Published May 19, 2011The documentary traces the personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell (a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic). Inspired by discoveries and studies made in their youth, their separate research ended up crossing paths when they both came to the same conclusion: degenerative diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented, and in many cases reversed, by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Moviegoers expecting a polished, flashy documentary along the lines of Food, Inc. or Super Size Me should look elsewhere, as Forks Over Knives was made on a shoestring budget with handheld cameras, a heavy reliance on stock imagery and badly drawn conceptual animation in order to illustrate its points. You won't find any celebrities narrating or weighing in on their veganstravaganzas. Luckily, Forks Over Knives doesn't need any fancy schmancy tech or Hollywood endorsements to drive its message home. What fascinates is the highly digestible science and non-techno babble research that again and again proves how hazardous animal products (meat, chicken, fish, all dairy) are on our system.
What's missing from Forks Over Knives is concretely holding the opposition's feet to the fire. Advocates for animal products say that protein and calcium, found in large quantities in meat and dairy, are missing from a plant-based diet. The doctors mention in passing that protein and calcium are present in plants and whole foods, but don't state in what quantities or which foods specifically.
Even as a strict vegetarian, I found myself actively reflecting on my food choices as I watched this, and what I choose to put in my body. No one wants to think that they could be actively contributing to their early demise, but Forks Over Knives lays it out blatantly that ingesting any food lacking in nutrients is akin to treating your body like a garbage dump. This is agit-prop at its best. (D Films)