This Post Could Save Your Life

Okay I’m being a little overdramatic with the post title. But then I’m also lifting the tagline from the movie and companion book released this year, Forks Over Knives.

Let me tell you a little story. As recently as six months ago, I was a self-professed part-carnivore. I LOVED meat, and eschewed the idea of ever becoming a vegetarian (“We have incisor teeth for a reason!”). Then I got free passes to see Forks Over Knives, and while it sounds trite to say the movie changed my life, the long and short of it is, it did. To be fair, I am actually someone that reads a lot of culinary memoirs and books about food – Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of my favourite books of all time, and one I frequently recommend to people. I’ve also watched a good number of movies about our industrial food system that encouraged me to start making smarter choices about the food I purchase – putting an emphasis on local and organic items.

The concept behind Forks Over Knives is simply to explain why a plant-based, whole foods diet makes sense. They give you a ton of stats, expose you to many of the problems in our modern food system, and show how homeopathic doctors have proven that a change in diet can actually cure, reduce, or prevent a lot of human illnesses – from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. Afterwards my boyfriend and I were immediately inspired to make a serious change in our eating habits. Essentially, to convert, over time, to veganism…again, something I NEVER thought I’d do.

Here are my general thoughts, going off the beaten path of gift-giving advice here, on the experience:
– I have more energy than I ever did before
– I feel fuller, but less sluggish than I ever did before
– Food tastes different, and dare I say – better
– A whole foods diet is half of the key here – I really try to shave down the amount of processed foods we buy / consume
– There are an amazing number of vegan substitute products out there
– Cheese has been by far the hardest thing to give up / avoid
– I am not particularly dogmatic about being vegan at this point, and I don’t know that I ever will be. When I’m out, if I can’t be vegan, I go for vegetarian, and for now, I occasionally have fish. I have a strongly vegan-influenced diet, but to call myself a vegan would be untrue. I will never be a crazy person trying to convert other people, but I’ll certainly speak to the surprising benefits (as listed here) of eating a plant-based, whole foods diet.
– I love vegan cooking!

Anyway. With it being Vegetarian Awareness Month (VAM!), I’d be remiss to not talk about the movie and book that have sincerely impacted my way of life over the last few months. I’d be cautious to ‘give’ the movie to someone as a gift unless I knew they had a genuine interest in changing their diet / lifestyle, or if they were perhaps battling one of the many health conditions looked at in the movie. I WOULD however give the book to anyone that saw the movie and was looking for a sort of how-to guide. The book has a ton of essays by the stars (medical professionals) in the film intermingled with tips on changing your diet and recipes to give it a try at home. It’s an amazing starting point for anyone that is as inspired by the film as I was.

You can buy these products from the FOK website, but I’ve also seen them on Amazon and the likes, and in bookstores (in fact that’s where I got my copy of the book). If you want to score a combo pack of the DVDs or Blu-rays (4-10 copies), you can do that as well, and pass them onto your foodie friends this holiday season, although again, I caution against coming off as Captain Vegan among your crew.

This post is a tad more personally-involved than what’s usually found here on CGG, but it’s for a reason. I used to think Vegan was a dirty word. Now I don’t, and I’m happy to speak openly and honestly about what it’s like to eat vegan food. I’ve inspired a lot of my friends to pick up a vegan cookbook and try their hand at making a few meals per week out of it. And with THAT in mind, I’d like to present you with ‘Foodie Fridays’. For the next few weeks, every Friday I’ll be sharing a vegan cookbook with you that’s hot of the presses. Whether you’re merely curious, a vegetarian, or a bonafide vegan, pick one, buy it for yourself, buy a second copy for your friends, and see what works and doesn’t work for you. Fin!

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