I have been hearing the buzz about this movie for a few months now, and was delighted to hear that it is available for streaming on Netflix. I finally had a chance to sit down and watch it this evening and thought I would help keep the buzz rolling by sharing my thoughts on it here, in a new ongoing series I’m calling Media Monday!
The movie Forks Over Knives opens with an introduction to our narrator, a Red Bull slurpin, Coke guzzlin, meat gobblin Sloppy Joe as he’s on his way to meet some doctors with a different take on health and wellness. He gets a physical and those results spur him to find better health by transitioning to a plant-based diet instead of a daily cocktail of medications. He takes things one step further, embarking on an odyssey to explore the connection between diet and health. He interviews such nutrition researchers as T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn and discusses their and other study findings that clearly demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt the direct link between eating primarily a whole-foods, plant-based diet and maintaining good health.
The encouraging news delivered by Forks Over Knives is that the damage done to the body by consumption of animal products can be reversed through changes in the diet alone. Esselstyn has successfully treated over 250 patients with heart disease using almost an exclusively whole foods, plant-based diet. Sit with that for a minute and let it really sink in.
When I was first out of college, I used to book appointments and type operation notes for a group of cardiothoracic surgeons at the Deaconess Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), a member of the Harvard Medical School. Every weekday, the team of three heart surgeons performed 1-3 bypass surgeries where they took a saw, cut open the sternum (breastbone), opened the rib cage, sliced open the patients leg and replaced blocked veins near the patient’s heart with healthier veins from their leg.
Having typed the details of the procedure over and over, I cannot fathom why anyone can consider that the “normal” way to handle this problem, and a vegan diet the “extreme” solution. I love that Forks over Knives points this out, as other doctors like Dean Ornish have been for years. I hope this film helps people consider these “extremes” before they end up reading those books after emergency bypass surgery.
Another inconsistency that has bothered me since I began exploring nutrition is the “Milk — it does a body good” ad campaign. Every kid asked will tell you that milk gives you calcium for your teeth and bones. But actually, scientific data shows that countries with the highest rates of dairy consumption also experience the HIGHEST rates of osteoporosis! What??? I wish the movie had explained why this is (Kris Carr does a fantastic job explaining this in her new book Crazy Sexy Diet if you’d like to know more) but I am so happy to find someone actually pointing out this discrepancy and get people thinking!
All in all, I’d highly recommend taking a gander at Forks Over Knives — especially if you have Netflix! And if you or a loved one suffers from a disease of diet — heart disease, diabetes, cancer — this movie just might be the inspiration you need to make that leap to really doing a body good! The movie follows a few people as they too eliminate chronic illness via diet, with discussions of the changes they experience before and after. It covers a little bit of everything concerning the effect of diet on our bodies and the effect of our food system on the earth.
If nothing else, it will get you thinking and hopefully help you make some shift in your diet that will benefit you and the world around you!