A personal initiative to live more appreciatively

Thursday, January 26, 2012

#64: Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives is a documentary I watched today about the effects of a plant-based, whole foods diet on one's health.  I'm thankful for this film, as it furthers my personal mission to improve my health.

I am blessed with what must be an amazing metabolism. I say that because I am a pretty thin person, especially in light of my diet. Most people are surprised to hear that I am concerned about my diet simply because I am thin. Actually just yesterday one of my colleagues was surprised to hear me say that I don't eat well. "You don't look it," she said. My common retort, in my twisted humor, is always, "My insides are probably black."

My diet has always been a struggle. I can say for sure that I have a sugar/carb addiction, and am lazy when it comes to food preparation, both of which outweigh my personal desire to eat better. Thankfully Kegan came along; he eats very well, and throughout my relationship I've improved my diet. But there is still so much to do. 

One mindset I have that is particularly disturbing to me is that I assume I will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in my life. I am not a hypochondriac to any degree; it just feels inevitable...because it feels like everyone faces that diagnosis in their life at some point. One of the main arguments of the documentary, and one I've heard and read about from multiple sources, is the correlation between diet and cancer rates. I'm grateful that this documentary emphasized this, as it reminds me that I don't have to be a victim of "inevitability" if I make an effort to live a lifestyle that is cancer preventative. And even if I  were still to face cancer in my lifetime, I know I'd be in a much better position to battle it if my diet were healthier.

That's a future benefit of an improved diet, but there are so many areas of my immediate health that I know would improve if I can conquer my nutritional deficiencies. I regularly feel sluggish, have a routine afternoon crash, and am beginning to notice I don't sleep as well as I used to. Plus there's that internal nagging that my insides very likely are black-- at least in a metaphoric sense. I know if I eat better all of these issues will be resolved, and I should do this while I am young.

The most influential part of the film was an interview with Ruth Heidrich, a marathoner who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40s. She changed to a plant-based whole foods diet immediately following her diagnosis, and she credits that as a major factor to her recovery. She even trained for and completed an Ironman while in treatment! Now in her 70s, Ruth continues to run marathons and complete Ironmans. This is exactly the kind of woman I want to be. I always say I want to be an elderly woman still running marathons, and I will now think of Ruth often, as I continue to be a runner and work on my diet, the other neccessary component for my health.

Nutritional books and documentaries have a real effect on me. Fast Food Nation seriously impacted my once regular eating of fast food, which I do very rarely now. Fast Food, Inc influenced me to more or less give up red meat (although Chipolte Barbacoa tacos still have a hold on me). My hope is that Forks Over Knives will be the movie I point to that encouraged me to incorporate more plant-based foods into my diet.

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