Humans are wired for visual stimulus. In John Medina’s book Brain Rules, his Rule #10 is “Vision trumps all other senses.” He reviews studies that have shown that vision is by far our most dominant sense (it takes up half our brain’s resources). We learn and recall best if we’ve seen an image about something, not read about or heard it.
Many people have told me that a documentary or video dramatically changed their thinking about what they ate and solidified their decision to decrease meat, egg, and dairy intake. My sister-in-law had this experience. After watching a few videos (all of which are on this list), she plunged into a decision she’d been contemplating for a while: to cook vegetarian for her husband and herself. For many people, watching a case being made is what finally flips the switch. New information—visually presented—is powerful.
There are a lot of documentaries and online videos that cover the importance of diet to a person’s health and how the standard American diet increases the risk and severity of many chronic diseases. The documentaries and videos recommended here all conclude, in their own way, that a plant-based diet is superior to others. If that is the direction you are leaning in your thinking about what you eat, these resources will be helpful to you.
For documentaries, I've listed streaming services that carry each one. For online videos, I've embedded the link in the name of the video.
I hope you find these resources as helpful as I have.
- Forks Over Knives, Netflix
- An excellent overview of the connection between chronic disease and the standard American diet
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2, Netflix
- One man's journey to regain his health through a drastic change in the way he ate--he tells the story while on a road trip across the U.S.
- PlanEat, Amazon Prime
- In-depth interviews with three experts who became convinced that a plant-based diet is superior to all alternatives: a professor of nutrition, an environmental scientist, and a gourmet chef
- Vegucated, Netflix
- An honest look at three average New Yorkers who were selected to try a plant-based diet; we see how they responded to the evidence, what they ate, the effects on their health, the social and familial complications, and whether they stuck to it (short- and long-term)
- Food Matters, Netflix, Amazon Prime
- An examination of how what we eat affects our health through interviews with a number of doctors, nutritionists, and other professionals
- The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, Netflix
- The story of two families that make the switch to a plant-based diet with the assistance of Rip Esselstyn, an expert in plants-based eating
Get a cup of coffee or tea and begin watching. There are some awesome choices online.
- Nutritionfacts.org is a comprehensive site of thousands of short videos on hundreds of nutrition topics. Dr. Michael Greger has been summarizing and explaining nutritional science for years, and he's exceptionally good at it. If there's been a scientific study on a topic, you'll find it here. His videos are informative, entertaining, and succinct.
- If you like TED talks, see some good choices here: Must-Watch TED Talks On The Power of Eating Plant-Based
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a well-known nutritional expert and has guided many people to better health. In this YouTube video you'll get an overview of his system. Dr. Joel Fuhrman: 3 Steps To Incredible Health — Eating Healthy to Achieve a Great Vital Life
- Dr. Neal Barnard is a leader among medical doctors who support plant-based eating for preventing and reversing chronic diseases. This YouTube video is a good overview of his outlook: Foods for Protecting the Body & Mind: Dr. Neal Barnard
If you want more information on more documentaries and videos, check out these recommendations.