I was sitting in the Orlando airport listening to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta prattle on in his special “The Last Heart Attack.” He was discussing prevention, tests for early detection, etc., and then my ears pricked up a bit. He was interviewing Bill Clinton about his eating habits, specifically, being a disciple of the “Forks Over Knives” diet, a no oil-added, vegan lifestyle.
“Forks Over Knives” is a documentary released earlier this year that covers a lot of ground about nutrition. In the movie they emphasize eating a plant-based, whole-food diet, but the filmmakers actually take it a bit further. They really support people going vegan and cooking with zero (or as little as possible) added oil. This means no olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, etc. Lots of other flavorings, but all vegan. The only fats come naturally from the diet.
Gupta chatted about Clinton’s diet, which the former president credits with keeping him alive and avoiding more complications from his heart issues. Apparently all those jogs over to McDonald’s during his presidency were not such a good idea.
I’ve also seen snippets of “The Dr. Oz Show” where Oz talks about eating whole foods and as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Oz is a fan of Dr. Mark Hyman who’s book “Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss” (Amazon link) also supports the “Forks Over Knives” diet. It sounds pretty extreme, I know. The mainstream media talks about this in a continuum. Eating leaner meat is good, eating less meat is better. Eating two servings of fruits and vegetables are good, eating five or nine servings are even better. They encourage people to eat a little better than they were and then hopefully in a few months move the needle again and add some more positive dietary changes.
I’ve seen “Forks Over Knives”, the Dr. Oz clips, read Dr. Hyman’s book, and interviewed Dr. Matt Lederman who was featured in the documentary (I’ll have another post about Dr. Lederman soon). I’ve also read Dr. Lederman’s book, written with his wife, Dr. Alona Pulde, “Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide To Optimum Health“ (Amazon link), which is a step-by-step guide to the diet and includes several recipes.
By the way, Drs. Lederman and Pulde are developing the Wellness Clubs for Whole Foods Market, so you can be sure a lot of their philosophy is being adopted into this huge grocery chain. Should be interesting when the meat producers figure this out.
At this point I think I can safely say I’m pretty informed about the diet and I’ve been leaning a bit towards it. I’m not ready to commit, but I’ve been vegetarian for the past week or so and picked up some no oil-added sauces from the grocery store. (I actually found a no oil balsamic salad dressing that’s tasty and a BBQ sauce too.) I also made a soup from scratch using just vegetable broth, tons of veggies, a little brown rice, and no oil. I was skeptical but it was truly delicious, one of my best pots ever.
Oddly, this diet is easy for me. I like to cook, the substitutions so far are simple, and I’m not craving anything I’ve cut out. I wasn’t expecting that. Dr. Pulde and Dr. Lederman make it clear in their book that if you’re jonesing for something you should have it. If you’re deprived, the whole thing will just backfire and you’ll go back to your old ways. They prefer the baby steps approach, eating a little better for now, then, when you’re ready, making some more improvements.
I wholeheartedly agree; changes slowly over time are barely noticeable and doing everything in one fell swoop can be really tough. Even switching from regular soda to diet is better even though I personally think diet soda is evil. It’s a step in the right direction.
What do you think of the diet? Do you think it’s ridiculous and way too extreme? Are you curious to try it and see how it feels? Would you consider eating just a little more veg and a little less meat?
Let me know, I’m curious about your reactions to this post.