A few weeks ago, I had a free evening and was flipping through my Amazon Prime account on the TV looking for something interesting to watch. I stumbled upon a documentary called Vegucated – right up my alley! An hour and 17 minutes later, I couldn’t get the smile off my face. It was that good!
Now, I love documentaries. I’m a documentary-watching kind of girl. But this one was particularly well-done, and I think just about anyone would find it to be an easy watch. Rather than plowing through a list of compelling reasons to go veg, Marisa Miller Wolfson had the brilliant idea of asking for three volunteers to go vegan for 6 weeks, and then following them on their journeys.
I absolutely love this premise because it allows the viewer to experience the information presented in the film through the eyes of these three volunteers. It was heartening to watch their reactions as they were exposed to new information and ideas, and to listen to the conversations that they had with each other, and with Marisa (the long-time vegan). I’ve often thought that if more people learned about the lives and deaths of farmed animals, at least in the United States, they might feel differently about eating them…and that is exactly what happened with these three.
For example, Tesla, the 22 year old college student, said that she had fully intended to go back to her old ways after the 6 week experiment, but hadn’t expected to feel guilty about doing so! That is so similar to my own experience! Once you know what animals have to endure in order for people to eat their meat, dairy, and eggs, it is impossible to look at those foods the same way ever again. Even if you don’t go vegan, or stay vegan (ahem…looking at myself and my flip-flopping history)…you just can’t eat a slice of cheese or a hamburger and feel at peace with that decision. I could also relate to her struggles to eat vegan without any friends or family on board…after all, I first went vegan back when I was in college, and I didn’t end up sticking with it at the time.
There was another moment in the film that really struck a chord with me. Ellen, a single mother of two, made a telephone call to an organic, free range farm and placed her call on speaker. Her kids were giggling in the background as she began to ask a list of questions about the treatment of the animals. Yet, as the telephone call progressed, the children’s reactions went from giddy to somber, as did Ellen’s. It was a really good illustration of how misleading those feel-good labels like “free-range” and “organic” can be.
Along with the heavier stuff of the film, there was a lot of humor and entertainment value as well. Brian, the bachelor from New York City, was always entertaining the crew…if you watch this film, stay through the credits and listen for his “breast milk cheese” song that he sings to none other than Dr. Joel Fuhrman, as the doctor dances along! There is also a beautiful moment in which the group takes two “spent” hens who would be otherwise sent to slaughter, to a farm animal sanctuary, and gets to witness their first steps into a field of lush green grass.
I loved this film so much that I ended up watching it again, in full, last night! If you have an Amazon Prime account, I urge you to watch this – it’s totally free! If not, you can rent it from Amazon for $3.99…not so bad, and totally worth it. Don’t worry…this isn’t 77 minutes of undercover footage of factory farms like Earthlings (though, if you have the stomach for it, I’d recommend watching that, too.) This film is entertaining, humorous, touching, and thought-provoking.
So…go on, get Vegucated!