I would never have gone to see the documentary Forks over Knives at my local cinema, Denman Cinema, if it hadn’t been recommended to me by one of my clients. I think it was the title – somehow too – what? too mundane.
I’m glad I went! It’s a great film that claims “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.” And it does a very good job of persuading its viewers.
The knives refer to the fact that it’s impossible to eat meat without the use of a knife – somewhere in the butchering process if not in the eating of the meal (think hamburgers and chicken legs). And that people who do eat “animal-based foods” frequently have to “go under the knife” to have plaque removed from their arteries or to have heart bypass procedures or some other intrusive surgery.
The piece I really picked up on and will remember is that when we are young, our cells produce a profusion of nitric oxide, “a biological gas that is produced within the body and assists in a variety of physiological functions.” The physiological functions that Forks over Knives stresses are nitric oxide’s ability to keep blood moving, keep blood cells from clumping and clotting, keep arterial walls to stay healthy and avoid being covered up with plaque. As we age – well it’s the same with everything, isn’t it? – we don’t seem to do quite so well: our cells don’t produce as much nitric oxide as before. And our blood flow can slow down, leading to numerous problems.
Guess what happens when we eat animal products?
The whole process of diminishing nitric oxide production speeds up, which means to say that our cells don’t produce as much nitric oxide and our blood slows down, which of course leads to a slew of degenerative diseases.
And the good news is that this process can be reversed when we move away from meat, eggs, and dairy, toward a plant-based diet. This news is well backed up with clinical research and science, supplied by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, “a nutritional scientist at Cornell University,” and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, “a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.”
Following a small group of end-of-the-line heart patients and some diabetics, the movie ends as these men and women return to physical, mental, and emotional health: what an amazing path.
I’m not going to give up eating meat, after all I’ve been moving toward more grains and vegetables and fruit for ever, it seems. But I am going to stick with the Chinese idea of flavouring meals with meat as a condiment and then once in a while, eating a lovely rare steak!