Moderating the Documentary “Forks Over Knives”

It was a packed house with well over 140 in attendance at The Linda tonight.

A documentary called “Forks over Knives” was the star attraction followed by a panel discussion with three local experts.

The 2011 advocacy film turned out to be pretty radical for most. It’s based on preventing and controlling degenerative diseases by following a plant-based diet – no meat, no dairy, no chicken, no fish, no oils.

The personal journeys of pioneering researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell (nutritional scientist at Cornell University) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (former heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic) are followed as well as “reality patients” – those who adopt the whole-food, plant-based diet to treat chronic disease.

Unfortunately, due to technical issues, the end of the documentary was never shown.

On the plus side, that gave the audience more time for Q&A with the three panelists: Dr. Ronald Stram of the Stram Center for Integrative Health and Healing in Delmar, Christine Kaczmarek, RN who follows a plant-based diet and Mary Beth McCue, a Certified Dietician and Nutritionist. All three did their best to share advice with an audience longing for answers, not necessarily about the end of the movie, but for their individual needs.

It’s hard to argue with science but even the panelists found holes to poke in the conclusions. For instance, what constitutes a ‘healthy lifestyle’ if you’re a vegan and don’t exercise? A couple people commented on how exercise and diet go hand-in-hand, one being just as important as the other.

Furthermore, the doc gets bogged down with statistics, dated footage and too many plot lines. As a videographer/editor, I especially cringed at the poor audio and abrupt scene changes.