Monday, January 30, 2012

Forks Over Knives Film: Eating For Health

Forks Over Knives is a compelling documentary which promotes a diet of whole, plant-based foods for optimum health. The film cites a host of medical studies which indicate that the animal products and processed foods which are prominent in the typical American diet are leading factors in diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, sexual dysfunctions, obesity, and cancer. What is even more important to note are the numerous studies performed by the doctors featured in the film wherein people who had these various ailments-- in some case, those who had not responded to medication or surgery and had been told they had less than a year to live-- were actually able to REVERSE these ailments by switching to a plant-based diet! There were instances where people on their deathbeds lived another 18 years after going vegan. The film also included studies done in other countries, such as China and the Philippines, where the correlations between meat and dairy consumption and a host of diseases also appeared. The film also profiled several professional athletes who were thriving in their professions on an entirely vegan diet and were NOT subsiding on supplements to "boost up" their diets.

I've seen several films about food in the past year which I felt were important in making the public aware of the many inhumane, unethical, and anti-ecological elements in the American meat industry (such as Food Inc), but Forks Over Knives is the first I've encountered which gives such a compelling argument towards a vegan or mostly-vegan diet purely from the perspective of good health.

The public needs to be aware that the government agencies which rant about the protein we need from meat and the calcium we need from dairy are the same agencies which do business with the companies selling those products. One need only look at the average public school lunch, approved by the FDA, to know that these agencies have some major deficiencies in their standards for healthy food. I would like someone to show me a documentary in which people eating an organic, plant-based diet of whole, natural foods are keeling over from horrible illnesses. My point here is not to judge people who eat meat and dairy or to say that every omnivore is condemned to a future of poor health, but simply to say that if you have considered going veggie but are put off by the endless propaganda that you will never possibly get enough protein, calcium, iron, B-12, or whatever else from eating a plant-based diet, I would strongly suggest you take the "risk" and see for yourself. There is no compelling evidence that people who don't eat meat are getting sick, and there is plenty of evidence that people who eat a lot of meat are.

If you have tried a vegan or mostly vegan diet and "didn't feel well from it," as I have heard the occasional person complain, I would suggest that one of the following factors may have been at play:
A. you were eating too many refined grains and processed foods (Oreos, for example, are vegan, and a host of processed vegan foods in the form of soy-based "fake meat"exist-- these foods should certainly be avoided or consumed in moderation)
B. you were not eating enough complementary proteins in the form of whole grains and legumes
C. you weren't getting enough fat (I had this problem initially, but it was easily resolved by adding nuts, avocado, and a little olive oil to my diet)
D. you weren't eating enough (I had this problem too and resolved it by carrying snacks with me so I didn't constantly get stuck in situations where the only available vegan food was potato chips.)
I am not a nutritional expert, just a common-sense eater who has done a lot of personal research. I am not denying the possibility that some people require some animal products due to a particular body or blood type or a specific health issue, but I would bet that the majority of people could eat the same diet advocated in Forks Over Knives and feel terrific.

I would declare with absolute certainty that someone who eats meat and dairy in every meal, as many, many Americans do, is grossly overdoing it and would be a happier, healthier individual if they reduced their animal product intake to a few times a week or less. It is my ultimate hope that this blog will move some people in that direction.

My husband and I never even catch a common cold, and I attribute it to out diet. We rarely take vitamin supplements and never take medications. We both have very demanding, physically active jobs. Our plant-based diet supports us 100%. As I went on a 10-year progression from omnivore to eating fish and dairy to lacto-ovo vegetarian to vegetarian who did not eat processed or refined foods to full vegan, chronic annoyances I had suffered such as migraines, joint pain, indigestion, congestion, fatigue, PMS, and mood swings gradually declined and disappeared-- and I had not ever been a junk foodist or a heavy meat eater.

As much as other factors besides health motivated me to make these various diet changes (concern for animal welfare and environmentalism being the primary two), it is predominantly my concern for the health of others which has motivated me to write this blog. I would love to start seeing myself surrounded by other people enjoying the same optimum health I do. We will be a stronger, more productive, happier population if we can rid ourselves of these unnecessary health epidemics plaguing our society.

1 comment:

  1. There is also research with prisons that shows better diet--ie, less or no junk food (less sugar), lower fat and salt, more fruits and vegetables--reduces violent and antisocial behavior. I don't have citations, but I've read this sort of article going back more than 20 years!