Call it a movement or an alternative lifestyle, but one thing’s for sure, it’s in motion and it’s building steam among the young and old. This was evident by the 200 plus people who turned out Thursday night to see the documentary, “Forks over Knives,” at the Clearview Cinema in Red Bank.
The poster advertising the event read: “Warning this movie could save your life!” The fact of the matter is, according to the research conducted by Dr. Colin Campbell, world renowned nutritionist and author of “The China Study,” it is true . . . you are what you eat.
The evidence presented about the benefits of a plant-based diet versus an animal-based diet was startling and more importantly, intriguing. The cleverly titled documentary, “Forks over Knives,” is revolutionary when it comes to food consumption and how what we eat affects our genetic disposition. With the onslaught of childhood obesity and type II diabetes running rampant among children, along with the culprits of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer ravaging countless Americans, what came across on the movie screen could not be easily dismissed.
Campbell, who is Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, along with Dr. Junshi Chen of China, in conjunction with Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, conducted a 20-year study, which surveyed the eating lifestyle of 6,500 Chinese people. The findings showed 94,000 correlations between diet and disease. The evidence suggests that whole food plant-based diets (vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) lower the risk of strokes and coronary disease.
Furthermore, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a cardiologist and former surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic, who was also featured in the documentary, conclusively agrees with Campbell. Many of his patients who suffered from heart disease and were on the precipice of dying, lives were saved. Esselstyn did this by introducing them to a less traditional non-invasive approach to curing their illnesses. Instead of surgery, he put his patients on a strict plant-based, non-dairy diet and the results were miraculous.
Many of Esselstyn’s patients who appeared in the movie like Joey Aucoin, was on five different medications for high blood pressure to diabetes. Aucoin was spending close to $1,000 a month out-of-pocket for these medications. He reported after adhering strictly to a whole food plant-based diet, he was cured and freed from all medications. In other words, the food he was now eating saved his life.
The whole food plant-based diet significantly produces weight loss and is less likely to promote cancer cells that grow in our bodies over a life-span. Campbell’s findings suggest that animal protein-based diets pre-dispose a higher risk of cancer growth in cells than from protein derived from plant food.
“I’ve lost six of my peers under the age of 45 to some form of cancer,” said Patti Siciliano, owner of Funk & Standard, who was a co-sponsor of the event and recently added an all natural juice bar to her establishment.
Certainly, this information is good food for thought (pun intended), for the super-size fast food generation, whose idea of wholesome nutrition might be something on the dollar menu at their favorite fast food joint. The point is: there’s a large population who is oblivious to the danger of food, when not mindful of the content. From high concentrations of fat to high fructose drinks, over a period of time can have a detrimental effect on the body.
According to Dr. Douglas Lisle, who co-authored the book “Pleasure Trap,” along with Alan Goldhamer, his statement in “Forks and Knives,” that food appeals to our natural seeking pleasure instincts versus artificially concentrated processed food equals a low grade addiction. Five hundred calories of natural plant-based food fills our stomach completely, according to Lisle. Whereas, 500 calories of processed food, doesn’t do the trick. Therefore, like an addict looking to score his next fix, you find yourself wanting more.
“Knowledge is power,” said Nicole Kemp, Lincroft. “This is how we change things.
In conclusion an old Egyptian Proverb sums it up best: “One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive, three-quarters of what you eat keeps the doctor alive.”