Thursday, September 12, 2013


I've seen my share of vegan documentaries. Some are sad and filled with haunting-yet-powerful images of factory farm cruelty. Those can turn someone vegan overnight, but the hard part is convincing an omni to actually watch. Others are a little boring, perhaps from being overloaded with factual, educational information on veganism and not enough human interest stories.

And then there are films like Vegucated that suck you in and tug at your heartstrings. You become invested in the lives of the documentaries' subjects, whose health and wellness are transforming in front of your eyes. Unsupersize Me is also one of those films.

The film by Zen Fitness trainer Juan-Carlos Asse documents the radical health transformation of Tracy Ryan, who at the film's beginning weighs in at 345 pounds. She's always been big, and she admits she's never thought too much about her health.

Juan-Carlos, the filmmaker and Ryan's personal trainer, went vegan in prison, when he was serving time for selling club drugs in his youth. When he was released, his felony record made it hard for him to find work, so he founded his own personal training studio — Zen Fitness. Tracy became his biggest and most successful project, living proof that a healthy, whole foods-based vegan diet and a sensible exercise routine can turn a person's health completely around.

Tracy Ryan from Unsupersize Me

Imagine The Biggest Loser but without all the behind-the-scenes madness (former Biggest Loser contestants have said they did all sorts of unhealthy things to lose weight quickly). Tracy simply ate unprocessed, vegan food and worked out about an hour each day. In a year's time, she went from not being able to run more than a few steps to running a half-marathon.

Not to give away the film's ending, but you know how this story goes. Hell, if she hadn't been successful, the film probably never would have been made. But by the film's end, Tracy has lost 200 pounds! And you get to watch the whole transformation in a little over an hour. Not to mention that the film features interviews with all the vegan health and fitness gurus — Dr. Neal Bernard, T. Colin Campbell, Robert Cheeke, etc.

This is the kind of film you show to omnis as proof that a vegan diet isn't simply healthy and more humane but BETTER FOR YOU. I know I'll be screening this film with my local vegetarian club, Food Awareness, very soon. I hope, like Vegucated, that Unsupersize Me takes off and gets the acclaim it deserves. It's available for purchase on Juan-Carlos' website.


Lorrie B. said...

Wow! This looks like a story I can really relate to! I became vegan and worked my butt off and lost 100 lbs. But dang 200! She is a beast!

Abby Bean said...

Sounds good! I hope she's still vegan. The follow-up on the Vegucated group isn't clear.

Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan! said...

Tracy is still vegan. She has a blog where you can read her story and get some recipes. She's pretty darn amazing. :)

Veganosaurus said...

That sounds like a great movie. When I went vegan for AR reasons 10 years ago, I wasn't even aware that the change helps people lose weight because at that time, the health benifits weren't well known like they are now.

But anyway I ended up losing a few pounds automatically and effortlessly. Even when I was eating some vegan processed foods! What a bonus that turned out to be! :)

Jennifer Lynskey said...

Cool. I'll have to check out the film. I'm finally giving away the cookbooklette from vida vegan con. Thanks for signing!

dreaminitvegan said...

That is so awesome!

Becky said...

Thank you! We are big documentary fans in our house, and it seems like we seen all of them. Thanks for this update, will definitely check this one out!

unsupersizemebyzenfitness said...

WOW!! Thank you so much for your kind words and glowing review. Thank you tons and I hope to reach more and more people so that I can spread the word. Plant based whole foods are the way to go!!!
Thank you!,
Tracy Ryan

Gigi Richard said...

I just watched "Unsupersize Me." I am cleaning out my refrigerator right now! I feel inspired, and will lose the 30 pounds that I have gained by unhealthy eating!

Anonymous said...

Tracy you are amazing.,I'm inspired ty for sharing your story