The 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives had lots of testimonials. Has anyone done any follow ups to see where they are years later?
When the 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives hit the scene it was the de rigueur viewing experience of foodies and health conscious people. This of course came at the same time as the Paleo movement was becoming ascendant as well. You therefore had the usual battles of the two communities about recommendations and statements. There are entire sites full of those back and forths. I consider that mostly noise however.
Inside of the documentary were several testimonials from people whose health was radically transformed by moving to a whole foods plant based diet. Lee Fulkerson, the writer and producer, had a huge positive change in all of his biomarkers. Several of Dr. Esselstyn’s, Dr. McDougall, and others were also included. By far the most poignant was Evelyn Oswick. In the early 90s Oswick had two major heart attacks and was essentially told by her doctor that she was going to die any day now so should go home and just wait it out. She instead got enrolled in a study Esselystyn was running and her heart disease was totally reversed. She passed away at the ripe old age of 90 just this past November.
Anecdotes and personal testimony does not a scientific study make, but it’s also not something to just ignore. This blog is all about my own self-experimentation which may sound scientific but it’s at most scientific-ish. Strong reversals in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer however are nothing to look your nose down on. The devil is of course in the details of correlation versus causation. These people radically changed their lifestyles and their diets. They went to a very healthy but restrictive version of a vegan diet and increased their exercise levels. Was it the removal of processed foods or all the meat that did it? Would the results have been the same with cheese or milk or not? The answers aren’t totally unknown but I think it misses the point.
These people had success reversing disease with their choices. In the case of Oswick she maintained that for nearly three decades. A couple of other long time adherents were in the movie but there were also recent converts to the lifestyle. I think it would be great to see where they are today, what their lifestyles look like, and what their health looks like. I haven’t found any good synopsis of that. One of those many YouTubers should maybe take a crack at it.