You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment (2024) s01e04 Episode Script

Episode 4

[man] Wanna try a bacon, egg, and cheese?
[man 2] We got chopped cheese,
bacon, egg, and cheese.
- Let us know what you think.
- This is good.
[man 1] Do you know it's all plant-based?
- No way.
- The whole thing?
- [man 1] The whole thing.
- That's really impressive.
Tastes exactly like the real one.
[man 1] I'm Nil Zacharias.
I'm the founder and CEO of Plantega
in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
We empower bodegas to prepare and sell
entirely plant-based menus.
[man 3] Wow. It tastes really good.
- [man 2] Tastes like bacon?
- Tastes just like it. I'm not gonna lie.
[Nil] If you can just offer the option
and make it affordable and convenient
for someone to choose something
that's more sustainable
and healthier for them
and better for the planet,
why wouldn't people try it?
The reason why is,
humans are not rational.
- How about the bacon? Is it crispy?
- You sure it's not real egg?
[both laugh]
If you ask any human being on the street,
"Wanna save the planet or destroy it?"
It's a no-brainer, right?
The intention is absolutely noble,
but between idea and reality
falls the shadow,
and that's precisely
where neuroscience comes into play.
The Thimus team was designed
to understand humans
and the way they experience food
from different angles.
We can offer
the alternative meat companies
an ability to say, "We accept that humans
will never just act rationally."
"Let's understand
the emotions behind the food."
Companies in the 20th century
have been designed
to repeat and homogenize,
but alternative meats
need to be thought of
as a transition,
as a journey.
- [Nil] Would you know if it was vegan?
- I don't think I'd see the difference.
It's not enough
to slap a label on something.
It's not enough
to have a big Hollywood star
investing into this alternative product.
In the 21st century,
you've gotta be flexible,
you gotta embrace complexity,
and you gotta cater to emotions
so that we can design this product
to be adopted,
bought not once but millions of times,
and really have an impact on the planet.
- [Nil] Can you describe it?
- Tastes like heaven.
[birds chirping]
[monitor beeping]
[man] Beautiful. Your hands are sweaty.
- [laughs]
- You don't You don't like this.
- This is your last time, right?
- [twins] Yeah.
[man] I think this is the day
you get the million dollars.
- We're gonna get paid?
- [laughs]
[Christopher] Eight weeks.
Identical twins.
Vegan or omnivore.
An important point was, for the omnivores,
we weren't trying to compare vegan
to a crappy omnivore diet.
We created a good, healthy omnivore diet.
So we were trying to have
a fair comparison. Diet A to Diet B.
[woman] All righty, Jevon.
I'll have you take off your shoes.
- Hello. Good morning.
- [woman laughs]
Please be kind.
- Seems a little heavy.
- [man] Oh, it does?
- [gasps] Yes!
- [woman] You lost weight?
- [Pam] Yes.
- [woman] Yes!
We are once again gonna need
blood, poop, and pee
so we can find out exactly what happened
after doing this for eight weeks.
[man] Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
These are new. We didn't get
the pillow treatment last time.
- [man] We can get you a blanket.
- [laughter]
[woman] You remember
where the restroom is, right?
Let's see who pees faster.
[Pam laughs]
[man] Gotta get prepared
for that DEXA Scan.
[Rosalyn] Yes.
[Christopher] Body composition,
the microbiome,
the epigenome, or biological clock,
and the brain.
[Charlie] You know those food comas
in the afternoon?
I don't have those anymore.
I think it's related to not having
all that animal fat grease and stuff.
You know, heavy stuff?
[Christopher] For me, the larger issue
is connecting dietary practices
to lasting dietary change.
I often feel these days
that I could make more of an impact
on people eating plant-based diet
if I stop talking about health.
[Carolyn] I forget what this is.
It tastes like every other
vegan dish actually we've got, so
But if I start working with chefs
on unapologetic deliciousness
and showing how these are aligned,
they get a little more excited.
[Pat] Humans' way of producing food,
it's completely a technology,
but there's this notion that, somehow,
this is the only way we can do it.
Just like 200 years ago,
the only way you could make
a wheeled vehicle move
was to hook a horse up to it.
You think it's never gonna change,
and then it changes very fast.
The cow has not fundamentally improved
in 10,000 years,
but in ten years,
we have made beef, pork, and chicken
not only more nutritious,
but actually preferred on taste
by hardcore consumers.
The mission of Impossible Foods
is to turn plant ingredients
into something
that delivers the sensory experience
that meat-lovers crave
directly from simple, scalable,
sustainable plant ingredients.
We've just gotten started,
and there's all kinds of upside,
not just for the nutrition
but the pleasure and familiarity
of those foods.
[man] When people look at something
that's similar to what they eat,
it's easier for them to transition
and move into plant-based foods.
- Tofu first?
- [woman] That's right.
I'm a fifth-year here at UC Berkeley,
and I study data science.
And I'm a fourth-year
studying biochemistry.
[James] The Berkeley Alt Meat Lab
is a class
about how to create
alternative plant-based meats.
We got this prompt
from an industry leader,
which was to make a plant-based egg.
[James] A lot of the processes
that we use currently to make our egg
is very by-hand.
We wanted to make sure
that the egg white matched the color
of a regular hard-boiled egg,
and silken tofu came into mind.
As for the egg yolk,
we use a blend
of red, yellow, green vegetables.
[blender whirring]
At the Alt Meat Lab,
we teach courses to students
who then go work in the industry,
and some of these students
even form companies.
And so we teach the students
how we can make these foods
affordable and scalable
to get them within the market.
[Isha] Beautiful.
[Celia] It's great.
[Isha] This whole flavor combination
is really good.
So, Prime Roots was actually
the first company
to come out of the UC Berkeley
Alternative Meat Lab.
Our vision from day one has been
making a better cut of meat in the deli
that's completely plant-based.
Really, part of the impetus
for starting Prime Roots
was to be able
to make those swaps without compromise.
All right.
This is the koji in its raw format.
Koji is a Japanese fungi.
It's found in miso and soy sauce,
and it is the base for all of our products
because koji provides
the identical microscopic texture of meat.
[man] Mushrooms are a powerhouse.
They're loaded
with vitamins and nutrients.
I mean, one of the key vitamins
is vitamin D, which is incredible.
You're basically pressing,
you're condensing
the fibers in the mushroom
to really create
this incredible meaty texture.
And it is one of the most sustainable
ingredients on the planet, you know?
They go from spore to harvest
from anywhere from three to eight weeks,
depending on the variety of mushroom.
[Kimberlie] Then I'm gonna add colors,
seasonings, flavors.
All natural ingredients.
There's a lot of benefits
to eating Prime Roots deli meat products.
There are no nitrates,
no preservatives, no cholesterol.
It has, you know, B12. It has iron.
So it's truly a better cut of meat.
Over here we have some of the hams
already formed and netted,
and then we'll cook the ham.
Literally the same processes
you would use for conventional ham.
Behind the glass, you can get the product
sliced by the pound,
have it shaved, thick, thin.
You can have it on a hot panini.
But a good deli sandwich
can't be missing bacon,
so we also have bacon.
- Whoa.
- It does
[Kimberlie] So the white layer
is actually fattier than the red layer.
It's not, like, just colors.
It's actually materially different.
We did a lot of work to really understand,
how do you get the right consistency
and the texture and the flavor.
And that is why our products are so good,
is we've really honored
the culture of meat.
- Cheers?
- Cheers.
- Yeah.
- [laughter]
If you gave it to me in a sandwich,
I don't think I could tell the difference.
- [Celia] Wow.
- Yeah.
[Kimberlie] Yeah.
We've fooled a lot of people.
The disruption of food and agriculture
is all about technology.
The cow is the most inefficient food
production system on the planet by far.
[cows mooing]
In certain regions of the world,
the cow takes 25 pounds of feed
to produce one pound of food.
Essentially, the history of disruption
says that they will switch
to the new product
as soon as it's cheaper and better.
[Pat] The plant-based meat industry,
the technology is in its infancy,
getting better every day.
If a technology is decisively better
at giving consumers
that food that they love,
and it doesn't come
with the baggage of saturated fat,
environmental destruction
that goes into making meat,
it's like a no-brainer.
[Amy] It's been eight weeks.
Let's get you scanned.
- I don't like wedding rings to come off.
- That's fine.
[Amy] Oh boy.
- I know. I'm single for 30 seconds.
- [Amy laughs]
[Amy] Moment of truth.
A DEXA Scan is a low-dose X-ray
that looks at bone mass,
lean mass, and fat mass.
You fit on the table better this way
than last time.
Eight weeks ago,
I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
[woman] Got a minute more here.
It's gonna go up again.
As long as they had the adequate amount
of protein and calories and training,
I would expect to see both groups improve
compared to their original results
because of these healthy shifts
in their lifestyle.
Well, let's just start
with your body composition.
When we talk about our weight,
your weight didn't move very much.
But you lost close to four pounds of fat
and gained
three and a half pounds of muscle.
Yours You look scared.
Your weight went down
three and a half pounds,
of which almost three pounds was fat,
and a half a pound was muscle.
The muscle loss is pretty low,
so I would consider this maintaining.
- Uh, well, I lost a little bit of weight.
- [Amy] Okay.
This is something
that everybody focuses on.
It's sometimes the only thing
people focus on,
is if that number on the scale
is changing,
but there's other indicators
of whether or not you're making progress.
I believe that, Michael,
you prefer to train more
in the gym using weights,
versus, Charlie, you prefer
to work out more at home
when you could fit it
into your busy schedule.
So, obviously, that played a big factor
into your lean mass results.
I'm convinced you're under-eating.
Well, sometimes,
I felt like I was I had to stuff myself.
It was a little bit harder
to eat that much.
This is the biggest mistake people make
when they go plant-based,
is that they don't eat enough calories.
They don't match
the same number of calories
they were eating as an omnivore.
And what happens is they lose weight,
they have less energy,
and then they blame it on the vegan diet.
And because the vegan ingredients
are less calorically dense,
you can eat more and not gain fat.
I'm really eager to try the vegan diet.
Pretty much learned from Charlie.
This isn't the first time we've done this.
Like, if we surfed a new spot, you know,
one would go in, we'd see if he drowned,
and, "Oh no, he didn't.
Okay, I'm coming out."
- So we'd use each other as test dummies.
- So sweet.
So I think we're gonna move forward
in that direction.
[breathing heavily]
[woman] Good job.
The O2's going up. You're at 20.6.
We want that to be as high as possible.
[Amy] Wendy and Pam,
they both lost weight.
Pam, the vegan, lost almost eight pounds.
She did lose one pound of fat,
but she also lost
almost seven pounds of muscle.
Wendy, the omnivore,
lost over three pounds total.
100% of what she lost was all muscle.
- [Nimai] A hundred?
- [Amy] And she gained fat.
And their metabolism
slowed from last time.
I think we should have
an honest conversation with them
and ask them, "How closely
did you really follow this program?"
Right. Yes.
I've been referred to
as the "Destroyer of Dreams."
Typically, it's when people have lost
a considerable amount of weight,
they've put in a lot of effort,
a lot of working out,
they've probably done
a lot of restricting calorically.
But in many cases,
they've lost the wrong type of weight.
They've lost lean mass,
which, consequently,
causes them to be more fat than they were
before the weight was lost.
Before we start,
tell us a little bit
about the workouts that you did.
- We started with Nimai's workout.
- Yes.
Then, moving forward,
we added jump rope and the treadmill.
- [Nimai] Every day with cardio?
- With cardio.
This question might not
come across properly, but why?
Was he not giving you enough homework?
The homework was amazing.
No, no, it's got nothing to do
with, uh, Nimai.
It's got to do
with our own attention span.
[Amy] Okay. Were you eating
what was provided to you?
What I found with the food
that was provided to me
- Yes.
- is that it was really carby,
in my opinion.
I felt like I was overeating.
My stuff just had beans, beans, beans.
It was just way too many carbs for me.
Where does energy come from
if it isn't from the food?
It's not fat. It comes from muscle.
You used the beautiful muscle
that you were making in the gym
to fuel going to the gym.
You were not eating enough
to be successful.
So we have to eat more to be successful?
- Yes, you do.
- Yes.
Your body fat,
despite having lost
three and a half pounds, went up.
It went up.
Pam, you slowed your metabolism
you were so hungry.
But I can hit 2,000 calories lickety-split
if I wanna eat junk.
We're just suggesting
more of the healthy food, okay?
I think it's a really good example
of how we are so influenced
by diet culture.
We need carbs to energize ourselves
to have those workouts.
[Amy] It doesn't matter
which diet you're on.
If you don't eat enough,
you're going to lose muscle, not fat.
- Eat.
- Eat.
[woman] And go ahead
and step on the treadmill.
We're gonna begin the exercise.
It's to your exhaustion.
[Rosalyn] I love that phrase,
"To your exhaustion."
So, first,
you both lost roughly eight pounds.
Carolyn, on the vegan diet,
you lost five pounds of fat,
which is great.
But you also lost
about three pounds of muscle.
Whereas your sister, on the omnivore diet,
maintained most of her muscle
and lost primarily fat.
So let's better understand
what you were doing
and how compliant you were.
Okay. So I was doing Nimai's workouts.
And, in addition,
heavy resistance training.
Carolyn, tell us how compliant
you were with the workout.
[Carolyn] I already do
a lot of walking every day.
That's my my mode.
The fact that you weren't
as into the gym as Ros
may have affected your ability
to keep that muscle where it's at,
and maybe even make a little bit.
Adding maybe just one day
with a bit heavier resistance training
the way your sister was going to the gym,
I think that's gonna help you
bring that muscle up.
- [Amy] Muscle makes everything better.
- Right.
We sleep better, your bone density.
It helps everything.
But we have other things to look at
that are exciting, like visceral fat.
There are two types of fat
in the abdominal region. Subcutaneous fat.
It's that pinchable stuff
that's underneath the skin.
And then visceral fat lies deep
in and around the organs,
and that's the dangerous fat.
It increases your risk
for metabolic syndromes,
type 2 diabetes, and other health issues.
So, your visceral fat,
as the vegan, Carolyn,
you lost nearly a half a pound
of visceral fat in eight weeks.
- Yes!
- [Amy] That's crazy.
Your visceral fat went up a hair.
- Ooh.
- [Carolyn gasps]
[Amy] This is perplexing to me.
This is a small change
in the wrong direction here.
- But we'll keep an eye on that one.
- Yeah.
[woman] Are you ready
for the speed and incline?
[Amy] John and Jevon,
they are both admitted undereaters.
[woman] You're doing great. Keep pushing.
I wanted to see someone put on lean mass
while eating the vegan diet,
so I had encouraged them to eat a lot more
than they were eating previously.
Let's just get right into it.
Visceral fat.
That's that bad stuff around the organs.
In your case, it didn't move that much.
It went from 0.22 pounds to 0.21 pounds.
I mean, this is not
a statistically significant change.
John was the vegan,
and your visceral fat
went from 0.37 to 0.03 pounds.
You almost don't register any.
The meat-eater over here,
you made 7.1 pounds of muscle.
And had you not consumed more food,
that's not the number
that would be on the paper.
What I doubted for the vegans
was the ability to put on muscle
due to lack of protein sources.
But John, our vegan,
he gained 2.3 pounds of muscle
eating plant-based, which
It shocked me.
He did it.
Overall, most of the omnivore twins
gained muscle,
while all of the vegan twins
lowered visceral fat.
These results show
that nutrition and exercise
can dramatically impact
health and body composition in only weeks.
[seagulls squawking]
[woman] The first thing we're going to do
is pick out some pornography to watch
in the second part of the study.
[woman moaning on video]
Oops. I didn't mean to do that.
- Hello. Hi.
- Irwin Goldstein. A pleasure.
- Thank you for being here.
- Of course.
We are so looking forward to this.
[woman] Okay, I'm gonna let you choose
what you wanna watch there.
We did baseline studies
prior to the dietary intervention.
This one looks interesting. No.
[woman] I had no idea
that there was anime porn.
[Irwin] After eight weeks,
we're now going to see
if, uh, the two diets
have different, uh, impacts
on, uh, genital arousal.
The camera is going to pick up
how much heat is in different areas,
and we go back
and look at those recordings afterwards.
We can actually measure
what the temperature changes are.
So that's what we're looking at.
Does that make sense?
[Irwin] Okay, let's see here.
Incredible thermogram, really.
[woman moaning on video]
[Irwin] This is a beginning glimpse
into the role of diet
in the context of all of this.
We call the blood vessels of the genitals,
which are less than a millimeter,
the canary in the coal mine.
Even though this study
measures temperature changes
only in the genitals,
it can help us paint a bigger picture
of the person's overall blood-flow health.
After all, temperature change
is caused by changes in blood flow.
This could signal
potential vascular problems,
such as high cholesterol,
high blood pressure, and diabetes.
One twin clearly
is more aroused than the other,
but we'll see that in a minute,
when we pull them next to each other.
[Rosalyn] I found
some good porn this time.
[Carolyn] The trope of the cleaning guy.
I was kinda judgy. I'm like,
"You know, why's he wiping the mailboxes?"
[both laughing]
I'm like I'm like,
"That's not how you clean a rug."
[both laughing]
[Irwin] Thank you everybody
for being here.
This is a pilot study to assess the impact
of diet on women's sexual health.
It's kind of intuitive that a diet,
animal-based, with all the usual
American dietary things,
is conducive
to what we call metabolic syndrome.
It hurts the lining of blood vessels,
called endothelial dysfunction,
and that will impact negatively
on blood flow.
And a lot of sexual function
is based on blood flow.
So I'm going to go
and show you your studies.
These are your genitals, so you can
you can stare at them privately
or if you want to share,
if you're comfortable.
- Wendy, you're first.
- Yes.
[Irwin] These are your genitals.
- You were not the vegan person.
- Yes.
[Irwin] But you did exercise.
And the entire thing
was 288% increase in your arousal.
- We get to keep this?
- [Irwin] You keep it.
- Okay.
- [Irwin] After all your work.
- Working with something here.
- [laughter]
[Irwin] All right, Pam.
You went on the vegan diet,
and this is like a house on fire.
Look at you. You're
- [flames blazing]
- [laughter]
It is amazing. So, are you both gonna stay
on the vegan diets? What do you think?
For me, it's the dairy. It's what I like.
But not too much of it.
[Irwin] So, Rosalyn, Omni Ros.
You can see there's more white here.
So just exercise alone
kicked in a percentage.
And we kind of save,
uh, the best for last, so
- Whoo!
- [laughter]
Great. I'm ready.
[Irwin] I mean,
you literally have a forest fire.
- Wow!
- [laughter]
- The most remarkable thing I've ever seen.
- [Rosalyn] Killing the plants.
- [Carolyn] Remarkable!
- "Killing the plants."
You're staring at your genitals
with a temperature probe.
Yes, I am. Hi. Hello.
- So, this is this is you.
- [laughter]
I don't know what to tell you,
but that is a forest fire.
- It was the cleaning guy.
- The largest percentage.
- Pretty amazing.
- Oh, we can see it.
- [Irwin] You can
- [laughter]
- Wildfire season.
- Yeah. Oh, well, it is.
[Pam laughs]
[Irwin] So, what are your thoughts?
Did you experience any changes?
I did experience changes.
But just like Pam,
the cheeses on my nachos, you know?
Like, if I can find a good vegan cheese
for for my nachos, that's great.
[Miyoko] When thinking about
switching over to a plant-based diet,
so many different people say
the last thing that they could give up
would be cheese.
[classical music playing]
The consumption of cheese,
just since 1995,
has increased by 41% in America.
And that growth, that's all mozzarella.
It is the most consumed cheese
in the country.
It's not cheddar. It's not anything else.
It's mozzarella,
and it's all because of pizza.
["La donna è mobile" playing]
Every second,
350 slices of pizza
are eaten in this country.
Which means if you add it up,
it's 21,000 slices
every single minute in the United States.
13% of Americans eat pizza
every single day.
It's a comfort food.
People like things
that are unctuous and fatty and rich
because you need comfort in your life,
and it's just one of those foods
that provides that.
And so we thought, "Okay, well,
we gotta get in the pizza game."
[pensive electronic music playing]
[machinery whirring]
There really was
no great vegan cheese for pizza.
We had this brilliant food scientist
who said, "You know what?"
"The problem with vegan cheese
is that it's solidified with starches."
"And then the starches
have to thermo-reverse."
In other words, they have to melt.
And that's where the problem lies.
- [woman] Yeah.
- [Miyoko] Look at that.
I just wanna see what it feels like.
So she said,
"Why don't we just make a liquid cheese?"
"And we pour it on the pizza,
and then it coagulates
when it's subjected to heat."
- See, it's already leveling out.
- Okay.
That was brilliant,
out-of-the-box thinking.
That looks good.
- Mmm. It's bubbled and browned.
- [woman] Nice.
- Oof.
- Ooh.
- Shall we give it a try?
- Absolutely. Do you wanna do the honors?
I'll do the, uh
And the crust looks good too.
[woman] Yeah. Oh, it smells so good.
[Miyoko] Ooh, look at that stretch.
It looks like cheese.
- This is really excellent.
- [woman] Thank you.
Went through, like, 62 iterations.
- Sixty-two iterations.
- Think we're almost there.
[Miyoko] We're taking it
to the International Pizza Expo
to try it on lots of people
and see how they like it.
[bright ambient music playing]
[man] It melts. Got a nice pull to it.
It has protein in it,
so it stretches like dairy.
- Comes out looking like real cheese.
- [woman 1] Really good.
[woman 2] And the crust is vegan too.
The crust is also vegan.
[man] What do you think?
The not sticking to the roof of your mouth
is like a like a key characteristic.
I thought it was very good.
It's really interesting it's a liquid.
It's delicious. Much better than
the plant-based cheese we currently use.
I'm just a big pizza nerd.
I eat, sleep, breathe pizza.
Most of my experience with vegan cheese
has been here at the Pizza Expo.
I haven't found anything that I like.
It's all kinda slimy.
Coats your mouth.
This stuff, it didn't coat my mouth.
It had a really good taste.
[Miyoko] I really, truly believe
for us to move the needle,
you have to wake people up and go,
"Oh my God. You can do this with that?"
[distant siren wailing]
[horn honks]
[Daniel] The first days after we reopened
after becoming fully plant-based,
I was a nervous wreck.
[tense ambient music playing]
This is the confit potato.
There's a bit of purée, a truffle purée
and a little bit of palm purée.
Um, and a little bit of potato, um, dough,
just to give it, like, some texture.
I think the layer of the solid potato
- [man] Is too much?
- is too much.
[dramatic string music playing]
[Daniel] I didn't expect the criticism
to be so harsh.
There was one comment where one dish
was compared to a cleaning supply.
Everyone was telling me
that this will never work.
"This will be the end of your career."
- [insects chirping]
- [cow moos]
[Thomas] For my 40th birthday,
my wife and I had traveled to New York,
and I said,
"Let's eat at Eleven Madison Park."
And I was honestly a little disappointed
that Chef Humm
had changed his menu to vegan.
When we sat down and they brought out
the first course of asparagus,
which was the most beautiful food
I'd ever seen,
it was like artwork on the table,
and I took that first bite,
I just thought,
"Where am I, and what am I eating?"
Because it was a transcendent experience.
[man] We've got some kohlrabies.
These ones are absolutely beautiful.
[Daniel] The milk, the butter, the bacon,
all these things that we felt
were sort of our secret weapons
to put a lot of flavor into something,
they all had to go.
[Thomas] We got back home,
and I just wanted
to sit down and write about it
and send it to Daniel.
"One could safely assume
most cattle ranchers
would not choose
to spend their 40th birthday
eating at a vegan restaurant
in New York City."
[Daniel] We started fermenting a lot.
Almond milks, cashew milks,
hazelnut milks, pistachio milks.
[Thomas] "Never in my life have my senses
been as awakened at a dinner table."
[distant cows moo]
[Daniel] We started making
our own pumpkin seed oil,
and then we emulsify it to create
this most delicious cultured butter.
"Every bite forced you to be present."
[Daniel] The bread, which seemed
like one of the biggest challenges,
when we felt that this bread
is better than any bread we had before,
there was no return back, in a way.
[Thomas] "So here I am, back on my farm,
looking out the window at grazing cattle
while thinking about asparagus."
[bright instrumental music playing]
We decided
that this isn't about awards anymore.
We decided
that this is about something bigger.
A lot of chefs,
a lot of farmers out there,
they're like, "Wow, this is also a way."
We are thrilled to recognize
New York's three-star restaurants.
Eleven Madison Park.
[Daniel] The moment we
received three stars,
it was deeply moving
because getting this affirmation
helps for the message
to be really heard and received.
Plant-based is the future.
This isn't a trend.
This is where we have to go.
[insects chirping]
[woman] So, when did you pick up the logs?
They were
[Craig] Monday.
[woman] How much are each of the logs?
[Craig] He sold them to me
for $8.50 apiece.
[woman] Two nights ago,
I was sitting at the table with my kids.
They asked, "What're you doing this week?"
I said, "I'm gonna go see Craig."
They know Craig.
I had never met a chicken farmer
before in my life when I first came here.
And by every measure,
he was supposed to be my enemy,
somebody who had represented
abusing animals.
And I'm an advocate for farmed animals,
someone who was fighting for their rights,
fighting for them to be free,
to live a life free of exploitation.
But Craig hated the system
as much as I did,
and he was a victim of the system.
[Craig] I sold a flock of chickens
in January of 2016,
and I just couldn't get up
and and and and do another flock.
I just I just
There's no story here.
I woke up and I had enough,
and I resigned that day.
Just so happened
I was working with a reporter
who introduced me
to a lady named Leah Garcés.
And she, at the time,
was the president of an organization,
Compassion in World Farming,
which I'd never heard of.
It was an unusual partnership,
animal activist and a factory farmer
getting along.
We've been told
that we should hate each other.
Well, at the end of the day,
we wanted a system that was better.
He said, "Why don't you just go meet
with the company folk?"
I said, "Look, we get rid of CAFOs,
or we get rid of industrial agriculture,
then what?"
[Leah] Wow, you can still see
pig poop in here.
After he had decided he was closing
his doors to factory farming,
we started thinking about
how could we use these houses
for something else?
And we went on this rabbit hole,
looking at solutions and trying to see
who was doing it already.
[Craig] If you get us
an alternative out here,
and the consumer demands it,
we'll be glad to do it.
If it's plant-based, so be it.
Um, that's what we do.
We're farmers, right?
[Leah] And we worked together,
and nine years later,
the trajectory of that journey
- So, they'll be, like, one, two, maybe
- [Craig] Mm-hmm.
gives me so much hope
of what is possible.
The work we do as advocates for changing
the food system and farming system,
it takes so long,
and there's very few moments
of hope and tangible change.
And inside that barn is tangible change.
- And then
- A lot of planning went into this thing.
But you don't really know
until, you know, you know?
- And it worked perfect from the get-go.
- [Leah] Yeah. Right.
Wanna see
what all this planning's been for?
Yeah, let's do it.
- [Craig] All right.
- [laughs]
[Leah] Can't wait to see them.
- Feel like a safecracker. Right?
- [Leah laughs]
[Leah] All right.
[Leah gasps]
Oh my goodness! Look at these mushrooms!
- That's pretty good.
- Yeah.
Look at you. You're a mushroom farmer now.
They did, uh
They did very well, actually.
- Wow. Look at this.
- Um
[Leah] I was so delighted.
There was rows of mushrooms
where there were once rows of chickens.
[Craig] When we started,
and we got this idea going,
man, I just cleaned my diet up.
I had high blood pressure
and high cholesterol. No more.
I've lost 50 pounds. I got a purpose now.
It makes a difference.
[Chad] What we're seeing globally,
certainly in Europe and the US,
is even being so heavily subsidized,
a lot of these chicken farmers,
they're losing their shirts
and they're closing.
For farmers that wanna transition,
in terms of the opportunity to scale,
we've seen mushroom farms
that would blow your mind.
There's a lot of opportunity for farmers
because you can use a similar structure
when it comes to the grow facility,
with some adaptations.
[Leah] This was the divider
that used to divide the chicken houses.
- So they were up this way, right?
- Yeah.
[Leah] That's cool.
[Chad] And there's so much array
of what you can do,
the breadth of knowledge that's out there,
and the products that are out there.
There's just an incredible opportunity
for these farmers to really dig in
and take the reins, you know?
[Mike] Going outside
and enjoying the beautiful blue skies,
the rivers, the streams,
that's what eastern North Carolina
is known for.
You have the windows open,
and the breeze comes through.
Well, when the hog operations came around
- [ominous sting]
- all of that changed.
[Lendora] My father
was the only Black barber in Beulaville,
so people came to get a haircut.
This is a picture
of the barbershop. [chuckles]
But they would complain about its smell,
or they would say,
"Man, I don't know how y'all can do it."
But that's how he provided.
So he had to shut it down.
And that's why
we got involved in the nuisance lawsuit.
[newswoman] Folks in North Carolina
claim a food company
is dumping waste right on their doorsteps.
Hundreds have gone to court
to make it stop.
[reporter] About 500
North Carolina residents
are suing a subsidiary
of Smithfield Foods,
the world's largest pork producer.
[Mike] Smithfield is now
a Chinese-owned corporation,
with hundreds of hog farms
in North Carolina.
One in four pigs in the United States
is owned by China.
It's been reported
that it's up to 50% cheaper
to grow hogs in North Carolina
than it is in China.
Smithfield made it clear publicly,
"We will never settle these lawsuits."
"We're right, they're wrong."
After we rested our case,
I was sure that I was gonna lose
because the verdict came so quickly.
[newsman] A huge award today in our state,
focusing on hog waste.
It took a federal jury just three hours
to reach the verdict.
[reporter 1] Smithfield Food
needs to pay neighbors $473 million.
[reporter 2] to make up
for the smell, the flies,
and the rumble of trucks all day long.
[Mike] It was vindicating.
And, you know, I'll never forget
when the judge commented
that if this thing were happening
in an area of McMansions,
that the problem
would have likely been solved long ago.
[Lendora] My dad was the one
that actually, in '84,
did a petition against the hog house
building so close to our property,
and 30 years later, we got results.
My dad passed away this year.
And if he was here,
he would tell you he's happy.
He's happy.
[Mike] Things have gotten better
for some small portion
of eastern North Carolina neighbors.
But there are nearly 2,000 hog operations
in eastern North Carolina.
And so the effect of these lawsuits,
unfortunately, is limited.
For that reason,
I think people should be
as aware as they can possibly be
about how their food is produced
and where their food comes from.
[wind blowing]
[birds chirping]
- [woman] Charlie, Michael.
- [Michael] Thank you.
- [woman] Carolyn.
- [Carolyn] Thank you.
[woman] Have you done other twin studies?
- No, this is our first.
- [woman 2] Your first?
[Christopher] This has been
a fascinating study.
Twenty-two pairs
of identical twins sign up.
Twenty-one of the pairs finished
and did everything.
So we have complete data
on all these folks.
[Jevon] Is anybody else
right-handed and left-handed?
- Yeah.
- Wow. All of you guys are mirror twins.
That's insane.
I think it's one of the more remarkable
studies of our time
because to get identical twins
and follow them over a period of time,
it gives us more data than most studies
because you're controlling
for one of the most important variables,
which is genetics.
So what's left behind
is all the interventions
that you are actually imposing.
[Christopher] Thank you for coming today.
This is so fun to have you here.
This is what we do for a living.
We do scientific studies.
But we have never done
identical twins before.
- Wanna see what happened?
- [crowd] Yeah.
- [Christopher] Really?
- [man] Yes!
Now you're gonna see results.
[Christopher] The first results today
are from the cognitive tests.
We measured memory and thought-processing
to assess brain health
over the eight weeks of the study.
[Ayesha] When it comes to brain health,
in one study
in Rush University in Chicago,
they looked at dietary patterns.
And when people ate more plants,
their risk of Alzheimer's disease
went down by 53%.
You see the same thing for stroke as well.
Stroke is when blood vessels
in the brain get damaged.
[Dean] Diseases of cognition are driven
by lifestyle and nutritional factors.
We've seen hundreds of patients
with mild cognitive impairment,
where they're having trouble
with their memory, focus, problem-solving.
And when we institute lifestyle change,
you slow down progression,
but more importantly,
you actually reverse that progression.
That essentially is the theme
that we see in all the studies
that have come to us.
Now, when you're talking about
cognition and brain function,
it takes a very long time
to actually see some change.
[automated voice] Your task is to remember
where each pattern is located.
So when the twins took the test
and the results did not show any change
in just eight weeks
in their cognitive scores,
that's understandable.
Because most of these individuals
were cognitively healthy
and they were younger.
[tablet chimes]
[tablet chimes]
I am very confident
that if they follow these twins
over a long period of time,
if they lived
with the proper diet and lifestyle,
you would not see a decline
that you'd usually see as we age.
[Justin] When you perform
a study like this,
there's the gut-wrenching possibility
you won't see any differences at the end.
Luckily, that's not what happened.
We actually saw profound changes
based on what diet they were eating.
[Christopher] An important study parameter
was LDL cholesterol.
This "bad cholesterol"
can clog your arteries
and cause heart disease and stroke,
and is a standard clinical measure.
Over the course of eight weeks,
LDL cholesterol dropped significantly
on the vegan diet.
[Christopher] Carol, yours right here
is going down a good amount from yellow.
You're getting into the green zone.
That's great.
And over here, Ros,
yours is going up a little, if anything,
but still healthy levels.
Your LDL went down and stayed down,
and this happens on vegans.
And so, actually, I mean,
this is kind of classic.
Your LDL went up a bit.
While the omnivores in the study
saw their LDL cholesterol
remain the same on average,
the LDL of the twins
on the plant-based diet
dropped 10% on average.
Okay, so now looking at TMAO.
This is an interesting one.
[Christopher] TMAO,
which stands for trimethylamine oxide,
is a substance that your body produces
when you eat meat.
It's considered to increase unhealthy
levels of inflammation in the body,
and is associated
with higher risk of heart disease.
When we fed you meat,
your TMAO went up and stayed up.
When you went vegan,
your TMAO plummeted and stayed down.
Those lines look very different,
don't they?
- [Pam] Very different.
- [Wendy] Yeah, huge difference.
- [Christopher] In just eight weeks.
- Yeah.
This is one of the benefits
of the vegan diet,
is that the TMAO
goes in completely opposite directions.
I've never linked
my blood pressure to my diet.
I've always thought,
"Oh, because I'm stressed out,
that's why my blood pressure's high,"
but only to realize
that diet plays a a huge role.
Overall, TMAO actually was
significantly lower in the vegan group.
Humans are actually a walking ecosystem.
We are colonized with microbes.
The microbiome controls things
like our metabolism, our immune system,
and our central nervous system.
Through studies like these,
we wanna understand,
what are things people can do
to change their microbiome,
and how these changes
can reflect in their health.
[man] So now we're gonna look
at a couple different groups of bacteria.
Here, we're looking at a group of species
called Bifidobacterium.
[Christopher] Out of the trillions
of bacteria in your gut,
one of the most important ones
is called Bifidobacterium.
It helps prevent infection
and produces vitamins
and other important chemicals
for your body.
[man] And what you see over time
throughout the study is that,
in the vegan group,
Bifidobacterium goes up.
In the omnivores, it stays pretty level.
[Christopher] More diverse bacteria
in your microbiome
is associated with better health,
and eating lots of different plants
is a great way to feed your microbiome.
[Charlie] I can't say I'm too surprised.
Going into this, I imagined that fiber
and plants and vegetables,
that's gonna take longer
to be processed through my body
and give more opportunities
for the microbes to pull out nutrients,
whereas, you know, hyper-processed foods,
those are gonna just slip right through.
What's good for my gut's good for me.
So I'm I'm on board
for feeding them what they want
'cause they make the calls around here.
In order of magnitude, wife,
microbiome, mother, mother-in-law.
After that, it gets a little foggy.
[Christopher] The last results
of the twins nutrition study
are on the epigenome, or biological clock.
All right, so we're gonna switch gears
a little bit away from metabolism
and talk about aging.
In addition to chronological age,
how many years old is someone,
we also use two different methods
to estimate your biological age.
The first one
is the length of the telomeres,
which are protective caps
on the ends of strands of DNA.
Length of telomeres
actually decreases as we age.
If your telomeres stay longer,
you're actually in better health
and have a younger biological age
relative to your chronological age.
The second marker we measured
is called an epigenetic clock.
[Christopher] While your genome,
or DNA, is fixed,
your epigenome can be changed
with things like nutrition and lifestyle.
Epigenetics modifies
how certain genes work,
and can tell us that your biological age
is actually older or younger
than your chronological age.
Typically, when we do
interventional studies,
we try to say
about three months to six months.
With an eight-week study,
we didn't really expect there to be
much of a change,
and so that's
where it got really interesting.
[woman] At the beginning of the study,
you and your twin
had telomeres that were the same length.
There was no statistical difference.
By the end, within the omnivore group,
there was no difference in the length
of one person's telomeres
from the beginning
to the end of the study.
But the vegan group had telomeres
that were longer than the twin
on the omnivore diet.
[Justin] One of the most shocking findings
of the study
is that the twin
that was eating the vegan diet
is actually biologically younger
than the twin
that was on the omnivorous diet.
To see a significant reduction
in biological age within eight weeks
across all of the twins on a vegan diet,
that was really interesting
and surprising, to say the least.
[Rosalyn] Oh my God. I feel so set up.
It's like, "Oh yeah, you omnivores.
Go on ahead." You know?
And we're like, "Oh yeah."
Then our telomeres are getting shorter.
These epigenetic clock data
suggest that eating a vegan diet can slow
or even reverse cellular aging.
It's very impressive
that this shift in diet
had this dramatic effect
in such a short time frame.
It's a real biological finding,
which could then explain
why plant-based diets
generally lead to longer longer life.
[Justin] I think, quite often,
we're locked into a mindset of,
you know,
we're dealt this hand biologically.
We have our human genome.
That's determining who we are.
But what I'd hope the twins
would take away from this
is that you can change your biology
in a profound way
just by changing your dietary pattern
over a fairly short period of time.
[birds chirping]
In the restaurant, this is what we do.
We just, like
Oh wow. That's skill.
- [Reina chuckles]
- Whoo!
What's the base?
[Reina] The base is soy.
- [Carolyn] Soy.
- [Reina] Yeah. It's soy protein.
[Carolyn] For me,
plant-based eating is the direction to go.
- Two teaspoons.
- [Reina] Yeah.
[Carolyn] I feel healthier.
- [Reina] You wanna do one more?
- Yes, we'll do one more.
All right.
Looking at how food affects my body
it's a foregone conclusion.
[Reina] Eat now.
- I think we should eat now.
- [laughter]
If I'm gonna put crap into my body,
then I'm gonna feel like crap.
But if I do the opposite,
it'll be enhanced.
I feel like I'm cheating
[Reina laughs] You're not, though.
on the diet. I'm not. This is all vegan.
I hope this study does influence people.
Are there any vegan meals
where they're thick like a steak
and have the same texture?
[Reina] There is.
It's called Juicy Marbles.
Juicy Marbles?
[Carolyn] But I can only be influential
with the people who respect me
or have me in their orbit.
- Except your husband.
- Except my [laughs]
[Markus] Can you prepare it the same,
like a steak?
- Absolutely.
- [Markus] Medium rare?
Absolutely. Yes.
And so it will be red on the inside. Yeah.
Oh, okay.
[Pam] Sorry, I forgot to buy chili,
so I'm gonna put chili flakes.
[man] So, what are you making now?
Futong? What's a futong?
[woman] Futong. Fake biltong. Futong.
- Yeah.
- [man] Futong's one of those
[Wendy] Being 40 years old,
I really, really have to pay attention
to my health.
You can't finish that
because we are gonna have a spread.
Wendy, just calm down, please.
[Wendy] I've been decreasing
my intake of animal products.
We're gonna make
the proper biltong version,
and then we're gonna make a vegan version.
I hope the vegan version comes out right.
[Wendy] I still eat meat products
- Ooh.
- [Pam] Yeah, the texture.
- [man] Okay, I can see.
- Yeah, it's getting there.
[Wendy]but I feel like less is more.
[Pam] Change starts with one person.
With making food for other people,
we realize that we don't need
so much meat.
- The vegan is still better?
- [woman] Mm.
Really? Let me taste it, then.
[Michael] I did change my diet.
I have cut out meat for the most part.
I think there are just too many benefits
to cutting it out
and not enough benefits to keep it in.
The sun's coming from over there,
so if we plant it back here,
maybe it'll move towards the sun?
- Mm-hmm.
- And fill this with squash, you know
Pumpkin. Things that are gonna sprawl
and fill up space.
The most surprising thing for me
about the study
was how hard it is to change your diet.
'Cause my life is structured
to support, you know, what I'm used to.
Kale, mushrooms, onions. Pretty healthy.
Tastes like chicken.
I actually am kinda surprised
that our general physicians
aren't, like, taskmasters on this.
Why aren't doctors at your checkup going,
"How many vegetables are you eating?"
"You're not?
I'm really disappointed in you, Charlie."
[woman] As graduates,
you've learned that the cornerstone
of meaningful existence
is a life of service to humanity.
I think a lot of people, they just want
the doctors and nurses and whoever else
to tell them what they have to do,
or better yet, do it for them.
When, really, the patient
is a part of the healthcare team.
For a lot of people,
food is so attached to quality of life
that they would rather take their chances
with the disease
just so they can eat
whatever food they're eating.
[distant siren wails]
[Eric] It's very interesting to me
when I go visit a loved one
that's in the hospital
because they're dealing with diabetes,
heart disease,
high blood pressure, hypertension.
And then I walk in around mealtime
and look down at their food,
and I say, "This is the food
that got them in here in the first place."
This is why, in New York City,
we have introduced
to all of our hospitals,
as a default menu,
a plant-based, chef-of-the-day special.
We want to show people
how you could have culturally sensitive,
good-tasting food that's also healthy.
We also introduced Meatless Mondays
and something called
Plant-powered Fridays,
where we're introducing our children
into, uh, healthy eating habits
right in the school.
[woman] Today, on our menu,
we have chipotle veggie tacos
- Ooh.
- black beans, and yellow rice.
Food must look good,
but, darn it, it has to taste good.
And we have found
that over 90% were pleased with the meal.
It's good.
I'm not gonna knock it. It's very good.
It's just a great example that,
uh, if you introduce it, they will eat it.
When I first started making cheese,
it was mainly experimental.
I was selling at pop-ups
and taking platters of cheese
to fundraisers and things like that.
So the batch sizes were really small.
I'm talking the size of a regular blender.
[machinery whirring]
Right now, the last time I checked,
we were in approximately 30,000 stores
in the United States, Canada,
and parts of Asia and South Africa.
We are at a point in human history
where we have
the biggest opportunity we've ever had,
which is to intentionally reinvent
the food system.
Now what we're seeing is
that Americans want plant-based products,
and they are figuring out how to get them.
Have you looked at a dairy case lately?
There's like ten different types
of plant-based milks out there,
and we're seeing similar movement
happening in the meat case as well.
I would never know it was vegan.
[man 1] Yeah, the flavor.
- [man 2] The flavor's nice.
- [man 1] Yup.
We can still maintain our identity
as South Africans
- [man 2] Both have a lot of good taste.
- [group] Mmm.
[Wendy]but with less meat products.
If you had to pick
a single change in your behavior
that would have
the biggest impact on the planet,
it's reduce or eliminate
animal products from your diet.
You'll be healthier, for one thing.
But also,
if everybody in the world did that,
the negative emissions unlocked
by phasing out animal agriculture
would more than offset
all the ongoing emissions
from all other sources.
[kids laughing]
[Marion] Roughly 20% of American children
are now obese,
making them susceptible
to type 2 diabetes,
to high blood cholesterol,
high blood sugar, high blood pressure.
[Cory] Imagine if we created
more incentives
to grow healthy fresh foods.
We could create a system
in which our children
are not being saddled with diseases
we used to think only happened to adults.
Eat it. It's really good.
[Michael] There's no way
you can solve all the world's problems.
This one really touches close to home.
- Yeah.
- And
I like that. It's a problem we can solve.
[Michael] What you choose to eat today,
that's a choice that you can make.
[Miyoko] You look at your food
on your plate.
Not only is it nourishing your body,
and it tastes fantastic,
but you know it's good for your health.
- Tasty.
- [Charlie] It's great.
- Yeah. It only took a minute.
- [Charlie] I wouldn't
I honestly wouldn't be able
to tell you the difference.
[Nimai] Anybody can adopt
these lifestyle changes
and see results immediately.
If you just wanna feel good,
wake up, and have energy,
then these small lifestyle changes
have profound effects
on your overall health.
Over here are cucumbers.
Another collard green.
- You like them collard greens, Gram?
- [laughs] Yeah.
[birds chirping]
[Christopher] Many of the same things
that promote human health
are also good for the environment.
We can solve
a lot of the issues that are hurting us
and crippling our planet
by just rethinking
what's at the end of our fork.
[pensive ambient music playing]
[gentle electronic music playing]
Previous Episode