PlanEat Review 06/08/11
Robyn Eldon shares her experience of the PlanEat premiere in Johannesburg.
Last Sunday The Bioscope Independent Theatre screened a fantastic documentary called Planeat which details the link between our dietary choices and the impact these choices have on our present, and future, planet.
It features interviews with the Drs and scientists at the fore-front of research into the benefits of a plant based diet for health and the environment; Dr T Colin Campbell, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, Professor Gidon Eshel and Professor Peter Singer.
For more than forty years Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been invested in his research into nutrition, having spent more than 70 grant-years of reviewed scientific research (run concurrently) resulting in the publishing of The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health. He is currently the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. After years of surgically treating an ever increasing amount of patients with heart disease, he decided to search for the root cause of the problem: what the patients were putting in their mouths. He placed 18 of his patients requiring surgical intervention on a plant-based diet and monitored their progress. What he discovered was amazing. Out of the 18 people, 17 totally halted or REVERSED their heart disease to the point where they live medication free and suffer from not one cardiac event. The 18th person? Well he “strayed from the flock” as Dr Esselstyn put it, and began consuming animal proteins again. As his symptoms returned and progressed, he quickly retreated back to his recommended plant based diet.
Dr. Eshel’s technical work focuses on “mechanisms of climate variability in the Earth’s subtropics, climate predictability and statistical climatology, and simple numerical modeling of geophysical fluids.” What that mouthful means, in short, is that Dr Eshel has analysed mountains of scientific data collected from the various steps of food production, both meat and vegetable, all pointing to a carnivorous diet being severely detrimental to our environment and the longevity of our mother Earth. With colleague Pam Martin of the University of Chicago, he authored Diet, Energy and Global Warming, which is on the list of the American Geophysical Union’s most downloaded papers.
Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He discusses the ethical issues surrounding our meat- and dairy-rich diet at the detriment of other species.
VERDICT: It is a brilliant eye-opener for those who haven’t got round to reading what these brilliant minds have been up to, or as in my case, a chance to put faces to the names and see them in action. Despite coming from different scientific backgrounds, each one has, through their own independent research, come to the same conclusion. We are causing disease and illness in ourselves as well as the planet.
As Dr Campbell ends off with in Planeat, risking his professional reputation and with many stumbling blocks, nothing will stand his way as this information “is too important, people have to know”.
Don’t miss the Cape Town screenings next month.
Dates & times:
1st July at 18:15,
3rd July at 18:15 and
4th July at 20:30
Venue: Labia Theatre, Orange Street, Cape Town
Cost: R25 a ticket
More details here.