Have you ever had one of those moments in life where the world seems a little bit warmer and you feel like you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing at that very moment? And you are reminded of why you've chosen your field of work or city or relationship? I had one of those moments at the premiere of 'Forks Over Knives'.
As I sit here crunching on a piece of seared broccoli with homemade spicy garlic olive oil, I am overcome with inspiration. During and after S and I left the movie theater, I was reminded why I chose the field of nutrition...and why I moved to Seattle to go to Bastyr University to study nutrition. I have Forks Over Knives to thank for the reminder, that yes healthy whole foods based eating does make a difference in our health.
To be perfectly honest with you dear reader, I was slightly skeptical going into the movie. I knew it was going to promote a vegan plant based diet. Although I eat and promote a healthy diet, I was mentally holding my brie stuffed omelet breakfast in a tight grip. But slowly but surely, my knuckles relaxed.
Fork Over Knives does a thorough job of giving evidence on the beneficial effects and disease reversing capabilities of eating a plant based diet. The narrator follows several people whose lives have been affected by heart disease, diabetes, and cancer that chose to follow a plant based diet to help reverse their condition. All the while a healthy amount of humor, one-eye-closing-peripheral-vision-using scenes of plaque extractions from arteries, graphs of meat, sugar and dairy consumption on the rise in the US, and funny cartoons of pleasure seeking sharks appear throughout the film.
One of my favorite parts was a depiction of the average stomach (as a cartoon). This was right up my research alley of what we study at my job. They show that a 500 calorie meal of vegetables will trigger the brain that the stomach is full, and therefore a person will stop eating. Then they show 500 calories of food from a calorie dense meal. They didn't specify what it was, but I assumed something like pizza or hamburger or donuts. This only fills the stomach a little little over halfway, and the brain doesn't get as many triggers, therefore a person will likely overeat. Then 500 calories of oil are depicted, which barely fills the stomach, and therefore hardly triggers the brain to stop eating. Pretty interesting.
As a nutritionist, during the film, I started getting concerned about athletes. How would they survive on such a diet? And low and behold they interview a professional martial artist, a woman in her 70s who is a cancer surviving gold medal triathlete, and group of large muscled firefighters in Texas. They all embraced the plant based diet, and were healthy and full of energy. One of the firefighters climbs the pole with just his arm strength, while repeating 'Real Men Eat Vegetables'.
Slowly but surely, I was reminded of how energizing it feels to eat fresh, healthy, plant based foods. This is a film that everyone should see...especially those struggling with heart disease, lethargy, obesity, diabetes, etc. Although, I am not going to give up dairy, eggs or very occasional meat, this film is inspiring to live our lives in the healthiest possible way we can. Life is too short to be dragged down by processed, lifeless food. We can all take our own individual approach to eating more vegetables and less meat and processed foods, even if it means skipping meat one or two days a week. Baby steps do count. It starts at the grocery store, farmer's market, home and the office. Check out the website http://www.forksoverknives.com/, go see the movie...grab a fork, and eat your vegetables!
I will sign off with the best quote from the movie, 'He that takes medicine and ignores his diet, wastes his doctor's time' -A Chinese Proverb