14 May 2011

Documentary 'Forks Over Knives' reveals the benefits of a plant-based diet

We all know that vegetables are incredibly good for us (at least, I hope we all do), but did you know that a plant-based diet could actually reverse heart disease or even cancer? The documentary, Forks Over Knives, created by Brian Wendel and directed by Lee Fulkerson, explains how exactly a plant-based diet can make us healthier and happier. The film chronicles the journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and their incredible research and discoveries about the modern western diet and how it has negatively impacted The United States.

According to the research (some of which can be found in The China Study), Asian countries had less risk of heart disease because they originally did not have the meat and dairy industries that the western countries have. They ate rice and a lot of vegetables. It is even mentioned in the film that the meat from one American hamburger would have fed an entire Chinese family for a meal. Unfortunately, now that our American diet has gone overseas with restaurants like McDonald’s, the Asian countries are beginning to be affected with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes at an alarming rate- just like us.

With personal testimonials by several patients, the film shows us that it is possible to live healthy by just eating plants. As a matter of fact, the patients were originally at risk for heart disease, dying of cancer, and victims of diabetes, but after rejecting animal-based and processed foods, they were able to reverse these problems and live wonderful lives- without medication. However, it is not recommended to take yourself off of your medication without speaking to your physician first.

Forks Over Knives is very detailed and informative. It presents the information with 3D animation, interviews, and rare archival footage. It even covers how people have been manipulated by the FDA and the dairy and meat industries to believe that dairy and meat are essential to our diets. While the film does promote veganism, it mostly refers to the diet and not the lifestyle, but there are a few nods to ethics here and there. Opposing viewpoints are also included, but they are immediately debunked by the doctors’ research. It is unfortunate that there are many people in the world that believe this information to be illegitimate, but did our mothers not say, “Make sure you eat your vegetables?”

The film is now screening in select theaters all across the country. Check the website for showtimes near you.

Kristen McFarland | @MohawkedMaven
Kristen, a vegan from Cincinnati, Ohio, is passionate about animal rights and film. She has a degree in electronic media and spends her time working as a sideshow performer and a photographer. Follow Kristen on Facebook.

Photo credit:Forks Over Knives