Yesterday, I went to see Forks Over Knives on the opening night at the Cedar Lee in Cleveland Ohio. I know people keep saying it, BUT, it was a life changing sort of movie. It really got me thinking about the possibility of changing my entire way of eating over to Vegan. As a dietitian, I always thought Veganism was a bit extreme and dangerous in the wrong hands. However, I thought the movie was extremely persuasive in presenting reasons to make the switch to a plant based diet. The evidence is plain and simple.... people in parts of the world that eat plant based foods, don't have the devastating illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes. These same countries, when converted over to the eating habits of the US, start to develop these illnesses at alarming rates.
Still, I guess there is a part of me that needs more information in regards to protein. The movie suggest that protein is not as essential to our diets as we have been taught throughout our entire lives. WHAT!!!! I feel like I did in 3rd grade when I was told there is no Santa Claus. In dietetics school we learned that our bodies need approximately 20% of our daily intakes to be from protein. This movies says... not true. Maybe we need only 5%.
The movie also did a good job at making us dietitians look like idiots trained to teach untruths that were conjured up by the US government. Yes, there is a conspiracy theory aspect to the movie which is that the US government, more specifically known as the USDA, is controlled by the meat and dairy industry. Yes, that's right, that food pyramid we've been basing our diets on is a complete farce according to FOK. I can't help but feel a little duped!!!
One of the contributors to the movie took questions after the film ended. She called herself "doctor"(doctor of what I'm not sure). I asked her how she felt about the Mediterranean diet. She said with a chuckle, "Oh, that's just slightly better than our diet here in the US". So, I guess that olive oil and fish we have been hearing so much about is also a no, no. I feel so confused and I'm supposed to have some expertise in this field! With all the mixed information we receive regarding diet, it is no wonder Americans are so confused and fat.
But, I won't hold a grudge. I think all of us health professionals have the same concerns about the highly processed, fat-laden, nutrient-poor, overly salted foods that have become far too common and accepted. I guess, we just need to take what we like from the movie. For me, it was the message that fruits, vegetables, and plant based proteins need to be drastically increased in our diets every single day of our lives. In addition, if you have a condition or are trying to prevent a condition such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or even cancer, you should pay close attention to this movie. It could save your life. Just saying...
OK, OK... too much heavy talk. I followed up the movie with a trip to MELT. I know what your thinking.... ummm, Sue, not exactly the most nutritious place to eat. However, I was up to the challenge of finding plant based foods at a place where they serve virtually nothing but cheese and meat. And I think I did OK. The lovely thing about MELT is the fact that you can create your own cheese sandwich(called the Kindergartner on the menu). They have a large list of beautiful veges that you can add to your sandwich. I chose a Havarti melt with spinach, tomatoes, and roasted garlic(ate only half the sandwich). Although the fries come along side and were hard to resist, I ordered the snap peas as a substitute. I'm not sure what they did to those peas but they were AWESOME! I did not miss the fries one bit. See, this can be done. Baby steps.