Forks Over Knives: Why plants are amazing!

Forks Over Knives: fight and prevent disease through food! Yeah! I had originally posted the trailer above but changed to the one now present because I think it gives a better picture of what the film actually discusses. You can view the official trailer here. Forks Over Knives (2011) is streamable on Netflix, rentable for $3.99 through YouTube, and available through other sources–maybe your library.

I’m so obsessed with the information from this documentary right now. One of the things I dread the most is developing a degenerative disease or seeing someone I love developing a degenerative disease. They’re all too common, and I’d always thought of cancer, in particular, as something that just happens to you, that you can’t control. I don’t believe that anymore.

Forks Over Knives explores the connection between disease and diet through several research studies and a few anecdotal stories as well. Studies have shown that societies that consume lots of animal products (meat and dairy) also have high incidences of heart disease, diabetes, all kinds of cancer, osteoporosis, and obesity. Groups that eat a whole foods, plant-based diet have astonishingly low rates of these diseases. There’s a study on cancer rates is China that is particularly amazing because the researchers could compare different rural communities where there’s a stable environment with extremely few people moving in and out their communities. Everyone studied had relatively similar genes–all Chinese–but the diets between communities varied. Guess what? You should eat plants!

Note: I’m going to talk more about science, even though I’ve no memory for facts and figures. If the information above or below seems sketchy, it’s because I’m pulling it from my memory.

We need to rethink what a healthy diet is. There are health myths floating around. The most amazing things I learned centered on protein and calcium.

For example, we don’t need protein from animals. OK, I didn’t really find that amazing. I mean, I’m a vegetarian. Duh, I don’t need animal protein. Fun fact: neither do athletes–Mac Danzig, a UFC champ, is a vegan. There are lots of reasons not to eat meat. This film mostly talks about its connection to disease, but we also know that most meat is riddled with hormones that are not good for us. Dairy products also contains animal protein.

The movie talked about a couple studies that measured the level of cancer growth in rats that were exposed to some kind of carcinogen and found that if 20% of the rats’ caloric intake is dairy protein, tumors develop and grow. If only 5% of the rats’ caloric intake is dairy protein, they never develop tumors. In another trial, the levels of dairy protein fluctuated between 5% and 20%. These rats would develop tumors when they received 20%, but the tumors would shrink when they got only 5%. What? There’s also this really fascinating Nazis-in-Norway study that illustrates this same principle but in humans (but maybe in connection to heart disease (I can’t remember–bah!)). Needless to say, I’m cutting a lot of dairy from my diet.

Here’s something: if you cut all dairy and meat from your diet, you will easily get enough protein if you develop a whole foods (meaning not processed foods), plant-based diet. Even the most protein-deficient vegetables and fruits still contain enough protein to sustain us without the aid of supplements.

Also, drinking milk does not help you prevent/fight osteoporosis. Yes, calcium is good for bones. The problem is, and this is going to sound awful science-wise, there’s some kind of chemical reaction triggered by dairy consumption that your body has to fight by taking nutrients out of your bones, which in turn can lead to osteoporosis. What? Yeah, the highest rates of osteoporosis are found in the countries that consume high levels of dairy.

It seems wild to not eat dairy and meat, but it makes sense that eating only plants and whole grains makes you healthy. Many people think a vegan diet is extreme. For me, it boils down to this: if there’s a way to dramatically decrease (if not completely prevent) my parents, my parents-in-law, my friends, and my husband’s chances of getting one of these diseases, why would I not tell them about it? Why would I not adopt this diet myself? It’s time to stop thinking of food as something that satisfies the palate but as something that benefits the body. It’s time to dramatically decrease the amount of dairy (including eggs) and meat we consume. Forks over knives: food over medicine.

I encourage one and all to at least hear out what the scientists in this movie have to say. If you’re having trouble accessing the movie, I’ll help you out. And just so you know, I actually did try to find a critical source reviewing FOK’s science and couldn’t find any. If you find something, post the link in comments. I’m curious about what one would say.

You can find some FOK recipes here. :)

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