I recently heard Dr. Esselstyn speak about his vegan-is-best food theory featured in the movie Forks Over Knives. The claims he made were hard to believe and I debated about watching the film because I’m not a fan of vegan propaganda. But curiosity got the best of me, so I bit the bullet and watched the entire movie.
Forks Over Knives starts with news clips about how Americans are overweight and have medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Then asks the questions; 1) could food be causing these health issues? and 2) is there a single solution to all these problems? The solution . . . . eliminate all animal-based foods and adopt a plant-based diet. The film claims if people do this, all chronic diseases would be eliminated and/or reversed. This is quite a revelation. If it were true, wouldn’t it be widely publicized and promoted by the majority of doctors and health professionals in the nation?
According to Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell, people have two options; 1) eat a vegan/plant-based diet, or 2) die of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or other health complications. What frustrates me as a food-consuming American is that they present these options as if there is nothing in between. It’s either a plant-based diet or death. Many Americans manage to live a healthy lifestyle by consuming a balance diet, including animal proteins, and getting adequate physical activity.
The carefully crafted script and images are aimed at convincing you their theory is correct. The people featured in the movie don’t use the word vegan instead substituting it with the term plant-based. When speaking of “traditional” dietary guidelines and the American diet, the film displays black and white commercials and public service announcements from the 1950’s and 60’s. I believe this is done in an attempt to discredit today’s dietary guidelines, which include meat, milk and eggs, by trying to make them look outdated. When the movie references the “western diet”, images of fast food restaurants appeared, not grocery stores or families eating at home, only fast food restaurants.
According to Dr. Doug Lisle, an evolutionary psychologist and author who speaks in the film, being fat is not linked to laziness. He believes fattening and fast foods are “drugs” that have control over us. With these statements, he takes the responsibility away from people making food choices.
Certainly diet plays a role in our overall health. The vast majority of science, doctors, and dieticians recommend a balanced diet which includes dairy, meat and eggs. However, if you don’t agree with the doctors in this film, they say it’s because you’re part of the “big ag”, “big government” or “big medicine” conspiracy. As if the entire American food and medicine system is conspiring against them.
These two doctors life’s work is proving a vegan diet is best. If you choose to eat a vegan diet, that’s certainly your right. But it’s wrong to scare people into believing if they eat even the smallest amount of animal protein, they will be unhealthy and die. It’s irresponsible for the film to spread misinformation about the environmental impact of cattle and how animals are treated only to strengthen their message.
This film offers many of the same anti-animal agriculture messages featured in Food Inc., Fast Food Nation, King Corn and Supersize Me. I reviewed these films in my blog Food Inc. or Black Sheep.
For another review, check out The Center for Consumer Freedom’s Taking a Scalpel to Forks Over Knives and the website An Epidemic of Obesity Myths.
One of the experts in the film is from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). This is an animal rights group, click here to learn more about PCRM.
People have the right to make food choices that work for them and their family. I hope you’ll trust your common sense and look at both sides of the story.