I finally saw Forks Over Knives this afternoon and it was as good as I expected it / wanted it to be! It provides a good balance of scientific research and clinical evidence, statistics and human experience, fact and practical advice that illustrate the benefits of a whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet. I don’t want to give a complete synopsis as it has been reviewed to death, as has it’s source book, The China Study, but needless to say I’m feeling extra good about the health benefits of my high-raw vegan diet right now, particularly in the wake of my aunt recently being diagnosed breast cancer and this bringing cancer one generation closer to yours truly… more to follow on this.
“Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim 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.” They discuss the linkages between the animal protein casein and the development of cancer cells (and the surprisingly small percentage of cancer that is actually hereditary – most is environmental); the impact of animal-based foods on heart disease (and impotence, men!); and show that changing to a WFPB diet actually reverses many diseases and ailments including diabetes, heart disease and obesity while improving energy levels, mood and overall well being.
I really love the concept of a WFPB diet. I mentioned in my ‘about me’ dribble that I was initially deterred from moving from vegetarianism to veganism because I knew so many sickly looking vegans. But as I discovered in my vegetarian phase, cutting out animal products doesn’t make you healthy. So much of what is on offer in the supermarket is non-food, pumped up with high fructose corn syrup, refined / bleached / enriched flours, artificial flavors and fillers that leads to obesity, diabetes etc… and you can can eat a lot of this and still be ‘vegan’. What attracted me to the raw food “diet” was the fact it ruled out processed foods and ensures that everything you eat is from whole foods.
In all honestly though, I do sometimes struggle (still!) with my desire to be 100% raw. There is something to be said about the comfort and satiation provided by hot food, particularly in a winter that drags on for as long as these New England beauties!! While I’m not giving up on the raw aspect, I do think I’m going to start exploring in the broader ‘whole food plant-based’ world, i.e., including quinoa or cous cous and lightly cooked vegetables in dishes when I want something warm, and also in an attempt to move my boyfriend further from animal products with the allure of filling warm vegan meals given raw food isn’t always appealing to him. Given the evidence, I don’t think cooked WFPB dishes are going to do any harm to the health benefits I’m realizing with the raw food so if it makes life a little easier, or a little more comforting, or a little more communal, who’s to judge?!
Would love to hear your thoughts on raw vs. WFP as I look into it further…
PS. If you’re ever in Boston, MA, make sure you check out a wonderful little cafe called Life Alive in Cambridge. A raw foodie friend and I went there for lunch today before the movie and loved it! They focus on organic whole food dishes and have a great range of filling dishes that look super-tasty. We were a little disappointed they have cheddar cheese and eggs on offer but despite that, I can’t wait to go back again… and try to replicate some of their stuff at home :)