If we are what we eat, then our only hope for longevity is to start eating grass. According to Forks Over Knives, a funereal documentary by Lee Fulkerson, we’re all committing suicide, one hamburger at a time. We are a planet of bloated, self-indulgent apes who do not want to be lectured, hammered, ridiculed or shamed into eating tofu and cottage cheese. The average American carries 23 extra pounds, leading to diabetes, hypertension, chronic fatigue, heart attacks and prostate cancer. Health care costs more annually than the defense budget. The only answer is to switch everything you swallow to plant-based whole foods, vegetables, fruits and grains. Sugar is lethal. A T-bone steak is poison. Everything called progress in the processing of foods to make life easier and more convenient is killing us. And don’t believe a thing you read abut the benefits of milk. (Dairy products are accompanied by close-ups of bypass surgery.) Every scene has a calorie count.
There are doctors on duty to remind us, “If it walked, crawled, hopped, swam, had eyes, a mama and a daddy, don’t eat it.” Wait. New Guinea has no heart disease. Women in Kenya don’t die from breast cancer. (No mention of the fact that they all have AIDS.) Rice, soybeans, raw pineapple and bananas are the way to go. (Nothing about the diarrhea that goes with that diet.) The movie is filled with testimonials from doctors, charts devised by nutritional scientists and dire predictions from the diet police-as well as researchers and medical professionals who disagree with them. But the movie says nothing we don’t already know, and 96 minutes is too long to tell us how sick we are. Yes, we eat unwisely and we’re on too many medications. But instead of preaching, why don’t the nutrition Nazis figure out a way to make plant-based foods taste better? You are never going to force an entire population to live on spinach.
I’m sure there is much to be learned from Forks Over Knives (the title means fruits and veggies can be forked, but anything you cut with a knife is lethal), but what does it have to do with real life? I’m allergic to milk, I watch my consumption of sugar, and I have never been in a hospital or had any illness more serious than the measles. I also have no interest in winning a triathlon medal when I’m 85 by living on salads, and no intention of living in a world where I cannot occasionally treat myself to a cheeseburger. “Everything in moderation” is the talisman I live by.
Pass the butter, please.
FORKS OVER KNIVES
Running time 96 minutes
Written and directed by Lee Fulkerson
Starring Joey Aucoin, Neal Barnard, Rip Esselstyn