After struggling with a bit of a cold in our house, we laid reallllly low Saturday night. We were in PJs by 7 and pondering what to watch on Netflix shortly after. For some reason I can’t get back into the groove with Breaking Bad, though I know we will soon here. I wanted something different to watch. We decided on the documentary Forks Over Knives. which details how eating processed foods and foods from animals (meat, dairy, eggs) can increase rates of cancer growth, diseases such as diabetes, obesity and more.
Neither of us are Vegan –in fact Jarob believes the world’s most perfect food is a Cheeseburger and I have pledged my love continuously to ice cream. Having been true outsiders to the idea of plant based eating of whole foods, we were definitely enlightened by what they had to say. I took notes from during the film (my Intro to Film class at IU made me an expert at typing and watching movies at the same time) and I want to share with you some of the some huge key points I took away. I’m rather mindblown by these statistics, and after I share them with you I’ll let you know where Jarob and I landed with our opinions on the “doctors orders” and how to implement their tactics in your lives.
- The US is the world’s largest consumer of processed and animal based foods
- Breast Cancer is 82x lower in Kenya than it is in the US
- In 1958 Japan had only 18 proven deaths from prostate cancer compared with the 14,000 the US had
- During WWII the Germans invaded Norway and confiscated their livestock, mortality from circulatory diseases dropped dramatically. After the war, the animal foods were reintroduced and the rates of circulatory diseases and death soared.
- Cancer starts with genes, either given to you by birth or chemically changed by what you put into your body (nutrition). Cancers grow much more rapidly when fed animal protein/products. Only 1-2% of cancers are caused by pure genetics.
- In 1973 when the government deregulated the farming of corn to encourage a surplus, there was so much corn nobody knew what to do with it. Then came the invention of high fructose corn syrup, which when added to foods makes them extremely calorie dense and nutrient poor.
- There are both stretch and density receptors in the stomach. When someone eats 500 calories of plant based foods, both of these receptors signal to the brain that you are full. When someone eats 500 calories of processed foods, the stomach only feels half full, these two receptors haven’t reached their capacity, and the person overeats to get that full feeling.
Those notes seem all over the place, however they all have a common focal point. Eating foods that are animal based, or are highly processed, leads to health problems. This point is proven when looking at the world map. For example, as you can see, researchers detailed the breast cancer rates in Kenya where they eat more of a plant-based diet than the US and found a whopping 82x more cancer incidences in the US. In the 1950s in Japan, death from cancer was relatively low. These people ate more of a rice, soy and vegetable diet which fed their bodies the right way without increasing their risk of cancer related death.
An infographic in the film shows the charting of deaths caused circulatory disease during the time the Germans occupied Norway and hoarded all the cattle for themselves, versus when Norway was able to eat these animal foods again. You can see below how strong the correlation between the consumption of animal products and circulatory disease is. It fell steeply during WWII from 1940-1944 and began to rise when the war was over in 1945.
And now to processed food. Look at the infographic below: each stomach is filled with 500 calories, but not all calories are created equal. The first stomach is full of plant based foods, the second is filled with unnaturally rich and processed foods, and the third is 500 calories of pure oil. You can see why eating processed foods leads to weight gain. It takes A LOT of calories to feel full!
Dang! I did experience this firsthand. Before I went on my journey of giving up dairy, I would save all my training calories to get a big treat at the end of the day. I have a burning love for Chic-fil-A cookies and cream shakes. I would save the 1,000 calories from a distance run just to indulge myself after dinner. However, I would still be hungry or left feeling unsatisfied. Last week, I tried to eat more balanced. I sat at our dinner table trying to make room for the sweet potato and spinach left on my plate. I WAS FULL and couldn’t do it. Fascinating isn’t it? Ok, maybe it’s just me.
I will recount more of the dairy points and how my dairy-free week has been tomorrow, but I hope this gives you a rough estimate of how good plant based foods truly are for us. Jarob and I have decided to implement SOME of these principles into our diets slowly over time. We are not full blown vegans overnight. But this struck us in a way that we are definitely going to attempt to include less processed foods in our diet, continue on eliminating dairy (he says he’ll start tomorrow), and include some healthier, less meat based recipes this week. I will keep you up to date on these small changes to see how we feel. I am not a bandwagon fan in one fell swoop, but the research makes enough sense and I like these healthy foods enough as it is that I am willing to do what’s best for my body! For more information on this film you can check out there website here.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there. I hope you enjoy your Sunday.