I had been a meat eater my whole life. I had always thought that humans need meat protein to grow muscle and to simply function in their lives. Watching Forks Over Knives in 2017 completely changed my perspective and inspired me to start my whole plant-based journey.
The premise of the documentary is that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us, can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. It promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet and stresses that processed foods and all oils should be avoided. The idea is to eat as many plant-based foods as possible. These foods consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains. As explained by Dr. Campbell, the title of the documentary is a reference to our choice between forks and knives. As opposed to going under the knife for various kinds of surgery after a lifetime of eating meat, we should rather choose to pick up our forks and eat vegetables.
In the film, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn are pro-vegan and discouraged the consumption of meat products. I felt like they conveyed their message very easily. It wasn’t a dark and grim portrayal of the meat industry. Many documentaries about plant-based lifestyles go to extremes to show the negative effects of the meat industry. This documentary didn’t. In fact, they steered clear of the entire industry, focusing on the disease pandemic that is sweeping pretty much the entire planet. They wanted to link meat eating with chronic diseases.
In researching the evidence that he presented in The China Study and other books, Dr. Campbell became convinced by the science showing that chronic ailments like heart disease and type 2 diabetes can be prevented or reversed by avoiding animal-based and highly processed foods. These diseases can be stopped by eating whole plant-based foods. The documentary did a great job depicting that. To back up their claims, they included a lot of examples from different countries that eat less meat. Some of the research found that people from countries which very little animal meat have barely any chronic diseases.
Much of what they stated regarding plant consumption seemed true. Most people do not eat enough whole plant foods and tend to eat a lot of processed foods. I was one of them. I ate a lot of meat and processed foods. It just seems normal in America to eat processed foods. I didn’t really think twice about it until I started reading up on diets. I think everyone can agree that we would all benefit from eating more plants. Telling people to eat less meat is much harder. Eating meat is rooted in many people’s family traditions.
The film gives hope for those people that are suffering from illness. The hardest problem is getting people to eat plant-based. Some morbidly obese people don’t want to change their eating habits and start eating plant-based. The film shows that through eating a plant-based diet you can reverse some of the chronic diseases you might have. Getting started was the hardest part for me.
One criticism I have of the film is that it used a few extreme examples of people with really poor eating habits to support some of their points. If you were obese and started eating fewer calories and many fruits and vegetables, of course you would lose weight. I don’t think this detracted from the truth of their claims, but it was a little distracting.
Overall, the film was very well done. I found it very informative and had a lot of good information in it. Some documentaries can be very boring, but this movie held my interest the whole time. Most of what they said about the plant-based diet seemed accurate. Even if you don’t ever want to go plant-based or vegan, it is still a good film to view. It changed my perspective on all the food I was eating. I encourage anyone who is interested in nutrition to watch this documentary.