Pretty much everyone knows about the atrocities that happen to animals in the livestock industry. Even if you don’t know the nitty gritty details, you know that these animals are often mistreated and abused. It’s not something that you think about eating a big juicy burger, and chances are that even though you’re aware that things could be better, it’s not enough to make you want to give up that succulent steak.

It’s ok, I get it, I was there once too. I knew that it was bad and felt horrible for the animals and hated seeing the PETA videos of animals suffering, but it wasn’t enough to motivate me to stop eating meat. I thought that I needed meat in order to be healthy and have a balanced diet and didn’t want to go through the extra effort of trying to find protein (etc.) replacements when I knew that the meat industry would continue on without me regardless.

The thing that got me to stop were documentaries on how meat effects our health as humans. Turns out meat is not good for you. It’s not health and isn’t part of a balanced diet. In fact, it’s harmful to our health. This is what woke me up and got me to quit. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about the animals, but once I learned that all of horrors committed to these animals are for a product that is actually hurting us, I saw absolutely no reason to continue to eat it and haven’t looked back since.

Here are some of the most informative documentaries on the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet and how the meat industry is impacting and killing our planet. They aren’t going to try to guilt you into be a vegetarian by showing you dead animals. They will, however, educate you (as they did me) on the misconceptions about meat and how it really effects our health and our planet.

Top Health Focused Documentaries

What The Health

what the health
An eye-opening fact-dense yet fun documentary from the creators of Cowspiracy (mentioned later). Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn interview several medical doctors and researchers about the impact of animal food on the human body and the growing evidence showing how they contribute to our leading causes of death. Something that leading health organizations remain quiet about.

Watch the Trailer

Forks Over Knives

forks over knives
In a non-preachy easy to digest way, Forks Over Knives shows you how not only animal foods but also highly processed foods impact and are harmful to your health. It’s a great watch for anyone toying with the idea of being vegetarian or vegan. This is the one that ultimately motivated me to stop eating meat.

Some of the most impactful evidence comes from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, co-author of the China Study, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, on how a plant-based diet can heal or even reverse the most common diseases of our society.

  • Running length: 1h 36min
  • Director: Lee Fulkerson
  • Release year: 2011
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  • Official Site

Watch the Trailer

PlantPure Nation

plantpure nation
Continuing where Forks Over Knives left off, this documentary continues to follow Dr. T. Colin Campbell as he continues to spread the word about the scientifically proven health benefits of a plant based diet. He challenges diverse group of people to go vegan for 10 days, taking biometrics tests before and after the challenge with astonishing results.

  • Running length: 1h 35min
  • Director: Nelson Campbell
  • Release year: 2015
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  • Official Site

Watch the Trailer

Food Maters

Food-Matters-poster-horozontal
“You are what you eat” is the tagline of this documentary which examines how the food we consume impact our health. There is a strong focus on the benefits of eating raw and on superfoods. It also dives deeply into how the medical and pharmaceutical industry is focused on treating our symptoms and now our diseases, which can be cured (or at least improved) through a planet based diet. This is the second doc that convinced me it was time to give up meat.

  • Running length: 1h 20min
  • Director: James Colquhoun, Carlo Ledesma
  • Release year: 2008
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  • Official Site

Watch the Trailer

Planeat

planeat
A British documentary covering both the health and environmental benefits of a plant based diet. Uplifting, down to earth, informative and without shock tactics. It offers solutions on how innovative farming techniques could solve today’s problems and gives insight into the tasty culinary side of plant-based cooking. Great for those meat eaters who think they would be eating nothing but lettuce if they went veggie!

  • Running length: 1h 27min
  • Director: Shelley Lee Davies, Or Shlomi
  • Release year: 2010
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  • Official Site

Watch the Trailer

Top Earth-Impact Focused Documentaries

Cowspiracy

Cowspiracy
Cowspiracy covers the environmental disaster that is the livestock and other animal-based product industries and the impact they have on our planet. Filmmaker Kip Anderson approaches some of the biggest environmental organizations to talk about these topics. Including how the animal agriculture has the biggest impact on climate change than any other industry and is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole transportation industry combined. It also is one of the leading cause of many environmental illnesses including deforestation, desertification, water use, or causing species extinction.

Watch the Trailer

Meat the Truth

meat the truth
This documentary tackles the issue of climate change and why even though it’s a topic often discussed, the animal agriculture is never part of that discussion. It demonstrates how one person changing their diet can make a big impact and lead to change. She interviews scientists, PETA members, as well as current and former ranchers who turned vegan.

  • Running length: 1h 14min
  • Director: Karen Soeters, Gertjan Zwanikken
  • Release year: 2007
  • Watch
  • Official Site

Watch the Trailer

More Vegan & Vegetarian Documentaries

If you’re interested in viewing more vegan documentaries, there is a fantastic exhaustive list available here. I think these are some of the best and appreciate that they don’t use animal cruelty and cheep tricks to try to convince you to stop eating meat.

Let me know in the comments if you think something else should be added to the list!

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