From our garden to our table.


by Karen Keller Capuciati

“Someone has to stand up and say that the answer isn’t another pill. The answer . . . is spinach.”
— Bill Maher

I got a text late last night. A childhood friend told me that her father has lung cancer. It was a terrible shock, and I’m pained to think that someone so wonderful as her dad now has to battle with cancer.

What I wanted to tell her, and everyone dealing with cancer — or heart disease or diabetes, for that matter — is this:

WATCH the documentary, Forks Over Knives, and watch it now, rather than later.

This 90-minute film is chock full of research and firsthand accounts that illustrate a critical central point: Eliminating or reducing the refined, processed and animal foods from our diet can prevent, stop and even reverse serious chronic diseases like those mentioned above.

After watching this film, my husband Peter and I wrote in huge letters on our kitchen blackboard: EAT PLANTS! It was like sticking a flag in the ground to emphasize our commitment, to mark our territorial intent. The facts presented in the film are so persuasive, Peter and I were compelled to make this lifestyle change immediately.

One of the studies featured in the film is the China-Cornell-Oxford Study, conducted jointly by Cornell University, the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine and the University of Oxford. The study correlated the mortality rates of various diseases with diet surveys and the blood work of 6,500 Chinese. The result? The study unearthed 94,000 correlations between diet and disease. Meat, dairy and processed foods were the specific culprits, sharing responsibility for increased disease trends discovered in the study.

Does that fact overwhelm you like it did me? Sure, I always knew there was some relationship between diet and disease, but 94,000 correlations!

Regarding cancer, Dr. Colin Campbell, one of the study’s directors and co-author of the best-selling book, The China Study, furthered his research with mice, proving that nutrients from animal food promoted cancer growth in the rodents, while nutrients from plant food decreased growth of the same cancer cells. Effectively, Campbell learned we can turn on or turn off cancer with the food we eat. So why don’t we pay more attention to our diet?

Forks Over Knives helps us see beyond the cynical marketing of the meat, dairy and fast-food industries. For example, we are told that dairy is necessary for strong healthy bones. If this were indeed true, then the nations with the highest intake of dairy should have lowest levels of osteoporosis (a degenerative bone disease). What this film uncovers is that the countries with the highest levels of calcium intake also have high levels of hip fractures, a key indicator of osteoporosis.

It seems that as a nation we continue to eat foods that are making us sick and then rely on pharmaceuticals to manage the symptoms. Frankly, seeing how diet-based treatments can produce results that endless medications cannot is powerful evidence that this film is onto something important.

I recommend you watch Forks Over Knives for the information and inspiration to take on this challenge. After watching the movie, you can decide for yourself if you, too, want to take steps to adjust your diet. At the very least, you will likely find that a change in your diet helps you sleep better, have more energy, clear your mind and feel better overall.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Eliminate animal products for just one day a week and work up to more days as you see fit. Remember, you don’t have to give up meat entirely — just cut back.
  • Think twice before buying refined processed foods. If you don’t put them in your shopping cart, you won’t eat them at home. It’s that simple.
  • Try something new. Make quinoa, if you haven’t already. It’s a “superfood” grain that is very easy to prepare. High in protein and fiber, quinoa also contains vitamins and minerals. We love it with roasted vegetables and a drizzle of vinaigrette.
  • Buy a vegetarian cookbook that looks interesting to you and try some new recipes. I like Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.
  • Be apart of Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Wellness” revolution by checking out her blog and find all kinds of inspiration and recipes for eating vegetables.
  • If you are taking medications under a doctor’s care, or in treatment for a particular condition, talk to your doctor about making diet changes.
  • Watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for more information and inspiration. In this documentary, you’ll see the lives of two men, Joe Cross and Phil Riverstone, transform as a result of a two-month juice cleanse. Not only did they both lose weight (Phil eventually lost 200 lbs.), but a nagging autoimmune condition disappeared, and along the way they also managed to shed medications they were taking (with doctor supervision, of course).
  • “But how will I get my protein?” This seems to be a common concern for those giving up meat. Remember, vegetables contain protein, too.  Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic “Meat-Free More Often: Alternate Protein Sources Promote Health.


Karen Keller Capuciati is the Co-Founder of In Care of Dad.

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