An animated depiction of a typical heart attack, from the documentary “Forks Over Knives.”
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My friend Barbara must have been up very late last night.
Here's the email I found in my in-box early this morning:
"at this moment, the review of "Forks Over Knives" is the most e-mailed article on the NYT."
You can read it yourself, "Soul Food, Vegan Style," by Jeanette Catsoulis. Looks like Catsoulis thought it was too heavy on data & statistics. She was looking for more entertainment. Why, I can't imagine?
I love the Times, but I can't always count on their movie reviewers to lead me in the right direction. This one is no exception. Go see it for yourself!
Check out the LA Times & Variety reviews below.
"One of the more convincing, radical and politically volatile docus to come out of the burgeoning good-food genre, "Forks Over Knives" advocates quite convincingly for the adoption of a plant-based diet, the intent being the eradication of the diabetes, obesity and hypertension afflicting an increasing number of Americans."
Variety, May 5, 2011
'"Forks Over Knives" — eating right over surgery — explains in unflinching detail how we damage ourselves through our eating habits yet insists that it is within our grasp to change course. Many nutritional experts bolster Campbell and Esselstyn's arguments, and patients attest to Esselstyn's life-saving treatments."
L.A. Times, May 5, 2011
"A tale of two doctors, many cows and a multitude of human ailments, Lee Fulkerson’s “Forks Over Knives” makes a pedantic yet persuasive case for banishing meat and dairy from the dinner table."
"Its hale heroes are the nutritional scientist T. Colin Campbell and the surgeon Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., whose combined decades of research into the harmful effects of animal proteins are summarized, along with a potted history of our worldwide dietary decline."
"While at times fascinating, this trudge through statistics, graphs and grainy film of cholesterol bubbles and arterial plaque may challenge even the most determined viewer."
"Luckily, things pick up midway, as Mr. Fulkerson bites into the global consequences of our food choices and the extent of corporate influence on our official nutrition guidelines."
(my comment) And Catsoulis, just like everyone else who has seen this movie, enjoys hearing Anthony Yen (age 82) explain how switching to a plant-based diet helps men to once again "raise the flag".
Yen became part of Dr. Esselstyn's study at the Cleveland Clinic after quintuple bypass surgery failed to resolve his cardio-vascular disease. He's been eating plant-based since the 1980's--and if the photo below isn't an endorsement for the plant-strong lifestyle, I don't know what is! BTW, Yen is my inspiration for oatmeal with greens.
Best line in the review, was the last--in the parental guidance rating: “Forks Over Knives” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Nasty diseases and scary statistics.
Anthony Yen, one of Dr. Esselstyn's original patients. Here, at age 81, at a Whole Foods/Engine 2 event, May 2010
Adding My Two Cents
Not wanting anyone to miss this must-see documentary, I had to add my comment to the review. Here's what I wrote:
The Healthy Librarian
Go See It---It Will Change What You Eat!
I saw the preview a year ago & it changed my way of eating--and my health, forever. Can't imagine going back to cheeseburgers, fries, and greasy pizza. And yes, I still enjoy delicious burgers & pizza--but they're now plant-based & without cheese.
A simple change in food choices real does stop the course of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, & hypertension. No more pills or procedures needed.
Everyone I personally know who has seen this movie (in preview)--including some cynics, skeptics, & physicians-- was entertained, impressed, had their eyes opened & minds changed.
Friends who went on to make their own diet changes have surprised their physicians with their improved health--in just a few short weeks. And it kept getting better. Diet trumps drugs, hands down.
Read the summary of the movie I wrote when I saw it last year. You'll learn much more than from this NYT's review!
More on Forks Over Knives: The Pre-Release Screening of the Documentary "Forks Over Knives" Just Played in My Hometown - A Little Like a Rock Concert/Academy Award "Red Carpet" Event for Plant-Based & Plant-Strong Fans
Check Showtimes In Your Area Here
Don't Know About Esselstyn's Heart Disease Reversal Study? Here Are the Cliff Notes
This week Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. is speaking at a closed-to-the-public Wellness Grand Rounds. I'll be there--along with some of the other healthy librarians with whom I work. Trust me, we had a hard time finding someone willing to miss his lecture, & stay behind to mind the store.
“Ending the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic – Making Yourself Heart Attack Proof”
From the flyer:
Dr. Esselstyn will review the epidemiology of coronary artery disease, establishing this is a food borne illness. He will examine the method and result of a lifestyle nutrition change that may halt and reverse coronary artery disease.
Bio: Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, FACS
Twenty-three years ago, while chairman of the Cleveland Clinic's Breast Cancer Task Force, general surgeon Caldwell B. Esseistyn, Jr., M.D., grew disappointed in the way he and his colleagues were treating cancer and heart disease.
Relying on pills and procedures despite their side effects and risks, Dr. Esselstyn says he and his peers were doing "nothing to prevent diseasethe next unsuspecting victim."
This was particularly frustrating given that research studies had already suggested an obvious culprit. The fatty American diet was, in all likelihood, responsibe for heart disease and many Western cancers, which are infrequently seen in parts of the world where much less fat is consumed.
Targeting heart disease, Dr. Esselstyn's experiment started at home. He and his wife adopted a plant-based diet, cutting out oil, meat, fish, fowl and dairy.
"It means a lot to patients to know their doctor is making the same changes they are," he says.
Since studies show a craving for fat diminishes the less fat one eats, and since patients have hundreds of recipes from which to choose, the physician and his heart patients have grown comfortable with their routine, over time.
[N]utrition consultant Kris Napier attributes some of the success of Dr. Esselystyn's research study to the time and personal attention the surgeon devotes to the patients. He met with each patient every other week for the first five years of the study, every month thereafter.
The surgeon, his wife, the patients and their families still gather several times a year for picnics at which they share favorite low-fat, plant-based dishes.
Update - Oops! A Plant-Based Cardiologist Just Told Me About the LA Times & Variety Reviews - I Hit the Publish Button a Moment Too Soon!
The LA Times Capsule Review:
The signal importance of executive producer Brian Wendel and writer-director Lee Fulkerson's richly inspiring and informative documentary "Forks Over Knives" lies in its persuasive presentation of solutions to unhealthful eating habits. The film centers largely on the work of T. Colin Campbell, a professor emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell, and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, a renowned former surgeon at the esteemed Cleveland Clinic.
Both investigated exhaustively the role of nutrition in health. Campbell co-wrote the monumental "The China Study," a survey of the relationship between nutrition and cancer in Chinese people; Esselstyn wrote among many other publications, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease," based on his long-term nutritional research on arresting and reversing artery disease, even in severely ill patients.
The bottom line:
Whole plant foods are beneficial, while animal-based foods are not. Furthermore, whole plant foods prove to be genuinely satisfying, though junk food, which can be so pleasurable to eat, is so lacking in real nourishment that it causes one to crave more of it, which then escalates cholesterol levels and calorie intake.
"Forks Over Knives" — eating right over surgery — explains in unflinching detail how we damage ourselves through our eating habits yet insists that it is within our grasp to change course. Many nutritional experts bolster Campbell and Esselstyn's arguments, and patients attest to Esselstyn's life-saving treatments.
To his credit, Fulkerson, who had been dangerously out of shape, turned his life around in making this most important and heartening documentary.
— Kevin Thomas
"Forks Over Knives." Rated PG for thematic elements and some incidental smoking. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. At selected theaters.
The Variety review:
One of the more convincing, radical and politically volatile docus to come out of the burgeoning good-food genre, "Forks Over Knives" advocates quite convincingly for the adoption of a plant-based diet, the intent being the eradication of the diabetes, obesity and hypertension afflicting an increasing number of Americans. Pic's advocacy for produce and against meat and dairy should make it a lightning rod for the politically corpulent processed-food industry. Whether the film reaches the people it should reach probably depends on getting a well-positioned TV platform following brief theatrical play.
As a narrator, helmer-writer Lee Fulkerson has listened to too much "Dateline," but as a journalist, he covers the food front: From groundbreaking researchers T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. -- doctors who grew up as farmers and eventually rejected the foods of their youth -- to everyday people beset by ailments brought on by fat and processed food. What "Forks" barges into, and other health-advocacy films haven't, is the political clout behind keeping Americans unhealthy. Fulkerson not only addresses this but talks to those responsible, who generally don't make such a good case -- and don't look too healthy, either.
Go See It!
As a friend, who is a cancer survivor told me recently, "I can't control the chemicals or pollutants I'm exposed to, my genes, or what I did or did not do in the past. But, I can control what I choose to eat NOW!"