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Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn are self-taught documentary filmmakers who are making a huge impact with their movies. You have likely heard of Cowspiracy, their wildly popular debut documentary that received acclaim from Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky who encouraged his friend Leonard DiCaprio to watch it. Cowspiracy impressed DiCaprio so much that he produced a cut of the flick for Netflix, which made it instantly accessible to millions of people.
In their latest film, What the Health, Kip and Keegan team up to take on the complex topic of health, and I was pleased to talk to them about this unusual documentary that is full of evidence-based revelations, fascinating interviews, and entertaining moments.
“With this film, we really wanted to focus it on what true health really means. A lot of people think of health as their own personal health, and we dive into that, but we really expand on holistic health. We take everything into consideration. True health is not only personal health, but it is also community health and planetary health. We dive into a lot of all those things. This film is unique in that it’s a full spectrum of every aspect of what health means coming from a true scientific standpoint that has mostly been hidden from the general public up until this point,” Kip explained.
Their inspiration for making What the Health evolved from their work on Cowspiracy. They interviewed Dr. Michael Klaper, who really got the filmmakers thinking deeply about the potential health issues associated with dairy when he pointed out that cow’s milk is produced for baby cows, not for humans at all. When they started to look further at why people eat secretions from cows, they dug into researching the overall impact of animal products on human health.
Kip and Keegan soon discovered that the animal agriculture industry and its lobbying power are huge, and they were shocked to see that studies were being manipulated. Perhaps most shocking of all, however, was the fact that dioxins are having such a huge impact on vulnerable people. When I interviewed the filmmakers, they shared how 93 percent of human exposure to dioxins, which are the most toxic substance known to science, comes from meat and dairy products. Children are too often exposed to these substances in meat and dairy, too.
The filmmakers ultimately discovered that living a plant-based lifestyle can provide huge health benefits and protect people from being so often exposed to dioxins. Kip shared, “I feel it’s extremely important. You can see by many case studies that have been around for 40 or 50 years all showing that a plant-based diet is what our bodies as humans is designed for. It’s extremely important to eat what our body is physiologically intended to eat.”
I wondered what attracted the two to make this movie and the other meaningful projects they’ve been involved in, and Keegan shared that what draws him in is a story that hasn’t been told or information that’s been hidden. “I think Kip and I both want to get information out and particularly information that has been withheld from the public.”
Kip continued, “We want to tell stories in a new, interesting and entertaining way from a different angle. A lot of this info is out there, but we like to look at it from different angles. We ask questions other people don’t ask and look where people haven’t really looked before. We care about different perspective and different angles presented in a unique, entertaining way.”
Considering the impact that their movies have had and the passionate way they have gotten these major stories out there, I had to know what their individual vegan stories.
Kip told me, “I went vegan around nine years ago. It was a combination of things that happened really at the same time. I saw a video on how animals are raised and killed. Right around the same time, I found out about the impact of raising animals for food on our environment. It wasn’t until quite a bit later that I found out about the effects on health. The ethics and the environmental impact of eating meat made me go vegan around nine years ago.”
Keegan’s story goes even further back, he revealed, “I’ve been vegan for 20 years coming up in June. I was raised vegetarian with an idea of being compassionate to all animals. When I found out how dairy cows have their babies taken away from them and that egg-laying chickens spend their entire lives laying an unnatural numbers of eggs is why I went vegan. Initially for ethics, but it evolved into the environment and health.”
Robin Raven is the author of Santa’s First Vegan Christmas. She has written for publications such as The Malibu Times, Alabama Baby & Child Magazine, the official website of Melissa Gilbert, and USAToday.com. She holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and is now furthering her education. Robin often has her nose in a book and her arms around a rescued animal. She’s a vegan foodie who blogs at RobinRaven.com and loves to connect with readers on social media. You can follow her @RobinRaven on Twitter.
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