In Pedram Shojai’s 2012 movie “Vitality,” he makes a strong case for people taking more responsibility for their own health rather than relying on doctors and drugs. Shojai is an herbalist, chi gung master and acupuncturist based in Southern California. Virgil Films, which brought the world “Forks Over Knives” and other well-received documentaries, is releasing “Vitality” on DVD this month.
The film’s premise is that exercise, diet, sleep and mindset are the four components that together determine your spot on the disease-vitality spectrum. Where you land on the spectrum is mostly up to you.
The film combines interviews with naturopaths, physical therapists and fitness professionals and old film footage to make these points. The old black and white snippets of news reels and educational films are the most fun to watch.
The film showcases Shojai’s genuine concern about people who eat terribly, sit too much and take lots of prescription drugs. But it’s hard to imagine a situation where these unhealthy people would watch this film. And it’s awfully basic for those who already care about their health. At one point, one of the film’s talking heads takes the viewer on a tour of a farmer’s market and explains that this is an excellent place to get fruits and vegetables.
The likeliest scenario might be that people who already know that a plant-based diet is healthier than processed foods and that chemicals in packaging can hurt them will try to trick their less health-conscious relatives into watching “Vitality.” Which could result in the couch potato relative taking up jogging. Or in the do gooder being pelted by tater tots and corndogs until she puts something with car chases in the DVD player.