HEALTHY LIVING “Vegucated” – Journeying to Health with Vegan Filmmaker Marisa Miller Wolfson    
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Marisa Miller Wolfson is the director, writer, and editor of “Vegucated,” an exciting, humorous, and informative new documentary released in fall 2011. Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, this must-see film accompanies three ordinary people as they switch from a meat- to a plant-based diet for six weeks and transform their lives forever.

They say you are what you eat.

I love kosher hotdogs with all the trimmings.

Philly cheese steak.

And these three people are about to find out who they are.

Meat lasagna.

More meat.

Some cream cheese.

It's a rack of lamb.

There's so much meat in here.

And what they’re made of.

Have you ever tried to lessen your intake before?

I have. I’ve tried to switch to chicken. And that’s about as far as I go, I suppose.

The challenge? To go vegan: no meat, no dairy, no animal products of any kind for six weeks.

No meat!

“Vegucated” tells a story of three meat and cheese lovers who go vegan for six weeks, and we track their process on tape. So we capture all of their reactions as they learn the truth about animal agriculture and as they discover vegan living.

I used to travel around the country showing other people's documentaries. And that was so inspiring, to see people’s lives changing as a result of having seen the films. And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to make a film where you actually see people in real time going from bacon-cheeseburger lovers to thinking, “Oh my gosh, vegan is the right way to be.”

We didn’t know, when we just had three volunteers, if it would really work. But it did. I mean, they all had really eye-opening experiences, and they are really funny. And that was one goal I had, was to make a really entertaining, funny film that people would actually enjoy watching while they’re learning.

Another source of inspiration for the film was the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock tried a month-long diet on only meat-based fast food to examine the industry’s health impacts.

I was sitting in “Super Size Me” and I thought, “You know, okay, we’re seeing what not to eat. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what we should be eating?” Also, Morgan Spurlock detoxed on a vegan diet at the end, after his binge. His girlfriend at the time, Alex Jamieson, put him on a vegan diet to make him healthy. And I thought, “Wouldn't it be great to actually see burger- eating Americans detox on a vegan diet?” And that was the spark for the concept of the film.

The stars of “Vegucated” are three likable New Yorkers: a 22-year-old college student Tesla Lobo, bachelor Brian Flegel who always eats out, and a psychiatrist/stand- up comic and single mom named Ellen Mausner who is concerned about her family’s history of heart disease, whose primary cause is a meat diet. Marisa Wolfson herself is the narrator and vegan tour guide who leads them in their exploration of a plant-powered world.

I think what this film shows is that you can take anybody from any walk of life really, you show them the truth about what goes on, you show them alternatives that are easy and accessible and delicious and fun, and everyone can be part of this solution to some of the world’s most serious challenges.

“Vegucated” presents not only health, but also environmental and ethical issues of food.

We’re looking for foods that have more nutrients and less calories.

Why should we die unnecessarily of heart attacks, strokes and cancer if you don’t have to?

Healthy food, wealthy food.

Not a single picture of a cow.

This is what we’ve been talking about, your flaxseed meal. Good for you.

But there’s more to learn than just what’s inside the grocery store. And this lesson is harder to swallow.

Oh my God, this is disgusting.

There’s no way that anyone could talk around what we just saw, or explain it away.

We were meat eaters like three weeks ago, having no problem eating a bacon cheeseburger deluxe. And now we don’t even care about getting arrested. That’s crazy.

I know that I’m certainly caught up in the emotional aspect. But I’m trying to be as rational as possible.

It raises a lot of questions.

We’re digging more graves with our fork than anything else, and it’s not just our grave. We’re digging the grave of the future.

How can you walk away not feeling a little bit like you have to re-evaluate some things?

In “Vegucated,” Ellen, Tesla, and Brian visit factory farms and a farm sanctuary, which undoubtedly change their perspectives. They also learn from a variety of respected experts. One of them is the meat- free advocating physician and bestselling author Dr. Joel Fuhrman and one of his former patients, a triple heart attack victim who saved her life through a vegan diet. Dr. Fuhrman gives the film subjects a quick course on healthy eating and conducts medical tests on them before and after the six weeks to see how a vegan diet helped their blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.

Did they notice any health benefits, or their energy level change when they went on a vegan diet?

Without a doubt, Ellen noticed it right away, her energy shot through the roof. Brian also had much more energy. And they all lost weight, blood pressure went down, I mean, 30 points in in one case. All their cholesterol dropped, some by 26 points. I mean, it was dramatic. These are the kinds of results that you get with hardcore pharmaceuticals, and this was just with food.

It was really eye-opening. I never knew how animals were raised, like the cruelty of raising chickens and pigs and even fish. I mean, I was still a fish eater until today.

On September 10, 2011, “Vegucated” had its world premiere at the Independent Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

That was so much fun, world premiering there last month. And we walked away with Best Documentary, which was very exciting. And this last weekend, we had our Midwest premiere outside of Kansas City. And that was a lot of fun. And we’re going to have an Ohio premiere at the Columbus International Video and Film Festival in November. And we have actually already received a Best in Category for Educational Documentary.

“Vegucated” also played to an enthusiastic audience in New York City, USA.

We had a sold-out premiere, and it’s my hometown. So sitting there, it felt awesome to hear hundreds of people laughing in the background. I got emails saying, “Oh, my gosh! I haven’t eaten any meat since I saw the film.” Or, they'd say, “Oh, you know, I’ve been vegan ever since.” What’s really fun to me is not just to see that people enjoyed the film, but actually it's making people feel inspired to make changes in their lives.

I did not want to make a film that only vegetarians and vegans want to watch or enjoy. And the feedback has been phenomenal.

I feel that it already changed me. I'm ready, I’m already thinking about things that I will do; maybe try being vegetarian, to start with. I think the tone of the film really inspired me to want to make a difference.

I thought this was a really easy film for someone to relate to, to start them off on this journey. I'm actually a cancer patient, and six months ago, I decided that I wanted to make my body a place that wasn't a place that was going to grow some more cancer, and be as healthy as I could be. And I decided to try veganism and it's absolutely changed my life.

After being vegan for 21 days, my fat went down, I lost 12 pounds, my cholesterol level went down 18 points, and I just overall feel absolutely amazing. I sleep better, I feel the best I've felt since even before I was diagnosed with cancer.

Ms. Wolfson is amazed that while making the film, crew members were also finding themselves getting “Vegucated.”

So many people ended up going vegetarian or vegan. We had one camera guy go vegetarian in the process. We had an animator go vegan. We had our trailer editor and producer go vegetarian. We had a film festival judge go vegetarian. So actually, yes, a lot of people did. And that was a nice little test to see that, hopefully, we’ll be able to inspire some change.

At its premiere screenings, the film won the supportive presence of some of the country’s most prominent vegans and meat-free advocates, including TV host Bob Barker; renowned vegan pop artist Peter Max; Mary Max, who is the director of Kind Green Planet as well as the executive producer of “Vegucated”; Simone Reyes, who is the executive assistant who assisted hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons in becoming vegan; and Ecorazzi senior editor Michael Parrish DuDell.

The great thing about this film is that it’s mainstream, it's funny, it's entertaining, as well as being educational and really compelling.

Look at the way that their meat is killed, look at the conditions their meat lives in and start to understand that this isn’t just a slab of, you know, product, that there was a living, breathing, sentient being behind it, and the energy that they’re consuming is only terror, torture and fear.

More people are getting a sense that vegetarian and vegan diets are more healthy. It's a film that teaches about compassion, health, natural resources, and I think there's a growing movement.

How can we watch this fun and compelling movie and share it with others?

So many people are asking, and in fact, I got an email from Australia today. We are going to be releasing it digitally, actually right for the Christmas holidays, so digitally, internationally. And then people can sign up to hold screenings in their churches, community centers, libraries, colleges, even their living rooms, starting in January.

In terms of folks reaching out to their communities, wherever they are around the world, they can go to, click on “Host a Screening” under the “Take Action” column, and then they can put in their information. You don’t have to commit to a particular date or a particular venue, but we just want to have your contact information in there, so that when we do our grassroots, community screens campaign, we can give you the proper materials for it.

I’d love all my friends to see it. And I’d love to get the DVD and give it out as gifts. It was very, very interesting and entertaining as well.

Good luck, mom.

Group hug.

We saved chickens.

We did it.

We have the opportunity to change the world.

Vegucated A film by Marisa Miller Wolfson

I really, really hope that people will feel like they can be part of the solution. Any movement in a more plant-based direction is going to help the environment. It’s going to help animals. It’s going to lower their cholesterol and increase their energy level. It's really a win-win-win. So I hope they'll just take away that they can. Make a difference every day, three times a day.

Be Veg,
Go Green
2 Save the Planet!

Congratulations on your ongoing success, Marisa Wolfson and everyone else involved in the making of the exciting new film “Vegucated.” May people all over the globe enjoy watching it and be inspired to choose the joyful, healthy plant-based diet!

For more information on the film “Vegucated,” please visit

Thank you for watching today’s Healthy Living. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Science and Spirituality, coming up after Noteworthy News. May we all thrive on the healthy, kind, and happy veg lifestyle.
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