What the Health?
New year. New hope for health and wellness. New transparency in big business. Well, two out of three is not bad.
Our Health is a great place to start as we transition into 2018. We all have new goals, and health considerations rank high. Yes, health costs are escalating, in tandem with an increased risk of food related diseases, but there is hope if we are willing to make some adjustments.
To borrow from the Stoics (and a shout out to Ryan Holiday ), we just have to focus our perceptions, accept what is out of our control and direct our actions in a way that can bring about solution.
Being More Aware
Let's start with the lay of the land, the results of a broken system. After doing some research, and seeing an eye-opening documentary (What the Health ), here are a handful of facts, just give you a taste health challenges we face:
What We Can not Control
The movie goes deeper, shedding light on the dark secrets. We learn about partnerships between organizations and brands that should scream out conflict of interest . After numerous doctors and nutritionists enlighten us with the connection between meat and diabetes, we learn the American Diabetes Association is taking sponsorship dollars from meat producers and providing menu items on their website, with beef, chicken and pork! They do not seem to be interested in preventing Diabetes, as they are the millions of dollars from sponsors who supply drugs into the system. More than a handful of their sponsors are Pharm companies!
Both the American Cancer Association and the USDA seem to follow similar paths. Politics, lobbying and money; But let's not give the whole story away. What the Health Covers the bases, with more facts, stats and living examples.
Just a few more not-so-fun facts, before we consider a solution ...
We Can Take Action
The truth is, while we can not upend an entire system, we can change our diet and feel better. We can curb escalating disease. You will see results with a plant-based diet, and that myth about protein, vegetarians not getting enough is just plain false. Plants are loaded with protein; so do not let that stop you Here is a great article with over a dozen protein sources.
It's worth a try. Having been a Pescatarian for years, I'm more than a little curious to gauge the difference in eliminating fish from my diet. I certainly hope to avoid ever giving Pharma the satisfaction of needing their drugs because I did not care enough to eat better.
I know this is a tough commitment, but it's worth seeing the movie, and then you can make a more informed decision. What the Health, right?
For those susceptible to autoimmune diseases (1 in 5 Americans), it can do serious damage and lead to any number of long-term consequences, from Diabetes to Cancer, MS to Celiac, and gluten affects nearly 100 other autoimmune diseases. While the medical and science community try to conquer the unsolved mysteries related to gluten, there is no denying that there is a rise in all chronic diseases.
It’s important to understand that most people go undiagnosed because they have yet to uncover blatant symptoms, or suffer from a chronic illness. They say they don’t feel a difference when they eat gluten. Sadly, you may not for days, months or even years. Think of a bucket that catches rainwater under the leak in the ceiling. Eventually, the bucket fills, tips over and all hell breaks lose. Eating gluten causes “Leaky Gut” and the bucket will eventually tip.
I’m no doctor but I happen to have first hand experience. My daughter developed an autoimmune disorder, (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) and can no longer have gluten. Bad news found our house, as gluten is a key ingredient in a few staples -- many breakfast cereals, bread, pasta and flour tortillas. Ouch.
Where’s the Data?
What’s With Wheat?
I often hear people asking, why now? What’s with Wheat? We’ve eaten bread and pasta for generations without causing disease. What we know is gluten today is not the same as the gluten our grandparents ate.
It’s a long answer, but to simplify with a few key facts -:
What Can We Do?
You can be tested. In order to get accurate results from most test methods, you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet for a short period, typically 30 days. Another way to determine if you are gluten sensitive is to ask your doctor to order the following tests: IgA anti-gliadin antibodies (these are found in about 80% of people with Celiac disease).
Over the past few years, as gluten has become the subject of conversation around autoimmune disorders, patients have gone on gluten free diets for 30 days after blood test, to see if their bodies react differently. Some of the fortunate patients returned to analysis, only to learn they had no side effects or auto immune issues. BUT what studies do show is that many of these patients felt better, physically, emotionally and/or mentally as a result of being gluten free. They stayed the course.
The Gluten Resolution
The good news is we can change course, by making different choices in our diet. How about adding this to your list of New Year’s Resolutions – No Gluten for 30 days! You need morning cereal? There are plenty of gluten free options. Same for bread and bagels. Rather than having flour tortillas, eat corn.
The best news, is this dietary shift can lead to new and exciting food choices. There are plenty of amazing flavors, foods and dishes without gluten. Part of the fun is exploring and trying new foods. See resources below with some ideas.
As we move into 2018, don’t we owe this challenge to ourselves and our bodies? What do we have to lose?
For more background, visit the links below and we sure welcome your feedback…and results.
Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test
Request a Test
Gluten Free Living
New Research Links Gluten Sensitivity to Multiple Autoimmune Diseases
Top 50 Gluten-Free Blogs - The Academy of Culinary Nutrition
This was yet another amazing year for the doc genre, and keep in mind, especially for social impact projects. Most of these films scored in the 90s with critics at Rotten Tomatoes, many of them award winners on the festival circuit.
While we feel these are the top overall social impact movies of the year, we know “best” is subjective, so we’re not presenting them here as a countdown, but covering in alphabetical order.
To find out which video platforms are showing the films, and watch the trailers, click on the thumbnails below.
You ready? Let’s jump into this…And we will begin with a true David vs Goliath story.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Abacus, a small family-run bank, becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend itself -- and its bank's legacy in the Chinatown community -- over the course of a five-year legal battle.
Cleary, this becomes much more than just defending the bank, or a family business. It became about honor, justice, and standing up for a community
Abacus was, as we are reminded at the end of the movie - was “the only U.S. bank indicted for mortgage fraud related to the 2008 crisis.” Did the government intentionally pass up the big fish and pick on this small one? — was immigration part of the issue? You can be the judge, in this classic underdog story.
As we all know, Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
As intelligent as it is beautiful, Chasing Coral gives us quite the cinematic experience…and a great example of how a powerful film can engage audiences around an issue, hoping to inspire us to reverse the consequences facing our planet before it’s too late.
A remarkable accomplishment, Dina is about a relationship that evolves between an eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door-greeter. This documentary is intimate, powerful and rewarding, as we are reminded that Romance, regardless of your mental capacity, is a beautiful thing
The film doesn't feel or look like a documentary. It's a gracefully told character sketch, but there is an unusual style that manages to retain a narrative flow .
A movie that only begins as a expose on doping in sports and becomes something bigger - about the dangers of being a whistleblower, especially when it blows on Russia.
An expensive acquisition at Sundance by Netflix, “Icarus” is a sizzling documentary, the kind of film that gets people talking
It plays out like a genuine spy thriller. Cheating and doping in sports have been making headlines in these past few years, but this film manages to take a deeper dive into this systematic corruption.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,
Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, racing around the world to train an army of activists and affect international climate policy. Cameras track him behind the scenes – as he shares how the perils of climate change can be overcome with human passion and perseverance.
Yes, there we get our share of doom and gloom, but also a sense of hope. A good refresher on man-made-climate change, the film presents a powerful demonstration of the issues. Important viewing for all.
Jane Goodall, a young and untrained researcher, challenges the male dominated scientific consensus of her time with her chimpanzee research and – to some extent - revolutionizes people's understanding of these animals and the world of nature
Primarilly comprised of 16mm footage shot during Goodall’s early years by her eventual husband van Lawick, the film paints a lush picture, showing the true passion and commitment Jane felt for these creatures. Filmmaker Brett Morgan does a phenomenal job injecting emotional depth into the story, while cleverly interweaving archival footage and animations…with a terrific score by Phillip Glass
One of the most well-crafted docs of the year, JANE is a likely nominee for Academy Award for Best Documentary.
One of Us
This Netflix Original tracks the lives of three ex-members of Brooklyn's Hasidic community: Ari, Luzer, and Etty. Each struggles with being ostracized from their former community and families, while sharing their circumstances. The characters also share their religious doubt, along with past domestic trauma.
Exploring a rarely seen, complex subject matter, this movie really calls the basic issues of Human Rights into question.
In Step, we visit inner city Baltimore, tracking the senior year of a girls' high school step team. We get a glimpse into the homes, school and dance life, as these girls try to become the first in their families to attend college. The girls push to make their dancing a success against all odds.
Uplifting and compassionate, Step won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2017 AFI docs festival
Winner of the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Documentary Filmmaker Yance Ford investigates the 1992 murder of a young black man. It becomes a gut wrenching personal journey, since the victim, 24-year-old William Ford Jr., was the filmmaker's brother.
Yance speaks directly to the camera about his brother's murder 20 years ago, and about its affects on the family. You really get the sense of unfinished business, racial tension and deep sorrow felt by the filmmaker, as he reconstructs the stories surrounding the murder. Strong Island is both memoir and investigation into the circumstances under which his brother was murdered, by a white car mechanic.
Jennifer Brea is close to marrying the love of her life when she's struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden. Doctors tell her “it's all in her head,” and she decides to document her struggles as she fights for a cure. She gets her share of degrading treatment, while connecting to others challenged with the same debilitating disease.
Intimate, powerful and inspiring a call to action, Unrest won a Special jury prize for editing at Sundance
And that’s wrap on Cause Cinema’s Best Docs of 2017. Again, these amazing works are more than just engaging and entertaining, they’re inspiring.
We hope you have an opportunity to see these extraordinary works, and should you connect with specific causes at the heart of a certain project, take a moment to visit the links provided above. In addition to guiding you to the best in social impact filmmaking, we want to provide access to the causes themselves – giving you the opportunity to get involved, take action and help create change.
If you have not already done so, feel free to sign up for our podcast on itunes, or and share with your friends…The more we all see, the better informed we will be…and together we can leverage the power of film to create change.
As of March of 2018, we were invited to have our Articles published by The Mission, the most popular publication on Medium. We will continue to introduce our stories here, with links back to our page with The Mission.
Thanks for joining us!