well-being and blood tests. At the beginning of the film, all participants depict high chances of developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity due to increased cholesterol and blood pressure. Wolfson engages other professionals who understand the vegan diet to assist the participants in bettering their health. 

Journeying with the participants in the vegan practice, she takes them to local stores for shopping where they analyze the foods on the shelves. By examining the contents of non-vegan foods, the producer assumes that all vegan foods are healthy. For example, Wolfson holds a can of frosted Teddy Grahams stating that it is a strictly vegan food. In her opinion, she concludes that all processed foods that contain no meat provide health benefits for vegans. However, Craig notes that the chemical content of processed foods is unhealthy for a practicing vegan. Besides, labels on products do not necessarily provide the right information thus making it essential to engage a healthy lifestyle for the sake of better living. Stickers such as ‘no animal protein' or ‘gluten-free' barely tell the truth about the contents of the product (617). She also notes that most human health problems arise, in part, due to significant influences by friends and family. In the film, Tesla struggles to maintain a vegan diet despite her family’s love for animal protein diet. Brian on the other hand, at the end of the film, describes himself as a vegan after adopting a new healthy routine. Ellen, who recognizes her family’s history in battling heart diseases, discovers the health benefits of vegan diet after experiencing a decrease in blood cholesterol and blood pressure. The film highlights the challenges of maintaining a healthy diet, guiding the participants on steps of incorporating vegan meals into their diet. 

The film has several sections, each emphasizing the health benefits of a vegan diet. The producer uses case studies and examples to give insights into a more significant problem than healthy diets. Notably, the producer of the film expresses significantly biased views, emphasizing on animal cruelty instead of emphasizing on healthy foods. The abattoir scenes evoke the emotions of both the viewers and participants, with the hope of encouraging healthy eating. Throughout the film, Wolfson stirs up emotional responses to the problem of unhealthy foods by convincing the viewers that there is a close relation between unhealthy foods and the cruelty subjected to animals. Ordinarily, cruelty would raise emotions of guiltiness thus leading to the avoidance of killing of animals for food. In this case, the focus on healthier living is overshadowed by the morality of torturing animals. Instead, the film should have a dwelled on other convincing techniques to explain the negative impacts of consuming animal products. Also, the film does not recognize the nutritional insufficiency of vegan diets. Studies have established that vegans do not get complete nutritional benefits due to the inadequacy of vitamin B12, protein, and calcium in their meals (McEvoy et al. 2289).

The film has several inconsistencies including the use of fear and guilt to persuade its viewers and participants to adopt a vegan diet. Besides, it ignores the chemicals contained in processed foods by relying on nutritional information tags to guide the participant in choosing their meals. The intentional exaggeration of some facts by the filmmaker accentuates the seriousness of unhealthy animal diets. Despite the inconsistencies of the film, at the end of the six-week diet program, the participants report a significant improvement in their health. Indeed, Wolfson’s film has inspired healthy eating habits among its viewers.

Works Cited

Craig, Winston John. "Nutrition Concerns And Health Effects Of Vegetarian Diets." Nutrition In Clinical Practice, vol 25, no. 6, 2010, pp. 613-620. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/0884533610385707.

McEvoy, Claire T et al. "Vegetarian Diets, Low-Meat Diets And Health: A Review." Public Health Nutrition, vol 15, no. 12, 2012, pp. 2287-2294. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi:10.1017/s1368980012000936.

Wolfson, Marisa, director. "Vegucated." 2011,.

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