The leading causes of mortality and morbidity in our western culture have changed a great deal in the 21st century.  While our great grandparents and great great grandparents were more concerned with “communicable diseases” such as; Polio and Tuberculosis, our generation is losing the battle against degenerative and preventable diseases, primarily heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke.  As someone who likes to consider himself an optimist, the bright side to the changes we have witnessed in the mortality/morbidity causes are that many of these current diseases can be prevented.

In this blog post, I wanted to bring to your attention the movie “Forks over Knives”, a documentary directed and written by Lee Fulkerson.  The movie looks at the negative effects animal based dietary products have on western society’s health, in turn contributing to the rise in heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes etc.

The movie is influenced by the research done by Dr. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. Both Campbell and Esselstyn have spent the majority of their careers analyzing the relationship between diet and disease.  The movie does a great job at presenting and illustrating the research supporting a “whole foods, plant-based diet” versus western society’s “animal based diet” consisting of dairy, eggs, meat, etc.  One example from the movie, which I found fascinating, was the plummet of cardiovascular disease in Norway following World War II.   Due to the invasion and occupation of Hitler and the German’s in Norway, all animal and animal products were confiscated and used to feed the German army only, leaving the Norwegians solely plant based foods.  The study looked at the changes in cardiovascular disease pre and post war, and reported an exponential decrease in cardiovascular disease as a direct result of the forced Norwegian dietary changes.  The documentary is filled with study after study, supporting the movies thesis.

Every day, the Active Health Institute sees patients looking to improve their health, get rid of their pain or health concerns and be more active.  A large contributor to positive change is being educated and made aware of the positive and negative factors that influence our health.  Forks over Knives has done a great job at illustrating one of the effects food has on our body’s function.

The question I’m sure you are all asking is, Dr. Vincelli “have you stopped eating animal based products?”  The answer is no!  However, after watching this documentary it has definitely influenced how I think about food, my food choices and how food may affect my health.  At the end of the day, I’m not suggesting that we all become vegan. I do however recommend that you all watch this movie and render your own conclusions.

Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine, once stated; “Let food be thy medicine”.