Forks Over Knives with Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell and Brian Wendel
FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Dr. Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, was concerned in the late 1960’s with producing “high quality” animal protein to bring to the poor and malnourished areas of the third world. While in the Philippines, he made a life-changing discovery: the country’s wealthier children, who were consuming relatively high amounts of animal-based foods, were much more likely to get liver cancer. Dr. Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, found that many of the diseases he routinely treated were virtually unknown in parts of the world where animal-based foods were rarely consumed. FORKS OVER KNIVES utilizes state of the art 3-D graphics and rare archival footage. The film features leading experts on health, examines the question “why we don’t know”, and tackles the issue of diet and disease in a way that will have people talking for years.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Hello, I am Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me. We have a terrific show today and some wonderful guests. I’m really excited about this next hour. I love the title of this program, It’s All About Food. Everyday when I take my walk and everything I do in life. I realize that everything is connected to are food it, is all about food. Health, environment, animals, happiness, sadness, joy food is all around us it’s just so much a part of our lives and that’s why I love talking about food choices and making informed decisions about are food because it makes so much difference in our lives just by what we put in our mouths. We can make the difference between a happy healthy long life feeling vibrant and energetic and having clarity and being creative, versus feeling the complete opposite, I don’t even want to go into it.
So some of the things that are exciting today more and more people are talking about healthy diets there all kinds of plant based blogs, vegan and vegetarian blogs going on and the media is talking more about it and there’s a new documentary coming out and were going to talk about it today Forks Over Knives and I have with me or I will have with me, Lee Fulkerson the writer and director of Forks Over Knives and Brian Wendel the creator and executive producer.
Are you with me guys?
Hello, is that Brian?
Yes, Hi Caryn.
Hi! And Lee I think you were there and not there now? I’m not quite sure where he is. Okay, great. So Brian welcome to It’s All About Food, you must be really, really excited Forks over Knives is premiering May 2nd and today there is huge buzz all over the internet about you being featured on the Dr. Oz show. How does that feel?
It feels really great. It’s been a really long journey for us and we’ve had high hopes for the film from the very beginning and its nice to see that people are appreciating the film and the word is getting out there.
Well you have a very strong community the people that believe in health and wellness with food are so excited when pieces like Forks over Knives come out and we all get behind it and promote it, so just from that end alone you’re starting with a really strong support base.
Yes its great and its great to have that base and at the end of the day we really want to invite everybody to the discussion but certainly the people that are already here are certainly helping us get the word out there.
Of course and that’s the whole point of the film I think and I’m going to welcome what your goals and objectives are for the film but we need more and more information to let people know that they can make a huge difference in their life they can turn their health around for the positive and it’s so simple and it’s delicious.
So what are your goals with this film? What would you like to see happen?
Ultimately, I would like to really see that people, you know people get healthier and that they are able to make more informed decisions. You know from the time were very young we’ve been led to believe that we need animal foods in our diet that these our actually necessary components of the diet. Well in fact we’re starting to see evidence that really the opposite is true that when we leave these foods out that our health improves and so I think as the education level out there on this topic gets better and people live healthier lives that will be the objective that will be made.
Now I was reading somewhere that some of the inspiration behind this film you were reading The China Study so how has plant based food affected your personal life? When do you get on the path? I’m assuming that you are a part of what’s promoted in the film.
Yes I am it’s been a ten-year journey for me on plant foods and shortly after I went on a plant-based diet and I did mostly a whole food plant based diet. I felt better and in some ways I was kind of a little upset about things because I’ve been led to believe that these foods are so helpful for so long and I’ve been drinking a lot of milk trying to get my calcium and eating meat for protein and then by leaving those foods out I just felt so much better and their was something in me that wanted to share the joy and here I am ten years later about to come out with a film on the topic. Already people have seen the film have made changes to their diet and writing and saying how much better they feel.
Right well it’s really apparent to me that most people are affected by what they see in the media what they read in the press what they see in their magazines what they’re seeing on the internet what’s out there in films and on television and the more and more we see certain information the more we believe it whether it’s true or not and unfortunately the media has been putting up for such a long time information that’s isn’t necessary helpful or healthful and you have some little clips in the film showing how people had seen a lot of this information decades ago promoting milk, milk for babies rather than nursing and just so much stuff has been subliminal in a way building up on what we believe is true and that’s why this film and so many others like it are so important.
Yes, I certainly agree and it is something that has perpetuated over time. Like you said in the film we showing going back, people in commercials saying the importance of calcium then you still see people today getting their calcium from dairy sources. We try to show that in the film how that’s transpired literally over generations.
Is there a group that you’re targeting in this film? That you are interested in getting the message out to?
Really it’s for everybody I really didn’t think too much about targeting but obviously I think the people that are going to be most urgently moved by the film are people who have these health maladies that can be prevented and that can be treated with this diet. But no I think this is for everybody.
Right. Hey, Lee Fulkerson you’re now on with us, writer and director of Forks over Knives. Welcome! I bet you’re excited.
Oh certainly, absolutely.
So you were both on Dr. Oz?
I was on Dr. Oz. Brian was in the background being my cheerleader coach.
Okay, I haven’t seen it yet because it’s airing right now in my neighborhood. So I’ve got it recorded but that must have been a really fun experience.
It was nerve-wracking and exciting and fun all at the same time.
I had my two minutes of fame on Dr. Oz earlier last year. Did you get the nice little hummus vegetable plate in the dressing room?
I got the hummus vegetable plate in the dressing room and the water. And all of his minions and staff running round being extremely efficient and they couldn’t have made the experience more fun.
Great! Will I really hope it brings a lot of people to the theaters to see your film, it’s really important and then will there be a DVD of it as well that comes out?
Yes, there will be a DVD, the DVD doesn’t expect to be released until late summer could be late August or September really depends on the length of the theatrical run but there will be a DVD.
So were you like just over the top excited when Bill Clinton got on board with this diet and promoted Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn.
Yeah! I was hoping that he would join are PR team. (laughs) Yeah, It was a great moment when he did come out because I think it lended credibility to the cause because people know that Bill Clinton tends to research things extensively and the fact that he looked at this with so much care and came to the conclusion that he can treat his own heart condition with this diet was tremendous validation to what we were doing and the fact that he cited the two doctors in our film as having supplied the compelling evidence for him to make these changes was just incredible.
I know for a long time many of us have been screaming at our televisions wanting to get Bill Clinton on a healthier diet especially when he had his two heart attacks, I think. Didn’t he have two?
I think he had one but then he had a follow up stint a couple years later
Yeah he had two issues but I remember Dr. John McDougall who is in your film Forks over Knives had written a number of open letters to Dr. Clinton kind of encouraging him to get on a plant based diet so however he got the information it was just it was a beautiful thing.
The interesting thing is Dr. McDougall had wrote years ago that even if he had if President Clinton didn’t change his diet he’d likely be back for a procedure within five years and I remember when Dr. McDougall wrote that and sure enough and unfortunately President Clinton didn’t do that and he did come back for another procedure because a lot of times there is certainly and this is something you can talk to Dr. Esselstyn about but a lot of times these bypass surgeries expect in emergencies really don’t prevent new heart attacks or new heart issues they tend to relieve angina? [10:24] pain but they don’t tend to really deal with the underlining cause.
They don’t solve the problem and there was I think it was Dr. Esselstyn mentioned in the movie something that I’ve heard numerous times that really I think makes a point when people talk about a plant based diet being extreme. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds that’s extreme and yet cracking your sternum open, cutting near the front of your chest open and doing bypass surgery, that’s not extreme.
That’s one of the moments we get the most comments on in the film, I must say.
Yeah, well, people need to hear that over and over and over. Now Lee we talking a little bit with Brian about his journey to a plant based diet. Where are you in the food continuum?
Well I am a plant based diet eater now.
How did that happen?
Well It happened as a result of the film even though I was intellectually convinced that there was evidence in favor of it after I had read the books and starting working on the film I really had no intention at least consciously of changing my diet. Then we went to interview a couple doctors who were going to be treating some test patients in the film and we decided to shoot that interview. As I went to interview the doctors just to see how they would be on camera basically and while I was there as part of the interview process I let them give me a checkup and when I got my blood test results back I was shocked in a bad way about my blood work numbers, my cholesterol was up at 254, something like that and so I was in bad shape and so I decided to go on a plant based diet for twelve weeks and see how it went.
Right, well there are just so many stories like that and people love to hear them. People love to see real people turning their lives around. It’s very inspirational I often talk about the huge numbers that are involved. People that are dying of different diseases so unnecessarily but were overwhelmed with numbers and we love to hear personal stories. That’s a nice part of the film.
And one of the things and one of the reasons I would add that we did really was because it’s one thing to see the science but science really doesn’t mean anything unless there’s a practical application to it. And the fact is that we could literally just pull people off the streets and put them on a plant diet and these people are sick and in a matter of weeks they turn themselves around. Their heart conditions get better, diabetes conditions get better, it’s really a compelling part of the story. It really is.
So the answer is so easy and yet why is it taking so long to get the message out? Is it just money?
Lee, do you want to take this one?
I would say coming from a historical debate. I’m kind of a historian kind of a guy. I’d say there is a whole lot of cultural inertia there and you know tradition about these kinds of ways of eating that go back a long time but by now they are backed by huge amounts of money and huge business interests who have no intentions of wanting to change things. People that are in charge tend to like the status quo, you know? And so anything that comes along to upset the status quo is something they don’t practically care for and this is upsetting the status quo.
You know, what I like about your film is it focuses mostly on health and for many people that’s what’s important. There seems to be this triangular approach to encouraging people to get on this plant based diet path so there’s the health angle, there’s the environmental angle because we keep learning more and more that factory farming of animals is devastating on the environment in terms of the resources and the pollution and the global warming that it creates. And there is, to me the most important thing but not necessarily to everyone else and that is the pain and suffering we cause to other animal species that we share this planet with that we use for food. Okay and so the health angle is great a lot of people, yes?
I’m just saying for the record I feel that’s an important issue as well and we do touch upon it in the film.
It’s just that the health issue is just such a big topic we really wanted to focus on that for this film but there’s other great films out there that do address the animal issue which definitely is a big thing and there is also the issue with the environment but again the health issue theme it needed it’s own film in our opinion.
Absolutely. Who came up with the title? I love Forks over Knives.
That was a actually, a friend came up with Fork over Scalpel and that turned into Forks over Knives.
No, Its beautiful really I love it, it says it all.
Thank you, thank you very much.
Well, one of the things I was getting with I don’t know if your familiar with some of the proposal legislation in the House and in the Senate that’s trying to make it illegal or a felony or some criminal act to go into some of the animal factory farms and take footage of the horrors that are going on and it’s just frightening, it’s like big brother magnified. I don’t know how you feel about it or one of the good thing about this is it’s a different angle and it’s accomplishing the same goal but a different approach. We need it all. I don’t know it’s just scary and then we have what are government also doesn’t seem to make the connection. We keep talking about our budget and how we need to reduce costs and nobody’s talking about – let’s get this country healthy because our health care costs would disappear.
The undercover camera issue I would just say there is nobody out there worrying about people videotaping the growing of potatoes or mangoes.
We can see things with undercover cameras.
Yeah, because we can see what’s going on.
Yeah, that’s unfortunate. Do you have future film plans?
Lee and I have talked kind of in broad talks about another ideas but right now we really, we’re really focused on this getting this film out is just a very big project and the good news is a lot of people like the film and there’s a lot of demand for it and that really keeps us busy and focused on this right now. Because just were kind of were a small group of independent filmmakers and right now we just have to have all our energy here to make sure this one does well.
Do you have families? Each one of you? Are they supportive of the diet? Are they participating? I always like to know what’s going at the individual level because that’s one of the areas that’s really difficult for people when their families members aren’t on board.
In my case, a lot of my family is actually but of my brothers are. My younger brother and I went vegan at the same time and my older brother just in the last year.
And then my Dad and his wife are both plant based eaters within the last year and a half just when I got into this project but all of them have supported me 100% from the beginning and that has really really helped us in the making of this project, absolutely.
That was Brian?
That was Brian.
For me, my mom is not plant-based but she’s trying to move in that direction. I’ve given her The China Study to read and she is finding it very interesting but she’s making slow progress. So I think when I get a copy of the DVD of the movie I’m going to sit down and show it to her and make the big push then.
You’ve done a lot of interesting films and I want to encourage the listeners to go to the website http://www.forksoverknives.com/ you can find out about the film you can read about the cast and crew and you get the biographies on my two guests today but Lee you’ve been involved in lots of other films have they impacted you in the same way?
Oh, no. Not at all, those many of them I am very proud of they were all done for television and there’s loads of things I’m still very passionate about history. So a lot of historical documentaries I’ve done I’m very proud of but this is just a completely different animal and has touched my life personally in a way that those other films haven’t. I mean I never changed my diet or my lifestyle as a result of doing any of the other movies so I’ve got to say that this one stands out in that regard.
I’m glad to hear that. I’ve heard numerous stories of people that are involved in work. The actor that was in the movie Babe, James… help me with his name the one who played the farmer. Anyway he went vegan after getting involved in the film.
Go ahead, I’m sorry.
Yeah. No, no please.
I was going say the one amazing thing so many of the people that worked on the film started out as omnivores if you will. Have changed their diet it’s been absolutely incredible. I mean everybody from the producer and co-producers some of the editors even a new member of my marketing team watched it. The gentlemen who did the music composition from his house just from doing the music changed his diet as well as his wife and their daughter changed her diet. So its amazing how people have evolved who’ve worked on this project when they’ve come across this material its been very impactful in peoples lives.
Well, you have to feel really good about that and that’s the whole point. Getting the truth out and its so obvious once you put it all together and then you got two, really heroes in my book, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell, their both such good men.
And I love how you parallel their stories because they are in so many ways so similar and they don’t look identical but their tall, slim, handsome their approaching eighty and just amazing men.
They are and it was a great blessing for the movie that their stories happen to parallel so well because that just made it a great thing to hang that movie on.
Okay, so is there anything else you want to add? I am waiting for Dr. Campbell to join us it’s just about time for him to come on but he’s not here yet so anything you want to add about the film or invite people to know about?
I’d just say that we are in theaters in New York and LA May Sixth and were in twenty markets beginning May Thirteenth and were actually were in twenty markets between May Thirteenth and May Twentieth but we are planning a significant expansion of the release after that and we hope to be all over the country by June.
Is there any plan to target some of the government? To try and get some of our representatives to see the film? And get involved and learn this information.
I think kind of my immediate goal is to get it out in a mass way because I think the politicians will follow. Its kind of funny that there called leaders but..
There followers, absolutely!
There followers and really the change isn’t going to happen in that realm until the people start requesting the change and right now I am just focused on getting the movie to the people.
Okay! Well, thank you so much Lee Fulkerson and Brian Wendel the creators and writers for the new movie Forks over Knives. Thank you for your time and I wish you so much success with this film.
Thank you, very much.
Thank you for being here.
Transcribed 12/27/2013 by Sabrina Benitez
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: I would like to welcome Dr. T. Colin Campbell; Dr. Campbell are you with me?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: I am, thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Hi, how are you doing?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Good.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s good to talk to you again. You’re one of my heroes!
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: So how are you handling all the excitement that’s going on over your film?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Oh, it’s just a lot of fun. I’m really happy to see that more and more people are getting interested in this in this idea. And the film has played a major role in causing this to happen.
Caryn Hartglass: You won’t remember this but the first time I met you in 1996, I had come back from living in France and wanted to get more involved in the veg community and a bunch of us drove up to Cornell and you were having a meeting with Jay Dinshah and Freya Dinshah and a number of other people. I’m not exactly sure what we were talking about and there weren’t many people there; but remembering that I am so impressed with how long you have been on this path and have been involved in so many major events and big projects as well as the little ones, and you just support them all with a great amount of integrity. You’re just an amazing individual.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Well thank you so much. I like science, that’s what it’s all about; it’s a lot of fun.
Caryn Hartglass: You’ve done a great amount of work; I invite people to go to your website tcolincampbell.org and also the thechinastudy.com. One of the things I was just talking about with Lee and Brian is the family; you have your lovely wife Karen, your son Thomas and you all seem to be on the same path. They’ve been a part of this whole plant based journey. Has it always been this way? Have they always been with you?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Obviously our family has been a close family for many, many years but we really got to eating this way starting in late 70s or the early 80s. So we finished up the task I guess later in the 80s, maybe 1990 when we went the whole way. We actually have five grown children and five grand children and another on the way. And all of us are 100%, 100% in the sense that we all do this. So it’s a lot of fun.
Caryn Hartglass: That certainly helps. I know a lot of people struggle because they can’t get their family members on board; and you’re really a great model.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Why thank you. I have the advantage too of being in the lab and being of the scientific community and really seeing and talking about it. Maybe sometimes my family’s getting tired of me talking about it! But to any case it was impressive. And so as we all learned and we learned together in a way.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, I want to know why aren’t you just sitting back and taking it easy. You just keep adding, you keep putting this message out there. You are non-stop working on and on.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Well I don’t feel like sitting back and just resting I guess. I don’t feel like saying my time is up; I really want to continue working on it especially now when so many people want an opportunity to visit with me. And I think there’s nothing more gratifying then meeting people who choose to try this.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s magical.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: And I really don’t know what to expect in many cases, and they turn around and get these remarkable results, and that is gratifying; to see people getting well.
Caryn Hartglass: We really live in this crazy sci-fi kind of world, don’t we?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: That’s right.
Caryn Hartglass: The solution is so simple and so many people just are resisting, and it must be frustrating. But on the other hand, those that go. And you have so many cases on your website; you’ve got all kinds of information, and peoples’ stories talking about how the plant-based diet has helped them. It’s a beautiful story.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Oh, thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: So, we were talking a little about Bill Clinton and that must have felt very gratifying that he was influenced by your work.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Yeah, it surely was. We could hardly get a better voice than that I think. And I’ve since referred to him as one of the greatest scientists that has come along in the past two to three centuries.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmm hmm…
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: I’m kidding! I mean we honor him as an honorary scientist these days.
Caryn Hartglass: Well he is smart. I don’t think anyone questions that he is smart and I just wonder why he didn’t get this information sooner.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Well it’s interesting you should ask that question because he first heard about it at least from me maybe three years ago when a mutual friend of ours, the former governor of North Carolina Jim Hunt; we were together on a board and Jim had asked me for a couple copies of the book and get them autographed because he was going to give them to President Clinton. And he did. And I got a hand-written note from back from him. But I wasn’t sure how much he had actually read it because I hadn’t personally met him except for one occasion but we didn’t talk about it. But in any case he had it and I’ve heard him make comments a couple times on the TV referring to some specific facts. And I said to myself “That’s written in our book, I wonder if he had it read it”. That went on for two to three years and then I got word that he took it seriously. I guess his daughter really played a role in that too.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. Well, that’s great. Okay, so did you have fun being on Dr. Oz again?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Yes. That was certainly fun to join my good friend Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Barnard and Lee came along that was great; to be interviewed as well and Rip, as a whole on several networks.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk a little about your Book, The China Study; because it’s a phenomenal work. And what I enjoyed most about it was all the work you’ve done with the government sitting on panels, and being surprised again and again how people were making the wrong decisions; kind of in support of their corporations.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Yeah, absolutely. That activity was extraordinarily educational for me because I could see in a period of 20+ years where science gets interpreted through public information and public policy. And I wish a grant, I must admit; to see how just a turn of words and adjectives and things like that set the numbers differently. To reflect a particular point of view really could have major effects in terms of public information. And I really found it not fun, that part was distressing I think. We just couldn’t speak it out.
Caryn Hartglass: The people, do you think they understood the science, or did they not want to understand the science?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Combination of things. I mean the panels I was sitting on obviously included a variety of scientists some of whom really hadn’t worked in the area I had worked in that much. So I think in their part they thought they were saying the right things and being reasonably conservative in saying it. And that’s one of the features of a panel like this. If you get ten to fifteen people on a panel, often times the report comes out sort of meeting the least common denominator. It tends to be quite conservative and people are not willing to go beyond what they think is truly true. So there’s just that sort of flaw that exists in these panels. But then, there were people too that I knew who quite frankly associated with the industries and getting paid for, that’s were their bread and butter seemed to be. So they were saying things that clearly reflected their personal biases or maybe their professional biases. So it was a combination of things. And the other thing is I’m writing a second book now that I’m trying to explore this idea a bit. We all live within this cocoon, this paradigm, of Western thought about health and about the role of food in health. And it’s a paradigm that has cultivated for decades even more than a century. And it’s gotten to a point now where most people in the populated places in a sense, “know something” when in fact they really don’t.
Caryn Hartglass: Right.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: But you know we go around saying these kinds of things to each other. And it was part of the game too, growing up. And some of the things we discovered in the laboratory were quite shocking to me. I said “What’s going on here, let’s explore this further. So the idea of trying to cut through the borders or to go beyond the borders of what we tend to think is difficult at times.
Caryn Hartglass: Well you have to commend yourself to have been open to the information you found because as you’re saying they’re actually been studies talking about scientists, even though they think they’re designing their experiments objectively; there is something underneath that puts a subjective slant on it.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Yeah there truly is and we like to think that science is objective and I think the vast majority of them try to be so but they’re still encumbered with the boundaries of this environment and this invisible boundary, they’re kind of stuck there. I owed a lot of this to my father I have to say, he passed away many years ago but he only had three years of education actually.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmm…
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: I was the first to go to college and he was anxious for me and my brothers to go to school and he always used to say the honest man had a great reputation. He used to say, “Always tell the truth, no matter what”. I was the oldest and sometimes I wondered about his advice. If you tell him the truth as you saw it, it would get you in trouble.
Caryn Hartglass: And you have gotten in trouble a few times.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: But any how that’s obviously the only way to live, mind you.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Be true. Well, we love you for that and all the work you have done and all the people that you have definitely helped. So where do you see us going as a society? I think there’s a change happening, is going to happen soon enough? Our healthcare costs are so tremendous.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: I think actually things are going to happen faster than what we realize.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmm hmm…
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: There are two to three different reasons you just mentioned one. That is the great pressure we now deal as a society. Our health care system is in the ruts. We gotta make change, a lot of people know that. It breaks the bank, there’s no question about that. So that kind of pressure exists coming from people who would have never thought about food in this way, but they’re certainly interested, and I sense that.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmm hmm. I don’t read about it but I’m glad you sense it.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Yeah I really do and I’ve given, gosh more than two-hundred lectures I’m sure, since the book came out. And I speak now mostly to medical conferences and medical schools. So I’m really gratified to see the professionals step up and say “What is this you’re talking about” kind of thing.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: That’s kind of fun. So I think things are changing because the pressures that exist but then there’s a second reason; and that is that the technology we have today to communicate is extraordinary as you know. And with the network of social media, technologies, and other kinds of communication we have at our finger tips; word spreads about things very fast.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we’re definitely seeing that with the political climate in the Middle East and it’s like wildfire.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Well let’s make our own revolution here in this country in the area of health.
Caryn Hartglass: Whoo-hoo!
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: And I know that’s it’s all possible, because all people need to do is try and see what happens.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, the amazing this is that there is really no cost-individual costs. It’s just about changing what you’re eating; and it doesn’t really require anything, except ones own personal determination.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: That’s right, absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well that’s really inspiring. Okay we have things to look forward to.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: We have, I should say in partly to answer your question. My sons and I, and my daughter too; we have some ideas we’re working on now. And very specific ideas that I would like to flesh out and talk about, in the next few months or so.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, will we hear about that on your website?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Yeah, we’ll get around doing it that way too. I don’t have the time first though, but I mean; we have some serious things in mind, I just want to leave that. We’re not floundering I guess you could say. We do have some very crystallized ideas I think.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well that’s exciting. I’m glad to hear that there are things on the horizon to look forward to. And if it’s coming from you, it’s going to be good.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Thank you very much!
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well, do you have any other words to share on the film Forks Over Knives, before I let you go?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: No, just to say something positive I really sincerely mean that, I think my friends, Brian Wendel and Lee Fulkerson and John Corry and company, Allison Boon, that was the crew.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmm Hmm…
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: They hadn’t done this kind of thing, well Lee Fulkerson did, he’s a real pro and John Corry had been in the business. But Brian pulled us all together. And they have just done a fantastic job. I just can’t complement them enough.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay well we’re really glad they made the film. We need more and more films like this. People need to be flooded with this information because unfortunately people need to hear this information over and over before they get it.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Can I mention one more thing?
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely!
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: In our foundation web – we have a foundation just for the purpose of education in the present time. And we have an online course on there. It started out with lectures I had been giving at Cornell in a course. And then later was joined by all the people that got involved too. That course is online and we offer it with the company that currently owns Cornell University, who does online courses. E-Cornell, and our foundation; we put out this course and it’s been up now for maybe two and a half years. It’s fantastic. We just got the way it’s really flying off the handle, we just got accreditation for nineteen medical education credits, for doctors. So doctors who don’t get trained in this area are now taking it and starting to really come. I’m not sure how we’re going to keep up it!
Caryn Hartglass: Wow. That’s great news. That’s exciting.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: It’s a very exciting opportunity.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well tcolincampbell.org that’s the website; go there and learn. Thank you Dr. Campbell.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: I appreciate it.
Caryn Campbell: And I look forward to speaking to you again soon. Bye!
Transcribed 12/26/2013 by Mohammad Maaz
TRANSCRIPTION PART III
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food, and we’re here talking about the new documentary Forks Over Knives which will be premiering in theatres on May 2nd. My next guest is Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. and he is the author of a wonderful book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. He’s got a wonderful website http://heartattackproof.com/ and is associated with his great work with the Cleavland Clinic Wellness Institute. Welcome, Dr. Esselstyn.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Good afternoon.
Caryn Hartglass: How are you?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: I’m fine, thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Great. Well, I was just talking to Dr. Campbell and both of you are two of my favorite heroes.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Oh, well I heard a good portion of that.
Caryn Hartglass: And I have had the good fortune to hear you a number of times and meet, and, as well, your wife, and the two of you are a remarkable team. I love all the work you’ve been doing for a long time. Just speaking of family, you have four children and I’m trying to glean some of the information from the website, but you’ve been on this health path for over twenty-five years, the plant-based food path.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: That’s right.
Caryn Hartglass: And has your family been along with you on the path all along?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Oh yeah. Totally.
Caryn Hartglass: Because that’s always a challenging thing when the family, especially the children. And so your son, Rip Esselstyn, is right there too with his own book and spreading the message as well so you’re a great team. You’ve seen some amazing things with heart disease and some of the stories talked about in the film Forks Over Knives, but what is it like when people come to you and they’ve basically been given a death sentence where there is no hope?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Well, that was sort of the group that we started with. We had considerable guidance from the global review that I had done before we ever started the research because even today, if you were a cardiac surgeon, and you were to take your business and hang up your shingle in rural China or the Papua Highlands in New Guinea or the Central Africa or the Tara Humara Indians in Northern Mexico forget it. You better plan on selling pencils.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s no business.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Heart disease is virtually non-existent in these nations because their cultures, by heritage and tradition, are plant-based and they just are not eating any of the building blocks for heart disease and that is what is so striking. When you take patients, even those who have failed their first or second bypass, they’ve failed their first or second angioplasty, they are too sick for these procedures or, as in our original group, there were five who were told by expert cardiologists that they wouldn’t live out the year. Low and behold, those five made it well beyond twenty years and everybody after twelve years, who was totally compliant, had put an end to any progression in their disease and we often found striking reversal or regression of the disease. The body has an incredible capacity to restore itself once that the injury is no longer occurring.
Caryn Hartglass: It has an incredible capacity and it is relatively quick, isn’t it?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Yeah, but as my friend, Dr. Ornish, confirmed as well, the patients that do it and do it completely are the ones that just absolutely sparkle. And we’ve just now been looking up, not beyond our original research group, but we are just about to report on another two hundred patients where again with over 92 percent compliance the disease is halted, it’s ended. It is just so powerful to think that compared to what sadly we are doing today in heart disease that we are using drugs, we are using procedures, using operations which are truly life-saving in an emergency or a heart attack, but for the majority of patients, the reason they don’t get well and they have to get their first or second stint, or their first or second bypass, is because even in those who do these procedures, they don’t treat the causation of the disease. And somehow, years ago, with physicians who were treating heart disease they kind of gave up on the idea that patients would ever really change their behavior. That’s what we’ve challenged and founded: that that is totally untrue.
Caryn Hartglass: I wanted to bring that up because I had a visit not too long ago with a cardiologist just for a baseline of a number of things and I had a discussion with him. He just kind of glossed over the first few things that you need for heart health. He went “Diet and exercise … and you need to take these drugs.” Why is it that so many cardiologists and doctors really believe that people don’t want to change? And yet I think that if the doctors told them “This is it,” they would have a lot more motivation.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Well, they’re a number of things obviously now that have come into play. One is the fact that most physicians have seen twenty or twenty-five patients a day and they don’t have the time to do the counseling themselves. They don’t have the passion for this. The truth be known, physicians really never get the training in nutrition; they really don’t possess the skillset for it. So, what is very frustrating to them is that the most powerful tool that we have for ending this disease is something with which they are not familiar. Now also we can’t overlook the fact that in the present-time, there is no insurance mechanism or reimbursement for physicians who are committed to this counseling endeavor. It’s very hard for physicians to be enthusiastic about spending a great deal of time and effort on something for which they are not being reimbursed. Hopefully that will change as time goes on and as insurance companies begin to come on board with this
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we were talking about it earlier and has to change. We read all the time about how our healthcare costs are probably one of the largest chunks in the country’s budget and we don’t have better healthcare than other developed countries. It might even be worse than most of them yet we have the highest costs. We need to change.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: It could turn around in a heartbeat. I think the reason we feel that we can succeed with this is that right now we have sort of fine-tuned our counseling approach because so many of our patients come from out-of-state when they come to the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute where I direct the prevention and reversal of cardiovascular disease program. These people obviously can’t come to Cleveland and stay for a number of days at a time so we, about a decade ago, pretty well perfected this very intense counseling seminar which lasts for about five hours. We start at about nine o’clock in the morning, finish at two. They give them a forty-four-page handout of a couple of scientific articles and a signed copy of the book . Plus we go over in great detail exactly what is the science behind what has caused their illness. We do this with an opportunity for them to understand the presentation by sort of getting rid of the medical jargon or where necessary converting the medical jargon and into something they can understand and be comfortable with and really grasp. Here are patients who have had failed bypasses and failed stints, and have had stents and bypasses but don’t want to have anymore of these, or they’ve had a heart attack and they just simply want to end it. It’s very very exciting for them to recognize the fact that wait a minute, here is a physician spending five hours on this, I really begin to understand that this is pretty darn important, this is how I got the disease in the first place. For instance, if you happen to get poison ivy we don’t spend the day talking to you about different potions, creams, and salves that we can keep putting on this throughout the summer. We are often guided by saying “You know those funny little three leaves in the backyard? I want you to no longer crawl through those.” It’s something that really has been a basic covenant of trust since the days of Hippocrates: to really inform patients on the causation of their disease. When they do this, we have an incredible track record of success. But here we have the leading killer of women and men in Western Civilization where literally physicians are not doing this. And if the patients should bring it up, they are often insulted.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s true. Now, I hear this a lot, you probably do too, but people say “We are all going to die, so why don’t I just eat what I want to eat?”
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Beg your pardon? I really would like to spend the last fifteen years of my life drooling out of a wheelchair after I’ve had a stroke. Come on. We can do better than that.
Caryn Hartglass: How quickly can things turn around if someone has high blood pressure, for example? And what do they have to do to make a change?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Well, everybody is different. Whether it’s high blood pressure they’ve got or diabetes type two or cardiovascular disease of the carotid to the brain, the vessels to the legs, or the coronary arteries to the heart, what I try to do is to get patients to understand the following: that what we understand about heart disease today (and all experts pretty well agree on this) that what really breaks down at the outset is that we begin to injure the lifeguard or the guardian of our blood vessel which is that marvelous layer of cells that is one cell layer thick and it has this enchanting name: the endothelium. The endothelial cell has a remarkable job of making this amazing molecule that protects it and it’s a gas that is called nitric oxide. That’s where it comes from. You don’t get this from a pill. You get nitric oxide from your food, from the endothelial cells themselves manufacture it. What was so sad about our country that we see at the start is that if you look at the autopsy results of our GIs who die in Korea and Vietnam, by age twenty, eighty percent of them will already have coronary artery disease that you can see without a microscope. Somebody would say “Well wait a minute, maybe that’s the stress of the military.” So forty years later it was repeated, this time with women and men between the ages of seventeen and thirty-four. Low and behold, the disease is now ubiquitous. Those are people who died of accidents, homicides, and suicides and so nobody is really escaping. It’s not enough at that age to have the clinical cardiac event, but there it is already established. Why? Because going back to what I just said about the endothelium and the nitric oxide. Every time certain foods pass our lips, the endothelium is injured. So the level of nitric oxide we have when we are five, six, and seven years of age may be up as high as our eyebrows. By the time we are teenagers, it is down by our waist and by the time we are fifty and sixty it’s down at our toes. There’s not enough nitric oxide left to even protect us from making all of these blockages. What really happens to these patients, and it’s a long way of answering your question, is when patients just get it and they stop every last morsel of food that is going to injure their endothelium it begins to recover. We often see patients who will either have a marked lessening or diminution of their chest pain within ten days to two weeks and sometimes it will be completely gone at that time. It’s very very impressive and everybody is going to be a little different. The same thing applies to their blood pressure: as the artery begins to restore, its elasticity becomes more flexible and responsive. Again, in some patients this may be several weeks, others may take longer.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. There’s a great graphic example in the film, Forks Over Knives, about the endothelium and how it works which makes it very easy to understand what is going on. Let’s see, we just have a couple minutes left. I was commending Dr. Campbell and I wanted to do that for you too. You’re at a time in your life where you’ve done so much incredible work and you can just sit back and relax and enjoy it all, yet you’re just non stop, keep going, putting this information out there. What motivates you?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: I think that as exciting as my surgical career was, here I am, ten years since I’ve retired from surgery and I find myself really more passionate about medicine than perhaps ever before because I really feel that with the information we have now, I mean we really don’t have to even discover anything more. We are at the cusp of what could absolutely be a seismic revolution in health. That is a revolution that is not going to come because we discover another pill or because we discover another procedure or operation. This revolution can come about when we understand the need to show the public and get them to become educated with enough nutritional literacy that they can make the kind of selections of nutrients that will protect them from having an absolute whole host of common chronic killing diseases. Everything from diabetes, hypertension, obviously heart disease, strokes. Mark Diminution of the common Western cancers of breast, prostate, colon, gallstones, osteoporosis…
Caryn Hartglass: And on and on and on and on…
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: …and rheumatoid, lupus, allergies, asthma. It’s very impressive.
Caryn Hartglass: Don’t you want to just burst sometime? You have the answer. You know that if the whole world would just get it, what an amazing thing this would be. It makes me want to scream sometimes but you can’t because then people won’t listen to you.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: And also, as Colin mentioned, that we are fortunate. We are quite optimistic because of the new electronic ways of communicating. Many people will be able to hear this message. Before, obviously, the tremendous work of Forks Over Knives was so uptaken with the generosity of Brian Wendell who funded and was the producer of Forks Over Knives, John Corry and Allison Boon, Lee Fulkerson and all who were deeply committed to make this a real goal, to try to share it with the public, some of the information that is out there and that is known. And of course we are up against a tremendous lobby of resistance here. Can you imagine when just today on National television on The OZ Show, Mehmet Oz was with Neil Barnard and they were more or less going over, very clearly on the foods one should eliminate to gain optimal health. This included meat, dairy, and oils. Can you imagine the tremendous lack of enthusiasm from the people who were manufacturing those products? They are really going to fight tooth and nail to hold on to the fact that they want America to continue to consume these foods, which is going to guarantee that sadly millions will perish. The economics of this gets to be very exciting.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, exciting and interesting and that’s the end of our show. I hope the fight is short and quick and we get to the good part sooner than later. Thank you so much. Thank you for all of your work. Visit http://heartattackproof.com/ to learn more about Dr. Esselstyn and his fabulous career. Go to http://www.forksoverknives.com/ to find out where you can see the documentary, Forks Over Knives. Thank you for joining me. Thank you Dr. Esselstyn and have a delicious week. This has been It’s All About Food.
Transcribed by Alysa Bushert, 2/9/2014