Saturday, February 23, 2013

Forks Over Knives

Note: After I posted this, The NY Times just published this interesting piece about the Mediterranean Diet, which quotes one of the main docs in Forks Over Knives.

We watched an interesting documentary last night called Forks Over Knives. It builds a convincing (if mostly one-sided) argument for the benefits of eating a wholly or, at least mostly plant-based diet that excludes or minimizes animal protein, dairy products, and processed food.

This isn't new. Vegan and other diets have been around for years, but this documentary follows two doctors who have preached this diet based on the scientific evidence they've seen that links the typical Western diet to not only obesity, but also diabetes, heart disease, and yes, cancer. One of the people interviewed is a woman marathoner who had metastatic beast cancer which she treated by changing her diet. She's now in her 70s and doing triathlons.

While weight-loss fads come and go -- grapefruit diets, cabbage diets, Atkins Diets, South Beach Diets -- the idea of the whole foods, plant-based diet appeals to me because it's not focused on weight loss, but rather on changing your body, inside and out, by changing what you put in your body.

We've gone down this road before many years ago with a diet called the Sonoma Diet, which follows a Mediterranean diet - plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and no processed foods - but plenty of animal protein in it. Getting rid of the processed food felt great, but then came kids, and busy lives and before you knew it, we were nearly back to where we were before.

I don't think it's feasible for us to go full vegan (no meat, no fish, no dairy); and I'm not about to forgo my traditional treatment and put all my faith in dietary change. But I know it's possible to shift the balance so that meat and processed foods are the exception rather than the rule. It'll be more expensive and more time consuming (the whole idea behind processed foods, after all, is low cost, high convenience) but with planning and discipline, we can do it.

Just as soon as we use our Capital Grille gift certificate.

--Michael

p.s. - another interesting site is 100 Days of Real Food which focuses on eliminating processed foods but does include meat (in moderation) and dairy (not so moderate) in its plan.