Say the word “vegan,” and it often freaks people out.
That's why the term—used to describe a person who consumes no animal food or dairy products and often abstains from using animal goods such as leather--is rarely used throughout the new feature film Forks Over Knives, which opens at on Friday May 20.
Vegans are often judged by their diets alone, earning them stereotypes as “weird” or “preachy” or “elitist.” Kind of difficult to motivate mainstream moviegoers to see a film about the health benefits of plant-based foods if that pesky “V” word and its baggage is getting in the way, yes?
Some people adopt a vegan diet as a statement against the country's food system and inhumane factory-farming conditions. Others commit to a vegan diet purely for nutrition and health. Forks Over Knives focuses more on the latter.
Directed by Lee Fulkerson, the film examines the claim that most, if not all, degenerative diseases--like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer--can be controlled or even reversed by rejecting society's present menu of animal-based and processed foods, according to the movie's website.
Forks Over Knives outlines research by T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the Cleveland Clinic, while sharing the experiences of three other individuals—all with chronic health problems--who were prescribed plant-based diets instead of pills. Did the "medicine" work?
Famed movie critic Roger Ebert seems to think so, and used his Twitter feed to declare that Forks Over Knives “is a scary wake-up alarm for our nutrition.” You can read his full review of the film here, but in short, Ebert—who has had his fair share of health problems—is now convinced that animal protein is bad, and unnecessary, for human health.
The tagline for Forks Over Knives is: “Warning: This Movie Could Save Your Life.” Will it live up to the hype?
I plan to see the film this weekend, and encourage others to do the same. Freaky vegans aside, it might be a film that does save lives.
Forks Over Knives starts May 20 at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak. It's rated PG and runs about 90 minutes. For more information, call the Main Art Theatre at 248-263-2111 or visit the film's website, forksoverknives.com.