One of the highlights of the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise last week was seeing the world premiere of the movie Plant Pure Nation, which will be released in movie theaters on July 4th of this year. This movie is an important followup to the well-regarded and highly effective Forks Over Knives, which was the documentary that convinced so many of us to begin following a whole foods, plant-based way of eating.
Where Forks Over Knives presented the science behind the WFPB way of eating, Plant Pure Nation documents the intense efforts of the food industry to suppress the public's knowledge about this powerful way of eating. And make no mistake about it, the lobbying and the political campaign donations are huge. Teaching people to eat whole plant-based foods is to go up against not only the food industry, but also the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry. The potentially negative effects on those industries from too many people eating whole food, plant-based foods is massive.
I believe the fight on this will be won, but it will also be much bigger than the fight was with the tobacco industry. But to win it means that all of us who know what we know about WFPB eating must enter into the fray. And the film, Plant Pure Nation and the subsequent follow-up activities being planned is an important part of making that happen.
The film documents steps that were taken by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. T. Colin Campbell in approaching the Kentucky State legislature and explaining how it is that the standard American diet is so responsible for basically all of what we know to be western diseases --- including childhood obesity, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Based on that, the Kentucky State legislature unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution that called for Kentucky to "lead the nation in a health and wellness, nutrition-based revolution." The resolution called for making "plant-based food grown in Kentucky affordable and available to some of the poorest individuals and communities in the Commonwealth."
That seems pretty benign doesn't it. The resolution was nonbinding, that is, it had no force of law behind it. Before lobbyists and special interests had a chance to act, all the legislators who voted thought it was a good idea. And of course, it's pretty hard to see what counterargument there might be to wanting to lead the nation in health and wellness.
But of course, there was a counterargument. No matter how rational something might be, it seems that that guy with the name Money always has a stronger argument. I'm not sure how he does it, but he always does!!! I'm being facetious of course.
In this case, Money didn't make his argument right away though. It wasn't until after Nelson Campbell, the son of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, began working with Kentucky Rep. Tom Riner to introduce House Bill 550, mandating a pilot program to document the health benefits of following a whole foods, plant-based diet, that Money raised its ugly head. As a result, HB 550 failed to pass in the legislature.
But then Nelson Campbell, who also produced the film Plant Pure Nation, took the initiative in his own hometown of Mebane, NC. His goal was to demonstrate that in just ten short days, a WFPB diet could have amazing effects on the health of residents in Mebane. The film documents how this was done by offering 10-day jumpstart programs to key town influencers who could then go on to influence others.
In the end, Nelson Campbell achieves success in Mebane and Rep. Tom Riner achieves success in Kentucky. The film documents how that was done. In addition, the film touches on ancillary issues as well, including topical issues around the small family farmer, food deserts, modern medicine and political issues around food.
The message is clear and strong. And while the documentary doesn't open until July 4th nationwide, there will be screenings and events before that, starting on April 4 in Chapel Hill, NC at 12 noon in the Chelsea Theater. Further screenings and events are planned in Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; St. Petersburg/Tampa, FL; Chattanooga, TN; Indianapolis, IN; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Toronto, ON; New York, NY; Long Island, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore/Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Irvine, CA; San Diego, CA and Los Angeles, CA.
One exciting thing too was the announcement during the cruise that the Plant Pure Nation movement will not end with the movie. In fact, the movie is just the beginning. Pods will be established in order to establish local chapters of the PlantPure Foundation. The purpose of these pods will be to educate local populations about the benefits of the whole food, plant-based way of eating. It is truly a grassroots effort.
I can speak to the importance of such pods. In my community, we formed a club that we call Eat Smart Live Longer (ESLL) about two years ago. In the 22 months since our formation, we have gone from approximately 45 members to 607 members today. We are making a big impact within our local community and we are being recognized by others outside of our club. There are a couple of other clubs like this as well. One that I've become very familiar with is the Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group in the Detroit, MI area. I understand that they have about 750 members. And I understand also that there may be even a larger group in the Chapel Hill, NC area.
We're a growing movement. Getting the word out through the efforts of people like Nelson Campbell and his family will be important to creating a societal tidal wave. And I believe that will come. I'm old enough to remember when everybody smoked and the tobacco industries fought hard to keep it that way. But in the end, positive change occurred. And positive change will occur again this time too. I really believe that.