The latest film to be creating a stir in the vegan world is Forks Over Knives. However, it is unusual in that, unlike other vegan movie hits such as Earthlings, Forks Over Knives barely even touches on animal abuse and the environment, or the corrupt meat industry. Instead it focuses on an aspect of veganism that is often forgotten, or that at least falls by the wayside: personal health.
Whilst you can find pages and pages online about vegan health, and books about the subject (indeed, the raw vegan movement is almost entirely about health), I have not yet seen a film on the matter, and Forks Over Knives appears to be holding nothing back. Its production seems to be excellent, and it is well sourced as it features interviews with a large variety of people from health experts such as Dr T. Colin Campbell, vegan athletes including Mac Danzig, and people who were afflicted with life-threatening illnesses who have made miraculous recoveries on a vegan diet such as Ruth Heidrich, a cancer survivor and triathlon athlete.
The film is based on Dr Campbell’s work The China Study. It examines the current Western diet, which, despite all its theoretical health plans (such as the low-carb Atkin’s Diet) and talk of conscious and healthy eating, remains to be the most unhealthy diet in the world. Despite the Western medical technology soaring above that of other areas, we continue to be the sickest people on Earth.
Taken from the Forks Over Knives synopsis: “Two out of every three of us are overweight. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.”
Now, whether or not these statistics are accurate, there is undoubtedly a vast amount of truth in what is said in this film. The China Study itself was written when the discovery was made that the wealthier Chinese children (who were living off of a diet which was high in meat and animal products) were discovered to be developing various cancers and diabetes at rates far beyond their impoverished counterparts (who rarely consumed animal products).
Whilst it’s perhaps fairly easy to look at these discoveries and think “well, that’s obvious…” it’s nonetheless great to have these ideas illustrated in a film and reiterated by doctors who are nutritional experts, and have studied nutritional health for their whole lives. Also, I often find myself getting so caught up in the issues surrounding veganism to do with animal rights and the environment that I forget about the benefit veganism is having on my body. This film looks like an excellent way to remind yourself of that, and whilst the other issues are about combatting negatives by following veganism, this should remind you of the positive thing that you’re bringing into your life.
Also, I thought Forks Over Knives was a pretty cool name, once I finally understood it (it’s knives as in scalpels… y’know, which they cut you open with when you’re having heart surgery from eating too much fatty stuff… clever, huh?)
You can read more about Forks Over Knives on the movie’s official website, and it was released a few days ago in the US. I’m unsure when it may become available elsewhere, so if you’re in the UK (like me) then you may have to wait a while. Here’s the trailer to keep you occupied until then though: