Big Ideas from the Doc “Forks Over Knives”

Big Ideas from the Doc “Forks Over Knives”

Over the weekend, I decided to have a “movie night” and finally checked out Forks Over Knives, a documentary that came out in 2011.

I had heard much about this film from many people. During a recent and brief stay with Rae + JC in Santa Fe, they reminded me about the movie, and mentioned it’s available online (links below) – score! Thanks you two!! :)

I initially thought the title referred to eating more vegetables over meat, that a salad fork is the preferred choice over a steak knife.

Looking more at the art work for the film and the content itself, it’s more about the food we eat (with forks) versus using medicine (with knives/scalpels) to cure us.

So: food over medicine. Yup, I agree!!


Here’s the trailer:


You can watch the film online through Hulu Plus or Netflix.

(Or if you’re really in a bind/cash is tight, google “watch forks over knives online for free.”)

Here’s the official website: Forks Over Knives: Prevent and Reverse Disease with a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet


Here are some of the points the film made that stuck with me:

  • There a direct correlation between animal product + dairy consumption with heart disease and cancer.
  • The elimination of the above-mentioned foods has shown a SCIENTIFIC regression and reversal of these diseases and others in people studied.
  • We need to focus on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
  • People followed in this film reversed Type 2 diabetes, lost weight, lowered cholesterol, lowered their risk of heart attack, and eliminated arthritis – all with no additional medications!


The China Study

One of the main doctors featured in this movie, T. Colin Campbell, helped lead The China Study – studying the death rates of over 880 million Chinese citizens. WOW.

A few points from that book: (via the PhilosophersNote!)

  • People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease, while people who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.
  • Over 2/3 of Americans are overweight and many take a prescription medication for an illness; change the way we eat and we can reverse the horrific health trends we’re facing.
  • Plant protein did not promote cancer growth, even at the higher levels of intake.
  • Eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, while minimizing the consumption of refined foods, added salt and added fats.
  • There is enough evidence now that doctors should be discussing the option of pursuing dietary change as a potential path to cancer prevention and treatment.
  • You should not assume that your doctor has any more knowledge about food and its relation to health than your neighbors and coworkers.

“The same diet that is good for the prevention of cancer is also good for the prevention of heart disease, as well as obesity, diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, cognitive dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and other diseases.”

~ T. Colin Campbell


Some of my thoughts…

It seems this film only talked about RED MEAT, showing pictures of sausages, hamburgers, and steaks.

So: what about chicken or fish? Are they healthy?

Perhaps it was intentional the filmmakers left this out (either for the purpose of their findings, keeping their message simple, or for time).


I’m not totally sold on the whole “avoiding meat at all costs.” I understand that whole and natural foods is the best way to go, and in most cases, that’s going to be a majority of vegetables in one’s diet, which I aim for.

I think this film focuses on HOW MUCH animal consumption happens in the US (and around the world), which I totally agree with – the percentage (or proportion) of meats and animal products in our diets compared to other foods is really high, and kinda insane.


If you want to look at it with a hunter-gatherer approach (like I tend to do), our ancestors 10K years ago ate meat maybe once or twice per month, if they were lucky and caught something — not three times a day like many Americans tend to do! PLUS, the meat they did eat was clean and pure: no chemicals, hormones, or other modified substances!

For me, the sticking point around meat (all kinds) is that there are so many unanswered questions and variables present: what’s the source? how was it raised and treated? is it really healthy for me to consume? how often?

Basically – I don’t need to ask these questions (or at least not as often) when talking about vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Not really an issue.


So, if anything, I think I’ll lean toward the lives of my great- (to the 20th power) grandparents, and set a goal for animal consumption 1-2 times per month (who knows? maybe I won’t eat any!).

And while I’m still on the fence about meat, I do think it makes total sense (personally and biologically) to cut out dairy, so buh-bye cheese!! (Of course, nut cheeses are totally OK and definitely welcome!)


It’s also important to remember that it’s impossible to cover EVERYTHING in one 90-minute film. Our bodies are SO complex and there is so much nutritional data out there.

If you’re looking TO LEARN MORE about what this film has to say, I HIGHLY recommend you check out this review at Raw Food SOS – Denise does ONE HECK of a job diving into it!

(In doing research for this post, I got totally sucked in to her scientific findings and examination of FOK.)


If you want to check out other films about nutrition and food:

many of these, and other films, can be watched online!


I definitely encourage you to continue to do your own research (what makes sense? what does everyone agree on?) and find what best works for YOU!

What kinds of food give you the greatest amount of energy and enables you to show up fully, each and every day?

THAT’S the kind of diet to focus on — one that will keep you going, hopefully disease-free, for years to come!



What do you think about Forks Over Knives and a plant-based diet?


I’d love to hear your response + any other thoughts you have below.

Looking forward to learning more!




Former life: actor/office worker/virtual assistant; lived in Los Angeles for 11 years. Since then: sold nearly everything, took a $5 flight to Hawaii, lived there for 3 months, wrote an eGuide about all of it, and still traveling. Currently: digital nomad - looking to improve myself, have fun and serve others.

2 comments on “Big Ideas from the Doc “Forks Over Knives”
  1. Celena K says:

    Great review Nathan! I absolutely agree with what you have laid out here. In the China Study book, Campbell uses the marker of 5% animal protein as the highest amount we should consume before it is high risk for disease. Even though we all pretty much have the same genetic makeup, our bodies are all different enough that one blanket diet may not be effective for everyone. The basic principles being the same (whole foods, plant based), there is room for finding the perfect combination for what you personally are working with, even if you choose not give up animal products 100%. When my boyfriend and I watched the movie, he went from eating meat regularly down to one serving a week, and honestly he doesn’t even eat it that much anymore and feels great! For my state of health, I have to be more diligent. I just have bites now and then, and seafood every once in a while. Most important is listening to your body and trying different things, and avoiding processed food and sugar as much as possible. Plenty of people take this message and instead of eating meat and dairy, they just substitute with processed junk, which is NOT healthier! Oh, there is a great book that compliments FOK and The China Study very well called Eat To Live by Dr. Fuhrman. He talks about all this stuff and debunks all the fad diets. I think you’d really like it. :)

    • Nathan says:

      Yahoo!! thanks for all that Celena! Excellent points in there – love the 5% marker (things we can measure/quantify always make is easier), and YES – that point about not replacing meat/dairy with JUNK is important to remember. :)

      LOVE Dr. Fuhrman, too – I carry around a bookmark copy of his ANDI list (nutrient food density) in my wallet for when I go grocery shopping!

      PLUS, ’cause I love sharing the wisdom – here are a couple GREAT Furhman resources:

      good (nutritional) times!!

      *high five* :)

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