After receiving the first two of my six cardiac stents, my doctor told me about the copious amounts of plaque in my arteries.
“What can we do about that?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he replied. “You’ll have that the rest of your life.”
I’ll never forget how helpless I felt at that moment. It was truly debilitating, and made me deeply concerned for my future.
It was a year or more after that incident that I saw Forks Over Knives for the first time. And in that film, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn called Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) a “toothless paper tiger,” saying we need not fear it as we have for years because spinach is a brutal, plaque-destroying ninja. Well…he didn’t say THAT, but you get the idea.
I remember being impressed and enlightened, but I wasn’t ready to make the change yet. I didn’t think it was necessary at the time.
Oh, if I could go back in time and punch myself in the face.
Lee Fulkerson’s Forks Over Knives is simply THE best documentary on the benefits of a plant-based whole foods diet. The interviews are thorough (there’s even a separate documentary with extended interviews), the research is thorough, almost to the point of being overwhelming, and the experts are well-versed and have been studying in excess of 25 years on this topic. The information is relevant and engaging and can honestly change your life.
Why should you not eat meat? Why should you not drink milk? Why is the standard American diet killing a greater number of Americans each year? All of these questions are thoroughly and scientifically answered in this documentary.
The film focuses on the research of Dr. Esselstyn (mentioned ad nauseum ad infinitum on this site) and T. Colin Campbell, who was a part of The China Study, the largest and most comprehensive national health study ever devised. In the study, Campbell and Chinese researchers were able to see that in provinces where meat and dairy was more a part of the daily diet, there was also a higher rate of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mortality. It was the first time scientists were able to see such results on such a large scale.
Campbell explains why the chemicals in meat (cholesterol) and dairy (casein) cause problems in the human body, and in what ways they can actually spur disease. Esselstyn’s research specifically focuses on a strict cardiac diet (which I’m now following) that allows the body to repair the lining of the arteries and allow plaque to be broken up and carried back to the liver. Both are very calculated and specific in their claims, and cite the data to back them up.
In addition to the doctors (some six or seven respected doctors all told), the film interviews some of Esselstyn’s patients, some of whom were basically told to go home and wait to die because of their diagnoses. Their stories are inspirational and honest. They acknowledge the struggles and celebrate the victories, some of which come from their simply being alive.
Fulkerson himself goes vegan during filming and gets some comparative numbers before and after the change. Even during his short experiment, his health improves enormously.
I’m honestly at a loss to tell you how vital this documentary is to your way of thinking about health and nutrition. The information contained within is truly life-altering and I can’t recommend seeing it enough. I’ve seen it three times at least, and I find something new and refreshing every time. It reminds me why I’m on my journey and continues to give me hope that I’ll overcome this disease.
I really hope it will do the same for you…all four of you faithful readers.
Watch it for free on Hulu and on Netflix Instant Streaming.