5 Documentaries that Will Make You Want to be Vegan!

I enjoy watching documentaries because I enjoy learning something new. While I would prefer a good book, there is a time and place for every type of media. The reality of our modern world is that a movie can often be easier for the masses to digest. This is, of course, because it is a very visual experience. Not only this, but the time required to get information is pretty minimal, with typical run-times being around 90 minutes. 

Another reason why documentaries stand out to me is simply because they can be thought provoking and downright powerful. A perfect case example of this came in the form of Blackfish, the 2013 documentary about SeaWorld's main attraction, the orca, and it's life in captivity. This film was sincere, emotional, and contributed heavily to the change we saw in early 2016 when SeaWorld announced that they would no longer continue killer whale shows and captive breeding of these creatures. This was an absolutely great day for humanity, if I can say so myself. And frankly, something I would have considered highly unexpected given that SeaWorld is a publicly traded company, with shareholder investments at play, and perhaps most importantly: Shamu the killer whale as a staple image of the brand. 

When it comes to documentaries about veganism and the topics your average vegan will have thought about (or maybe not?), I would like to think that we should begin by thinking about how the vegan lifestyle will impact ourselves. How will being a vegan impact you? Your family? Your friends? Your coworkers? It is hard to preach about the lifestyle without truly living it. And how can we expect an entire country, let alone the entire world, to join us without first starting small? In my mind, documentaries about vegan topics provide an opportunity to plant a seed and start a conversation. 

Most of these documentaries are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu (or on multiple platforms). I have provided links to Amazon for your convenience as well below. 

5 Documentaries that Will Make You Want to be Vegan!

1). Blackfish


Okay, I already gave a summary of Blackfish at the start of this article. It's worth mentioning that the goal of this film is not to convert anyone to "veganism," but rather to provoke thought about the treatment of a specific animal. We can extract from the film a larger social problem that needs to be addressed, and this is where veganism fits in! You see, human beings have grown to see themselves as superior to all other creatures on the Earth. Blackfish addresses how one corporation decided to keep large animals in captivity, in environments generally considered by experts to be far to small to replicate their natural habitats. This, of course, leads to health problems and early death. Perhaps the largest problem in my eyes is how this occurs not just for the purpose of education, but to provide entertainment and, for the company, to make money. 

Available on Amazon

2). Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret


The first interesting fact about Cowspiracy is that this was Executive Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. It is hard to shake the thought that veganism has truly pervaded the mainstream with such big names being attached to relatively small and inexpensive films like this. In terms of expense, Kip Anderson's documentary was actually crowd-funded, implying that not only was there a demand for this type of film; but there was a demand significant enough that people wanted to contribute financially to bring it to light. 

And so it did. In 2014, Cowspiracy was released to the masses. It blends simple but thought provoking imagery with political activism and education about the heavy topics of livestock slaughter and global hunger. Not to mention, there are bits of humor and a pervading sense of positivity, despite the many negative things that occur within the film. 

I highly recommend this film, especially if you haven't explored the notion of giving up meat just yet as it is a "light" documentary. They don't just jam academic reports in your face, but rather it is a legitimately entertaining documentary whether you agree or disagree with the message. In the least, join in the conversation about the Cowspiracy!

Available on Amazon 

3). Forks Over Knives


2011's vegan documentary, Forks Over Knives, is a health based documentary. It is less about the manufacture and slaughter of animals, and more to do with the day-to-day consumption of food. Comparisons between the food we eat, and discussions about degenerative diseases that stem from a meat-based (carnivorous) diet. It really is a great film to watch as it showcases scientific/statistical data, interviews with doctors and researchers, and of course the occasional personal anecdote. I like to think that every big choice we make in life starts with ourselves. You can read my About page to get more info about the changes and positive health changes I saw in my own life when I switched to a plant-based lifestyle. I really feel like a spokesperson for this film because my beliefs and life has undergone changes much like what is spoken about here. 

Available on Amazon

4). Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead


I'd like to think this is the "vegan equivalent" to Morgan Spurlock's notable 2004 documentary Super Size Me. The premise of that film was to showcase what eating only McDonald's meals for a month would do to the body. If you haven't seen it, I'll leave the results to your imagination and suggest you check it out. The basis of Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (a very straightforward title if I might add), is quite similar. Except, instead of McDonald's food, we follow an overweight Australian, Joe Cross, who was suffering with a rare autoimmune disease. With no help from doctors or modern medicine in sight, Joe decided to become healthier on his own. Living only on fruit and vegetable fruit for several months, he succeeds at losing 100 pounds and change his life for the better. 

Food is either the best medicine, or the slowest form of poison

Available on Amazon

5). Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days


Unlike many social/political documentaries, Simply Raw is unique in that it is focused on showing the results of a different diet (that of a vegan raw food diet) on a specific disease: diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most pervasive illnesses in the 21st century. Diabetes is linked to obesity, and as a result the food we eat can play a huge role in whether or not we end up with the condition ourselves. It's powerful to see that diabetes can even be reversed as a result of a plant-based, plant-smart, vegan diet. What an incredible medicine the food we can grow in our backyard gardens can have! 

In watching these vegan friendly documentaries, my eyes continue to be opened to the ongoing issues impacting our world. Adopting a vegan lifestyle is multi-faceted. For some, it may just be about changing diet; while for others it may lead to even larger changes in life such as wanting to become an activist. Maybe you'll even be inspired to go out and make your own documentary? Or do what Farmer Fred has done, and just start making videos of yourself talking about the plant-based lifestyle and how it has impacted your life. 

Available on Amazon 

Did you watch any of these documentaries before, or were you inspired to check one out? I'd love to hear your thoughts about these and any other vegan lifestyle documentary you've come across! I know there are many out there. I've only started to check these out more for myself!