Forks over Knives

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Directed by: Lee Fulkerson

“Let food be thy medicine”-Hippocrates

            Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn, whose points of view are discerned through the documentary Forks over Knives, suggest that the cure to cancer, heart disease, lack of energy, diabetes, high cholesterol and various other diseases and health risks all lie in one simple lifestyle change: adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. Supported by global diet studies conducted by the AICR (The American Institute for Cancer Research) and several personal testimonies, Campbell and Esselstyn, among various other researchers and scientists, have attributed the alarming and overwhelming presence of disease in American and global populations to the consumption of animal-based foods.  This documentary follows real-life Americans through their experiences with health complications and demonstrates that a change in diet can, in fact, both halt and even reverse their illnesses.

            To begin, Campbell and Esselstyn critique common beliefs that meat and dairy are essential to a healthy diet. They suggest that, in reality, these perceived food groups can actually be detrimental to our health; the effects that they have on our bodies are not what large corporations like Monsanto would have us believe. Forks over Knives details how processed foods have become so habitual in our everyday lives that they have become like drugs to us: we are programmed to eat them. AICR studies demonstrate how during their consumption, our brains produce insulin, commonly known as the happy hormone and eventually we, as humans, develop hormonal addictions to them. Campbell and Esseltyn then went on to study specific areas of the world such as the Philippines, the United States and China and were able to find connections between the kinds of diseases that caused the most number of deaths and the diet of that region. The links between diet and disease consistently showed the same results: animal-based foods are the problem. These results even definitively support the fact that animal based foods promote cancer growth, while plant-based foods decrease such growths.

            Forks over Knives is a shocking, well-constructed film. The real-life testimonies pull at the heart strings and really make you question your own eating habits and health. It allows viewers to think about their diets in respects to their long-term health, happiness and quality of life. Without simply stating that plant-based diets are the only way to go, Campbell and Esselstyn present evidence that brings about self-reflection and an opened-ended discussion about our society’s relationships with what we put into our bodies. The documentary leaves us with the final idea: “Eat to live, don’t live to eat”, reinforcing the importance of conscious and healthy eating, not just to save our planet, but to save our own lives.

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