Since Netflix and Stan began releasing hot-issue documentaries at the click of a button, there has been a smorgasbord of releases that have widened the eyes and minds of the globe when it comes to understanding our planet. But for the brains behind a plant-based company who are already well aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet on our planet, we were keen to see which documentaries Stuart and Sam had on their favourites list.
As the creators of a business that focuses on educating and exciting people about the benefits of plant-based eating on both our own health and the health of our planet, which three documentaries have become your favourites?
The Game Changers (2018) – meeting visionary scientists and top athletes, a UFC fighter embarks on a quest to find the optimal diet for human performance and health.
Cowspiracy– The Sustainability Secret (2014) – learn how factory farming is decimating the planet's natural resources -- and why this crisis has been largely ignored by major environmental groups.
Rotten (2018) – This docuseries travels deep into the heart of the food supply chain to reveal unsavory truths and expose hidden forces that shape what we eat.
Climate Change - The Facts (2019) – Sir David Attenborough looks at a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe. With intimate stories of people's lives affected by climate change, the documentary takes a look at one of the greatest challenges we face today.
The Plant-Proof Podcast (not a documentary, I know – but it deserves a spot for good reason!) – Plant Proof™ was inspired by Simon’s personal experience living a plant-based lifestyle… By undertaking a Masters in Nutrition, pouring over countless research articles and books, talking to others that are happily leading a plant-based lifestyle, and recording countless hours of podcasts, Simon has been able to answer all of those questions and more.
What grabbed your attention most about these docos?
The Game Changers I really enjoyed for its focus on the monumental impacts plant-based cuisine can have on athletic performance. It was a feel-good story that shrewdly focused on the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet without feeling as though it was pushing something down the throat of the viewer.
Cowspiracy really opened my mind to animal agriculture and its impacts on the environment – a really educational piece for anyone who hasn’t seen this and doesn’t know how a meat-heavy diet can impact our planet.
Then, with Rotten there are episodes focusing specifically on our planet and ecosystem with one episode solely focused on bees and highlighting the impacts of mono-crops on our consumer choices. A lot of people have moved away from dairy-based milk to non-dairy, nut-based options as alternatives from a sustainability standpoint. What we’re now seeing is how mass-produced mylks like almond mylk have become and how it’s putting a huge environmental strain on water supplies and pesticide use as well as causing chaos for already battling ecosystems like honeybees. My big takeaway from this one was our need to scrutinise our decision-making process when moving away from one food group and to really do our homework: look into the next sustainable solution and whether that is, in fact, the next best option.
Like Stu, I found The Game Changers a realeye-opening, thought-provoking and inspiring documentary. It highlighted the performance benefits of a plant-based diet with so much compelling data and interviews with experts from different fields including world-class athletes. The directors made me rethink a lot of the things we do every day and the foods we eat by including so many facts and insights which most of us never knew anything about.
Climate Change: The Facts is a sobering look at the future habitability of our only home and there was no one better to present and narrate the documentary than Sir David Attenborough! The insight from the world’s best scientists, engineers, and other professionals involved is incredibly informative and eye-opening. They don’t shy away from outlining that the situation is dire, near to being irreversible but, importantly, the steps necessary to avert our catastrophic demise.
Although this one’s not a documentary, I felt it was very much worth a mention. The Plant-Proof Podcast is hosted bySimon Hill who interviews a broad spectrum of guests to break down the science behind plant-based eating. Simon has a warm and inclusive approach to sharing his knowledge around important topics that impact our health and the wider planet. Contrary to the stereotypical view of those who follow a vegan diet, Simon encourages celebrating anyone taking the time to learn more about the food they eat and emphasises that it’s not an all or nothing approach.
Now, let’s get you off your Netflix and chill couch and into the director’s chair. What documentary would you release in 2021 that would open viewers’ minds to the benefits of including more plants in their every day?
By working in this space, it’s really got me thinking about an education piece on the marketing behind vegan versus plant-based and consumer psychology when marketing the future of plant-based products. At Flave we’ve seen this almost bastardisation of the term ‘veganism’ to be solidified as ‘too preachy’, ‘unrealistic’ etc. and, as a result, people become almost afraid and closed-off to its positive effects. I’d love to release a piece on the average consumer’s journey into a more plant-based way of eating and normalising that they don’t have to get it right 100% of the time because if we’re too definitive on what is right or wrong, we’ll lose people when, really, we’re just trying to do good.
What I love about what we’re doing at Flave is that we’re showcasing how incredibly flavoursome and satisfying plant-based cooking can be. Even though the area is growing and expanding at rapid speed, there is still such a misconception that plant-based food is devoid of flavour or is simply plain and boring. It would be great to do an educational piece highlighting how through different combinations of vegetables, herbs, spices, wholefood plant-based proteins including tempeh and tofu, beans, lentils and legumes, and even some plant-based ‘meats’, that plant-based cooking can be fun, inventive and exciting but most of all, more flavour-forward than some of its meat alternatives.
I’d love to show people - even those who are meat-eaters but are keen to cut down their meat consumption a little - that they don’t need to compromise on flavour or satisfaction level, they can achieve the textures and flavours of meat and fish with different methods.
Given the trajectory of the plant-based movement and the saturation of the space with vegan products entering the market in every which way, I would love to get our chef Scotty to chime in on the difference between vegan products on the market and which ones are truly the best to include in your dishes. There’s a lot of unhealthy alternatives out there, despite them not having animal products that can be laden with sulfites and preservatives. It would be so powerful to educate people on how to choose the best products for our planet and their own health.