Friday, March 9, 2012

Nutritional Documentary Comparison

As you can probably tell, I'm spending a lot of time lately researching nutrition. Netflix.com  is down to about $9.00 a month for unlimited online streaming of content and I am taking full advantage of the "Documentary" section of their library. 


Last night I watched most of Gary Null's Supercharge Your Immune System. It was made in 2003. Gary Null is an "International expert on nutrition and health sciences" according to his website. He has 10 million listeners to his internet radio show and is an "award winning...documentary film maker and investigative journalist." While trying to decipher Dr. Null's qualifications, I found this website which aggressively calls the accreditation of his PhD granting institution into question. Apparently he has a bachelors in dietetics/nutrition, some kind of graduate level Psychology training, and labels himself as a "Scientist." Either way, I agreed with what I saw and heard on his documentary about the immune system, but was not particularly entertained or compelled by his movie-making style. 


I have to say that I laughed out loud at several of the painfully dated 90's fashions included in the movie. There was a Scottish guy, a physical therapist, talking about Celtic Sea Salt who had a ridiculous pony tail. Then Dr. Null's wardrobe included some laughable shorts with skinny belts as well as a blue denim jeans suit- all were irrelevant to the informational content, but added to the floundering entertainment value.


The following clip is one of the more compelling scenes, where he does a man on the street kind of thing. It feels really contrived and is dry, like his voice, but he takes a seemingly random grocery shopper into the store to decide what the most positive purchases would be for the health of the immune system.

Gary Null's Supercharge Your Immune System



The outcome is that Dr. Null has a cart full of fresh, raw, organic veggies and holds them up one at a time and describes how each food nourishes AND reverses some immune dysfunctions. The "Random" shopper has a cart full of processed, dead foods.


Since it was late at night and the pace of the movie was so slow, I fast forwarded through the last 45ish minutes which explained yoga, meditation, and tai chi. There was a poorly executed interview/demonstration with a supposed 115 year old man with a really low resting heart rate- he was related to yoga in some way that wasn't established clearly. 


Overall, Dr. Null reiterated the importance of lemons and watermelons for cleansing- specifically in juice form, and whole organic foods as primary components of the diet.


I also recently watched a spin off from Forks Over Knives on Netflix called the Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue with Rip Esselstyn. Rip is the son of Dr.Caldwell Esselstyn, who is prominently featured in Forks Over Knives. Rip's approach is like a makeover reality show where he goes into the kitchens of two unrelated families, goes through their current stock of staple foods, takes them shopping for more appropriate choices, and then teaches them how to prepare the new foods. Again, it's all about whole, organic, densely nutritious foods. The one concept which is new to me here is the no olive oil rule. He basically uses little to no fat at all. 


Interestingly, he spends some time reading labels in the grocery store and at home with his participants. Packaged hot dogs, for example, list how many calories from fat  per serving there are. When you do the math, it's more than half fat. So even if you think you're eating a protein rich diet, a majority of your intake may be animal fats, if your diet is processed in any typical ways. I had never thought about those numbers, but Dr. Esselstyn's work is centered on a "heart attack proof" diet and his son seems to be preaching the same message.

The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue with Rip Esselstyn




Rip Esselstyn is clearly in good shape by looking at his physicality and athleticism as a fireman and triathlete. He really sells his advice without speaking sometimes! I enjoyed this presentation and would watch more Kitchen Rescues if they make more- I've seen so many home makeovers on HGTV that I can't believe that somebody out there in the corporate big media world wouldn't run this stuff.


More about the "No oil!" idea:







Dr. Null is certainly not as scholarly and personable as either Esselstyn, based on these 3 documentaries alone, but all three of these gentlemen make good points for whole food diets. Again I find myself turning to my humble juicer for the answers to a myriad of health concerns!

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