Summer reading is great for the beach, but for those times when you need some respite from the sun, there are plenty of educational health documentaries to binge on. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Dr. Lipman Recommends Unacceptable Levels
Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children.
Over 80,000 chemicals flow through our system of commerce, and many are going straight into our bodies. Even our unborn children are affected. Due to this constant exposure, we have approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interacting with our cells every single day. Until recently, modern science really didn’t understand what that could mean for all of us in the long run, but that is changing.
Unacceptable Levels opens the door to conversations about the chemical burden our bodies carry so that we can make informed decisions now and in the future. The film poses challenges to our companies, our government, and our society to do something about a nearly unseen threat with the inspired knowledge that small changes can generate a massive impact.
2. Laura Kraber Recommends Fed Up
Produced by Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth) and journalist Katie Couric, Fed Up reveals the disastrous consequences of U.S. food policy and the food industry’s role in creating obesity, diabetes, and other health issues related to diet. Heartbreaking and eye-opening, this film is essential viewing for all Americans.
3. Jackie Damboragian Recommends Food, Inc
This documentary by Robert Kenner was a game changer for me—it really brought to light just how messed up our food industry is. I like that it’s not preaching one diet, but rather giving a fair and honest portrait about how the food industry is failing us and what we can do about it as consumers.
4. Amanda Carney Recommends Cooked
In the documentary Cooked, based on one of his best-selling books, Michael Pollan explores the four classic elements of earth, air, fire, and water and their role in transforming the natural world around us into delicious food. He travels all over the planet to discover different methodologies and beliefs around food and, in the process, presents the underlying idea that no matter the meal or location, cooking and eating provide us with a much-needed sense of nourishment and connection to people, places, and nature.
5. Alexandra Samit Recommends Sugar Coated
Sugar Coated compares the PR tactics the sugar industry uses to cover up the harms of sugar consumption to those previously used by the tobacco industry. Confidential documents are exposed that provide evidence that Big Sugar has known the damage sugar causes. Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig further confirms the harms of sugar by the numbers of cases of kids he sees in his office with fatty liver.
6. Anne Markt Recommends Super Size Me
Growing up in the Midwest, I lived on a diet that consisted mostly of Happy Meals (I was very “picky”). But I eventually felt so sick and nauseous that at age 10, I made a huge transition away from fast food and awakened to how great I could feel! When I eventually discovered Super Size Me in adulthood, I finally understood why I’d felt so sick. For anyone who may still believe fast food isn’t “that bad,” this documentary is a must-see!
7. Brette Bennett Recommends Happy
No matter how well you eat, how much you exercise, how many healthy rituals you embrace, if you don’t have happiness in your life, then your health—emotionally and physically—is at risk. Happiness from within (not from the perfectly staged Instagram post) is vital for a healthy life—and this documentary shows a happy life in all scenarios.
8. Courtney Blatt Recommends Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
I knew Joe Cross back in the day when he was a corporate executive and was fat, sick, and nearly dead. It’s amazing to see the transformation he made and how he’s inspiring the world to make healthy changes. While I don’t think juicing is a long-term solution, I think this film demonstrates how feeding your body with nutrients is an easy way to start healing yourself quickly.