Review by Mair Berkshire

Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn are two American M.D.s with separate, but uncannily similar paths in pursuing healing. Both grew up on farms, raising animals that supplied food to in the form of dairy products or meat. Ironically, both men grew up to ultimately find and promote plant-based diets — the not eating of animal foods in any form!

Dr. Campbell took part in an extensive dietary study in China that tracked eating habits with incidence of degenerative diseases such as a variety of cancers that occurred in differing numbers in differing counties, diabetes and coronary artery/heart disease. He and his Chinese counterpart oversaw a vast study program that monitored the vital signs, blood work and health, of hundreds of Chinese people for a number of years. The bottom line analysis was that a plant-based, whole foods diet could virtually prevent degenerative diseases of modern, mostly Western, cultures – aka the Standard American Diet (SAD). This degenerative dietary pattern is high in animal protein, salt, fat, preservatives and shadowy ingredients. He also found that in the Phillipines, the wealthier families, who ate higher amounts of animal foods, also experienced a higher incidence of certain types of cancer.

Dr. Esselstyn, a surgeon at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio, and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force, found that these same degenerative diseases were virtually unknown in areas of the world where plant-based eating is the norm and very little animal food is consumed. The film follows some of Dr. Esselstyn’s patients who have been following his regimen for years and have remained in health, despite dire warnings of their mortality years ago.

The film also includes a short segment featuring a mixed martial artist, Mac Danzig, who has become completely vegan over the years, but is buff and successful in his competitive life – equal to any carnivore.

There have been other fields of endeavor that shed light on the role of plant-based eating on health maintenance and conversely, the American-style consumption of large quantities of fried, fatty animal food on health deterioration. But Forks Over Knives provides research and practice of two medical doctors that arrived at the same conclusion via different roads: Plant-based eating is better for health than over-consumption of American fast food and other heavily animal-based diets. Anyone who is interested in scientific information about vegan living should see this film, as well as those who have a personal interest in preventing or treating a degenerative disease. M.B.