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I’m a total documentary nerd. Even if it’s a topic I know nothing about or have only minimal interest in, the documentary’s particular combination of information and entertainment just speaks to my soul–I can’t get enough. A good documentary leaves me feeling informed, inspired, and motivated…Add food//nutrition//fitness//wellness into the mix, and I could easily post up in front of my TV for hours on a shameless content binge. You too? Then you HAVE to stream these documentaries on Netflix ASAP.

1. Fed Up

From Netflix: “This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes of childhood obesity, which has become an ever-more serious medical issue in America.”

The TSB Take: Narrated by Katie Couric, this must-watch 2014 documentary on obesity takes aim at the ever-changing food industry, primarily focusing on the evils of processed foods and SUGAR. {In case you hadn’t heard, sugar is currently public enemy #1.} There’s also a super interesting discussion about calories-in vs calories-out mentality, and the true impact that exercise has on weight. I’ve watched Fed Up literally four times already–it’s appropriate for all audiences and incredibly eye-opening, interesting, and provides ample motivation to clean up your diet.

2. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, & Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead 2

From Netflix: “Two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, document their rigorous healing path in a bid to regain their health.”

The TSB Take: This is a documentary on juicing. Serious, hardcore, long-term juicing. Juicing, by a self-proclaimed “fat, sick, and nearly dead” MAN for health, healing, and vitality–not trendy cleansing or detoxing…though filmmaker Joe Cross DOES manage to lose 100lbs and discontinue use of his medication as he undertakes a doctor-supervised 60-day juice fast while traveling across the United States. You can also stream the movie’s 2014 sequel, which features interviews with health experts and follows up with many of the original individuals featured in the first film. The original {and in my opinion superior} Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead doc disappears from Netflix Instant on 7/1, so catch it while you can!

3. Bite Size

From Netflix: “Exploring the roots of America’s obesity epidemic, four kids make lifestyle changes that will set patterns for healthy living for years to come.”

The TSB Take: Added to Netflix less than a week ago, Bite Size is centered around the lives of four children struggling with their weight. Eating habits, activity levels, and family/societal responsibility and pressure are all discussed, and while the science behind obesity is touched on, the focus is more personal than informational…It’s like reality TV meets PBS. Entertaining and easy to understand, this is the perfect afternoon indulgence!

4. Food, Inc

From Netflix: “Director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary looks at the food industry’s harmful effects on human health and the environment.”

The TSB Take: Fun fact–I saw this 2008 documentary with my parents, in theaters, during my senior year of high school. While it’s a bit more info-centric and dry than some of the other films listed here, if you’re an information addict, you’ll probably really enjoy Food, Inc, which covers everything from genetically modified produce to pesticides to government involvement in the food industry. Keep in mind that “ew” factor is real here, especially when it comes to the depiction of the meat industry.

5. Vegucated

From Netflix: “This documentary follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks in an effort to get healthier.”

The TSB Take: Vegucated is “Supersize Me” meets “Married At First Sight”–social and cultural documentary meets psychological experiment extraordinaire. Primarily shot in reality TV format, it follows a cast of NY foodies who ditch their standard American diets for six weeks in favor of 100% vegan living. Sounds good, right? It is! Check out Vegucated even if you have no desire to try a vegan diet–it’s funny, engaging, and surprisingly inspirational…without being overly preachy.

6. Forks Over Knives

From Netflix: “According to the research of two food scientists, the popularity of processed foods has led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases.”

The TSB Take: A science-y look at the food industry, Forks Over Knives advocates for a low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet for optimal health. More informational than entertaining, film relies heavily on scientific reports, findings, and professional interviews, and can feel almost clinical {not to mention evangelical} at times.

7. Forks Over Knives Presents: The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

From Netflix: “Join Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet, as he guides the White and Wally families and teaches them how to take control of their health.”

The TSB Take: A foodie firefighter makes house calls to introduce families struggling with health and weight concerns to a plant-based diet. Clocking in at under an hour, this short and sweet doc from the Forks Over Knives franchise features a collection of super-yummy recipes and packs a major motivational punch. I actually enjoyed The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue more than its predecessor, as it humanizes the dietary philosophies outlined in Forks Over Knives!

8. Hungry for Change

From Netflix: “This documentary exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries use to keep consumers coming back for more.”

The TSB Take: Hungry for Change is a scientifically-backed, interview-heavy takedown of the diet food industry, particularly processed foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.  While interesting, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a definite bias toward a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, and that some of the findings and quotations mentioned in the movie have been taken out of context and/or manipulated to fit the Hungry for Change narrative. This being said, my favorite part of HfC isn’t about food at all, but is rather the discussion of the mental aspects of dieting, which focuses on positive thinking, body positivity, and ditching deprivation mentality. A valuable watch for any health or diet-minded individual.

What are your favorite healthy Netflix docs?! Have any to add that I missed?

xx,

Liza

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