I had the opportunity to watch the movie “Vegucated” two nights ago at a meetup group and wanted to write about what I thought. My recent article on veganism can be found here, as this article is more about the actual movie and less about the vegan diet.
Overall, Vegucated was a good movie. The movie chronicles one vegan and her mission to teach three normal people how to be vegan (and educate them). She takes the trio on tours of the grocery store, on field trips to farms, out to restaurants, and even a vegan conference. Although it was pretty well rounded, I wanted to take a moment to discuss my three biggest “beefs” with the film.
1. Foods that are vegan were given a sort of “free pass” and automatically assumed to be healthy. This is my biggest problem with the movie, and is related to point number 2. At one point, the host/real vegan pointed out that canned frosting and teddy grahams were vegan and happily told the three students that they were fair game. Similarly, I thought she taught them to rely very heavily on processed “meat replacement products” like tofu-turkey, veggie dogs, veggie burgers, margarine, and fake cheese.
None of these are health-foods. I shutter to think of all the soy-based chemical crap in those products… probably mostly because I ate so many of them when I was a vegetarian. Going vegan is one thing, but replacing meat (something that’s not inherently unhealthy) with processed crap and sugar isn’t doing anybody any favors.
2. The movie was pretty well-balanced, but did come off as a touch dogmatic at times. Again, this ties into the first “beef” in that anything labeled as vegan was automatically labeled as healthy which just isn’t true. Just because you can slap a “gluten free” or “vegan” sticker on something doesn’t mean it’s healthy. We shouldn’t be eating things for the sake of fitting perfectly into a diet or adhering to a label- we should be eating healthy for the sake of health.
3. I felt that too much emphasis was placed on the animal cruelty thing in this movie, and not enough emphasis was placed on healthy eating. Again, this is related to number 2. To me, the movie was a lot more about “being vegan” than “getting healthier”, despite the brief guest appearance by Joel Fuhrman. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and I get that animal cruelty is a very big part of why many choose to eat less meat. However, too much emphasis on the animal cruelty felt like a little bit of a cheap shot. These scenes evoked an emotional reaction in viewers in hopes of changing their habits, rather than helping them see why eating less meat would benefit their health.
Overall this was a good movie and definitely worth the watch, but it could have been done better. I hope this little critique inspires you to implement healthy changes into your life and go above and beyond what this movie showed you as a starting point!
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