Forks over knives

Hi! Happy Sunday! How was your holiday weekend? Ours was perfect with lots of beach time, some great workouts, relaxing, s’mores and fireworks. I even got the chance to catch a couple of movies with a glass of red.

Whenever we PCS (permanent change of station), I’m always super stoked that we get ALL of the movie channels with our new cable setup. Of course, I usually forget to cancel them by the time the free trial wears off (derp), but it’s fun to scroll through and have allthemovies to choose from. Except for the fact that there is never a movie on that we want to watch. Does that happen to anyone else? Very few movies are in my “worthy to re-watch” category (Bridesmaids, Dirty Dancing, Romy and Michele, Pitch Perfect, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, any classic Judy Garland movie…), but for the most part, if I’ve seen it, I don’t really care to watch it again. And then there’s the random movies that were really overhyped until they were actually released and never heard of again. Don Jon, I’m looking at you. The purpose of this very long story is to say that I saw What to Expect When You’re Expecting and cannot recommend it. Two hours of my life that I’ll never get back, but I kept waiting for something (anything!) to happen. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. So, the second night of weekend celebration, I decided to download a documentary to watch on the iPad (Forks Over Knives) and absolutely loved it.

Chef del recipies FORKS OVER KNIVES copy


I’m definitely a little late to the party with this one, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch. It’s right up there with Food Inc. and while fascinating and enjoyable to view, it was also extremely informational. I tend to take all documentaries with a grain of salt, as they’re intended to prove a point and can be biased, but this one has a simple message that anyone can follow: eat plant-based, whole foods. Unlike some of the other documentaries I’ve seen in similar categories, I appreciated that this one didn’t utilize fear tactics and horror movie-esque footage of animals. It let the peer-reviewed studies, science, and experiences of the featured individuals speak for themselves. 

Forks Over Knives discusses the impact that our food choices can have on our overall health, and the possibility that many degenerative diseases could be prevented or reversed through dietary changes. Two doctors, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, have extensively studied the affects of animal-based products on disease and overall health. (Dr. Campbell is one of the primary authors of the famed China Study, which examines the connection between nutrition, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.) While I’m not going to break down all of the studies that were included in the film -it’s definitely worth a watch- I will say that it inspired me to include more plant-based foods in my diet.

As someone who already enjoys and incorporates a whole foods diet, with lots of fresh organic produce, this movie (in conjunction with recently reading Gena’s book) made me reconsider my intake of animal-based products. I’ve been on and off with vegetarianism, tinkered with veganism, and know they’re not the right fit for me; but, I can still eat plant-based for the most part and choose sustainable and organic animal products in moderation. It’s all a balance, and while this documentary didn’t make me want to do a full diet overhaul, it’s encouraged me to exercise caution and potentially reach for plants first. 

Have you seen Forks Over Knives? Did a movie, person or book inspire your current dietary choices? Of course, I always recommend (with a doctors “ok”) to experiment and find what works best for you. It may be an easily categorized lifestyle, or rather a mix and match of various philosophies. You do you. 🙂




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  1. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More on July 6, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I often find myself overwhelmed when watching documentaries and in fact, I think I did see this one recently but was only half paying attention to it yet still overwhelmed. I’m a 12 year vegetarian and while I’ve never regretted the decision to do that and feel like I get all of my protein and vitamins that I need, sometimes I wonder if I need to reintroduce some animal based products for convenience when at parties or gatherings.

  2. Laura @ The Healthy Sooner on July 6, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Forks Over Knives is hands-down the best food documentary out there. It’s such a straightforward and powerful message – I love it so much and recommend it to everyone I know! The Forks Over Knives cookbooks are really good, too!

  3. Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out on July 6, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Documentaires can be really great, but hard to distinguish the bias/facts sometime. It’s always awesome to stay informed though– information is power!

  4. Emily L on July 6, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I watched Forks Over Knives a while back, and while I already didn’t eat a whole lot of animal products (considering meat), I really thought twice about the food I ate! I can no longer do dairy products anymore, such as milk, yogurt, and heavy cheeses, but I do enjoy cottage cheese and the occasional fro-yo! 🙂

    Living off of a 80-90% plant based diet really help to give you more energy. And to me, it’s more delicious!

  5. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on July 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I’ve not seen this one yet, but I’d like to.
    I saw Food Inc a few years ago, and allowed that to influence my eating. While there are a lot of valid nuggets of info in movies like these, there’s also a lot of information that’s not quite backed up without bias and/or fear mongering. Nowadays, I only base any changes in lifestyle off of peer reviewed, scientific journals or studies.

  6. Hayley@healthyregardshayley on July 6, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Love this movie! So interesting. You should read the China Study which is what the movie is based off of. While I don’t restrict any food group I definitely focus on plant based whole foods diet. I also loved how this movie debunked the whole idea of protein we tend to have in the west.

  7. Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse on July 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I watched this one a little while back and really liked how informative it was. Great documentary!

  8. Samantha B. on July 6, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I LOVED “Forks Over Knives”!! I always watch documentaries/read books with a ‘grain of salt’ as well, but I always find at least one great take-away point that I believe in. Have you read Michael Pollen books? I’m reading “In Defense of Food” right now and I would say it’s definitely worth the time. While I haven’t necessarily learned anything new, it has put the knowledge I already have to good use and broadened the way I think about my eating habits. Love your blog btw!! If I’m ever in SD I will def be seeking out a class of yours! Thanks for being awesome 🙂

  9. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on July 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I loved Forks over Knives. It definitely had me reevaluate the way that I eat and the choices that I make when it comes to food. It is a scary thought to think that we could be harming ourselves with our foods, even if we try to make relatively healthy choices, i.e. lean meats and dairy. With that said, I DID get a Shamrock shake the day after watching the movie and felt sort of bad. But it was shamrock shake season – you can’t not at least get one! lol

  10. Amanda on July 6, 2014 at 10:58 am

    We watched this movie a couple of years ago. My husband came home one day and said someone recommended it and it sounded interesting. I was shocked that it was something he was choosing to watch, haha! Anyway, we both found it super interesting. And I think it helped him get over the idea that every dinner must include some sort of meat/fish as a protein. Now meatless Mondays aren’t such a struggle! Lol.

  11. karen on July 6, 2014 at 11:06 am

    This documentary plus working in an egg factory is what finally made me go 100% vegan.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      wow! i don’t think i’d be able to eat animal products after that either :/

    • Karin Carmack on July 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Why the egg factory…if you don’t mind me asking? Unsanitary etc.?

  12. mary on July 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I stick to Michael Pollan’s food documentaries/books. I’ve read a lot of criticism of most of the others. I have enough trouble with my diet (and feeding a picky kid) without trying to get enough protein without meat. I don’t eat much meat but I’m not giving it up or feeling guilty for it. Not that anyone suggested that. : )

  13. Cassie on July 6, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I definitely think every body is unique and needs slightly different things. That’s why I try not to be an eater that someone can label. I don’t eat dairy because of an allergy. I rarely eat meat, but if I want to, I do. No guilt. I rarely eat eggs. I rarely drink. These are all daily decisions I make based on what my body wants. But I have read enough at this point that I am very very unlikely to eat mass produced (CAFO) meat or eggs. Yuck! And how sad.

  14. Danielle on July 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Forks over Knives is one of my favorite documentaries and the first I recommend to friends, family and clients. I’ve been leaning toward vegetarianism and veganism lately, but realized that it doesn’t really need to be defined for me. That sounds similar to what you’re saying for your diet. Just eat more plants 🙂

  15. Zoe on July 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I thought Forks over Knives was a very well done documentary, especially for entertainment purposes, but I didn’t think it did a good job of describing the diet. The documentary left out one very key facts about the diet: it promotes a very, very, very low fat diet. So low that most people can’t stick with it. While the diet is based on research, and I’m sure it’s worked wonders for the people profiled in the movie, the research the diet is based on is scientifically questionable at best. I’m all for increasing our plant consumption, and I think sustainability is incredibly important to consider when selecting our food, but the more I look into Forks of Knives, the China Study and the subsequent trials done with people in the US the less convinced I am that the way of eating they subscribe to is truly the correct direction to lean in.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      that’s very interesting! i had no idea.

  16. Kara H. on July 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I can’t watch documentaries on food for some reason. (a) because I don’t really want to know and (b) because I eat organic and local as much as possible anyway. I would rather read about it so I don’t have to see what they do to other food. Makes me nauseous just thinking about it. It’s interesting that you mentioned that your on and off about going completely vegetarian, I’ve been in the same boat. Specifically because ever since I had my baby any type of meat makes me think of where it came from and how it got to my table. I’ve been staying away from meat as much as possible but I still love fish and chicken.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      that’s how i feel about dairy. after pumping for so long (and really hating it), it made me reconsider dairy products. i still love fish and chicken too, though

  17. Tracy on July 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Food Inc inspired me to cut waaaay back on animal products when I watched it several years ago. I haven’t seen Forks Over Knives but it has been in my Netflix list for months. I need to watch it!! Thanks for the reminder and review!

    Happy Sunday!

  18. Jill on July 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve been wanting to watch this film for years but still haven’t gotten around to it! I’ve also experimented with the vegan lifestyle a few times but feel my body really does need some meat. However it doesn’t stop me thinking about the terrible reality that is factory farming. I mostly avoid packaged foods these days but still eat some out of convenience. I think in time our eating habits as an entire nation will be forced to change, but it’s a good idea to start now for your own health!

  19. RachelG on July 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    This weekend we were at a BBQ & my husbands very obese, diabetic aunt was saying that she doesn’t care about what she eats. Granted she is 80 so yes, she’s at the age where you can say that, but all I could think about was that if she ate better she wouldn’t need to take so much medication. She says she eats a light breakfast but it consists of coffee and FROZEN WAFFLES. I really want to put a bowl of organic fruit, yogurt, & raw granola in front of her and say “this is real food”. I think a lot of people think they’re eating well when their diets consist primarily of low cal processed foods.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      totally been there. back in the day, i thought my processed sugary granola bars, chicken out of a packet and canned soups were healthy.

      • RachelG on July 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        Same here! For a long time I definitely paid more attention to calories than ingredients, especially in college when granola bars and ramen seemed like a fine, balanced meal. 😛

  20. Natasha on July 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I became a vegetarian after watching Food Inc 4 years ago!

  21. Melodie on July 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    We watched Forks over Knives for the first time about a year ago. I think I’ve watched it two more times since then. It’s one of my favorites in how well the information is presented. And it definitely made us rethink the way we were eating and feeding our children. Thank you for this post. I had really been wanting to know your thoughts in conjunction with some of these studies.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      yes, your comment encouraged me to watch it! 🙂

  22. Amy on July 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I love that movie. Glad you are rethinking your animal product consumption and considering reducing it, if everyone cut back even just a little we’d be in a lot better place.

    I have mixed feelings about the “Do what’s best for YOUR BODY” message I see all over HLBs and facebook and pinterest and the like. On one hand, I appreciate that it encourages the view that everyone is different and we shouldn’t judge one another. But on the other hand, I believe as humans we are very capable of aspiring to a level where we are concerned with much more than just our own bodies. It’s a rather narrow view, as our food choices affect much more than just our body (the environment, the workforce, innocent animals). I would like to see us all strive to live a compassionate lifestyle, which includes compassion for our body, but doesn’t stop there. We are capable of more than that.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      i think it’s like you said: a matter of not judging others for their choices. i also think it’s important to clarify that what works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone, and you really have to find the best method that works for you. if someone is really going to make a change, they’re going to do it because they made the conscious decision; not usually due to the preaching of others. all you can really do is lead by example and provide support along the way

  23. Trisha on July 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I love Forks Over Knives! I stopped eating beef and pork back when I was in the 9th grade (1999) … I had been watching a documentary on tv about pigs, and then a spam commercial came on. Then about 5 years ago I had already been thinking a lot about giving up chicken (I have never been a fish eater) and when I watched Food Inc – that did it for me! My husband is still a meat eater and that’s fine… I don’t try to push my beliefs on anyone else. This lifestyle works for me and I have never been healthier. My body completely changed and I am not sick nearly as often. Although, a friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer at 35, and it’s made me want to reevaluate how and what we eat. A few weeks ago I completely cleaned out the cupboards and got rid of anything that is full of chemicals, and bad ingredients, and I have been buying organic and less processed food, along with organic/ grassfed/ humane meats for my husband.

  24. Jennifer on July 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    When I watched Forks Over Knives I thought it was a good reminder to eat more plants. The documentary, ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ made a big impression on me and I was really inspired by the truck driver who completely changed his life and health. I’ve been eating 99% vegetarian for the past few months just by preference and I feel really good. The trick for me is to not eat too many pasta based go-to meals. Aiming for a salad a day has helped me.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      i still need to see that one! same. it can be easy to get caught in nut heavy or starch heavy meals when eating a veg diet

      • Jennifer on July 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

        Totally – I get lots of ideas from your blog and recipes to stay away from too many nuts and starches. I’m also a healthy breakfast burrito addict which is a great way to set the tone for the day 🙂 xoxo

  25. Cari on July 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I am in the process of getting my Master’s in Nutrition near DC, and we had Dr. T. Colin Campbell come speak to us as a guest speaker!

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      i would love to see him speak live! what an intelligent and articulate man

  26. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on July 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I haven’t seen this, but I saw Food INC a few years ago. I already didn’t eat red meat when I saw it and thank goodness too because that documentary completely grossed me out.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      yeah some parts were pretty gnarly

  27. michelle on July 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I’m a vegan (my two year anniversary is just around the corner!) and before that I was an on again, off again vegetarian. I haven’t seen Forks Over Knives, but I’ve watched Food Inc, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Crazy Sexy Cancer.

    However, I didn’t really change my eating habits after watching these, it was after Dr. A. Breeze Harper, the amazing author of Sistah Vegan (highly highly highly recommend!!) came to my university and had a discussion about veganism, race and feminism that I decided to really become a vegan. Being half Dominican and half Greek, sometimes it is really hard culturally to be a vegan, but it is a decision that makes me feel the best emotionally and physically.

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      i will definitely check it out! for me, eating more plants feels amazing, but i also feel good with some salmon, eggs, chicken and goat cheese in there 🙂

  28. Sharon T on July 6, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I saw this movie a few years ago, and really enjoyed it. I’ve been vegetarian (pescatarian) for many years. I find it interesting, a new trend I’ve noticed, towards traditional ways of eating….(one such cookbook which are claiming diets high in animal products and meat are very healthy. Even my naturopath suggests eating a good steak every once in a while…. I still prefer vegetarian….I wonder which truly is healthier?
    Thanks for the post!

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      i think it’s just about making smart choices that are sustainable for you and for the planet. my naturopath was huge on eating meat, too. he’s one of the major reasons why i started eating chicken again

  29. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on July 6, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    I haven’t seen this documentary, but I’m a fan of healthy living ones, so I’ll have to check this one out!

    • Fitnessista on July 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      that is insane!

  30. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine on July 6, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for the review! I’ll have to get a hold of a copy. I watched a Ted Talk this week on the cultures of the world that have the longest living populations– and one of the things they all had in common was a plant-heavy diet. I am the same as you- tinkered with vegetarianism/veganism, but it just doesn’t work for my body.

  31. Amy on July 7, 2014 at 3:07 am

    I had a hard time with the “no oils” part of Forks Over Knives. Like another comment mentioned, they recommend a VERY low fat diet, so low it seems unhealthy. They claimed that even olive oil was bad for you, and I waited through the whole documentary to find out why. They never really explained it, as far as I remember. They just skipped straight to evidence showing that diets high in red meat are unhealthy. I mean…yeah. No kidding! I wanted to see those diets compared against pescatarians and people who only occasionally eat chicken. It just seemed like they only presented two sides: People who eat lots of meat, and vegans. There are people in between!

    • Fitnessista on July 7, 2014 at 11:36 am

      that’s a very true point! i haven’t read it, but it could be the belief that olive oils emits free radicals when heated to high temperatures?

    • Stephanie on July 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Essentially the premise is that oil (any kind) is concentrated fat. Check out for more information. There are a variety of resources on the site, all of which provide background and evidence explaining from where the information comes.

  32. Emily @ Fit as a Mother... on July 7, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Loved this movie! It was one of the reasons I went vegan (although I’m now considering adding some fish, eggs, etc. back in for health reasons…)

  33. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on July 7, 2014 at 8:27 am

    There are a lot of serious critiques of The China Study… and this one is definitely worth a read:

    • Fitnessista on July 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

      thank you for sending this along! bookmarking to read during nap time

  34. Christie on July 7, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I’m so happy to see you talking about Forks Over Knives. Also check out Dr. Mcdougall’s website. He was one of the doctors featured in the movie. People can criticize but the results, and the amount of regular people who have cured “uncurable” diseases speaks for itself. They make clear that the only way to achieve this is through eating whole foods plant based foods. Of course no one HAS to. I think those who find this the easiest to follow are those of us who have really been suffering. Kris Carr is a good one to read. She encourages this way of eating but is still nurturing to those who want to include animal products. Love your site, you always create a loving space for discussions, empowerment, and learning.

  35. Stephanie on July 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I loved this documentary! Netflix has a whole bunch of awesome docs on this type of subject. Another one I highly recommend is “Food Matters”. It focuses on the industry of processed foods and promotes a whole foods approach. Check it out!

  36. Jodi on July 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    That documentary is still on my to-watch list! I have heard nothing but good things about it. I switched to veganism after reading “Skinny Bitch” with my sister. We were never huge meat eaters and never loved eating meat, so the switch was a no brainer. We did it more as an experiment, but here we are 5+ years later and doing better than ever. We both stuck it out and always continue to educate ourselves beyond that book.

  37. Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift on July 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    FOK is one of my favorite documentaries! I’m such a nerd that I’ve rewatched it multiple times! (PS…the extended interviews on Netflix are fabulous, too.) I really appreciated the scientific integrity of Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn, especially in comparison to all the pseudo-scientific “research” being pushed by other diet “experts” these days.

    I’m usually *mostly* plant based, but currently I’m eating completely vegan for the last month before turning 24! Gotta love self experiments/challenges 😉 we’ll see how it goes…

  38. Stephanie on July 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Gina, this post literally had me jumping up and down with excitement! I have had the privilege of meeting / learning from Chef Del at the Wellness Forum ( here in Columbus, Ohio. They do a monthly (free!) dinner to explain the premise and scientific rationale behind the plant-based diet explored in Forks over Knives, and the food is always fantastic, to boot! One of the most interesting factors to me was the amount of money invested in “nutritional” propaganda. The Forks over Knives and Better than Vegan cookbooks by Chef Del are my absolute favorite!!! The vegan ziti and baked barbecue tofu are literally to die for!

    If you ever make it out to Columbus, you will have to check it out!

  39. Sydney@Project Sydney on July 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Loved Forks over Knives!! Also loved Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead…although I couldn’t juice ALL THE TIME it inspires me to incorporate more juice into my diet! Both are on Netflix!

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