Forks Over Knives

forksoverknivesWhen I was about six, my dad,  a cattle rancher at the time, would take me out at dawn in the pick-up truck to traverse the ranch. He drove, and I rode in the back, shoveling hay off the tailgate as we approached various groups of cattle.

One day, Dad said, “Hey, there’s a new calf. You want to name it?” I immediately fell in love. It had black and white markings on its face with a pink nose. He was simply adorable. I named him Bandit.

When I came to the ranch on weekends (divorced parents), I’d visit Bandit. Then one day, Bandit wasn’t there. (Think Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web, but without a spider–or Fern–to save him.) My dad said we’d eaten him for dinner the night before. That’s just how the world works, he’d said. The sooner I learned that, the better.

That experience stuck with me.  Fighting what I was taught was “Just Life” seemed counterproductive. I grew up in rural America where the high school offers ag science, many of my friends raised animals that would be sold at the fair then slaughtered, and every other family raised their own meat. How could I, a rancher’s daughter, be a whiny baby and turn my back on “Just Life”?

But when I see movies like “Forks over Knives” that’s exactly what I want to do. What made this documentary so poignant for me was that both the doctors in the film come from ranching backgrounds. They grew up on farms with the same messages as I got as a child. As adults, however, they have looked at the messages from a nutritional, scientific, and political perspective, and both opted into a Vegan world of whole foods sans animal products.

Our culture has been fed certain messages about animal protein. The beef and dairy industries both have seats on the national advisory board for the food pyramid and are very powerful forces in determining the public perception of what we need to eat. My husband and I even watched an interesting Law & Order: SVU episode called “Beef” (S11, E20) about an investigative journalist delving into the practices of the meat-packing industry. (She got her throat slit, p.s.)

This documentary suggests that we’ve been dished up a crock. We do not need animal protein and milk does not (as advocated by the dairy scientists) make bones strong, but rather breaks them down. It’s worth looking at the science.

The thing I found the most fascinating was a little look at Norway during Nazi occupation. Before the occupation, there was a large percentage of cancer and heart disease in Norway (which the film advocates is directly linked to diet). When the Nazis came in, all animal products were diverted to the troops leaving Norwegians with a whole food, plant-based diet. During that period, the rate of cancer and heart disease plummeted.  But when the Nazis vacated, and the Norwegians once again had access to animal products, the rate of cancer and heart disease sharply increased. Check it out.forksoverknives3

I find this fascinating. Minimally, something to follow up on. The scientists on this documentary espouse that indeed we are what we eat. In a world with so many Vegan options, it might be a fun experiment to test them out simply by substituting that filet with some sprouted tofu  in your summer veggie stir fry. Who knows? You might just love it and live longer because of it.

In the end, my dad lay dying of cancer. He wouldn’t touch meat. He no longer had a taste for it, he said. I couldn’t help seeing the irony in that.

About @jamieweil

Parent, teacher, writer, filmmaker, youth mental health advocate. Passionate about having new conversations surrounding youth mental/brain illness and suicide awareness. Author of YA novel, First Break, released Wednesday, October 10, 2018, World Mental Health Day. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and available for request through your local bookstore. New YA Novel, Intuition, to be released Summer 2019 ( Concurrently producing the groundbreaking docuseries A Crazy Thought, a sharing of hope and help from the voice of a parent and teacher ( Working with award-winning female filmmakers to bring about a new conversation in youth mental health.
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2 Responses to Forks Over Knives

  1. lorlinda says:

    That’s very interesting how your father lost his taste for meat. Have an awesome day!!! ❤ 🙂 P&L, Lorlinda

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