Forks Over Knives

It’s been quite a week of movie watching in my house — Lucas says if I’m not careful, we’ll end up hiding in our house eating (juicing?) organic kale and nothing else.

He has a point. There are a lot of movies and books out there about healthy living, and I want to watch and read them all. From Food Inc. and Food Matters to Eating Animals and Skinny Bitch, I’m more educated than most about organic food, health conditions, animal welfare and more. But is it good for me?

(To see all of my reviews, head to my Races/Reviews page!)

I think that we’re all smart to get educated about the things that we eat and what is in our environments — as long as we keep a critical mindset, because it could be easy to be enticed into jumping into an all-vegan diet, or cut out certain food groups. Each of us needs to decide what works best for our own lives.

Having said that, I’m more convinced than ever that for me, the phrase “Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet” is the best fit for my body. And that’s the premise of the movie Forks Over Knives, which took over the healthy living world earlier this year and is now available for free as a streaming Netflix movie.

The movie is not outwardly about a vegan diet, because that really isn’t the point. You can be a junk food vegan, eating foods that are free of animal products but still processed and loaded up with crap. The doctors who are the stars of this movie — T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselsytn — are convinced that eating foods that are minimally processed, grown organically ad free of animal products can do everything from lower cholesterol to cure (or at least minimize) diabetes to put cancer in remission.

Two out of every three of us are overweight. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.

Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously?

They’re doctors, so they have studies. Big ones. Have you heard of The China Study? That’s Dr. Campbell and a team from China. Dr. Esselstyn helped save patients whose own doctors had told them they were out of treatment options.

A read a review that calls Forks Over Knives a movie that “picks up where Food, Inc. leaves off,” and I think that’s an accurate point. It’s more advanced, and medical and health focused, where Food, Inc. was a bit more entry-level for consumers. But it’s a great watch, certainly made me think about what food does to our bodies and what choices I can make to help stay healthy for a long time.

So, what does it all mean? Well, I’m doing my best not to label my diet. I’m not vegan, and I still like to eat some foods that may not be completely “clean.” But I do strive to eat a diet that is mostly whole foods, plant-based and as clean as possible. I know that I feel better when I’m not weighed down by processed crap. I leave myself a lot of room for deviation, and never feel guilty about the things I eat (sometimes the portions, but that’s my own demon).

Have you seen Forks Over Knives or any movies like it? Do they affect the way that you eat and exercise?

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  1. says

    I have not seen Forks Over Knives, but I have seen Food, Inc. I agree with you that these movies are a good way of opening our eyes to the crap that the majority of the population eats. But like any other way of eating, I strive to eat as well as I can, and I don’t beat myself up about it if I’m not 100% perfect in my food choices!

  2. says

    My boyfriend and I actually watched it on Sunday night and I’m planning a post on it as well. I had read the China Study in grad school, but was way too focused on the eat protein 6x a day diet at the time to consider giving up meat and dairy. Based on Forks Over Knives and other movies and books (Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food Inc., and Food Matters) we’re going to make a concerted effort to go more plant-based than we already are (you could say I’m almost there now, but the boyfriend needs some work getting away from eating meat and dairy at every meal – he’s a Southern boy).

  3. says

    I haven’t watched “Forks Over Knives,” but I have seen “Food, Inc.”, “Supersize Me”, and some other documentaries along with reading books like “Skinny Bitch” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. It has changed the way I see food and how I purchase food, primarily fruits and vegetables.

  4. says

    I just saw FON and I liked some of the ideas but I thought the movie still left some gaps.

    They were saying not to use extra fat — and showed a picture of olive oil as being included. So that is bad now?

    And also they say to limit or not eat meat, yet in Biblical times lamb was often eaten, as well as goat products. I am more in favor of the idea of limiting — than saying it should not be eaten ever, or that it’s unnatural to eat.

    The movie focused on Americans eat fat-rich meats and processed meats. They never addressed if there was a healthy way to eat natural, lean meats.

    • says

      I’ve struggled with this, as well. I think if food documentaries are going to change your life it’s because you have a crappy diet. Those who already have a handle on their diet know that fats are good, and good quality meat can be OK for a diet. When you’re coming from a SAD diet it might be best to try an extreme first, since you might not know what’s a good healthy fat, you know? Then let the journey take you to a place where you’re comfortable, and have a handle on your diet.

  5. says

    I’m not big on labels either, but I will say that I try to find balance in what I’m eating and how it fits into my lifestyle. Lately I’ve been under a lot of stress and I noticed that it is taking a toll on my body so I’ve decided to cut coffee out and focus on eating regular meals and drinking lots of water. I know I won’t have to make this cut forever, but for right now, I need it.

  6. says

    We really like Forks Over Knives. We had dabbled with vegetarian/vegan eating before watching it but since watching it we’ve been pretty much all vegan, and I think it’ll stick. We both feel a lot better, and it’s fun to come up with new tasty recipes.

    Have you guys seen 30 Days Raw? It’s another really good documentary.

  7. says

    Haven’t watched Forks Over Knives just yet, but I did watch Food, Inc. a few years ago. It definitely made me think about what I eat and where it comes from. I can’t say that I’ve totally changed my eating habits because of it, but I do (and always have) attempted to maintain as “clean” of a diet as possible.

    Forks Over Knives will definitely be on my Netflix queue soon!

  8. says

    I’m obsessed with food documentaries. Food Matters was my first and still my favorite, haven’t seen Forks Over Knives yet. I’m the same as you, practically vegan but refuse to label. As long as I’m getting lots of whole, unprocessed foods in my diet and I feel vibrant that’s all that matters. Cupcakes bring me too much joy to nix completely. I’ve learned that stressing out about your diet or making it based on what you can’t have just makes life zero fun.

  9. says

    YES! Watched this twice in the past couple weeks. If you haven’t already, The Food Revolution is worth a read. That was the life-changer for me. Also, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” is a great documentary, along these same lines.

  10. says

    I just watched this on Netflix, too. I often look to books and movies to give me a little kick in the butt if I feel myself slacking off…and this did just that. Culinary school has done a job on my diet, and I’m going to try and do what I can to stay on the whole food, plant-based focus, although while I am in school I will be trying meat. I think it’s impossible for me to spend all day cooking something and not try it to see if I did it right!

  11. says

    I really want to see these films but can’t get hold of them in the UK at the moment. I’m so excited that more and more people are becoming aware that a plant based diet is the best diet for health. I totally agree with you that’s it’s so easy to be an unhealthy vegan. I’ve been very unhealthy and overweight as a vegan as you can make versions of any regular food. But gradually I am eating more and more unprocessed food and more raw food and I notice my cravings going very slowly for the first time in my life.

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