“Forks Over Knives”: Eat your vegetables!

Movie Review
Forks Over Knives
Directed by Lee Fulkerson
2011, 90 mins., Rated PG

Forks Over Knives is a long argument for eating more plant-based food. For those who just can’t get used to being omnivorous, it will have higher emotional overtones. Most of the scenes show happy people eating vegetables interspersed with close-ups of greasy grills of meat. There are lots of statistics and clever graphs highlighting our nation’s infamous obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer rates as contrasted with simpler societies, where they eat more vegetables and the people are slimmer and happier.

The heroes were researchers and medical practitioners who have concluded that most of our major illnesses can be prevented and even reversed with a diet emphasizing plants. The Academy of Science and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are the villains. Even though the film didn’t point fingers, the marketers of highly processed food, especially hamburger meat, received bad marks.

After the film, my movie buddy and I decided on dinner at the Spiral Diner, our local all-vegan restaurant. Over black beans and quinoa, we talked about the movie. More than anything else, we appreciated the scientific arguments made in favor of eating more plant-based food and less meat and dairy. We were glad that the film didn’t rely on the old semi-religious arguments old hippies used to preach. They showed a few cute little lambs and sad eyed cows, but didn’t gross us out with the inside story of meatpacking. In fact, the statistical arguments and personal testimonies were pretty compelling. Also, they never actually said that we must eat exclusively vegetables, just more of them. The film also made good arguments about the effect of concentrated meat production on our environment and economy.

Populations that eat more meat might also have other unhealthy habits, such as drinking more booze, though, so we weren’t altogether convinced that meat is the root of all pain and suffering. The film didn’t mention booze or any other possible causes of chronic health conditions.

There weren’t as many fat people at the Spiral Diner as we usually see over at Lucky’s Barbecue. That was an important observation. But we wondered just how much of the restaurant’s ideology came from commitment to good health and how much came from the sanctimonious side of veganism.

We were feeling pretty good about the movie and the restaurant as it came time to go home. As we left, we passed our vegan waiter outside, taking a cigarette break.

Photo: Official website