Shortly after I posted my review for Forks Over Knives, one of the producers of Chow Down contacted me and asked if I might watch and review the film, which was available for free on Hulu (it’s also available without commercial interruption on Amazon). Of course I said yes! And then got busy and forgot. Shame on me! But, I remembered the other day, and now I have watched it.
So, first thing I see: Dr. Katz, who was my nutrition teacher at Yale. (Disclaimer: it was a big class. He has no idea who I am, but it was cool seeing him first in the film anyway!). So that set the tone for me, which was pretty positive.
Chow Down is not a vegan-focused movie, though there is plenty of mention of a “plant-based diet.” Much like FOK, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. T. Colin Campbell are featured. There are many nutrition experts featured, such as the aforementioned Dr. David Katz, as well as vegan superstars like Dr. Neal Banard and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The information is solid.
The movie is not just a re-hash of FOK. It spends a tremendous amount of time discussing the political influence of the Standard American Diet. You have to see the scene where a woman who worked for the USDA talks about her committee’s recommendations for making fruits and vegetable the foundation of the food pyramid.
If you look through the documentaries section on Netflix streaming these days, you will find quite a few documentaries about our food system and the politics behind it. This one is set apart with a cast of real experts, in addition to the story of people changing their diets. There are a lot of similarities to FOK, but I think it’s a nice companion piece. I’d definitely recommend seeing this!