My movie habits are going to devastate my children. Forks Over Knives has the most powerful message for giving up anything that has or comes from something that walks, crawls, slithers, swims, has a mom and dad or had eyes. It isn’t about animal abuse, it isn’t about the environment, it isn’t about religion – although all of these are valid reasons for choosing a plant-based diet. It is about you and your health — how a simple change can help you lose weight, get off medications, have more energy and, this one got me, help others you love not have to suffer from the misery that having cancer, heart disease and diabetes can cause. If I can save my kids that — why in world wouldn’t I?
My veganism is still going strong, but I will confess to aberrations. Only recently, I discovered my vitamins were made with gelatin…argh. And, I may have eaten a bite of frosting with butter in it yesterday on the otherwise vegan “Happy Birthday 2012” cake (but that birthday only comes around once in a lifetime). For those of you who have missed it – I was inspired by a yoga training to go vegan and have, mostly, been going strong about 12 weeks now. I do have more energy and feel good. I also can’t say it is an experiment any more – it is becoming a lifestyle. Up until now, I haven’t imposed it on my family. Yes, many meals are made vegetarian and I’ve tried to switch everyone over to soy or almond milk – but I give in to objections and the cheese, chicken and even ham has come into their meals. Here’s where the devastation comes in – we’re phasing out the cheese, milk, bits of chicken and eggs. I don’t expect this to go well, at first. I also don’t expect full compliance when they eat outside the house. I’m okay with that.
One of the first, and continuing questions, I get from everyone – my Mom, clients, random people on the street — “Where do you get your protein?” Forks Over Knives does a succinct job of showing how conditioned a belief it is that we need animal protein to survive. A myth based in 1950s nutrition research and perpetuated by the powerful beef, poultry and dairy industries – it is clearly the one nutrition lesson people bothered to learn. It may be time to unlearn it. Of course you need protein to survive – but does it have to be from animal products? NO! Do you need 20 percent of your diet to come from protein? NO! What about athletes you say? Trust me – I asked the same things! I have been an advocate of adding whey or egg whites or fish to your diet. I am officially rescinding those recommendations. I was just as conditioned to believe more protein is good – helps you get leaner, build muscle and satisfies you better. You can get more than enough protein and the right combination of amino acids from beans, soy, seeds and nuts. Science says so. The American Dietetic Association says so. Athletes such as Mac Danzig (MMA fighter), John Salley (NBA), Brendan Brazier (triathlete), Georges Laraque (hockey), Bryan Danielson (pro Wrestler), Carl Lewis (Track and field), Venus Williams (Tennis) – I could go on – are vegans and have no problem excelling. Forks Over Knives interviews Mac Danzig who says he has more energy and easier recovery times since cutting out animal products. He very clearly notes he is not trying to be part of some “special club” or change people’s minds – just that he finds it works for him, and –judging from the segments on his workouts and physique – quite well.
My mom just told me to make sure to supplement the kids’ calcium. Well, Forks Over Knives notes that countries with the highest dairy intake also have the highest osteoperosis rates and that current recommendations may be too high. The Harvard School of Public Health agrees.
Forks Over Knives is filled with scientific facts and medical testimony from the small, but growing, group of M.D.s who believe nutrition is the most powerful treatment for disease. It also answers objections – some of which I’ve had myself – about the inconvenience and possible extremeness of a vegan diet. It may seem challenging to follow a vegan plan – you have to spend more time preparing food, you have to give things up, you may seem “out of the norm.” However, isn’t it more inconvenient to be sick, rely on medications, potentially have your chest cut open and to walk through your days without energy or zest? Just watch the film and decide for yourself. (I got it at the library – but Netflix streams it online so you could see it right now.)