Last night, 141 Bradford Natural Food Market hosted a screening of Forks Over Knives at my new home away from home (away from home), the Provincetown Library. In short, the film follows several people with coronary disease and type-2 diabetes as they follow a medical diet that the featured physicians refer to as a “plant-based, whole food diet.” In other words, vegan — without scaring people by saying vegan.
In large part the film’s science is based on the longitudinal study conducted in China, Diet Lifestyle, and Mortality in China, that links the introduction of a Western diet, especially the introduction of meat and dairy protein at high levels, with the emergence of a range of Western diseases — coronary diease, cancers, and diabetes at the top of the list. I reviewed this study when I was first diagnosed with diabetes and learned a lot from it. At that time, by corrolating studies like this with other sources, I especially learned that I can’t trust any government-sponsored nutritional study, becasue government information about helath and nutrition is unconscionably influenced by the agricultural and health lobbies, who have a vested interest in keeping us additicted to sugar and marginally ill.
I’m also aware that this film is a polemic. It makes a few concessions, such as pointing out that it’s the percent of animal protein consumed that triggers illness (but also convinces me that the average American eats well beyond triggering percentages). Still it advocates a total elimination of animal protein and dairy from one’s diet. There’s a seemingly fair critique of the film on this blog.
I have been strictly vegetarian and, even, vegan, for periods of my life. Right now I eat fish, eggs, yogurt, and a tiny bit of milk in my coffee. If I’m hard up at a party or reception, I will have a bit of cheese. I am convinced from my own work around my diet to believe that more plant-based food simply makes me feel better. I’ve generally gone back to fish each time becasue it’s easier for other people, not because I feel any craving or need in my diet. So, I’m going to try to shift more toward a vegan diet again and see if I feel any added energy and vitality. It shouldn’t be hard as I’m probably 90 percent there already.
I’m aware that I’ll take a lot of shit for this from meat-eaters, who always seems obsessively defensive about their own dietary practices when I make this switch. The truth of the matter is that I lost my taste for meat twenty-years ago and now find it a little repulsive. So, be forewarned. Give me shit and I’ll throw some pig’s blood in your direction.
That’s a joke. I’d only use a highly staining compound produced from organic berries and pine tar.