The 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives presents an easy, low-cost, convenient, earth-healthy way to fight cancer, diabetes and heart disease as well as a multitude of other diseases Americans rightly fear. The remedy is simply a plant-based, whole-foods diet that is within everyone’s range. The diet fights these killers, and it actually reverses them.
And if you initially doubt the notion, this is the movie to see.
Forks Over Knives will be presented at the Progressive Film Series’ May 10 event, followed by a discussion with two articulate speakers, both Oregon doctors. The film systematically overturns modern American eating assumptions. Most of us have heard that processed, refined food and high fructose corn syrup are bad for us; the movie persuasively argues that meat and dairy consumption are directly related to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
We follow two dynamic, elderly doctors, Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn as they pass through life on separate courses to come to the same essential conclusion and friendship. The epiphany startles both: one was proud to be raised on a dairy, the other supported his family beef operation. The film describes the beliefs that both of them (and nearly all of us) grew up with due to the USDA and other government agencies repeatedly stressing that meat, dairy and sugar are essential to growing bodies and minds.
Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn have done impressive research in their own lives, and numerous other studies, including the famous China Study, are cited. There seems to be simply no denying the striking health benefits of plant-based food and the utter damage caused by meat and dairy.
Dr. Mark Walker, internist at Salem Hospital, will join Dr. Lynn Shinto of OHSU to speak after the film. We caught up with Dr. Walker.
“I have lost over 50 pounds with the plant-based diet,” he told us, “although I do occasionally eat some fish… I have seen tremendous results, personally. When I was overweight, I would tell patients to eat better and exercise more until one day a patient said, ‘…so why don’t you do it?’”
Dr. Walker takes the subject personally. His oldest brother died from complications of diabetes, and he was “headed in that direction as well.”
Forks Over Knives argues that eliminating meat from the diet is good for issues of environmental integrity and climate change, too. 80% of cleared Amazon forest is now occupied by livestock operations. The amount of grain the world’s cattle eat yearly could feed 8.2 billion people – more than the earth’s population.
“The biggest objection I hear is, I won’t give up my meat,” Walker says. “I say, come over for dinner and see what I eat. It’s delicious and you don’t miss the meat. You need to come over for dinner so I can show you!”
The film follows three overweight people for a few months, observing them stopping their insulin injections and other formerly “essential” pills. It interviews folks who had multiple bypass surgeries decades ago and were told they had little time to live who are healthy these years later – all without their medication. The filmmaker, Lee Fulkerson, shows the entrenched attitudes of the USDA andnationally regarded nutritionists who argue for the status quo in spite of the evidence, and we hear how a patient’s physician was concerned that a healthier woman might go off medication. The woman laughs and tells the audience that she thought that was the whole idea.
Forks Over Knives takes viewers across American and around the world to present a compelling argument that is very difficult to ignore.
Walker assures us, “There is a way to restore your health through diet and exercise. If you do this, you can reverse heart disease, diabetes and get off most if not all of your medications…what’s not to like about that?”
Salem Progressive Film Series
Forks Over Knives
2012, 90 Minutes
With guests Dr. Lynne Shinto &
Dr. Mark Walker
Grand Theater, Salem Oregon