Forks over Knives – My Perspective

I have been on a movie watching spree over the past 2 weeks and managed to work in the documentary Forks Over Knives.  Buy or rent it here.

Documentaries, especially documentaries about food interest me.  Food is one of my favorite subjects.  It is also one of my favorite hobbies.  It is also one of my favorite pastimes.  I love food.

So, I try to watch the hip foodie shows.  I enjoyed Supersize Me (get it here).  I loved Food Inc (get it here).  Anytime there is a program on TV that goes into the food system or our food industry I try to watch it.

I also read about food for sport… at any time there are at least 5 cookbooks from my library laying around my living room.  New recipes, new techniques, new tastes – Yes!

I suppose if I am not raising food (oink) or growing it (yay!  gardening!) or cooking it – I am studying it.

Weird eh?

So, back to Forks Over Knives.

If you know me and you have seen this movie you are probably wondering what I have to say about it.

Here’s the net-net:

Forks Over Knives (2011) is an American advocacy film that advocates a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet as a way to avoid or reverse several chronic diseases. The film recommends a “whole foods plant-based” diet and stresses that processed foods and all oils should be avoided. This is sometimes confused with a vegan diet, which in practice can be very different.  Source – Wikipedia

Not only did I watch the movie, I checked the book (get it here) out from the library and read it.  I reviewed the recipes.  I read the quotes from all the folks reaping the benefits from this lifestyle.

After consuming all the information I had here, I was sitting at my kitchen counter flipping through the pages of recipes in complete awe that there are all these people out there who are actually eating this way.

WOW!

No meat.  No fish.  No eggs.  No dairy.  No oil.  None.  Nada.  Nope.

I am a pastured egg eating, raw dairy guzzling, grass-fed meat carnivore, who, by the way, likes her eggs fried in fat. Ha!

What do I think about the Forks Over Knives Diet? (they would say it’s a “lifestyle” not a “diet”)

I think it’s awesome.  I think its absolutely going to give amazing results.  I think it will most likely do everything they claim.  If you are living and eating that way I think it could really give you great health.

BUT – it’s definitely not for me.

Why I am Not a Forks Over Knives Girl

#1 Reason I’m not Going on the Forks Over Knives Plan:  Not all Meat is the same

Yes.  I think eliminating meat would not be a bad thing.  Especially if someone has been consuming feedlot raised, CAFO confined, concrete dwelling, imprisoned meat.  I don’t want to eat it either.

I don’t want to get on my soap box again, so I’ll be brief….  I think that the Forks Over Knives folks are correct about meat from CAFO’s:

  1. This (confined) meat is terribly bad for us to eat
  2. It is also terribly bad for the animals living in these conditions
  3. It is also terribly bad for the workers taking care of these animals
  4. AND it’s bad for the land and environment trying to soak up the massive amount of waste created by these concentrated operations.

If you happen to own a CAFO and your animals are happily gallivanting in the sunshine, I am not talking about you.  I am talking about the industrial, horrific, Concentrated Animal Feeding operations that are usually owned by companies, not people.

Forks Over Knives and I are on the same page here.  Let’s get the animals out of the buildings. (For more on CAFO’s go here)

BUT, I think, there is another side to meat.

After watching & reading the material I got the feeling they (Forks Over Knives) really focused on “conventionally raised meat” versus no meat.  There wasn’t much of a look at grass-fed meat.  I know that grass-fed meat can not be condemned into the same category as feedlot meat.  There is really no comparison.

Meat from grass-fed animals is higher in Omega 3. It’s lower in Omega 6.  I don’t think it should be thrown out with the feed-lot beef.  It’s simply not the same.  For more on the benefits of grass-fed meat go here.

Meat and Dairy products from grass-fed animals are also substantially higher in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) the cancer fighting wonder-fat.  (source)  CLA in grass-fed dairy and beef is 300-500% higher. (source #1)  (source #2)

I LOVE vegetables and fruit and beans and wheat and legumes.  I think my diet is mostly made up of these foods.  At the same time, I enjoy some meat.  I think eating mostly meat, even grass-fed, would not be the healthiest diet.  However, I do enjoy some meat along side my veggies and I think that is OK.

#2 Reason I’m not Going on the Forks Over Knives Plan:  Not all Dairy is the same

Here again, I agree with the Forks Over Knives folks.  If someone has been consuming store-bought, pasteurized, homogenized, hormone-fed, processed, dairy products that come from cows living in confinement – it would be better to not eat dairy at all.

However…

Clean, chemical free, hormone free, un-homogenized, unpasteurized, raw milk from pasture dwelling cows is not the same as the garbage dairy they sell in the grocery store.

My happy cows

My dairy cows live on pasture in the sunshine and eat grass.  My milk is not tampered with.  It has not been heated.  It has not been processed.  It just came out of a cow this morning.  My butter is clean, raw and home-churned.

I don’t think my dairy products are not in the same world as conventional, store-bought, dairy products.

Image result for cafo dairy

Photo Credit: http://www.mykxlg.com/application-made-new-large-dairy-codington-county/

The standard, dairy products sold at the grocery typically come from cows who live in barns, in stalls or tied up who don’t see much sun or grassy fields.  I know there are some CAFO’s out there who do rotate cows on pasture and make sure their cattle get exercise, sun and green grass – but statistics show that this is not average.

The dairy products from a cow who spends most of her time cooped up indoors eating what is provided by the caretaker is not going to produce milk equivalent to a grass-fed, pasture-raised, sun-bathing, regular exercising cow.  Not the same.

Benefits of Consuming Grass-fed, Pasture-raised, Dairy Products:

  • Lower risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, breast cancer (source) and lower cholesterol
  • Improve your metabolism (increased levels of fat burning), improve body composition (more muscle, less fat)
  • Reduce fat levels (decrease abdominal fat)
  • Increase immune response & increase ability to breakdown fats
  • Lower risk of prostate cancer.  Studies show consumption of whole milk is linked with lower risk of prostate cancer.  Likewise, those who consumed low-fat milk have higher prostate cancer rates (source). When you understand that whole milk is higher in fat, thus higher in CLA it makes sense.  To take out the fat would take out the cancer-fighting wonder-fat – CLA.  Amazing!

For more on Grass-fed Dairy products go here.

#3 Reason I’m not Going on the Forks Over Knives Plan:  Not all eggs are the same

Here, again, I feel like all eggs were thrown into one basket.  Not all eggs are equal.

Image result for cafo eggs

Photo credit: http://www.globalpossibilities.org

If you have been eating eggs that came from chickens living in this type of housing environment – you should stop eating them….. now.

Those poor chickens living in cages, in buildings are not producing eggs that can provide health and life and nutrition.

BUT – there are other eggs!  There are eggs from free chickens… and they are so good for you.

I can’t imagine a life without eggs.  I eat them daily.  They are my favorite breakfast.  They hold all my baked goods together.  I have a neighbor who has egg allergies in her family.  I am fully aware of what a challenge it is to try to bake anything without eggs.  It’s not easy.

I agree that conventional eggs that come from chickens living in CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding operations) are not something I (or you) should consume.

My free range chickens

My eggs, on the other hand, are not the same.  My chickens are some of the free-est beings on planet earth.  Go here to see how we keep our chickens.  It’s called the “redneck way” and it involved no fences, runs or boundaries.  They rarely eat any feed and get a balanced diet of greens, bugs, grains and anything else they forage.  These eggs are a super food.

For more on how to buy eggs go here.

#4 Reason I’m not Going on the Forks Over Knives Plan:  Not all oils are the same

“Oil is a bad idea because it is highly refined and its nutritional package is inadequate.”  

The Forks over Knives Plan p.108

Ummmm.  Well not ALL oil is “highly refined”.  I have unrefined coconut oil in my pantry (get some here).  I also have raw, home-made butter that is unrefined.  I also have lard and tallow that I rendered myself that is not refined.

I love my fats.

Did you know that you actually NEED fat in your diet.

It’s true.  Not only do you need to eat it, fat will NOT make you fat.  Processed foods.  Refined sugars.  And those highly refined oils (salad oil, canola, corn, vegetable, etc) will make you fat.

Good fat doesn’t make you fat:  raw butter, avocados, pastured lard, organic coconut oil (unrefined).  These are good and will provide energy while keep you slim.

Why you need fat:

  • Fat will help you feel fuller longer.
  • Brain development – Did you know that you brain is the fattest organ in your body?  Our brains actually need fat to function correctly.  source
  • Fat is a good source of energy
  • Many grass-fed fats contain CLA – is one example of how good fats can be.  CLA has been called “the cancer fighting wonderfat.”
  • All our body cells need fat.  Whether it’s our brain, nerves, or skin – eating fat provides all those cell membranes with the fat they need to be healthy.
  • Some vitamins are transported by fat – A, D, E & K are all fat-soluble & need fat to get where they are needed.

Not only do I need fat, I think life without fat would be a sad existence.

I can’t imagine eating:

  • No oil in salad dressings.
  • No oil to cook veggies
  • No oil to make sweet potato fries
  • No oil to saute kale, collard greens
  • No oil to fry my eggs (well, I guess they’re not eating eggs)
  • How on earth am I supposed to make bread, rolls, buns, pitas, pizza crust, tortillas, scones, crackers, and baked goods (which are all allowed on the Forks Over Knives plan) without oil?  It would be a challenge.

In the recipe section there were lots of burritos, tacos, pizza (without cheese), toast and wraps – but I don’t know how to make these things without oil.

I suppose the Forks Over Knives folks are eating bunches of avocado & grapes and other fruits with fat in order to meet their dietary fat needs.  I know that fat is important.

#5 Reason I’m not Going on the Forks Over Knives Plan:  God

I’ve been saved by the blood of my wonderful savior, Jesus Christ.  He died for my sins and set me free.  Free from sin.  Free from the law.  Free from bondage.  I believe this freedom includes the freedom to eat the food He gave us.

I think food is more than sustenance.  I believe it is a blessing from God.  He gave us food, all food, not only to give us energy and keep us alive, it’s more than that.  I think food is a tremendous blessing.  The flavors, the herbs, the variety, the goodness.  God has given us so many wonderful things to eat (and drink):

  1. to sustain us
  2. to heal us
  3. and for our enjoyment.

Thank you God for all the wonderful food!

Here are some things the bible says about food:

  • Genesis 9:3 “Every living creature will be food for you; as I gave the green plants, I have given you everything.”
  • Genesis 1:29 God said, “I have given you every plant with seeds on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds. This will be your food.”
  • Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘During the evening you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be satisfied with bread, so that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’”
  • Ecclesiastes 9:7  “Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.”
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
  • Psalm 104:15 “And wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”
  • Exodus 3:7-8 “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering so I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey”

In Exodus 3 God is speaking to Moses from the burning bush.  I think it’s particularly interesting that God describes Canaan, the promised land, to the Israelites as a land “flowing with milk and honey.”

I don’t think God would have used “flowing with milk” as a positive feature of the land if we were not supposed to consume dairy products.

At the end of it all, I am not saying the Forks Over Knives plan is a bad idea.  I think it’s incredibly healthy and probably a great solution to many of the health problems we see in our world today.

I just think you can eat meat, eggs, dairy and fat (in moderation) and be healthy too.

What do you think?  Are you on the Forks Over Knives plan?  Do you think I’m wrong?

Leave your comment below!

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-Candi

 

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