On Wednesday night we had the opportunity to see an advance screening of Forks Over Knives, thanks to Animal Voices. I think it was a really powerful film, the focus on the health impacts of animal protein consumption was fascinating. Someone asked during the Q&A, why throughout the film they said a “whole foods, plant-based” diet, rather than “vegan” diet. I’m sure we can all agree, vegan does not necessarily equate to healthy (and if we can’t agree on that, then you haven’t seen the hundred of pictures I have taken of vegan desserts, donuts, deep fried double fried tofu dripping with olive oil, onion rings, etc.) Believe me, I’d like to tell everyone, go vegan and you’ll automatically be healthy, but it doesn’t work that way.
The documentary is based on the scientific work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell PhD (co-authour of The China Study) and Dr. Esselstyn MD(a doctor that directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute), with some information from other physicians. I really liked how the film presented both scientific research and had interviews with actual people that had been impacted by the dietary changes proposed. The idea that diseases like heart disease and diabetes can be prevented (or reversed) through a whole food, plant-based diet, isn’t a new one, but the evidence presented in the film is quite compelling.
The premise of the diet discussed in Forks Over Knives is to cut out all animal products and processed foods (yes, including plant-based ones like potato chips and french fries) and instead start getting nutrients from plant-based sources. Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn both also follow the diet they promote, and seem to be doing amazingly well health-wise considering they are in their 70’s.
I think I would have liked more scientific content and less video of steaming hunks of meat, but admittedly, I like statistics and chemistry more than most normal people. There were so many points at the movie where I wanted them to expand and provide more information but there were also several points where I looked at my friend in amazement (especially the image comparing one patient’s diseased artery before he went on a plant based diet with the after image, showing it repaired and healthy looking without surgery).
Overall, I left feeling inspired to seek out more information about the studies and the doctors, more interested in pursuing a healthier diet (please see aforementioned images of unhealthy vegan food, because I’ve eaten most of it.), and this morning, my omnivorous movie companion picked up Dr.Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kick Start. I think this film has something for everyone and I would encourage everyone to see it and to bring along a friend.
The movie will be open to everyone in Toronto, ON on May 20th at Cumberland 4 (Alliance Cinemas), 159 Cumberland Street. For additional showtimes for other cities, visit the ForksOverKnives website.
Here is the Trailer: