I got into a discussion about food recently and why it’s not good for you. Hmmm. I like food. I think the basic food groups are chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and coffee. Works for me. Or rather, it did. I had been lamenting the fact that I just didn’t feel good anymore. My joints hurt, I had indigestion, food just didn’t taste like it should any more and don’t even get me started on how much it costs just for a simple burger meal at a fast food restaurant. On top of that, I had gained a LOT of weight in the five years since I retired and I wasn’t liking it one bit. I live at the beach and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a swimsuit right now. Talk about the proverbial beached whale.
So, I’m talking with a friend and she tells me about a video she thinks I should watch – “Forks Over Knives”. She gave me a few highlights from the video and so intrigued me that last week, I requested the DVD from my library. I’m cautiously glad I did. On Friday night, my husband and I sat through the video and then proceeded to have a huge discussion about food. The definition as I see it for FOK is to eat only a whole-food, plant-based diet. No meat. Ever. Further, the claim is made “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.” (Before we go any further, here’s the website: http://www.forksoverknives.com. There’s a link to the synopsis of the video that explains in detail the “personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn”. The video was shot in the United States, Canada and China.)
It’s not that we don’t believe in the premise of FOK, but we do like meat. So, we may be doing some tweaking to the meal plans. I don’t mind giving up beef, but I do love poultry and some fish, occasionally. Still, one of the best lines of the video was this (I have to paraphrase here:) If it walks, squawks, swims, has eyes and a mommy and daddy, don’t eat it. Well, that takes care of beef, pork, poultry and fish. Hmmm. The filmmakers did on-the-street surveys, asking people questions such as why do people eat meat or drink milk. Without exception (at least in the video), the answers were “protein” and “calcium”. But the argument is that a whole-food, plant-based diet will give you everything your body needs to nourish and sustain it.
According to the website, there is a book and a cookbook that go along with the video. There’s also a book written by Dr. Campbell titled: The China study : the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health. Dr. Campbell worked at length with the Chinese to identify areas in China that had exploded with degenerative diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers never heard of before in that area and the implications based on the western-style diet the Chinese had adopted. I’ve requested that book from my library as well.
My husband and I haven’t signed on to do anything, we’re not supporting anyone or anything, and we haven’t been compensated in any way for this little essay. But after watching the video and hearing some of the statements and statistics presented, we’re willing to venture forth into this diet, a little at a time. Our next step is to research the whole-food, plant-based diet in more detail for foods that we can fix and that are readily available for us in our area of the US. I like market research, especially if I get to eat the research. So, I’ll keep a short diary of what we’re eating and get back to you on that. I should also mention that to go along with this new life-style eating change, my husband and I have joined the local YMCA so we can ramp up that exercising everyone says is so necessary – but that’s another topic for another day.
As an end note, I want to thank those who have emailed me and called me about my dad’s recent stroke. Thank you. He’s home now under good care and doing far better than any of us had thought he would. He has no physical ailments other than tiredness but he has lost some of his short-term memory. That can happen with a thalamic stroke. He’s doing mental exercises, working and using cheat sheets. When I spoke with him yesterday, he said he could be talking to someone and forget why they were talking. I told him he was describing me. I’m so very grateful he’s alive.