Vegan Events

Forks Over Knives: Take People You Love

“Forks Over Knives is perhaps the greatest tool we have had in recent history to promote the plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle to a mainstream global audience. This film will change the way an entire generation of people eat food.” Robert Cheek, Vegan Body Builder

Not everyone comes to a vegan diet for health reasons, especially the young and ideal, but thankfully the most compassionate diet is also a diet that can save thousands of lives and billions of health care dollars. If you’ve read “The China Study,” or “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” then you know what I am talking about: there is direct, scientific, and clear link between meat and dairy consumption and the major diseases we face: heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

Now, I know reading a book called “The China Study” may not appeal to many, but thankfully this information is now condensed into a much friendlier and totally engrossing documentary: Forks Over Knives. Seattle, this is a movie that is for the masses and should be seen by everyone you know. Really. That is shy I am giving away tickets to the May 9th pre- screening! (see below).

Last night before the screening I had the great honor of interviewing one of the biggest advocates for a plant-based, whole foods diet, Rip Esselstyn, who also appears in the film. You may know Rip from his book the Engine 2 Diet, but did you also know that he was an Olympic swimmer and a professional Iron Man triathlete? His father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, along with Dr. Colin Campbell, are the two main sources for the content in the film. He has been vegan since 1987. Yeah, Rip is rad.

VS: Tell me about the importance of a plant-based diet in your life, and why you spend your time and energy bringing this wisdom to the rest of the world?
Rip: When I started this diet in 1987 it was just for me and my health and performance. I found a lot of people along the way asked “why do you eat this way” and “maybe you can help me eat better”. Then in 2003 we had this health scare with JR, one of my firefighting brothers, and I sat around the kitchen table and told the guys, listen, there was a better way. We got all this press and media and realized that being an athlete and firefighter could carry some weight and be influential with a different audience.

VS: Even with the resources like your father’s book, and Dr. Campbell’s book – Why do you think there is such a unwillingness by mainstream nutritionists and doctors to encourage plant-based diets for everyone?
Rip: The status quo is pretty powerful. There is so much of inertia around it. And there are some conflicts of interest, some very, very power groups that are making money right now. Doctors aren’t really motivated. And we’ve got the USDA, that his run by meat and dairy industry insiders, putting out nutritional guidelines.

VS: Do you follow shows like The Biggest Looser? What do you think about their continued pushing of meat and dairy in so many of their diet plans?
Rip: That’s just it. It’s like it doesn’t really matter how much science is out there, how much peer-reviewed science – it almost has to be “As seen on TV” – that is almost more powerful than The New England Journal of Medicine or The Journal of the American Medical Association. It’s a good thing that main stream shows like Opera and Dr. Oz are getting into to it. A show like Biggest Looser could be more influential and believable than the most scientifically sound study. This is why Forks Over Knives is so important. It can reach more people.

VS: Do you think that the health, pharmaceutical, and diet industries are going to watch this film and be moved, or dismiss it?
Rip: Did you see the clip with President Clinton where he stated that he has adopted a plant-based diet? There is a confluence of things coming together. I think this film is really, as Malcom Gladwell would say, a tipping point. I think you are going to find a groundswell from the masses. I don’t think the change is going to come from the top down, it is going to come from the ground up.

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset that any country, any city, any community, any company, any family can have.” – Rip Esselstyn

VS: Has there been any response from the meat and dairy industries to try to counter the facts in this movie?
Rip: They’ve been pretty vicious with Colin Campbell, his book has almost sold a million copies now. You have a book that is anti-meat and anti-diary and has sold a million copies – they start to lash back. But he loves it. He is going to be on Bill Mar on Friday [May 6].

VS: Many people come to a plant-based diet for their health, but then are encouraged to stay for other reasons? Is the welfare of animals or the impact on our environment also important to you?
Rip: Oh yes. I find that the more that you that you get into this, and the more passionate you are, the more it bleeds into the environment, the economy, and obviously animal compassion. I just learned the other day that there is close to 10 billion animals killed annually and if you were to line them up head to tail or beak to feet that it would go from here to the moon and back 5 times. It is the ultimate arrogance. And it is so unnecessary.

VS: With more and more information coming out about the incredibly negative impact of meat and dairy on our health, through books like The Engine 2 Diet, and movies like Forks Over Knives, what do you think the standard American diet will look like in 10 years?
Rip: I think the Standard American Diet will be plant-strong. Right now if you were to take a look at the Standard American Diet, less than 6% is coming from whole plant-based foods. I say in 10 years that plates will be 50% whole plant-based foods.

VS: If you had one thing to say to people to encourage them to come see this film, what would you say?
Rip: Let’s make this a blockbuster as big as Avatar. Healthy citizens are the greatest asset that any country, any city, any community, any company, any family can have.


Contest: So here is the deal. I want to see what this movie could mean for you and the people you love. All you need to do is post on this blog one or more of the following:

  • List the people close to you who have died or are currently suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart and artery disease, etc. List everyone. I’ll start.
  • Tell me about the non-vegan that you are going to bring with you. How will you get them to see the film?
  • Tell your your own story. Has eating whole foods and a vegan diet changed your life?

You don’t have to be verbose – short and sweet. I’ll draw a random winner each day to receive a pair of tickets to the movie on May 9, 2011. (You are welcome to post anonymously, but then I won’t be able to reach you to give your prize).

Good luck!

24 thoughts on “Forks Over Knives: Take People You Love

  1. Father: diabetes, hypertensionMother-in-Law: breast cancer, diabetesPaternal grandfather: heart disease (RIP)Paternal grandmother: breast cancer (RIP)Maternal grandfather: brain cancer (RIP)

  2. 1. Mother- Cancer & HIV. Passed2. Father in law- Cancer. Passed3. Great grandma- Diabetes. Passed. (paternal)4. Grandma- Diabetes & Hypertension. (paternal)5. Mother in law- Cancer.6. Grandmother in law- Cancer7. Father- Hypertension8. Myself- Hyperglycemia. I would bring my friend Lauren with me. She has been studying nutrition and is on the border of veganism. She is extremely interested in it and I feel like this movie would really help her make the leap!I had been battling a lot of health issues myself and was initially drawn to vegetarianism for health reasons. What brought me to veganism is the ethical portion of it all (plus milk is awful and disgusting). Since making the change in my diet, I feel a lot more energy and life! I just feel good and I love it. Plus, if I can sustain myself fully, feel better than I ever have in my life AND reduce the amount of suffering going on in the world, why the heck not?!

  3. Mother- brain tumor, arthritisFather- colon cancer, various weight-induced issuesGrandmother- breast cancer and bladder cancerGrandmother- alzheimersVariety of friends/extended family- diabetes and other weight-induced problems.I plan to bring my non-vegan boyfriend with me to the film. It pains me anytime he eats unhealthy. I want us to live a long and happy life together but I feel that every time he chooses to eat unhealthy foods he is shortening our time together.Eating vegan (since 2007) has changed my life in a million different ways. I am healthier and care more about my health overall. I love knowing about the foods I choose to put into my body. I have more energy and after dealing with insomnia issues since I was young I am able to sleep better now than ever before. Thanks!

  4. Father: pre-DiabetesGrandmother (paternal): DiabetesGrandfather (paternal): Heart DiseaseGrandmother (maternal): Colorectal cancer, RIPGrandfather (maternal): Heart DiseaseA handful of uncles (paternal): DiabetesI'd bring my coworker, Megan, who has been successfully cutting back meat for a few months now, going vegetarian at home, and might actually make it to vegan this year, with a little nudge 🙂

  5. Mom died of diabetes/alcoholismVarious cousins and my dad have diabetes from life style choices.I am almost vegetarian my goal to be able to be vegan. I went raw vegan for 7 months, I felt great. I found it difficult to maintain. I am a chef by trade… I get alot of flack for my food choices -vs- my profession. LOL. I would like to earn a raw food certification. I will try to bring my friend who is a meat and potato kind of guy. theres more… but I will keep this short 🙂

  6. I went vegan 4 years ago because my father was suffering from sever health issues and was put on a myriad of medications to lower his BP, Cholesterol levels, etc. I figured if I expected someone else to do it, I should as well. We were going to try it for a month and see how it went. With the quick results he, and I, never went back. In a few weeks his cholesterol and BP were in check, and has been off medication since. He lost 65 pounds and has been sharing all he's learned since with friends and coworkers. I'd love to see the film as I appreciate finding new, interesting, low effort resources to refer people to when they have questions. Also, I'm studying nutrition, and would love to see the film to spark my passion for the topic again.

  7. Grandmothers: cancerGrandfather: diabetesMother: diabetesStepfather: high cholesterolI plan to bring as many people as possible, especially Naturopaths since far too few of them have read the China Study. This is dangerous since they say they are natural healers but most have not read the most comprehensive study on humans and diet in human history. Doesn't make sense,right?Secondly, I'd bring a friend who just underwent cancer radiation treatments. He's been considering the China Study but probably hasn't read it yet. Thanks SO much for doing all that you do!!

  8. diabetes – all 4 grandparents (3 have passed)cancer – 3 of 4 grandparents (all have passed)hypertension, heart disease, obesity – a grandmahighcholesterol – dadI would take my friend Heather to the show. She's eaten vegetarian before, I could see her going back to it with some encouragement from the movie.I've been vegan 2 years now, after reading a book (you know the one.) I felt the arguments about drugs in the animals, transferring to me, compelling…It has changed my life significantly for the better – I lost 10 lbs right away – and eventually 15. I never have a belly ache from what I eat, and I am very healthy – virtually never get sick – not even a cold! 🙂

  9. My dad died from cancer, my grandmother has high blood pressure, and my grandfather has heart problems. Since I went vegan I have wanted to share with everyone who will listen the amazing things a vegan diet can do for them and their health.

  10. And the winner of Day 1 is Becki! Everyone who has commented will still be entered for tomorrow's drawing too. I have a total of 8 tickets to give away and each winner gets 2 tickets.

  11. my husband has Type 2 diabetes.I am going to bring my best friend who is non-vegetarian. I will get her there because she loves documentaries.being vegan now for 6 years has made me very aware of what we put in our bodies.

  12. I'll bring my sister, who is going to be in town for a visit next week. I think she'll be up for it because it will be a fun chance for the two of us to get out of the house together, and I think it will be a nice nudge for her while she's staying in a house full of vegans (me, my husband, and our two kids!)

  13. Maternal Grandfather: deceased: heart disease, diabetesMaternal Grandmother: Diabetes, heart disease, kidney failurePaternal Grandfather: Deceased: Prostate CancerMother: diabetes, heart diseaseFather, Uncle, Brother: at high risk of prostate cancerI want to bring my mom to the viewing of Forks over Knives because I feel like it'll help her be more conscious about what she puts into her body. Out of my immediate family, she is over-weight and has severe food allergies. Though, despite being incredibly allergic to dairy, eggs and most meats, she still won't commit to a vegan diet because she "loves fish too much." My father, a born and raised meat and taters kind of guy, even offered to go vegan with her to support her but she denied him. I feel like her seeing this film will give her more perspective on why i chose to remain vegan. I guess this fits in with my journey into veganism. Originally, I went vegan to help my mom get better and see that she can be healthy if she watches what she eats and chooses to eliminate animal products from her diet. On March 1st, 2010, I went from eating meat and dairy to a strictly vegan diet and I've never felt better. So many awesome changes have happened to my body that I wouldn't think of going back to what I was eating before. I used to be so negative and depressed/suicidal but since becoming vegan a little over a year ago, I've been so positive and I love knowing that it can only get better from here. Since becoming vegan, I've also become active in animal rights groups and I've never been more passionate about anything before as I am about veganism. 🙂

  14. Mother (Jean) passed – complications of diabetesGrandmother (Irene) passed – heart disease, diabetesI would love to bring my nonvegan daughter, Kristin, to see FOK.I was a 40 year lacto-vegetarian with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, with a stroke in 2007, when I was editing a vegan publication and read for the first time the horrors of factory farming. The next day I went vegan. My health problems disappeared within one month. I lost 15 pounds and I felt very energetic with great mental clarity. I have been ridding my household and myself of all animal products as I do not want any part of animal exploitation.My daughter is very supportive of my veganism, but she doesn't yet make the connection between my veganism and my support of animal rights and justice for other animals. She also worries about my protein intake. I would love for her to see FOK so that she will be able to understand the health aspects of veganism. Thank you.

  15. I would bring my Husband and Child. I met my husband a couple years ago and when I met him he was only eating pizza. No veggies. It's been a year now and he is mostly eating a vegan diet. He is in the Coast Guard and gets lots of questions about the way he eats. I would like to continue to educate him so that he can continue to educate the people at work. He loves sharing his progress. He feels and looks great. My son has been a vegan for 6 years and I like educating him so that he can explain how he eats to the kids who ask questions at school. Sometimes he gets teased and I want him to be confident in his food choices and know that he is doing the right thing. He has cured his chronic ear infections and low immune system since going vegan. He was under weight and un healthy. He gained weight and I lost 80 pounds eating the same food he ate. We are mostly Raw Vegans now and love spreading the word to others.

  16. Cancer: Grandmother, mom, grandfather (RIP)Obesity, high cholesterol, heart problems: Father, Grandmother, Uncle, Great Uncle. I would love to bring my mom to FOK. This also ties into my story with veganism. I became a vegetarian when I went to college because I was finally making complete decisions on what I put into my body. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and she became more aware of the damage that meat was doing to her body. This made me more aware of how horrible animal products were for myself and the environment. I want to show her that she should take the next step to assure that her body is even healthier than it is now!

  17. WOW! I just amazing news. I was so moved by everyone's entries and was wishing everyone could go, so I wrote the PR Firm handling the movie promotion and pre-screenings to see if there were any other tickets to give out. She said YES!!Nannette Minley, Lauren, Michelle Shannon, Jennifer,, Samantha, Kathleen, Kelly Merten, Lauren your names have been added to the willcall list +1 guest. If I missed your name it is because I didn't have a link or full name to find you. You can email me at

  18. Pingback: Rip Esselsyn in Seattle at Whole Foods Markets | Vegan Score

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