“Nothing changes the planet as much as the way we eat.”
The new film “Planeat” by Shelley Lee Davies (formerly of HK) and Or Shlomi will be shown by Transition South Lantau on Saturday 3 September in Mui Wo. The film has a powerful message about the links between diet and disease, and how the food we choose to eat affects global warming and oceanic dead zones. T. Colin Campbell’s work, especially in comparing the diets of Chinese rural inhabitants with the typical American diet – you can read about it in more detail in his book The China Study – revealed just how damaging a diet of meat and dairy can be. Low levels of meat and dairy correlated with low levels of a whole range of “Western” diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and immuno-deficiency diseases. Whole foods, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, were shown to be overwhelmingly beneficial for health.

Campbell then turned his attention to the work of doctors such as Caldwell Esselstyn, formerly a top surgeon, who had switched to recommending that his heart disease patients change their diet instead of having surgery. The results as shown in the film, and in Campbell’s book, are remarkable.

Another major aspect of the film focuses on the work of Gidon Eshel, who has been investigating the effects of meat and dairy on the environment. He shows how changing to a plant-based diet would have a drastic effect upon the amount of CO2 emissions we are responsible for. At the same time he highlights the enormous oceanic dead zones caused by the effluent from modern fossil-fuel based agriculture, and shows how small-scale organic farming can radically alter this.

A third element runs through the film, with the controversial moral philosopher Peter Singer discussing some of the moral issues surrounding our choices of what to eat.

Finally, the film is peppered (!) with cameos of top vegan chefs producing stunningly enticing dishes. Not a lentil in sight as far as I remember.

This is a totally absorbing film, that should make you think seriously about changing your diet if you’re a meat eater, or, as with me, pushing me towards veganism instead of my dairy-based vegetarianism. You would do well to get hold of a copy of Campbell’s The China Study for much more detailed information about the research that has been done into diet. You will also find an enlightening account of why it is that the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet are not shouted from the rooftops by the medical establishment.

This is a terrific film, so if you are in Hong Kong, come along to OWLS, 1/F Silver City Building, Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road, Mui Wo, Lantau, on Saturday 3 September from 4-6pm. It will cost you $20, which includes refreshments (milk for tea and coffee will be available if you dare drink it).

Don Latter


About transitionsl

I've been an English teacher for the best part of 30 years, teaching in England, Tanzania, Brunei, Australia and Hong Kong. I've always been interested in nature and environmental issues, but it was the discovery of Peak Oil about five years ago that galvanised me into trying to help my local community to prepare for what will be a dramatically different world to the one many of us have been used to. I've been helping to run a transition group, following the guidelines created by Rob Hopkins's Transition Movement in the UK. This blog is an attempt to engage in discussion with a wider group of people in Hong Kong on the ways to transition from our current oil dependency to a state of fossil-free local resilience.
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