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It’s My Birthday…

January 20, 2011

…and I’ll blog from bed in my robe if I want to:

DSC_0004 (201) 

Baxter really enjoyed reading your blog posts this morning, by the way. 🙂

Yep…it’s my birthday today! Honestly, my birthdays always feel a little…meh.  A winter birthday means that the weather is usually pretty dreary on  my big day—plus, I usually still feel a little wiped out from the holidays by the time my birthday rolls around.  So, today, we really have no special plans—I’ll be teaching all afternoon.  Happy birthday to me, indeed. Luckily, we do have a fun weekend planned—fun with friends tomorrow, and then a little weekend road-trip on Saturday and Sunday!

Plus—last night, we had a pre-birthday treat! We headed up to State College to see an advanced screening of the film, Forks Over Knives.  The film won’t be in wide release until March, but one of the doctors featured in the film, Dr. Pam Popper, has a connection with the State College branch of the Wellness Forum, a major sponsor of the film—and so, they were able to bring the film to State College for an advanced viewing! We met up with Nick and Emily, who was covering the event for WPSU, our local public radio station. I’ll post a link to her coverage of the event when it’s up!

Here’s the trailer for the film:

The film is largely centered around the studies of two doctors, Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study) and Dr. Esselstyn, who both essentially promote a plant-based, whole foods diet as a means to prevent and even regress many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  Essentially, both doctors believe that even if we were raising animals in the most humanely way possible, free of hormones and antibiotics, at its core, animal protein (including eggs and dairy) is simply unhealthy for human consumption.    

My thoughts on the film?  It does a good job of taking a lot of dense, scientific data and information and making it accessible for general audiences.  I read The China Study, and while I took a lot away from it, the overwhelmingly scientific writing became a little dense for me to wade through.  The movie distills this information into the key claims that the researchers make about animal proteins and their link to diseases. 

Throughout the movie, real-life individuals were followed as they made the transition from meat-heavy diets to plant-based diets, and their transformations were pretty remarkable. 

In the film, the former president of the American Dietetic Association was interviewed briefly, and was clear about her support of a diet heavy in animal protein.  I would have enjoyed seeing more direct engagement between Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn and nutritionists or researchers who advocate an animal protein-based diet. 

Overall, I thought the film was engaging and did a good job of advocating a plant-based diet for health reasons.  The theater was packed, which I think was exciting.  It’s good to know that more and more people are really starting to care seriously about what they eat, and what we might be able to do to become healthier as individuals and as a nation.

That being said, it’s still my personal belief that while some people thrive on a plant-based diet, others do not.  To me, our dietary choices should be personal—what works for me might not work for you, and what works for you might not work for me.  I think the most important thing that we can do for ourselves is really work to tune into our bodies, and tune into what makes us feel our best as individuals, and create our meal choices accordingly.

Whew! Long post! Have you heard of Forks Over Knives?  Where do you stand on the plant-based diet vs. animal protein issue?

39 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 2:40 pm


  2. January 20, 2011 2:47 pm

    Happy Birthday! We’re almost birthday twins (Saturday for me) and spending the morning in bed is a great way to celebrate. 😀 Enjoy your day!

  3. January 20, 2011 2:48 pm

    Happy Birthday!! I hadn’t heard of Forks Over Knives, but it sounds like a movie I will definitely see when it comes out. Your point about an active engagement with the pro animal protein camp (or lack thereof) is a really good one, though. Anyhoo – enjoy your day in your robe and what the weekend brings!

  4. January 20, 2011 2:55 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I really really want to see forks over knives- I can’t wait til it gets somewhere close to me!

  5. January 20, 2011 2:56 pm

    Happy birthday!!

  6. January 20, 2011 2:57 pm

    Happy Birthday sweetie! Mine was last Friday and I hear ya on the January birthdays…kinda blah. Besides, when getting older, the responsibilities of life don’t go on hold for the day you were born. I did have a great day with my boys, so that was pretty great! I hope your day is perfect…well, as perfect as it can be! You and I think the exact same way about diet meat vs. veg. I think we are all different and we have to make these choices for ourselves individually. I really do think that some people need more protein, but I don’t feel like that is me. I can’t wait to see the movie!

  7. January 20, 2011 3:05 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope there is at least a nice dinner or a glass of wine in your future! I haven’t heard of this movie until now but I definitely want to see it. Annoyingly, I have to wait to get home to watch the trailer bc I can’t get vids at work. I just started reading the China Study and so far I’m finding it really interesting!

  8. Kim permalink
    January 20, 2011 3:15 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    I keep looking for a viewing of forks over knives in Houston, but since we aren’t a big veggie community I will probably have to wait till March!

    I stopped eating meat almost a year ago and am playing with the no dairy thing for the last month of so. I really like cheese, so can’t say I will never eat it again, but it needs to be a treat not a daily thing for me!

  9. January 20, 2011 3:15 pm

    Happy Birthday! Have a great day.

  10. January 20, 2011 3:17 pm

    Happy Birthday!!!!!!!

  11. January 20, 2011 3:23 pm

    Happy Birthday! Hope you enjoy it despite the dreary weather!

  12. January 20, 2011 3:23 pm

    Happy birthday love!

  13. January 20, 2011 3:29 pm

    I was supposed to go see Forks Over Knives but only got on the wait list for the screening…when the night rolled around I didn’t want to show up 45 minutes early on the offchance I’d get in…hopefully when it’s in wider release I will catch it! [It sound similar to Food Matters, though.]

    Happy Birthday!

  14. Ali permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:00 pm

    Happy Happy Birthday Anna! Hope you have a great day and a wonderful year to follow!

  15. January 20, 2011 4:03 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I recently read the book, In Defense of Food, as well as Food Rules. I started eating a (mostly) vegetarian diet back in September 2010. While I haven’t completed stopped eating meat, I would rather eat vegetarian meals if given the option.

  16. January 20, 2011 4:24 pm

    The China Study did not withstand close scrutiny. The claims that animal proteins cause cancer were not supported statistically. The devil is in the data.

    • January 20, 2011 5:50 pm

      The movie touches on some of the criticisms of the study, but I would have liked to have seen even more from the opposition.

      Even so, I think the positive aspects of a diet that is mostly plant-based are legitimate.

      • January 24, 2011 3:26 am

        Depends upon your own metabolism; that varies from one individual to the next. And new research has shown that too many grains feed into insulin resistance, which is true for everyone, so healthy dietary choices are far more complicated than veg vs meat.

  17. Emo permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:13 pm

    Happy Birthday! I see some prezzies next to Baxter — he’s so thoughtful. Enjoy your birthday!
    I haven’t heard of this movie or The China Study, but I’m skeptical that either may be spun to present the desired results. NPR has a fascinating series on “What Makes us Human,” and one theorists posits that it was learning to capture and heat meat. Meat has been in and out of our diets for centuries and that will probably continue. Meat-eating seems to be the next mommy wars, pitting vegetarians and vegans against carnivores. Can’t we all just get along?

    • January 20, 2011 5:49 pm

      We were talking about that NPR series last night!

      My beef (ha!) isn’t with meat in general– I think done in moderation, meat is a perfectly healthy component of a diet. But– we aren’t eating it in moderation! We’re eating huge amounts of meat, instead of small, moderate portions of lean animal protein, and *that* I think is what needs to change. I like how Michael Pollan (or maybe it was Mark Bittman) says to use meat as a garnish, for flavor, instead of as the center of every single meal, without a veggie in sight.

  18. January 20, 2011 5:15 pm

    Happy Birthday!!

    Great post! I look forward to seeing this movie. I agree that our diet preferences are personal, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer people not eat animals for the humane issues. I feel my best not eating meat. I used to be a heavy meat eater. Sometimes it’s surreal to me actually! I do enjoy my eggs and cheese, but hubby and I have been contemplating no longer purchasing cheese and only eating it out on occations. I could give up yogurt without much issue and no longer drink dairy anyway.

  19. January 20, 2011 5:32 pm

    Happy birthday!

    I try to eat a primarily plant-based diet, but especially now that I’ve moved back in with my parents, it’s more difficult. They’re not against vegetarianism, but they eat meat with almost every meal, and rarely serve entirely vegetarian dishes. I love eating with them and sharing meals, so now I eat much more meat than I would if I were cooking entirely for myself. It’s difficult to find a balance.

  20. Amory permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:48 pm

    Happy Birthday Girl!!

  21. January 20, 2011 6:07 pm

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a great day 🙂

  22. Lee permalink
    January 20, 2011 6:17 pm

    Happy Birthday Anna Lowe! Great post today. Interesting info, and I dig your ultimate philosophy/conclusion. AND it makes me want to move to State College–right?! Have a great day. And let’s see each other soon…

  23. January 20, 2011 7:34 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  24. Stacey permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:00 pm

    Happy birthday, Anna!

  25. January 20, 2011 8:16 pm

    Happy Birthday! I haven’t heard of the movie but really liked reading The China Study. I agree that dietary choices are personal, but I really think the slaughter of animals for food is morally wrong. If I was dying b/c I was a vegetarian, I’d be happy to eat meat again (same as I’d kill an animal that was attacking me to eat me!), but since I can eat a healthy diet w/o meat, I think that’s the morally sound choice, even if I remember how much I used to like eating meat. But I think the key part of the China Study health benefits is cutting out the animal products (cheese, yogurt, etc.) that remain in my diet, and thus far, I haven’t done that, but I do believe it would be better for my health. I’m definitely going to watch for this movie!

  26. January 20, 2011 8:22 pm

    Happy birthday!! I don’t like our birth month either, but at least it gives us something to look forward to amidst the doldrums, right?

    I’ve heard about that movie and I can’t wait to see it. I read the China Study, so think the movie will be fascinating!

  27. January 20, 2011 8:24 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYYY! I hope you guys really celebrate it up this weekend. The movie sounds really interesting. I think Americans in general really need to incorporate more fruits, vegetables & whole grains into their diets. That being said, I think that different diets work for different people. Its not 1 flat answer for all

  28. Ginger permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:54 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! This day, 28 years ago, you were already here and we were SO EXCITED!! Have a wonderful day! I do want to see Forks vs. Knives (haven’t even heard of it!) I think in the end, you are right – we need to listen to our bodies and try to do what’s best for them. I will say that I have cut way back on my meat since you went vegetarian, and I feel better for it. Probably should take the plunge and become a full-blown vegetarian, but I’m not sure that will happen any time soon. I’ll call you tonight (or you call me when you’re through teaching)

  29. January 20, 2011 9:39 pm

    Happy birthday!! 🙂

  30. January 20, 2011 10:08 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    I would like to see that film.

  31. January 21, 2011 12:01 am

    Hehe, cute pic! Happy Birthday! So lucky you got to see Forks Over Knives, I want to see it so bad! But no screenings near me. 😦 I’ve only watched the trailer a million times and will be all over it once in wide release. Plant-based here! 🙂

  32. January 21, 2011 12:07 am

    Happy Birthday!

    We actually had a screening of that movie last night here in Atlanta too. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about it until Monday and it was already sold out.

  33. actorsdiet permalink
    January 21, 2011 2:03 am

    happy happy happy bday!!!

  34. January 21, 2011 2:25 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL!! I hope you have a wonderful day 😉 xoxo

  35. January 21, 2011 4:17 am

    Happy birthday!

  36. January 21, 2011 9:27 pm

    Hope you had a fabulous birthday! I love love love Baxter, he is quite a handsome fella!

    I read The China Study and it’s a great read and very enlightening. I can’t wait to see Forks over Knives.

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