Friday, May 20, 2011

FORKS OVER KNIVES movie review

By Madelyn Miller, the TravelLady

I grew up eating healthy. Or so I thought.

Living in the Midwest, most people believed that beef and milk were good for you.
No one worried much about cholesterol.Salt was sprinkled on everything to make it taste better. Butter added richness. And I believed every meal should end with dessert. In fact, my family always laughed that the first thing I always asked when I sat down to a meal was, “What is for dessert?” I wanted to plan how much room I should save for the sweet ending.

The movie examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline traces the personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic.

Inspired by remarkable discoveries in their young careers, these men conducted several groundbreaking studies. Their separate research led them to the same startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented—and in many cases reversed—by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Despite the profound implications of the two doctor’s findings, their work has remained relatively unknown to the public. Bringing these scientific concepts to life, cameras follow “reality patients” who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes, and are taught by their doctors to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments.

The testimonials were impactful.

The film also features leading experts on health and tackles the issue of diet and disease in a way that will have people talking for years.

Sometimes the timing of when you see a movie effects how you respond to it. Recently, I had developed food allergies. After lots of doctor visits, over $1,000 worth of allergy testing, and a “challenge” (where a nurse watched me for several hours as I ate nuts and a doctor was available in the next room.) There was still no answer

I was not allergic to nuts. But everyone agreed something I ate was definitely causing the problem.

The problem was complicated by the fact that I review restaurants and judge food festivals. I do not always have much control over what I eat.

A friend insisted I try her naturopath. I was skeptical. After all, I had been married for 35 years to a doctor.

I had to wait 3 months to be able to see the doctor. He tested me and said my body was overloaded with sulfates—probably from taking lots of antibiotics. I was also very acidic.
He put me on a diet or no animal protein and limited me from eating tomatoes, vinegar, and anything acidic.

Five days later my symptoms disappeared. They only reappear when I “cheat” I felt great.

I decided to go to my regular doctor to have her check my progress. She drew blood and told me I had amazingly low cholesterol, very good scores for diabetes (which my dad, mother and brother had.) She left me a message when she got the results. She said what ever you are doing, keep it up. I wish I could get all my patients doing this;

All of this happened in about a month.

If I had seen the movie before having the personal experience of radically altering my diet, I would not have believed it could have that much impact. The movie reaffirmed that this was not just a lucky miracle for me. They had scientific data presented in a very interesting way. The movie is not as political as Food, Inc., but does not some fallacies in the widely accepted Pyramid that many Americans use as a guide for their diet.

I have lost weight (a wonderful side effect of eating healthy) And people keep coming up and telling me how wonderful I look, how beautiful my skin looks, etc .

What you eat is your own choice. But once you see this movie and understand the impact diet has on your health, I image you will change your eating habits. Even if you only change them a little, it will have a positive impact.

The line I remember from the movie is, “food is medicine”. My subconscious keeps chanting it. Especially when I see a brownie.

Madelyn Miller is a travel and food writer who is giving up animal based protein. Read her stories on,,,,, and

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