I first heard about this documentary when my dad called to chat and it came up that he is no longer eating meat. WHAT?!
I'll give you some background information on my dad. He has been a pilot for 30+ years. He is pretty health/fitness conscious. He has competed in triathlons, marathons, and even an Ironman. He's also takes his competitiveness to motorcycle racing, car racing, and the like. He's your classic traveler, adventurer, and competitor. He is 63 and acts like a 30-year-old--in a good way. He's constantly listening and becoming educated on how to be good at something.
So, back to our phone conversation, I asked Dad why he's decided to take meat out of his diet. It's been over a month since this conversation happened, so I'm missing some figures. He told me that he was flying with a man from another country (I don't remember which one.) and this guy said that he recently lost a lot of weight (I don't remember how much.). My dad asked him how he did it and the guy said that he watched Forks Over Knives and that was it. He was done with meat. It was that powerful. Subsequently, he lost a lot of weight. Dad says that he then watched it and came to the same conclusion. No more meat. Note: My dad doesn't really need to lose weight at all. Maybe 10 pounds tops (which isn't much). Dad is looking at this more from a health standpoint, I think.
I will add my own perceptions to this. I know that my dad can be very critical, so if some guy said a film was powerful, my dad isn't just automatically going to agree and do what this other guy did. So, I knew there might be something to this Forks Over Knives business. I mean, meat is a pretty serious thing to cut from a diet. I don't think you do that as a temporary fad or a quick fix. Dad is serious that he's done with meat. Mom is also not eating meat now. Okay, I had to watch this.
Now, if you've read my blog or you know me in person, you know I'm on a "clean" eating plan. I've learned through my weight loss that whole, natural food is the way to go. I've watched Food, Inc. and I'm only eating organic meat now. Okay, so let's see how Forks Over Knives applies to what I'm doing or if I need to again make more adjustments to my diet.
Note: I watched this via Netflix.
A skimming of Forks Over Knives
Our history is showing us that our health problems are skyrocketing. What correlates with that is our diet. We are eating differently than we used to. We are sicker than ever. One of 3 people born today will develop diabetes. We are hyped on energy drinks and coffee that mask our fatigue. This film shows that the answer isn't pills. The answer is a whole-foods, plant-based diet. The answer is spinach.
Case study #1:
There is a man who has horrible eating habits and a lot of medical problems. He visits two doctors who preform a preliminary checkup on him. The results are a wakeup call. They made a list of concerns and a list of goals. Then, the guy went on a whole-foods, plant-based diet for 12 weeks.
Nutrition should be used as medicine more. We are prescribing pills too much. Our intake of dairy is unnatural and unnecessary. (Dairy is an animal-based food.) Burger joints and supermarkets of the 1950s promoted convenience food that started the processing of food that has very poor nutritional qualities. Protein became known as the most important thing to eat. If you ask anyone why we need to eat meat, the answer will be protein. However, plants also have protein. If you eat plant-based protein, you will never be protein deficient. This is a huge misconception.
Case Study #2:
A man takes 5 pills for diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure as well as an injection. He hates taking them. They make him have insomnia and he doesn't feel well.
The doctors studying plant-based food found a situation in the Philippines here affluent families were the only ones who ate meat, but they were the ones getting sick. They also found a few cases where cancer was less prevalent in certain countries who don't eat meat. Another case found that heart disease was huge in America, but not in China. The connection is that in China, they don't eat meat & dairy. (Or at least they didn't in the '50s.) They've also done generation studies. The grandparents were healthier than the children and grandchildren. The difference is diet.
A whole-foods, plant based diet consists of natural, whole foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Avoid animal-based foods like meat, dairy, and eggs. Also avoid processed food.
Case study #2:
The man visits the same doctors as Case study #1. They do a preliminary checkup and make a list of concerns and goals.
Less affluent sections of our population have trouble making good nutritional decisions. Poor people are poor in many ways. They are poor in money, information, time, and food-based decisions.
Case study #1:
Hi family says that he is doing very well, has lost weight, and feels better.
There are several people who come on say that they eat a plant-based diet for various reasons and they love it. One of which is a boxer who says that he used to eat all kinds of meat for protein, but he stopped and went to a dairy-less diet because he had an ear, nose, and throat allergy to dairy and eventually he dropped the meat too--which made him a vegan. It's a stereotype that a vegan is a skinny hippy. That's not the case. He's a serious athlete who feels better by eating vegan.
Meat & dairy had been knows as nature's most perfect food. Now, that is known as a total myth.
The food pyramid is a mess. Getting a school lunch is horrible for your nutrition.
Case study #2:
His blood pressure is normal. He feels much better. His cholesterol is much better. He is saving $200/month of medication.
Case study #1:
Lost 20 pounds in 12 weeks. Much lower blood pressure. Resting pulse is down to 60. Cholesterol went from 241 down to 154. LDL (bad cholesterol) when from 157 down to 80.
These successes came from nutrition...not pills.
I am doing the right thing. Could I cut crackers and cereal from my diet? Yep, they are processed. (Even though I buy organic.) I don't feel the need to do that because 80% of what I eat is straight up natural. Seeds, fruit, nuts, veggies. Could I cut meat, dairy, and eggs from my diet? Sure. My only issue is that I didn't get a good answer about what happens in the body when I eat meat that is so bad. I don't drink cows' milk, so that solves that. I drink almond milk. I eat 2-4 eggs per week. I have about 1 meal per day that uses 3-4 oz of meat. I think a lot of these case study successes might have been similar on a "clean eating" diet like mine. Sounds like they just ate better in general. So, I think if I buy my meat organic (as I learned from Food, Inc.) and I eat "clean," I'm doing really well. I would need more substantial evidence to feel like I need to give up my 3-4 oz of organic meat per day.
I DO RECOMMEND THAT YOU WATCH THIS! It has a lot of information and statistics about health and nutrition in general that is absolutely important to see. It will support a healthy lifestyle. You will never want to eat fast food or highly processed food after watching!