Plant-based or protein-heavy? I reviewed controversial documentary Forks Over Knives and here’s my takeaway—make a conscientious choice, but you do you, always.
Traveling around the world, I’ve happily grazed on gorgeous local cuisines full of fresh veggies and lush fruits. Dishes made with whole grains and in a holistic style; sprinkled with exotic spices that don’t just make the food super yummy, but life-fortifying with medicinal properties.
Now that you’re probably fantasizing about eating vegan couscous on some sun-drenched Mediterranean beach, I’m going to deflate your romantic, plant-based paradise for a second.
Don’t get mad. It’s all love and in the spirit of being a balanced babe.
The thing is, all these pretty places have one thing in common: meat is a regular part of their meals.
And for the most part, those cultures are healthy.
Say what? I bring this up because one of the newest nutrition fads is to throw shade on the typical American diet: burgers, fries, a giant sugary drink to wash it down.
Specifically the meat part of the diet.
Here’s an example you’ll all probably know: Forks Over Knives. I watched this documentary last year and it seems like the approach is to go from one very unhealthy extreme to the other end of the spectrum.
Even the title reflects this: Forks Over Knives. Food over medicine.
The documentary revolves around two researchers in the field of nutritional science: Dr. Colin Cambell and Dr. Caldwell Esseltyn. They advocate plant-based diets over a diet that includes animal-based protein.
It’s definitely true and something I’ve discovered through my education as a nutritionist and through my travels—eating more plant-based is the key to health.
Facts from the documentary that were shocking:
- The average American carries 23 extra pounds
- Type 2 diabetes is not being seen in kids
- 40% of Americans are obese
- ½ of the population take a prescription drug
- 1 in 5 take the drug Lipitor to lower cholesterol
- life expectancy will be lower for this generation than the one before
- 2 trillion dollars is spent on healthcare, 5x the defense budget
- 1 million Americans die of cancer every year
According to Forks Over Knives, all of these problems are related to diet and the key to optimum health is—you guessed it—a whole foods plant-based diet.
I agree that we need more fruits, veggies and grains, but you shouldn’t need to sacrifice all animal products. Cutting meat out of your diet is an admirable lifestyle choice, but not a necessary one.
The bottom line is that healthy people all over the world are eating lean forms of chicken, beef, eggs and fish. The real problem comes from eating processed and high-fat foods full of sugar and preservatives. You can eat these sorts of foods as a vegan and still be very unhealthy. Replacing chicken breast with vegan cookies isn’t a move towards health. It makes your body feel like it’s in a constant state of malnutrition.
One interesting description that the documentary made was about our stretch receptors in the stomach. It takes a lot more processed food than it does plant-based whole foods to cause the receptors to give you a full feeling.
What does that mean for you? It means it’s way easier to overeat junk food that it is to overeat real food.
What’s the take away message from this movie?
Eat more fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods. Be an informed consumer and be responsible for your health. Be smart about your decisions.
If you’re a healthy vegan, I respect and commend that. But you can be healthy whether you are plant-based or eating lean protein.
Each person has their own nutrition journey; as long as we are making consciousness and informed decisions, we’re all good.
If you wouldn’t make a bad decision in business, why would you make it about your health? There is no such thing as a quick fix.
It’s your health and if you don’t commit to it, who is going to do it for you?
It’s a strange dichotomy that the nation spends the most on healthcare than it ever has, but it is in the sickest state it has ever been.
Food is daily medicine.
How we choose to medicate ourselves will determine how young and healthy we stay. Always remember this, no matter what the experts tell you. Including me. Although I’ll always have your back—and heart and liver, it’s your body and your choice. Now go out there and choose well.
Hey, good looking! What healthy things are you cooking up? Salads, smoothies or superfood stir-frys…I’m already hungry thinking about it! Inspire me in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tag @thefaraheffect.