This week Nick over at Macheesmo posted a recipe for Spicy Orange Greens that caught my eye. The noodle salad was spot on; it was what was referenced in that post that caught my attention. Nick prefaced his recipe by stating he had watched the movie “Forks Over Knives.” The salad had been inspired by it. I decided to watch the documentary that day, and I am going to tell you how I think it fits into the REAL food movement.
While I watched the movie, I found myself yelling at the computer. (Of course, there was no one around, except my very accepting cats and a dog that thinks I am crazy.) What drove me to yelling? If you have ever seen someone on the internet that thinks someone else is off-base, then you saw me that day.
I had to see more. I went to the book store and checked out the companion book/cookbook. What I read floored me.
Now, you know what I think of vegetarianism. Honestly though? To each his own. I just hate it when someone pushes “veganism” as a “healthy” way to cure all the diseases known to man, backed up by crappy, shoddy science.
To be fair, I actually gave the movie a shot. The companion book was a little harder, but I did skim through it. Read below for what I think of both the movie and the companion book:
- The movie starts off with focusing on what eating processed food does to you. You have to figure that out for yourself, but it’s not that hard to equate KFC with processed food. More on how this is bad later.
- The message is that if we eat whole, minimally processed food, we will all be healthier. I can’t agree more.
- We have the power to change our health, and even reverse chronic diseases with what we chose to eat. This is shown at the start of the movie with the reporter getting his blood work done. By the end of the movie, his numbers have significantly improved.
- A plant-based diet is a conscientious way to eat, to feel better about how your food got to your plate. Again, nothing wrong with a whole foods diet. Knowing how your food is produced is key to making conscientious choices for your health.
- The science is lacking, without any mention of references. An example? Talking about how the rate of cancers in places like Kenya are lower that that of the United States. Instead of saying it’s a correlation, it is implied that because they don’t eat as much animal products as we do, they don’t have cancer. Thing is, how does that correlate? Could it be because they also don’t use agricultural products that are known to cause cancer? There are too many variables to definitively state the correlation is causation.
- Whole grains are processed, so technically they are not a whole food. In the companion book, they describe them as “lightly processed.” That’s still not a whole food. Organic apples? There is a whole food.
- While the documentary implies that whole plant based foods are better for you, there is nothing looking at how that food is produced. Sure, there is a lot of rhetoric against meat producers, but non-existent for plant producers.
- Why can’t they just come out and state the documentary is about veganism? I get that the word “vegan” is loaded… but why not just wear your badge proudly? I get that you don’t want to alienate people, but do you really think people are that stupid? Oh, wait… see below!
- From the get go – the documentary focuses on how bad animal products are for you – while only showing people eating processed and fast food “animal” products. Where is the free-range chicken? Where is the fresh seafood? Pastured beef? Free-range eggs? Are we to believe that all animal products come from a fast food joint?
- We hear about World War II, how the Germans occupied Norway, confiscated all the “animal products,” and after liberation, the heart attack deaths skyrocketed. They make the correlation that the decrease in deaths from heart attacks are from the decrease in eating animal products. The data used for the documentary actually shows that the Norwegians ate less sugar, butter, fruit and meat. Did you know that the average person in Norway ate twice as many vegetables, and fish and seafood instead?
- Forks Over Knives seems to imply that there is some magic “single way of eating” to solve the problems of obesity and chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. We all know there isn’t, otherwise we would have instinctively figured it out millennia ago. Wait… we did. Is this documentary suggesting that evolution and nature made a mistake?
- A good portion of the “science” is based on the China study. In fact the scientist responsible for the study, (Dr. Campbell,) is the main doctors pushing the Forks Over Knives diet. Denise Minger has a better post debunking the science behind the study.
The Very Ugly
- In the companion book, there is an unfair reference to food warning labels, with a bias towards plant verses animal products. It is here where the bias really shines.
- “A platter of tree nuts, legumes, alliums (onions and garlic), vegetables, fruits, and grains might carry this warning label:” There is a small list of things to watch out for, like – “Contains tree nuts, legumes (peanuts and soybeans), and the grains wheat, rye and barley (which contain gluten, a protein composite),” or, “Peels, shells, and other biodegradable materials.” There is no mention of herbicides, pesticides, environmental destruction, GMO products, or the systematic enslavement of people to produce the plant products. Take tomato production for example.
- Plant products “promotion of good health…. may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation, osteoporosis and other diet-related chronic diseases.” Of course, there are no references to back it up, nor any warnings about consumption of foods with the products mentioned above.
- A platter of meat, fish, and dairy, on the other hand, would carry a more extensive label – with a huge list under headings like, “Allergens, Ask a doctor before use if you have, Biological agents, (bacteria, parasites, prions, viruses, chemical and other ethological agents, bio-accumulation in animal tissues, other risk factors, global public health risks”
- Also, curiously missing is the food-borne bacteria in plant products. Need I remind anyone about bean sprouts, cantaloupe food poisoning from Listeria (which was NOT from animals, but spread through human contact – most likely from the failure to clean the machinery in the plant,) lettuce and spinach, almonds (in which the source of Salmonella was never found,) greens onions, (a hepatitis A outbreak, no less!)
- Farming and animal products – the thought that plant based products are cheaper/better for the environment – nothing about the impact of mono cropping, pesticide use, wholesale devastation of lands for farming practice for soy, wheat, corn – all of which are used in the “whole foods” diet..
- Most disturbing is a doctor who has the BALLS to call poor people “not equipped” to make the “right choices.” This is implying no money = they’re stupid. I take issue with that. People aren’t stupid, unless they continuously make the same mistake without learning from it. Like, implying that poor people are stupid. Wonder how his practice is going?
- In fact, you can’t just simply watch the movie – there’s even “Guide” to help you for when you watch the movie with your families, friends, or doctor. (The site even implies in the text that a doctor doesn’t know what they are talking about when it comes to nutrition. I agree – but they also think the doctor needs to be educated as much as the poor, stupid folk.)
The documentary attempts to get the watchers to switch to a whole, real foods (vegan) diet. Unfortunately, they are blinded by their vegan dogma. What could be a ground-breaking opportunity to show people that food is the way to good health is lost through junk science, outright misrepresentation of the facts, and anecdotal evidence presented as if it were actual science.
If you want to see the movie – I have added it and the companion book to my Amazon store for you all to check it out, and decide for yourselves. I might get a small commission if you buy it from this website. (About enough to buy me a tea bag or so.)
Have you watched Forks Over Knives? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.