Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Forks Over Knives: Talk Back

Last Sunday's discussion on Forks Over Knives went well. Before the film, the discussion began with members sharing their eating habits. Almost every member of Sunday's discussion were meat eaters. Although most had an understanding of what kind of meat they would or wouldn't eat, a couple of members stated that they'd eat it all. Other members stated that they ate no pork, only turkey and chicken, or only chicken and fish along with the ratio of meat to plant based foods they preferred. There were also a few vegetarians who had seen the film and felt it reinforced their dietary choice and they are now striving for a non-dairy lifestyle. 

Below is a brief overview of the film's argument along with helpful websites to begin walking the road to a more plant and grain based diet. 

The film Forks Over Knives promotes a campaign for the prevention of obesity, coronary artery disease (heart disease),  diabetes, cancer, and other diseases by adopting a plant based, whole foods diet. The research presented by scientist T. Collin Cambell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn claims that not only can a whole grain plant based (WGPB) diet prevent such diseases, but it can also halt and reverse their progression. This means living on a diet of no to very little animal protein and cutting way back on processed foods like flour, sugar, and oil. To prove this statement, the viewing audience is shown the case studies of several individuals who begin with many health afflictions, that by the end of the film, are alleviated from adhering to the WGPB diet.

While people assume that cancer is genetic, only 1 or 2% of cancer growth in the body is related to genetics. To counter the myth of genetics, the film demonstrates that the animal protein found in milk and meat is a responsible component for turning on cancerous cell growth in the body.  Eliminating animal protein is only one factor of the film's claim to promoting a successful campaign against the body's disease proliferation.    

Processed foods are chemically designed to taste better and the receptors in your body that feel for both pleasure and energy conservation are most attracted to them because they are ideal for achieving both. They also taste so good that your body craves more of them, likening the pleasure seeking behaviors of an addict, which in turn makes it really hard to monitor and maintain balanced eating habits.

Another mind blower is that these foods have higher caloric values and will not completely fill the stomach. For example, 500 calories of processed or fatty foods will taste good and give you energy but won't fill you up, meaning more consumption of more processed or fatty foods more often to feel full. While 500 calories of whole grain plant based foods will fill you up entirely resulting in less consumption of food overall.

This will then lead to less dietary cholesterol build up (no heart disease or obesity and less cancer growth), less sugar in take ( no diabetes or obesity), and more energy overall (no sitting around the house, vegging out). The film overall requests that the viewer consider these facts and their health when they return to their local grocer.

To close, some may claim that eating more vegetables and grains is expensive and not very interesting or as pleasing to the pallet as the animal protein based or processed foods dismissed in Forks Over Knives. If this information is at all true than it seems that changing dietary habits to more whole grained plant based foods could very well save a lot of money in health care costs down the road and extend one's lifespan to boot. There are many unique and delicious recipes accessible on the Internet to liven up the meals within a novice chef's normal cooking range of expertise. Try a little here and there; be resourceful, and seek support.   

Here are some resources to help you continue the conversation about your health and dietary habits in your home, with friends, and most importantly with yourself. 

Get started on a plant based diet with some information on what to eat and what to avoid.

Join people across the nation as they attempt to curb the use of meat in there lives with Meatless Mondays. 

Consume fish safely with this guide to the safety of wild and farmed sealife.  

If you are worried about surviving without animal protein in your daily life, this website offers options for more plant protein in your diet.

Good luck and good health to you.

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