To me, the really amazing thing about this is, it’s such a message of hope that we can control these diseases. My thing was really to show this lifestyle in its glory, which is really that it’s so good for the human state, if you will.

Hallo vivacious viewers, and welcome to Healthy Living. This week we learn about a fascinating new American documentary, “Forks Over Knives,” which presents scientific evidence about the impact of diet on health. The film is timely, as the United States is currently facing a major health crisis. Today, more than 60% of Americans are classified as obese or overweight.

The average American now carries 23 extra pounds.

Heart disease and stroke will claim the lives of 460,000 American women.

We're talking about diabetes and hypertension and bone diseases, osteoporosis.

Almost half of the population is taking some form of prescription drug.

I've got a few pills I take for my diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I take Byetta, which is injectable medicine.

Americans are seeking medical care in ever growing numbers and the nation’s poor health is draining the economy.

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure costs this country more than US$120 billion each year.

Is there a solution to this crippling situation? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Many researchers have concluded that simply by eliminating refined, processed and animal-based foods, and adopting a whole foods plant-based diet, we can stop and even reverse many forms of disease.

“Forks Over Knives” explores this proven, simple way of using the “fork,” or choosing animal-free foods, over the “knife” or “scalpel” of medical treatment as the most powerful way to heal ourselves and ensure our wellbeing. Brian Wendel, the vegan creator and executive producer of “Forks Over Knives,” shares why he decided to make this film.

Well, a few years ago, I really just became overwhelmed with how much strong evidence there was that many of our degenerative diseases were fully preventable, and in many cases reversible through diet alone. And I was noticing that there was only a very small group of people that were taking advantage of this and a large group of people that weren’t. And I didn’t understand why the message wasn’t getting out. And I became very determined to do something about that.

The film examines the lives and careers of famed American nutritional biochemist and author of the best-selling book “The China Study,” Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. a surgeon at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the USA, and how each discovered that plant-based foods are the path to robust health.

Heart disease is an absolutely toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist.

People who were raised in Japan, the Philippines, Korea, China, never had heart disease, prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis.

Virtually the Western diet was non-existent; they had no animal products, they had no dairy, no meat.

Our national authorities are simply excluding this concept in order to protect the status quo.

With the Western diet, there are going to be half a million people in this country this year who will have to have the front half of their body divided, their heart exposed. Some people would call that extreme. And so, it’s really quite exciting when you are able to take patients who have been ravaged by heart disease and get them to go plant-based. Because we know that every time processed oils, dairy, meat, fish and chicken pass our lips, it injures that delicate inner lining of our blood vessels.

And we found that when we took these patients who are ravaged by heart disease, they were the walking dead, they’d failed their first or second stent, they had failed their first or second angioplasty, some were told they wouldn’t live out the year, and when they just absolutely get it, and get it right, what a fantastic reward to know not only can it stop the disease, but they can reverse the disease. It’s a very powerful gift for these patients to recognize, that they themselves now have become the locus of control for this disease that was destroying them.

The film “Forks Over Knives” also follows the lives of several chronically ill patients who took the advice of their doctors and adopted the healing, nutritious vegan diet.

I reversed the diabetes. The diabetes is not coming back.

Diet is so much more important than anybody ever thought.

It’s just people starting to take responsibility for their health, and starting to eat more plant-based foods. It's that simple.

Brian Wendel’s goal is that “Forks over Knives” leads audiences to stop consuming animal products. His noble endeavor touched everyone involved in the film’s production.

Did making the film change your own lifestyle or those around you?

Well, for me, I’ve been into whole plant foods for almost 10 years now. But certainly everybody that’s worked on the film has changed their diet, and it was not requisite that anybody do so. So everybody from the producer; to the writer-director; to even the attorney; and the accountants; and even the music composer, just from composing the music from his home, changed their diet. So it had a big impact on us.

And some of the people that even came in from our crew said specifically, “I am not changing my diet for this film. Just so you know.” And I just wanted the best people to help me make the film. So the fact that they did (change) was just unbelievable. And every single person, just about, that worked on this film did change their diet.

Through a quirk of fate Lee Fulkerson, the writer and director of “Forks Over Knives,” appears in the documentary as one of the many individuals profiled who switch to a vegan diet and reap the innumerable benefits.

It wasn't planned for me to be part of "Forks Over Knives." I was going on a research trip to talk to the doctors that we were going to use to treat some of the patients in the film. On my way over, I drank these two Red Bulls. I also had a 12-ounce Coke, and another half of a 12-ounce Coke. I said, "Well, why don't you give me a checkup?" We decided to shoot that just for fun.

My cholesterol was extremely high, like 240. I'd never been that high before. And more frighteningly, I had a level of inflammation in my veins that said I was at risk for a heart attack. So that scared me, and I decided to go on a whole foods plant food diet to see if we could reverse those conditions.

Wherever the film has been shown, it has enjoyed remarkable success.

What kind of interest have you seen in the film?

With very little marketing, we’re playing to packed houses across the country, and a lot of blogging, a lot of social media things all indicating that people are really, really interested in it.

What makes the documentary so convincing is its simple, yet effective message. To me, the take-home message of "Forks Over Knives" is that people can have control over their own health outcomes. At the end of the day, information is power. It allows people to have a degree of control over their own health outcomes that the traditional medical system just doesn't give people. It gives you a complete picture that the diet works long-term, it works short-term, and you can't get better than that.

This compelling documentary has left a deep impression on viewers.

I think it obviously makes a convincing argument to at least give it a try, if you’re having some of these health problems. And what I really like too is just the whole taking health into your own hands kind of thing, not depending on symptom-treating drugs. So, definitely the proactive approach really appealed to me.

So what did you think of the film “Forks Over Knives?”

I think it’s pretty amazing.

I think it was life-changing actually.

Do you think it will inspire you to change your diet?

Absolutely, absolutely, yes.

I think we changed tonight.

(Absolutely.) We are definitely going to start a whole new life.

It's going to be world changing. It's touching on points that still haven't yet been touched upon, and absolutely necessary for everyone to see, and change the world.

My hope is over the next five years, we really as a country, we get to a certain tipping point, where eating plants is looked at as absolutely the coolest thing on the planet. Eating lamb chops and prime rib and steaks and hamburgers will be looked at as people driving Hummers around today. It’s like, come on: what are you doing? You are not helping anybody.

Could you envision the whole country being vegan or the world being vegan?

Absolutely, I think that there will come a time when we will look back on this time that we’re going through now as being a Dark Age. The idea of consuming animal foods and consuming processed food just hasn’t worked out for us. I’m very hopeful that we are going to head in a direction that’s different than where we are at now.

We are deeply grateful Brian Wendel, Lee Fulkerson, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and all others involved for your production of this outstanding film. You are all improving the health of countless people through this exceptional work and helping to uplift our planet. May many, many more people view and be moved to embrace the whole foods plant-based lifestyle advocated by your life-changing documentary.

For more details on “Forks Over Knives,” please visit

Thank you for joining us today on Healthy Living. May all people soon adopt the organic vegan diet, for optimal health and a kinder, more compassionate world.