About a year ago now I was interviewed by Rob Tate of PBS for an upcoming documentary film. The film was produced by my friend and Australian celebrity chef, Pete Evans. Rob was the director. I was filmed and interviewed over a couple of hours at my office one afternoon and could tell even then that this was going to be something special. Rob is a brilliant and passionate filmmaker/director with a huge heart to match and he truly understands and appreciates the material. He asked smart questions and seemed to understand and share his caring for the topic and appreciated what a film like this could accomplish if done right.
Well, I am happy to say that he did this film right.
Unlike the glut of suspiciously well funded fringe propaganda films of late, this film presented real science and scientists, solid researchers and experts, and did a great job of showing just how antiquated our officially sanctioned dietary guidelines are. It also followed the real stories of a number of different individuals struggling with a variety of serious health problems and showed the remarkable results of what happened when they made dietary changes. The dietary approach these people adopted was essentially the approach I talk about in my books (low carb, higher fat in alignment with our human evolutionary and genetic heritage). In just a few weeks, the transformations demonstrated by these individuals were truly remarkable. Hint: keep Kleenex handy. The stories were well told and deeply moving.
Joel Salatin gave the best interview of his life. The trial of Dr. Timothy Noakes in South Africa was poignant and powerful— and the filmmaker even managed to be there and capture on film the very moment the verdict was handed down. Nina Teicholz was of course brilliant and did a superb job of sharing the background and solid science behind all the misinformation and disinformation that has plagued our culture and misguided health policy landscape for too many decades. My friend, Lierre Keith was also wonderfully articulate and supplied her own brand of moving testimony. Let’s just say that it was an all-star cast and riveting from start to finish.
It was also quite emotional for me to see the aboriginal community depicted in the film that I worked so passionately to support back in 2014. Back then, I was contacted by Dr. Kama Trudgen (who also appears in this film), who had been working tirelessly to try to support the health of the community on Elcho Island in East Arnhem Land. She was a fan of my work and contacted me to see if I might be willing to contribute something financially to the cause. She had only two weeks left to raise $54,000 in order to help the elder women of this community get help for their various physical conditions at an appointed health retreat and also receive training about how to bring this information back to their community. There was only two weeks left and the project had only raised about $11,000, as I recall. Once I saw what she was actually doing and trying to do there my heart nearly exploded. I told her that by hook or by crook, she would have her money. I made a promise I was determined to keep.
I have never been one to take advantage of my many well-placed contacts or ask for any favors (it’s just not my way). But I pulled out all the stops and asked everyone I knew who was anyone if they would contribute. I don’t remember the last time any one project meant so much to me. In short, we successfully raised money they needed in time (and then some) and these women have since had the opportunity to realize their dream and ‘Hope For Health’. I don’t remember when the last time was I was so proud to be a part of anything, and accomplish what I set out to do. If I died tomorrow that accomplishment would be enough for me… and I most certainly could not have done it without the generous contributions and sympathetic efforts of those that chose to get involved and not just turn away.
I wrote a couple of impassioned articles on my blog about the Hope For Health project and the people there. Here are the links to those, in case you missed them the first time around:
One of the people I approached and asked to contribute to the cause was Pete Evans. Both he and his wife, Nic made their own contributions, and then Pete and Rob later traveled there to film what was happening in the community (and the health retreat, both). I had previously been invited to visit the community by everyone there and one of my last trips to Australia I made a real concerted effort to get there. Everything was planned.
Unfortunately, a category 4 typhoon unexpectedly struck the area and enveloped Elcho Island for days. I was in a state of suspended animation in Cairns (and worried about my friends)— hoping against hope that the weather might clear enough for our flight to get through— but there was so much extensive damage in the area and so many fallen trees all over the runways that air travel to this remote location was not forthcoming anytime soon. I missed that opportunity in a way that was out of my control and very hard for me. Nothing would have meant more to me than finally meeting them all face-to-face. For me, the footage of this beloved community in the film was the most meaningful part of the documentary and the hardest one for me to not be present for when it was filmed. But I am deeply proud of the result and thrilled that this film was able to give this deserving community of truly extraordinary people a meaningful voice.
The community continues to strive toward its own betterment of health and self-determination, and contributions are still greatly needed and appreciated. The Hope For Health project is alive and well and in need of public support. There is still much more to do to restore badly needed health to this community. If you have it in your heart to give to these deserving and courageous souls (not as a handout, but as a hand UP), I encourage you to do so with all my heart.
I hope you all have the opportunity to watch this remarkable documentary. I am also proud of what I was able to contribute to it, and am grateful to Rob for incorporating so much of my interview and what I had to say in the film. I’m grateful to Pete Evans for taking on this project, and I am excited to see what impact it might upon the public make at large. There has never been another food-related documentary like this one, and it’s been a long time coming— not to mention desperately needed.
I will be eager to hear what you think of it.