Netflix has changed home entertainment drastically and is the source of many binge watching sessions. But, there are also many educational documentaries focusing on health, wellness and nutrition to add to your watch list.
From plant-based nutrition and vegan athletes to mental health and sustainability, Netflix has programmes covering all this and more. The next time you’re looking for something to watch that doesn’t involve a serial killer / relationship angst / fantasy swordplay (we hear you, Witcher fans!), check out these documentaries. A word of warning – these programmes are made for the mass market of the streaming audience so always refer to a medical professional / nutritionist / certified fitness expert for proper advice.
There was plenty of hype before this was released partly due to the fact that it’s produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Novak Djokovic and Lewis Hamilton. This documentary focuses on how a plant-based diet doesn’t reduce physical abilities (strength, endurance) and can provide enough nutrients for even top athletes to perform at their best. Led by James Wilks – Ultimate Fighter winner and Special Forces trainer – viewers are introduced to various sports personalities like Kendrick Farris (Olympic weightlifter), Dotsie Bausch (champion cyclist) and Scott Jurek (ultra-marathoner); and experts who explain the importance of reducing meat consumption.
What The Health
Yet another documentary plugging going vegan and how chronic illnesses are caused by eating meat products and can be prevented by changing your diet. When this first came out in 2017, it caused quite a stir as the content was hard-hitting and basically said consumption of meat and dairy products was the root of heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes. Experts are consulted, the meat industry is criticised and again, the overwhelming message is to become vegan. Produced by the same people behind Cowspiracy, this documentary has some dubious information but is still worth watching.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
We know that the emissions produced by livestock are at an unhealthy level and increasing. The logical solution is to reduce meat and dairy consumption and this was the first mainstream documentary that tackled the issue of climate change and negative environmental practices (deforestation, overuse of water). It’s not all doom and gloom and the filmmakers want to focus on positive messages and remind us that if we all make slight changes, our health and environment will improve. Experts are consulted and interestingly, environmental agencies are held to task for not doing enough.
Forks Over Knives
Still riding the plant-based eating wave, Forks Over Knives was released nine years ago and is about two doctors whose research linked the overconsumption of meat products with serious illnesses. If you want information presented in a simple way of why reducing meat could prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease without the usual nagging, this is a good documentary to start with.
Alternative medicine is the subject in this documentary directed by actress Kelly Noonan. The concept of using other methods besides western medicine and therapy, is gaining traction globally. There are some familiar traditions like Ayurvedic medicine to some that aren’t so believable like the medical medium who claims to be able to see what’s wrong with a person with a sleight of hand. An interesting watch but definitely one to take at face value.
The Magic Pill
This 2017 effort actually got bad press with the Australian Medical Association even going as far as stating the Netflix should remove it. It’s still available to watch and is produced and narrated by celebrity chef Pete Evans who believes a ketogenic (high fat and protein, low carb) diet is the answer to many health problems. Unfortunately, there isn’t much scientific backing to the claims made and the ketogenic diet should be done with professional advice; but still an entertaining watch.
The Mind, Explained
Narrated by actress Emma Stone, this series comprises five episodes focusing on different aspects of how our minds work – Memory, Anxiety, Dreams, Mindfulness and Psychedelic Drugs. The point of this is to educate viewers on the inner workings of the brain and how it functions to protect us. The episodes are only 20 minutes and crammed with information. Experts are consulted and Stone manages to make everything sound very interesting – important when talking about something as complex as our minds!