Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The One Where I Once Again Talk About Forks Over Knives After Seeing It For The Third Time Because I'm Obsessive Like That

I think it's safe to say I'm no longer fanatical over this movie.

After seeing it three times I have officially transitioned to totally batshit crazy.

And here's why...

The first time I saw it I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the message. I was so compelled by the reasoning of the argument and the strength of the evidence and the simplicity of the solution that I got completely absorbed by the excitement of it all and wanted to share it with the universe.

So I started with those who would still love me in spite of my impassioned enthusiasm for this mom and my sister.

They came along. They saw it. They were sufficiently impressed.

On the ride home my sister decided to go vegan, so long as I was willing to cook for her. Considering she is a quadriplegic and is tube fed and relies on others to prepare her food, I guess this was a reasonable and practical request.

My mom was quick to swear off meat, but wasn't ready to forego fish, eggs, and all dairy (although she claims she won't be buying cow's milk any more), so she was prepared to take a step into the world of pescetarianism. She walked in these shoes for about 12 hours before succumbing to the lure of Polish sausage for breakfast. She said she wanted to use it up. I suggested she give it to the dog. Galahad was thrilled to help Rob the Husband and me purge our freezer of meat when we officially went veg, and I'm sure he will be willing to lend a hand (or a happy tongue) in my mom's efforts too.

We shall see...all in her own time.

The main feeling I came away with after seeing this film for the second time was empowerment. It really came through to me just how much control I have over my health and well being. I control the food that comes into my house. I control the food that goes into my body. I control which industries I support. I cast a vote with each product I choose to buy (hello Food Inc.).

As it turns out, food is a MAJORLY HUGE leading man in the ongoing soap opera that is our health. Food directly affects everything that goes on inside of us. If you have an unstable leading man, he will slowly but surely sabotage the entire production, regardless of his charm and mass appeal.

Let's try it this way: Charlie Sheen is meat.

Lindsay Lohan is dairy.

They certainly had their appeal back in the day, their time to shine, to bask in the adoration of the Western world and beyond... 


Don't get me wrong. I'm still a Charlie (meat) fan. I still think he's incredibly talented (tasty) and charismatic (mmm...prosciutto). But the consequences of associating with him (high cholesterol, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive issues, etc...) outweigh his charm and appeal (mmmm...Keg filet mignon wrapped in applewood smoked bacon).

But it's not worth it. We should know better.

We SHOULD. But many of us don't. Why? Because our government subsidized meat and dairy industries have been ramming dangerously misleading information down our throats all our lives. Of course it will be difficult to challenge a way of thinking that is ingrained in us.

This is why after seeing Forks Over Knives for the third time last night (with Rob the Husband and my long-time-pescetarian-but-recently-gone-vegan friend Maggie), I felt kinda angry.

I am angry about all the lies about our health and well-being that we are expected to absorb as truth.

I am angry over a system that teaches children that you need to eat and exploit animals to obtain optimum health when modern evidence seems to state the exact opposite. 

I am angry that Susan Sarandon is encouraging us to drink cow's milk so we don't get osteoporosis, when the countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Really Susan Sarandon? Really?

The truth is delicious? The truth is soooo far removed from this ad I want to take her stupid skateboard and break something with it. 

Got milk?

Got bullshit.

Bill Maher appears briefly in FOK and makes a good point....there's no money in healthy people and there's no money in dead people, so you gotta keep them in between. Yup, our Western diet is doing a superduper job of that, no foolin'.

Information, and our access to it, is so very very important. We grow and evolve as intelligent beings through our perpetual quest for information. We are reasonable (or so we like to think), and reason and history should tell us that new information will come along to challenge what we think we know. And when it does we need to open our minds, analyze what we learn, and make choices accordingly.

It does ultimately all come down to choice. But people can't make choices if they are not open to informing themselves.

Last night two different couples left the theatre during the couple about a quarter of the way through and the other about halfway through the film. I'm a frequent movie-goer, and I don't normally see people walk out of movies (except for Magnolia back in 1999...holy Frank TJ Mackey that movie was long...people were leaving in droves before the end). Now, I don't know why these two couples left Forks Over Knives...maybe the babysitter needed to go home early, maybe they developed a spontaneous case of explosive diarrhea, maybe they wanted to get a head start getting in the GA line for U2 in Seattle this weekend.

Or maybe they didn't like what they were seeing.

Maybe they didn't want to know.

Maybe they didn't want to think about the evidence linking meat and dairy to cancer, heart disease and diabetes when eating their next burger and milkshake, so they figured they would get out before it hit home too hard.

But I totally get that it could have been the explosive diarrhea.

It all comes down to choice. Choices made based on knowledge. We're free to make choices that we are comfortable with, but we can't close ourselves off to the knowledge.

We had a speaker come to our school this year to talk to all of our students about sex. She had spent years counseling young people who found themselves dealing with the consequences of decisions they made when it came to sex. The vast majority of these young people had never made the effort to inform themselves about these consequences, and were completely in the dark when it came to what they THOUGHT they knew about sex.

Not a huge surprise, I guess, that teenagers make decisions about sex without getting all the facts first. But the really tragic thing for this speaker, was having to give them life-altering test results and then hear them say, over and over again, "I didn't know."

It really sucks having to say, "I didn't know." Especially when it comes to matters of our health. We have more access to information now than we've ever had before, and we need to take advantage of it. We can spend hours and hours researching a vacation destination or analyzing a hockey game, but it means nothing if we don't have our health. "I didn't know" can't cut it any more.

My very Polish, meat and dairy and egg loving mother opened herself up to the info. She's willing to make some changes based on what she learned. She feels empowered to take back some control over improving her health. But she's not comfortable committing to a plant-based diet. Yet.

That's cool. That's her choice. I'm just happy she opened her mind to a film that totally challenged 60 years of what she thought she knew about nutrition, and didn't dismiss it just because it threatened her beloved steak. She can never again say that she didn't know.

**One thing I've noticed since embarking on my Kind journey...holy crap are people ever defensive when it comes to their meat. And cheese.**

This is how society evolves...through our constant quest for information. Ignorance can indeed be bliss, but knowledge is power. This movie will empower you. The choice is always yours to make.

See Forks Over Knives. Open your mind. Challenge your preconceptions.

And then make your choice. Whether you go Plant-Strong, don't change a thing, or fall somewhere in between.

Just don't ever allow yourself to say, "I didn't know."


Edited June 2, 2011 to add...

I've been surfing around reading arguments against the claims of the movie, calling the science and results into question. These tend to be followed by some intelligent (and some not so intelligent) debate from both sides. I'm trying to take my own advice and keep an open mind in spite of my admitted batshit crazyness, and not close myself off to information in spite of my very obvious biases here. Unfortunately, a lot of the seemingly really good stuff (both the arguments supporting and refuting the harmful effects of eating animal products) is way too technical for a mere mortal to wrap her head around without getting some serious education in statistical analysis or biochemistry or epidemiology. 

Is there one perfect diet? I don't seems that no matter what you put out there, someone will always come along and claim otherwise. 

I love FOK because it presents its info in a very accessible way, from sources that are experts in their respective fields. I get it. I trust it. It makes sense to me. 

That being said, if there are legitimate arguments against the claims of FOK, I'd love for them to be presented in an equally accessible way, from sources that are also experts in their respective fields, in an effort to, as the movie encourages, continue the discussion. 

Because, let's face it, ethical arguments aside (which, btw, are enough for me anyway...the health stuff was just the agave glaze on the cherry on the coconut milk based sundae, but not one of those nasty maraschino cherries that will survive the apocalypse), when it comes to our health, we are in crisis. And we should be working together to find a solution. 

Kum ba yah and all that stuff.


  1. Hells yes to your eloquent rant! :) Seriously dude, good stuff. And hells yes people love their meat! They'd die for it. (Too far? :) It's cause deep down...they know. And shit we hate being wrong.

  2. 1 pant leg at a time eh?

    I am loving my vegetarian journey that often leans toward, or flirts with vegan. Moderation in some areas, exclusion altogether in others.

    I think that the perception for most is the balanced diet, combined with time suck preparation and restriction, let alone taste, are what keep people from going vegetarian or vegan.
    But whoa, there are a ton of new products becoming increasingly available and tasty.
    Keep in mind, majority population that can afford to go veg-head or vegan are likely only the suburban crowd. But that doesn't mean our concrete neighbours cannot order a salad instead of the nasty processed 'cow' right! And that all comes down to seeking out the info - can't say you didn't know....