Movies are a great educational and entertainment medium that can provide people with both knowledge and enjoyment at the same time.
There are several documentaries out there on veganism that I know are worthy of your time.
Each of the vegan focused documentaries that I will share with you today offer something new, different and interesting. And even if you aren’t a vegan, these documentaries are guaranteed to enlighten you!
If you are keen to learn more about these vegan documentaries, take a sneak peek at this blog post to learn what they are all about. Get your popcorn ready!
Movie Time: Vegan Edition
By the end of the list, I’m pretty sure you will have plenty of vegan documentary films that you would want to add to your “must see” movie list.
1. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
In 2014, a documentary entitled Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret came out and this highlighted the question of why leading environmental organizations paid no attention to the leading cause of environmental damage in the world.
With a running time of 90 minutes, the documentary producers named Keegan Kuhn and Kip Andersen presented an argument about how the attention given by both individuals and institutions to some environmental concerns won’t really make much of a difference unless we address the real issues surrounding animal agriculture.
When you dig deeper, you will realize the extent of the damage brought about by the environmental effects of animal agriculture, and how progress in other areas or industries can’t move forward due to the growing and damaging effects.
In ‘Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret’, the producers present to us the data that they have gathered. Here are some of the key points mentioned in the documentary:
- Animal agriculture will be unsustainable due to the growing water shortage.
- About 160 million acres of land is affected by the animal industry every year.
- About 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture.
- Approximately 144 million animals are killed for food daily.
If you wish to know more, then don’t forget to watch this self-funded, crowdfunded film!
2. Earthlings (2005)
If you are looking for an eye-opening and award-winning documentary, then look for Earthlings. Released in 2005, the film takes a very close look at the food industry today.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix, the film takes a look at the exploitation of animals in five different areas. These included food, entertainment, science, clothing, and home pets!
Earthlings has a runtime of 90 minutes. If you are a little squeamish, then be warned. This documentary film is not for the faint of heart.
It features scenes that center on the atrocities and abuses that are committed against animals in the different aspects of the animal farming industry.
Through Earthlings, you get to see what happens to animals that are raised for different sectors such as meat, dairy, pet, and clothing.
As it contains scenes that might leave viewers in distress, the aim of Earthlings was not the shock factor but to educate and enlighten people on what happens to animals.
The documentary covers how these animals are raised, treated and slaughtered in factory farms.
While watching Earthlings, many questions might come into mind. If you aren’t yet vegan, with all the harrowing scenes that you will be seeing on screen, you will for sure start asking yourself if the animal products you are using or consuming are worth the sufferings that animals go through.
3. Eating You Alive (2016)
Within the first couple of minutes of the feature-length documentary ‘Eating You Alive’, viewers will notice that there’s a highlighted number indicating the number of Americans who die each year (over 30 million).
This film speaks about how our diets are actually related to our health. As this is something that we already know of, it’s still very important to point out the effects of the food that we eat in our health.
To highlight the significance of proper nutrition, the production team of ‘Eating You Alive’ had notable personalities like Samuel L. Jackson, James Cameron and a whole bunch of others (composed of different doctors, medical experts, and patients) to share their personal experiences.
In Eating You Alive, we are able to see how even with its advance knowledge and grasp of modern science and medicine, the United States has not really given attention to the impact and influence that diet has on health and the underlying and fundamental causes of diseases.
4. Food Matters (2008)
Released in 2008, the documentary film Food Matters talks about how the world of modern medicine is failing from being able to cure and heal chronic diseases that are prevalent in Western society. These are often related to heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and so many others.
The food and agricultural industries are plagued with the use of contaminants that are said to cause these chronic diseases. When we develop said diseases, we then turn to the pharmaceutical industry to address our health issues.
In ‘Food Matters’, the movie looks into these different industries and how they do not make a profit from us being healthy, but from us getting sick and ill.
One of the main points presented in the film is how we should watch closely the medical industry, and how healthy living through good food and nutrition is not a main focus.
This leads us to believe that if people adopt and observe a healthy lifestyle, the risks of developing diseases will decrease, and in turn this would affect all the different industries economically and financially.
With ‘Food Matters’, there is an emphasis on getting and staying healthy by adopting a more plant-based, organic, raw and whole-foods diet. A diet that aims to maintain and maximize healthy living and natural healing.
5. Hungry For Change (2012)
The documentary film Hungry For Change which came out in 2012 is from the same people who brought us Food Matters. Consider the former as some sort of continuation or important sequel of the latter.
In Hungry For Change, it reveals the questionable plans and actions that the food industry uses. This includes the making of products that cause severe cravings that we can’t shake off.
When viewing this documentary film, don’t be surprised if you will be learning a lot of things about how our dietary choices are keeping us from achieving the healthy body we need and deserve. Some of the key takeaways that you should watch out for include the following:
- Overcoming food cravings and addictions
- Stay away from fad diets. They don’t work.
- Learn the food additives that you should be avoiding
- Learn how to read labels properly before consumption
- Find out the truth behind the labels “Sugar-free”, “Fat-free” and “Diet” products
- Understand what fat is truly is and how you can get rid of it from your body for good
These are just some of the important points that were being talked about in the movie. As a matter of fact, there are still so many things that the film touches that I think are very important most.
The film opens with the exploration of the different reasons why people get sick and get fat. These could be due to chemical additives, food ingredients, and so many others. Also, there is a focus on refined sugar as well.
In Hungry For Change, there is also stress being made on obesity, diets (and how they don’t work) detoxification, juicing and other underlying personal issues that affect our health.
6. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (2010)
Joe Cross is an entrepreneur who has invested in various industries such as transportation, fashion, finance, health and wellness, and so many other sectors.
He was 100 pounds overweight and was battling an autoimmune disease that was crippling his life.
One day, after looking at himself in the mirror, he wondered how he could had possibly ended up as a 300 pounder. He knew he was tempting death every single day that he continued to live his life the way he was.
To turn his life around, he made it his personal mission to regain his health. This is how ‘Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead’ came to be!
In ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’, we follow Joe on a 60-day journey across the United States.
He realized that conventional medication and doctors weren’t going to help him, so he committed himself to letting his body heal itself.
As he traveled across 3,000 miles, Joe was set on achieving his goal to live a balanced lifestyle by eliminating foods that he knew were harmful to his body.
He opted to only drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices all throughout his 60-day journey.
In his journey, he conversed with more than 500 Americans about health, food and living longer.
One of the most life-changing moments happened in an Arizona truck stop. Joe met a man named Phil Staples who has the same rare autoimmune condition that he had.
Later we find out that as Joe begins to regain his health, he inspires Phil also start his very own quest to get well.
‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ is an example of how inspirational the power of healing and human connection is.
Compared to the traditional documentary styles that we are used to seeing, ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ is different, as it’s like the of a road trip, and a health and wellness journey.
7. Fillet Oh Fish (2013)
According to most doctors, specialists and nutritionists, fish is considered to be one of the world’s superfoods.
And some people have chosen not to consume any other meat other than fish, as they deem this to be a healthier option.
While fish is indeed packed with nutrients, there are some things that we should all know about the fishing industry. This includes farm fishing, which is actually more harmful than we realize.
If you want to learn more about why vegans don’t eat fish, check out my blog post “Can Vegans Eat Fish? Plus, The Top 4 Alternatives To Start Eating Today.”
The documentary ‘Fillet Oh Fish’ looks into all that including how farmed fish is considered to be one of the most toxic foods in the world.
Helmed by Nicolas Daniel, ‘Fillet Oh Fish’ takes a look at the fish industry. In the documentary, we get to see footages from fish factories and farms from around the world.
If you think fishing is all sunshine and roses, the truth is that when it comes to large-scale fishing production, the situation is rather dire and dreadful.
The fishing industry is facing a lot of problems now. These range from chemical pollution, toxic exposure, genetic mutation, overfishing, and many others.
As mentioned in the documentary, the various issues that intensive fish farming is causing, ultimately affects the fish that we eat and our health.
With all these issues, it has not stopped people from consuming fish. This is perhaps due to the fact that what happens in the fish industry are being swept under the rug.
Instead of addressing the sustainability and environmental issues and finding solutions for these, fish farming companies are in it to make a profit.
8. Food Choices (2016)
If you are looking for a vegan focused documentary, ‘Food Choices’ is a 91-minute film that takes a look at the best diet to help the health of both, human beings and the Earth.
In ‘Food Choices’, we get to see the truth behind the foods we consume and their negative effect on people’s health.
It also focuses on the distress and suffering that animals go through, and the destruction of the environment,
When viewing this documentary film, you will be able to grasp the main idea that the filmmaker Michal Siewierski is trying to drive.
He tries to prove that a plant-based diet can address the problems that stem meat-based factory farming.
At the beginning of the film, we see Michal Siewierski switch to a plant-based diet to help him lower his cholesterol and to lose weight. He aimed to achieve all that without the use of medication.
To support the idea that a plant-based diet is what you need in order to be healthy, he spoke to over two dozen experts and specialists including doctors, biochemists, nutritionists, researchers, and chefs.
The film also takes a look at some of the misunderstandings that we fail to recognize about our diets and foods.
In a nutshell, ‘Food Choices’ as a film touches a variety of subjects – from the risks of not getting enough nutrients, to the expenses that opting to observe a plant-based diet has.
There is also a focus on the harrowing exploitation of animals in the dairy and meat industry.
9. Food Inc. (2008)
If you are on the lookout for a remarkable documentary about the drawbacks of the industrialization of the food system in the United States of America, look no further.
Nominated for an Academy Award, this film takes a closer look at the modern methods being used in the cultivation and processing of food. These methods being used are often not in the best interest of the consumers.
The documentary opens with uncovering the changes that have occurred in the food industry’s structure.
This includes how over the years, the number of farmers has decreased while there has been an increase in the sizes of farmlands, giving more power and influence to a lesser number of food manufacturers.
The movie looks into food cultivation and production, and in the quality and safety of the foods being sold today.
There are some examples of this that were mentioned in the film including the following:
- Instead of grass, corn is being used to feed animals to increase the production.
- Reduction of cost has caused the increase of drug-resistant and toxic strains in animals, affecting products.
- Slaughterhouses are opting for cheap labor which can lead to unhealthy practices and poor quality of the meat.
- Cross-contamination of genetically modified and natural foods, which can be dangerous for consumers who are sensitive to GMOs.
Apart from these, the film focuses on the issues that affect government policies and food regulation, jeopardizing the quality of food products.
The director also highlights how most consumers trust that the food that they consume is healthy, and how they oblivious of the source of their source.
BONUS: To learn more about these documentaries, check out the video below!
10. Forks Over Knives (2011)
The documentary film Forks Over Knives which came out in 2011 centers on the lives and research of two doctors – Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn.
The movie centers on a simple solution to the many concerns and problems that people’s health and fitness go through today.
The solution is called out for is opting for a whole foods diet, which is mostly a plant-based instead of the “western diet”.
As mentioned, ‘Fork Over Knives’ centers on Dr. Campbell’s and Dr. Esselstyn’s astonishing conclusions from the research and discoveries that they have both done. And also from the testimonies of people who have observe this kind of diet.
Both were able to derive the conclusion that some chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease can be prevented.
In many cases that Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn have seen some of these diseases reversed by opting for a more whole-food, plant-based diet.
Indulge in ‘Fork Over Knives’ to learn of the stories of ordinary Americans suffering from different chronic conditions and how they are trying to lessen their reliance on medication.
11. Planeat (2010)
Made by Or Shlomi and Shelley Lee Davies, the British documentary Planeat was released in 2010.
This film looks into how diets that are high and rich in dairy and meat can cause the development of heart disease as well as aggravate the growth of cancer.
It also touches on the subject of decreasing the amount of meat being consumed given that doing so helps in addressing issues such as biodiversity loss and carbon emissions.
The main messages of Planeat can be summed up by the following:
- Reducing our reliance on meat consumption.
- Ability to feed the growing global population.
- Decreasing impact on climate.
With its light, casual and entertaining approach to the subject matters, ‘Planeat’ is able to present to us the amount of work, including research and evidence, that scientists and doctors have gone through.
‘Planeat’ acknowledges the importance of food and how it is vital to who we are, and that includes our communities, culture, and identity.
While some may claim that they cannot live a life free of meat and dairy, by watching ‘Planeat’ they can at least learn how cutting down or completely giving up meat is beneficial to our health and the environment.
12. Plantpure Nation (2015)
If you have ever watched the documentary ‘Plantpure Nation’ and seen someone familiar, that’s because you might have seen Dr. Colin Campbell in the 2011 movie ‘Forks Over Knives’. In fact, in ‘Plantpure Nation’, there is a mention of Forks Over Knives.
The film introduces us to Dr. Campbell’s son Nelson. Nelson was on a mission to convince the state legislature of Kentucky to embrace a program that would assist low-income folks with accessing vegan food.
However, Nelson faced opposition from legislatures and agribusiness lobbyists which led to the rejection of the proposal.
Given what happened, Nelson did not give up. He decided to go the DIY route and tested his plant-based nutrition program in Mebane, North Carolina.
In a program called “PlantPure Jumpstart”, he was able to get 16 people to join. With “PlantPure Jumpstart”, participants got meat-free, egg-free, dairy-free and oil-free lunches and dinners for 10 days.
The sixteen people who joined the program came from different backgrounds. At the beginning and end of the program, the participants had to undergo testing to determine any changes to their bodies.
The overall conclusion that was drawn from this was that everyone tested healthier at the end of the 10-day program.
Apart from highlighting Nelson’s vegan diet program, ‘PlantPure Nation’ also focused on the environmental effects of the dairy and meat industries to issues like deforestation and global warming.
If there’s one thing that the film can attest to is that some people are embracing the vegan lifestyle not merely for ethical reasons, but also as a way to better and improve their health.
13. Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes In 30 Day (2009)
Released in 2009, Simply Raw is an independent documentary film that follows six Americans living with diabetes.
In 30 days, they switched to a vegan, organic and uncooked food diet in the hopes of reversing their disease without the aid of medications.
The six participants were asked to give up their consumption of a lot of stuff like dairy, sugar, meat, nicotine, alcohol, soda, junk, fast food and even cooked food for 30 days.
In the film, we follow the participants’ experiences, capturing the physical, medical and emotional changes that happened to them as a result of changing their diets and lifestyles.
In the 30 day period, the participants go through a lot. However, with the support of their families and the strict observance of the diet, it is clear how the diet program can reverse their disease and make their lives better.
14. Speciesism (2013)
The filmmaker Mark Devries was only 20 years old when he started filming the documentary ‘Speciesism’ which was released in 2013.
The film centers on how human beings have the belief or the assumption that they are above non-human beings.
This is especially true when it comes to animals who are treated as properties and are not given the respect that they deserve.
At the beginning of this film, Mark met with some of the most influential biologists, ethicists, philosophers, educators, scientists, animal rights activists, and welfare experts to talk to them about their thoughts on the treatment of animals.
To further drive a point, Mark goes around different factory farms, discovering the harrowing conditions of the animals there.
15. Supersize Me (2004)
In 2004’s Supersize Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock had a mission – eat McDonald’s for 30 days.
In that period, he ate three meals a day, eat everything offered on the menu at least once over the course of 30 days, and if offered he had to Supersize his meal!
The film starts with Morgan checking his health condition. Over the course of his fast food journey, he checks his progress with his doctors, a nutritionist, and a physical therapist.
During his daily McDonald’s meals, Morgan starts to feel a little off due to the food that he has been consuming.
As the experiment progresses, Morgan experiences abnormalities in his body including in his heart and liver.
By the end of the 30 days, the negative impact on his body is so significant, that doctors let him know that it will take months before his body returns to normal.
Through ‘Supersize Me’, we are able to see just how unhealthy the eating habits of Americans are, and the power that the fast food industry’s marketing and lobbying has.
16. Swine (2016)
Released in 2016, this film focuses on a journalist’s undercover mission to investigate the MRSA superbug outbreak in the UK’s pig population.
In his quest to discover the truthfulness of the said rumor, he discovers several truths surrounding the pig industry.
For decades, factory farms have been abusing the use of antibiotics on animals. This led to an antibiotics resistance which not only affected the UK but also the rest of the world.
Through ‘Swine’, we get to see just how massive this global health crisis is and how the industry has kept silent on this rather dangerous issue.
17. Vegucated (2011)
Marisa Miller Wolfson is the woman behind Vegucated which was released in 2011.
In this film which she wrote, directed and narrated, we see Marisa decides to go vegan after learning the truth about the animal-based food industry.
While being on a vegan diet, she begins to become healthier. She loses weight and feels better than ever.
She also feels good about no longer taking part in the inhumane practice of the slaughtering of animals for food.
In her desire to change people’s perception of the vegan diet, she sets up a social experiment wherein three people from New York go completely vegan. They too see significant changes to their health and bodies.
18. What The Health (2017)
Following the success of his film Cowspiracy, filmmaker Kip Andersen released another film called ‘What The Health’ in 2017.
This time around, he tries to prove how to prevent and reverse the different chronic diseases. He also details out why leading health institutions and bodies don’t want us to know what these secrets are.
Guided and aided by different researchers, doctors, and consumer advocates, he uncovers the truths being hidden from the public, including the connivance between big corporations and the government.
He also looks into nonprofit health organizations that are not saying or doing anything regarding the issue.
In ‘What The Health’, the audience learns of the influence that giant pharmaceutical, animal food, and agribusiness companies have over the country’s health, most especially in vulnerable and communities.
19. H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters (2016)
If you have the desire to change the world, you can start by looking at what’s being served on your plate. That is what this 2016 documentary film reminds all of us.
It tackles different subjects such as food insecurity, obesity and how the Earth’s resources are depleting at an alarming rate.
As the number of diseases increases in the West, we can trace their prevalence to our reliance on animal products.
The film suggest that to address the issue, we should look into a more plant-based nutrition. In the film, we get to see people who have adopted that diet and lifestyle have seen an improvement in their health.
In ‘H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters’, there is also a focus on how the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries are doing everything they can to oppose the healthier plant-based diet alternatives.
Finally, the film also discusses the cruelty of the food industry and how we can actually change things around if we let go of our dependence on animal by-products.
Documentaries dealing with veganism and other related subjects can serve as learning tools to better our health and our planet.
The films that I have included above can open our eyes to the harsh realities and conditions happening in the animal farming industries.
They also reveal to us the length that different industries and corporations go through to stop people from opting for an animal byproduct free lifestyle.
If you or any of your friends (vegan or otherwise) are looking for movies that can enlighten and educate you at the same time, be sure to look through the list of documentaries above.
With so many options, you will surely have something to watch when the mood strikes.
If you wish to let more people know about these vegan documentaries, don’t hesitate to share this list on the different social media platforms you take part of.
If there are other vegan-centered movies that you think I should add to the list, don’t hesitate to leave their titles on the comment section below!