“Forks Over Knives” made us re-think that “little bit of milk”

forks over knives

The other night my husband was sick (allergies are kicking our tails this year) and therefore very agreeable about the movie selection. Feeling “Foodie” I picked “Forks Over Knives.” I was in a mood to learn something, having really enjoyed “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and “Vegucated.” (not affiliate links).

So we hit play on our Netflix “rental.” We watched, and we learned A TON about animal derived foods. According to the data presented in the film, animal derived casein (the main ingredient in milk) can actually feed cancer cells living in your body. Meaning, that if you eat casein (drink milk, eat cheese, etc) you are actually helping cancer develop inside your body. Yikes!

My husband is a staunch meat and potatoes guy, or at least he was, until we started learning more about our bodies and how animal based foods affect our system. Even he, with his pension for barbeque pork, was caught reconsidering what we thought was “Just a little bit” of animal based foods.

This article from the Wall Street Journal features the same doctor that helped with the “Forks and Knives” documentary. His name is Dr. Colin Campbell, and he presents the idea that not only is protein readily and abundantly available in fruit and vegetable form, but the casein found in animal based foods can actually cause cancer.

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G. Hodges/Jon Reis Photography
T. COLIN CAMPBELL: This diet ‘can prevent and even reverse 70% to 80% of existing, symptomatic disease.’

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University of Connecticut
NANCY RODRIGUEZ: ‘It is simply untrue to suggest that animal protein causes cancer.’

The article does a good job of showcasing the pros and cons of a vegan diet (as the title suggests) by also featuring another prominent doctor who takes the opposing view on animal based foods. I suggest you read both perspectives and draw your best conclusion.

For my husband and I, we are surrounded by individuals that eat entirely too much protein. Even when I go online to search for “meal plans” for my family, every single meal (and often snack suggestions, too) include meat, or animal based foods. It’s hard to find “easy” meals that include “real” food over processed foods, and it is even more difficult to find good–family friendly meals–that are vegan. I feel like I’m asking my husband to eat salads all the time, and he hates that idea. Not to mention, I am a huge cheese and crackers fan (the fruit/cheese combo is one of my favorite desserts).

But the information we’ve found in “Forks and Knives” as well as in articles like the one from WSJ are compelling. It seems that even a short term “vegan” lifestyle that might include a “cheat day” where one day a week you ate animal proteins that you like, would probably improve your healthy simply from all of the other “good stuff” you were giving your body the rest of the week.

To test the theory for ourselves, we have decided to give vegan eating a week’s try, and then beyond that week, we are going to live “low fat fully raw vegan” for a week and see how we feel. Of course, I’ll update here to let you know. Yesterday was my husband’s first “no animal based products at all” day, and he had a headache and was moody. I think that’s his body detoxing and letting go of all of the “bad foods’ he’s been eating. I also had a headache from giving up coffee, so I had a cup this morning (with milk), and I also finished off the cheese and crackers last night.  I told myself that I was going to “get rid of the animal food in the house” in preparation for the “vegan trial” we are doing together. Since my husband is going “cold turkey” (Maybe “cold tofurkey”?) he’s likely not going to let me get away with any more cheats. So the rest of the day today is “animal free” for me. We’ll see how it goes. It’s exciting to be trying new things, but it is difficult to change your habits. Right now we feel like rabbits, eating nothing but plants and fruits. I believe as we get used to this diet, we will fall into a routine that’s not un-similar to what we had before we decided to do a “vegan trial”. I am also starting an exercise routine today where I will walk (and possibly jog, but let’s not over-commit) every day, or at list 6 days, out of the week. My goal is to lose weight by Christmas. My husband’s goal is to find out whether or not this Dr. Campbell guy knows what he’s talking about or is full of bollucks, as they say. Stay tuned! More vegan adventures to come.

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2 thoughts on ““Forks Over Knives” made us re-think that “little bit of milk”

    • I have actually looked into Weston A. Price and his thoughts on food. I’ve read some of the book, “Nourishing Traditions” that I think references his work as well. I need to finish that!

      There is a wealth of information out there I have yet to sift through,. As far as the study I was talking about in this article, they based part of their findings on a broad scale population study of rural areas in China. I believe the people they studied were eating animal products and vegetable products they grew themselves in what I can only imagine was at least a highly organic environment, since I’m not sure rural (and often poor) Chinese farmers would have used chemical pesticides. I also don’t think those farmers used chemical additives, GMO seeds, or other methods commonly cited as sources of carcinogens in previously “healthy” foods.

      The other part of their study, and admittedly, this was the part that used the graphs in the video so it was most visually memorable (note, too, that the rural population study was embarked upon because of the lab findings I’m about to tell you). They used lab rats and fed one group a diet of high percentage of casein, and another group they gave low amounts of casein. The group with high amounts of casein developed cancer at high volume. The low casein rats had no cancer. The conclusion Dr. Campbell took away from this experiment is that casein aids in the production of cancer. He moves forward from that to decide not to eat animal products at all. I could see where you could look at this same study and conclude that you should eat animal products in moderation.

      I think the implications (at least in the film) is that the Standard American Diet is saturated with meat products well beyond what is healthy, or even moderation. At least a short term “detox” through vegan eating is beneficial to cleanse your body of abuse. What you are referencing makes sense also that it is not “bad” or “cancer causing” to eat animal products, and I certainly respect anyone’s right to that, (I already admitted to liking cheese myself). Another point that should be noted, though, is that even if you can conclude that animal products in moderation are ok, that organic and unprocessed is best, what follows is not necessarily this lifestyle that eats badly, but “all organic”.

      If you are going to eat animal products (milk, cheese, cream, honey, butter, etc) certainly organic and unprocessed is best. However, even with the organic and unprocessed animal products, it should be a very small percentage of the overall diet. Animal products at every meal is too much in your daily diet. Also, I think there’s a tremendous amount to be said for the restorative properties of an all vegan diet (and I’m talking the low fat fully raw diet, not the “vegan” that throws in over processed soy and fake meats, etc). Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables has never been disputed as medically, physically, and mentally, a good thing for your body. The studies that Dr. Campbell has conducted suggest they can even reverse cancer growth (as suggested also in “The Maker’s Diet”-I think that’s what it’s called, where the man cured himself of cancer by eating all fruits and vegetables). Another great book to check out is Dr. Joel Furhman’s “Eat to Live.” He actually supports your idea that some meat in moderation is acceptable, though he still promotes the all vegan route, since most Americans have spent so much of their lives polluting their bodies, they can’t really “overdo it” On fruits and vegetables.

      I’m so glad that you are reading the blog! I should have said that to start with, but your comments were so interesting, I dove right it! 🙂 Please continue to share your links and your thoughts. I am really enjoying your perspective! :):) Happy Eating!! :):)

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