FORKS OVER KNIVES documentary film directed by Lee Fulkerson (USA, 2011)
There are three main reasons why I am a vegan :
1. I oppose the unnecessary and unjustifiable maltreatment and slaughter of animals.
2. I believe that the intense factory farming is slowly but surely destroying the planet.
3. I have personal experience of the health benefits which far outweigh the minor inconveniences and small sacrifices needed to maintain this diet.
I gain sustenance for my position from some excellent documentaries that make the case for veganism.
For the animal welfare issues, Earthlings (2005) sets out the arguments powerfully and compassionately.
The environmental effects are efficiently outlined in Cowspiracy (2014).
Forks Over Knives focuses on the health question centering primarily on the persuasive views of two eminent doctors – Caldwell Esselstyn and Colin Campbell. The former is a physician and heart surgeon while the latter is a nutritional biochemist. Both have spent a large part of their professional lives researching the links between diet and wellbeing.
Campbell’s influential China Study found 94,000 correlations between diet and disease, surely too high to be dismissed as coincidence.
Esselstyn’s work with patients who have suffered heart attacks has demonstrated that following a plant-based diet can halt and, in some cases, reverse the debilitating and often fatal effects heart disease.
Despite this, US bodies like the National Academy of Sciences continue to routinely promote the consumption of animal related products as essential health requirements. They are part of the mass brain washing process whereby people are conditioned to repeat the falsehoods that protein comes primarily from meat and calcium can only be found in cow’s milk.
The film makes it clear that a large number of those behind official nutrition programmes have a stake (steak?) in preserving the status quo and ensuring that the level of meat and dairy food production continues unabated. Agribusiness and junk food manufacturers are more concerned with promoting diets that produce short-term profits than ones with long-term health benefits.
The consequence is plain to see. Studies on the worldwide rise of obesity show that this has reached epidemic proportions.
In Forks Over Knives, clinical psychologist Doug Lisle explains that one of the key reasons why consumers resist change is due to what he calls the Motivational Triad. He says that people’s diets are driven by three main factors : pleasure-seeking, pain avoidance and energy conservation. This leads to diets containing a high proportion of artificial and highly processed foods and a preference for anything that tastes sweet or salty. Anything that involves more effort and commitment tends to be resisted.
The challenge is to break free of these habits and to question the so-called dietary experts who refuse to acknowledge that a fundamental change in lifestyle choices is necessary.
In the documentary, the testimony of ultimate fighting champion Mac Danzig and Ruth Heidrich, a marathon runner and recovering cancer patient, are used to prove that you don’t need meat to stay fit, strong and healthy.
Danzig is not on a personal crusade for veganism but merely explains how changing his eating habits improved his performances stating matter of factly “I tried the diet and it worked for me”.
The default defense mechanism of many meat eaters is to mock the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of vegans rather than defend their own food choices. All I would ask anyone reading this post who remains sceptical is to try a plant-based diet and see if it works.
There’s nothing to lose and plenty to gain.
The Pleasure Trap – Why It’s Hard To Do What’s Right – Article from the website: ‘Plant-Based Food for Health’
Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease – Website of Dr Caldwell Esselstyn’s health program.
Live A Whole Life – Website of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutritional Studies
Transition To Health – Website of Dr Lederman promoting food as medicine
Forks Over Knives – Official website for the film with related articles and recipes.
How The World Got Fat – Guardian article about the rise in obesity over the past 40 years.
Great vegan athletes – Website containing profiles of top athletes who follow a vegan diet.K