Friday, May 6, 2016

Netflix Movie Reviews: Forks over Knives, The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, Vegucated

I just got back from a health-related conference and one of the topics that came up was diet's effect on disease.  One of the speakers recommended the movie Forks over Knives, and I was so impressed by the speaker's overall talk I watched the movie on Netflix as soon as I got home. From there, it led to another movie, which led to another movie! Here's a quick review of all three movies I watched:

Forks over Knives
I know I'm late to the game on this one, as this movie has been out since 2011 and I've heard people praise it for years! I just never bothered watching it because I feel like I don't need convincing that a vegan diet is the way to go. WELL! This movie turbo-charged me into vegan mode! There seems to be a great deal of peer-reviewed scientific data that shows a strong correlation between animal protein and several diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  I do have health issues, and it seems like going vegan is the answer to all my concerns. Also, a lot of the science in this movie is based on The China Study, and I'm Asian so I feel like if anything is going to work for me it should be the thing based on a study of millions of Asians. I just checked out the China Study book from the library....

Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue
I was so excited by the idea of improving my health through diet from watching Forks over Knives, I went ahead and clicked on Netflix's recommended related video, Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue. The main guy in Engine 2, Rip Esselstyn, is the son of one of the physicians in Forks over Knives. He's a former professional triathlete and fire fighter in Austin, TX. He is on a plant based diet, and I have to say, he's an excellent spokesperson for the lifestyle. Let me put it more simply: He's super hot! In this movie he helps makeover two families' kitchens and attitudes towards eating. One thing that really separates this "diet" from any other vegan diet is the avoidance of processed food (there is a cornucopia of vegan junk food out there!) and emphasis on vegan whole food (fresh, unprocessed). It makes sense to me why avoiding processed products would make a significant difference in the health factor of foods.

This movie focuses more on the environmental and ethical aspects of veganism, evidenced by the acceptance of lots and lots of processed and packaged vegan junk food. Overall, I found this movie to be less compelling than the Forks over Knives - it's less data driven and more antidotal.  One thing I disliked was the fact that they do show (very brief) video clips from slaughter houses because I'm very sensitive to those kinds of images.  On a rational level I know it takes place every day at slaughter houses across the country, so I guess it was a necessary wake up call that our society dissociates what's on a plate (or in a bag, a wrapper, a box, etc) with where it comes from. This movie was good at showing the very real challenges of maintaining a vegan diet in our society, and it also shows the very real benefits.

Take aways: See Forks over Knives if you are looking for a new approach to improve your health. Even if you're already on board with veganism, this will give you the added motivation you may need to really commit! See Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue if you're on board with plant-based whole foods but don't know where to start (or if you are trying to convince a macho friend that tough guys can be vegans too!).  See Vegucated if you're new to the ideas of a vegan lifestyle and want to know more about the multitude of reasons why it's good all around!

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