Choosing a plant-based lifestyle is an excellent alternative to using animal products for several reasons. Learning the details about transitioning lifestyle and eating habits through research can be quite tedious!
That's why we wanted to find some of the best documentaries that cover the top questions people have about plant-based food habits to make the process a little more digestible. Some noteworthy personal gains include cost-effectiveness, natural weight loss, and a healthier body and mind.
These reasons only scratch the surface about why it is important to ditch the meat and adopt an environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, health-centered diet. In case you are looking for more reasons to switch to veganism, here are 25 of the Top Vegan Documentaries and Where to Find Them. From animal testing and agriculture to reversing chronic health issues, these documentaries cover it all!
Assuaged Top 5 New Documentaries
1) "The Game Changers"
This documentary is presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenneger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Chris Paul, quite the crew! We follow along with former UFC fighter and producer, James Wilks, as he interviews visionary scientists and top athletes.
Wilks was working as a combative instructor for the US military when he was severely injured in training, an event that rendered him a six-month recovery time. The injury shifted his perspective on what food really does for the body, and this film follows him as he goes on a journey to search for the optimal diet for top-performance and health. Watch this documentary for startling information and also for the star interviews with Arnold Schwarzenneger and Jackie Chan! Find it on Netflix.
2) "What The Health"
Made by Andersen and fellow-filmmaker, Keegan Kuhn, as a follow-up film, "What The Health" delves into how the nation's leading health organizations don't want the public to know that their animal-based-product diets are killing them. It discusses the reasons why veganism is good for our health and why non-plant-based products are not.
The film also points out which facts are ignored or buried within our society and the trillions of dollars pouring into the health industry. Discover how eating a plant-focused diet can prevent and possibly even reverse chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, which plague thousands of people around the world today, but are especially prevalent in America. You can find it on Netflix.
3) "The Invisible Vegan"
This documentary explores the problems of unhealthy diets among African American populations. It discusses the history of how the community, culture, and traditions in the west have created a food culture far different from their ancestors. The focus moves on to how to return to more of a whole food plant-based diet to move away from chronic disease and closer to complete health.
It highlights the personal story of Jasmine Leyva, a vegan actress and filmmaker. The film also features Cedric the Entertainer, John Salley, Stic of Dead Prez, along with doctors, researchers, bakers, chefs, other actresses, models, and authors. By removing foods that are unfit for a healthy diet, like fried foods and meats, optimal wellness can be restored. Watch it on Amazon and YouTube.
"Living Vegan" takes a close look at five individuals who have adopted a plant-based lifestyle. This documentary discusses how veganism has become a more significant part of our culture and what the future may look like if the world continues to embrace the plant-based diet.
Also, the health benefits from incorporating these sustainable options are expressed along with preventing diseases as well. These individuals all share the new flavors and possibilities that exist within the vegan diet. Join the movement and watch it on Amazon Prime.
5) "73 Cows"
Another award-winning documentary follows Jay Wilde, a man who has been a beef farmer all his life but who is becoming empathetic toward the cows he is raising to become meat. During the movie, Wilde becomes aware of the fact that the animals have genuine feelings, personalities, and experiences, rather than being robots or soulless creatures that just eat and sleep.
He will ultimately have to make a decision to either change from the slaughterhouse profession or to ignore his newfound appreciation and understanding for these animals. Does he become the first farmer in the UK to trade beef farming for sustainable organic vegan farming? Watch on Vimeo to find out!
6) "The Last Pig"
This award-winning documentary follows the life of a humane and caring pig farmer, Bob Comis, and his personal ethical dilemmas about taking his pigs to slaughter. The film documents Bob for a year on his farm as he grapples with the emotional tie he's cultivated towards his pigs. They show the connection that occurs after he grows closer with them in their daily lives together.
The pressures of the demands of his work and his newfound appreciation of these sweet animals cause an internal dilemma, and in this film, you can watch as he tries to find a better option for the creatures he has come to care so genuinely for. Keep an eye out for when released. We will definitely be watching it later in the year too!
Best Documentaries on YouTube
This award-winning documentary accounts for different families as they tell their heartfelt stories about various chronic diseases, miscarriages, autism, breast cancer, allergies, and other health issues that they have experienced. All of these things happened despite the fact they thought they were "eating right."
Doctors weigh in on how GMOs have changed our food supply and how they are responsible for influencing these adverse outcomes. These obscure ingredients and unseen alterations that we don't know about are making us sick. The film stresses the importance of feeding children and families of America food without pesticides and GMOs. Watch the film on the website or YouTube.
From the writers and producers of "Forks Over Knives," this documentary explores the scientific evidence behind why animal-based products are harmful to our health and can lead to things like heart disease, type two diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
The film follows renowned nutritional scientist, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and his son, Nelson Campbell and Kentucky State Rep. Tom Riner, as they create a program which can prove the benefits of a plant-based diet. Follow the group as they try to push this new health agenda into public awareness. Watch on YouTube.
Narrated and produced by award-winning journalist and TV personality, Katy Couric, this film takes audiences on a journey to expose the lies behind the food industry. While the focus is primarily on the impact the modern American diet has on children, the health facts presented in Fed Up run across the board for every individual.
The documentary focuses on how sugar and processed foods are the leading causes of obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses seen in America today. Discover how the big-sugar industry lobbies to stay in the diets of Americans, even when we actively fight against it. Watch the film on YouTube and Amazon.
This film exposes secrets about the diet, weight loss, and the food industry. Hear what best-selling authors and medical experts have to say about the food industry secrets and how they are keeping you sick with sugar, caffeine, and "food-like" products.
Watch this inspiring documentary as real people struggle with their obesity and learn how they can change their diets for the better with healthier, whole foods. Watch on YouTube.
11) "Vegan 2019"
Directed and produced by (PBN) Plant-Based News founder, Klaus Mitchell, this documentary explores the rise of veganism in 2019 and why so many people are moving towards the plant-based lifestyle.
The film discusses the causes behind the rise, including the impacts the animal agriculture industry is having on the environment, the Amazon Rainforest fires, and meatless products coming into stores and restaurants across the nation. Watch it on YouTube.
Veganism and Plant-based Diet for Health Benefits
Besides its adverse effect on animals, the food corporations treat the animals with steroids that become threatening for humans to consume when it gets to their table. Priority is in profit, so the quickest and cheapest way to 'fatten' an animal up is utilized at any sacrifice.
There have been studies that show human diseases such as cancers have increased with the progression of industrialized farming. According to a case study published by Harvard Medical School, eating plant-based food while reducing the intake of processed goods, as well as animal products, is a factor in achieving long term health.
Meats and the Connections of Health Risks and Chronic Disease
Another considerable interest is the long term health repercussions of consuming large quantities of meat. This is particularly true for processed options like lunch meat, bacon, hot dogs, and sausage.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) did a study on the association between Chronic Heart Disease (CHD) and Type 2 Diabetes and diet. They concluded that there was a strong association between those who had CHD and Type 2 Diabetes with their frequency of consumption of red meats as well as processed meats. Processed meats contain high sodium to preserve and lengthen shelf life.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, a cancer-causing substance. Correlations have been shown between eating an excess of these meat products, and red meat can cause other chronic diseases like obesity or Alzheimers later on in life.
Plant-Based Diet and Health Documentaries
12) "Food, Inc."
"The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than it has in the last 10,000," is the opening line in the trailer for this documentary. "Food, Inc." takes an in-depth and disturbing look into America's pervasive, corporate-controlled food industry.
It explores the truths behind the process our food goes through from farm-to-market or restaurant, along with the environmental, animal, and employee harm that it delivers. It also identifies just how much corn is incorporated into hundreds of items in the supermarkets we all shop at. Watch this empowering film on Amazon Prime.
This is a documentary about the growing problem of chronic diseases rising from current dietary habits and how to reverse them with a whole foods plant-based diet. The film discusses how we're addicted to animal products and how it is as habit-forming as nicotine.
It also covers how we can reverse and prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and how people die from the side effects of the drugs they are taking to reduce the impact of their chronic conditions. Thankfully it also explains how to go about reversal and prevention. There are also interviews with well-known doctors, biochemists, and nutritionists. Watch this film on YouTube and Amazon.
"Forks Over Knives" debuted in 2011 and quickly became a staple in the vegan-film and vegan lifestyle category. Similar to "What The Health," without the intense focus on the health industry, this film challenges what we think we know about chronic diseases and how to help those of us plagued by them.
The film exposes how instead of merely trying to "fix" people plagued with chronic disease, we should be preventing it by including more plants in our diet and renouncing animal products. The film follows the journey of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. Join along as they come to the findings that diseases such as heart disease and type two diabetes can genuinely be prevented and even reversed. Watch this film and discover more on Netflix
Follow one Australian man's mission to cure his autoimmune disease and obesity in 'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.' Joe Cross has grown accustomed to regularly eating junk food and living an unhealthy lifestyle. It seems quite reasonable until one day he finds out he's been diagnosed with chronic urticaria.
He starts out by taking mountains of pills to fix it but then decides to try the more holistic approach and changes his diet instead. He travels to America to try juice fasting, drinking only fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days. Follow him as he travels the country, interviewing different people, and exploring Americans' food and health patterns. Watch on Youtube or Amazon Prime.
Another award-winning documentary, this film follows three New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks after a life of eating animal products. The guerrilla-style documentary shows each of the individual's daily lives and takes a personal look into their homes and diets.
Follow along and learn with them as they take a trip to a confined animal farm, and witness the process as they encounter the truth of what it takes to transition into living a plant-based lifestyle, and the realities behind supporting this movement. Watch it on YouTube or Amazon Prime.
The Ethical Reasons Behind Veganism
Veganism is regarded by some as a social justice movement in which advocates for the non-human creatures whose lives are not respected and valued. There are various ethical reasons people are turning to veganism.
Animal agriculture can be a dark and cruel world with abuse on all levels, and the meat itself is often tainted by the entire process. Toxic corruption and inevitable waste is heavily supplied from a forced surplus of animals.
These toxic waste issues are compacted by:
- Unsustainable resource consumption
- Excessive usage of antibiotics and hormones
- Run off from filthy living conditions
- The gross source of pollution created during the slaughtering process
Their poor quality of life is exacerbated by overcrowding, contaminated spaces, malnutrition, and shortened life with no sign of compassion or experiencing quality of life in that brief time.
One of the main reasons why people choose veganism as a lifestyle is an ethical aspect that stands behind it. The fundamental notion for people is the cruelty inflicted upon animals in the agriculture industry. Not only are animals brutally slaughtered early on from a miserable life, but they are then disposed of in excess to fuel the commercialized industrialized world.
Environmental Pollution & Sustainability of Natural Resources
The environmental impact of eating animals creates an additional ethical dilemma. A vegetarian lifestyle fosters a healthy ecosystem by reducing pollution in intensive farming and land degradation by grazing. The agriculture industry is now becoming technology-intensive to keep up with this consumer demand, and this uses up an incredible amount of energy.
The 'natural' farming process is now very much unnatural, as the large food companies drive to scale production. This manipulated and 'unnatural' process speeds up land degradation and soil depletion as well, as animals are grossly overfed. You can see more about this in the documentary, Food, Inc. It's incredible to see how the traditional farm has been converted into what is now a factory environment.
Lucent does a great job of exposing the pig farm industry-- including one of the largest slaughterhouses in Australia. 73 Cows shares the moral journey a beef farmer undertakes as he becomes aware of the miserable quality life of which he is subjecting his cows. The Cove is based in Japan, where dolphins are mistreated and abused
We tend to turn the cheek to what happens behind the scenes before meat and animal products are bought nicely packaged from the store and brought home. What these films do so well is to provide clear examples to see what is truly happening behind the scenes during the production process.
Best Vegan Ethical Movement Documentaries
This award-winning documentary follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secrets of the world's leading environmental organizations. The film exposes the industry so profoundly that the website exclaims it's "the film that environmental organizations don't want you to see!"
The film shows the effects of eating and producing animal products and by-products have on climate change, water shortages, and oceanic dead zones. Follow Kip on his journey as he questions the leading environmental organizations why they are too afraid to talk about the issues we are all facing on our planet. Find the film on Netflix.
This film follows director, Mark Devris, as he sets out to expose and examine the secrets that modern farms are struggling to keep hidden and the movement that is rising against it. "Species-ism" takes its audience into multiple colossi, isolated, windowless factory farms across America that house thousands of animals.
Some are hidden deep in the countryside, and the reasons unveiled make it quite clear why that is. Follow as he confronts and questions the farmers while he explores the industries' actual qualities. It also explores "manure lagoons" and the effects they have on our water supply, and features some cringe-worthy interviews with the farm owners defending their lands and rights. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
19) "The Cove"
This documentary, winner of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award, uncovers the dark secrets of Japan's local fishermen: The capture and slaughter of dolphins. Follow the intense exploration of two men and a high-tech dive team as they work to expose and question these dolphin-hunting practices in Taiji, Japan.
The film is thrilling to watch as the team tries multiple ways of getting behind the walls to find out exactly how these Japanese groups handle the dolphins and what they do with the harvested meat. It also features interviews with citizens and shows just how unaware they are of what's really going on in the Cove. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
This documentary follows Tilikum, a performing orca whale that's being held in captivity at SeaWorld. The film takes viewers to a time after Tilikum had grievously killed several people who worked with him at the park. The message attempts to explain to audiences why whales that are taken from their original habitats and forced into a disconnected and unnatural lifestyle would do something like retaliate and attack their trainers.
It is an emotional film that shows the effects being removed from a natural environment has on a wild animal and just how cruel it is to use animals for entertainment. The focus revolves around the ethical aspects of veganism, and recognizes the imbalance of human-nature relationships in the world. Learn more by watching it on Amazon Prime or Youtube.
21) "Live and Let Live"
This documentary examines the ethical reasons and concerns that turn people towards veganism and highlights humanity's relationship with animals. "Live and Let Live" follows six vegan individuals from very different backgrounds, including an activist, a bicyclist, a doctor, and a chef.
Throughout the film, multiple reasons are offered as to why these people have turned to plant-based diets and stopped eating meat and animal products altogether. It also discusses how justice corporations don't have boundaries when it comes to targeting other animal-rights or vegan activists. Watch it on Vimeo.
22) "Test Subjects"
"Test Subjects" is made by Alex Lockwood, the filmmaker behind "73 Cows." This touching and impassioned documentary interviews three scientists who had previously worked in animal testing labs on their path to receive their scientific degrees. Somewhere along the line, though, they begin questioning their own morals as they continue to test human products and medicines on innocent animals.
Interviewees Dr. Frances Cheng, Dr. Emily Trunnell, and Dr. Amy Clippinger share their personal experiences with the camera as they go through the emotions that motivated them to possibly end or maybe still continue their profession in animal testing experiments. Watch the short documentary on Vimeo.
23) "Eating Animals"
"Eating Animals" is a more recent documentary that features Natalie Portman as the narrator who discusses the lack of ethics in the food industry and animal agriculture. It focuses on sustainability and improving the system by using more traditional methods and natural processes.
Based on the non-fiction 2009 best-selling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, this film explains the significant effects that the confinement-animal- agriculture industries have on the world and humankind. It also confirms the horrible discoveries behind factory farming for the farmers and whistleblowers alike, who are treated poorly by these industries. Find it on Youtube or Amazon.
Focusing on Australia's pig farming industry, this documentary exposes the cruelty these beings experience daily on pig farms. The film examines over 50 different farms and slaughterhouses from all across Australia, including Riverlea, the largest slaughterhouse in the country, and Wally's Piggery.
In this emotionally heartbreaking film, be warned that there is farm footage that shows the disturbing reality of the tortured lives that these poor creatures endure before the inevitable butchery. It is a source of the blunt truth that is being ignored in the name of food products that only produces adverse effects on people's health. Watch it on YouTube or IMBd.com.
Here is a multiple-award-winning documentary in which animal-rights photojournalist, Jo-Ann McArthur, shows her audience the moving truth of animals whose lives are forced into the industries of food, fashion, entertainment. She shares her research by revealing her photos of ten years worth of archived footage of animal abuse.
It ranges from undercover investigations to joyful rescue missions and begs the questions, "Are non-human animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights?" Watch this heartbreaking and heartwarming film on Youtube.
Animal Rights and Treatment in Animal Agriculture
The Amazon is being destroyed at unsustainable rates while forests burn down to make space for cattle, furthermore wildlife animals are killed, and their habitat is wholly destroyed first. Rare species of plants and animals are blindly attacked by a force of corporate greed daily.
Also, the environment suffers from the depletion of natural resources by humanity's overwhelmingly large carbon footprint on Earth. The present demand for meat and animal by-products is supporting an industry that will continue expanding with no thoughts of the repercussions whatsoever.
A less direct implication is purchasing commodities that have killed animals during production, such as products that are animal-tested or genuine leather products. A leather handbag may seem nice to have, but do we stop to think of the animal that was once the living form of that bag? Is that really something we want to support and further encourage?
Veganism also includes not using animal by-products, like eggs, dairy products, honey, as most of us believe that those animals are not treated as nature intended. Using an animal strictly for something they produce is inhumane and steals from the quality of life. Some vegans go as far as not even wearing any animal by-products.
These non-vegan friendly products include but are not limited to:
- Beauty products
- Soaps and Lotions
- and so much more...
Animals and humans have always co-existed and shared this planet, which should make the respect of another life a given. We are, in a way, hypocritical as we invite certain species into our lives as pets and family members, while at the same time, serve others at the table for dinner.
People generally have a soft spot in their hearts for animals-- so why are some lives regarded as more worthy than others? All of Earth's creatures deserve a quality life and to be part of the natural process.
By continually forcing them to breed and then overcrowding them in miserable environments not only are we contaminating our planet but also our bodies and spirits. The antibiotics and hormones used to keep these creatures alive in these grotesquely chemical-ridden factories are all contained within the meat that eventually makes it to the dinner table.
The fact that we contribute to supporting this system with our purchasing dollars makes this lifestyle change a cleansing one, inside and out. Most of us are shocked when finally confronted with the abuse and cruelty currently taking place on farms or production plants.
Raising awareness of the issue and making other people consider the impacts of their consumption choices is key to healing the heart and soul of the planet. These documentaries below do a phenomenal job raising awareness of the issue.
How Can We Make a Difference With A Plant-Based Lifestyle?
After watching these 25 vegan documentaries, it's hard to argue with the facts that veganism, based on cruelty-free or plant-based lifestyles, is a better option for everyone, including the animals and the planet. Cutting animal products out of our diets may seem like a daunting challenge if the switch hasn't been made already, but there are countless benefits.
Reverse or prevent chronic diseases, maintain a healthy weight, and improve skin quality to clear and brighten are some of the obvious benefits! When we choose to make fresh whole plant-based foods we are also showing kindness and giving justice to deserving cohabitants of Earth.
We can support and help save this haven that we all love to call home from further damage by taking an honest look at our options and choosing the logical path for the future. This not only sets a foundation for a better tomorrow, but provides an example for others to learn from and see there are different possibilities.
How do you want to be part of this movement, and what choice can you make today to move our world one step closer to this vision of balance and consideration for others and the yourself? The options are endless, and even one decision makes a difference. Be part of the healing, and share your thoughts with us below along with your favorite documentary!