I’m not a vegetarian. I sometimes wish I was and have been moving in this direction, but I love the taste of bacon. How many times have you heard that? I saw the movie Forks Over Knives last night. I highly recommend seeing this movie. I’ve seen most every food related documentary put out over the past few years and read a few books about food politics and health as well. My wife is very interesting in this topic and has read I think almost EVERY book related to it published in the past 4 years on the topic. Regardless, I was more convinced by this movie to be eating the way I wish I would, almost entirely plant based whole foods, than by any other media I have consumed.
My problem with a solely vegetarian diet if not vegan diet has always been anthropological in nature. For the majority of human civilization, humans ate whatever they could find and naturally, almost instinctively developed balanced diets from what they could find and eventually cultivate. This went for the consumption of animals and plants just the same.
If this is the case, why is now suddenly the eating of animals seen as a morally depraved action by some as well as completely unhealthy by others? Why does humanity change its mind like this and what can we believe considering we grew up with the bulk of public information telling us that meat and dairy were crucial to our survival? Do we really need pounds of high protein foods consumed every week in order to survive?
The answer in the movie is simply no. We don’t. In fact we will live longer and live better without, as evidenced by the very active and athletic 75 and 76 year old doctors the documentary featured. In fact, you would do better to not eat those foods and their sugary, fried friends as they have been proven to lead to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The doc features a few patience who either on a small pharmacy of medications prescribed to contain a condition or literally dying of cancer have sprung back and lived for long healthy lives after switching to a plant based diet.
The bit on breast cancer most resonated with me. The woman featured was in her mid 70’s; what would be my grandmother’s age if she had died of breast cancer after it spread to her other organs and brain after a mastectomy and chemo treatment failed to removed the toxic cells entirely.
I lost a grandfather to lung cancer as well. Though attributed to asbestos and smoking, the threat of cancer is very real and present to me. Its something I consciously and unconsciously fear and am aware of in what I do. What the doctors said in this movie, that their research has shown again and again, is that cancer is avoidable and treatable. Chemo is not the answer.
Somehow our culture has fully adopted the idea of treatment being simply taking a series of pills for whatever ails you. If there is something wrong to a certain part of your body you can take a drug that can fix that issue in that segment of your body. You might then have to take something else to counter a secondary effect of the first drug… and on and on. The body is not seen as an entire unit functioning together, which it is.
Rather than drugs, why not look at what is making us sick in the first place? How lifestyle change is the last option is confounding to me. One of the title doctors in the movie stated to the effect of how strange it was that plant based diets are deemed radical while open heart surgery is not.
Once before I took up a classic whole food, vegan diet for a month. I don’t think I will be that extreme, I do believe that I will continue to alter my diet towards more of this type of eating experience. Not legalistically and to the letter of the law, but progressively healthier simply because it is better for me. I want to know my future grandchildren one day and can’t see myself lying on my death bed thankful I had all those cheeseburgers.