The more food that goes directly from the ground to one's mouth, the more nutrients will enter the body to help ensure a healthier, more enjoyable life, according to one local health advocate.
Nancy Brennan, the chairwoman for Seventh-day Adventist Church of Fort Smith's Health and Temperance Committee, is telling people this and more to help promote an upcoming special screening of the documentary "Forks Over Knives." The free screening, which is part of the church's outreach program, is for all ages and will begin at 3 p.m. Sept. 16 at the church, 2000 Louisville St., she said.
"This documentary was filmed in 2011 by Luke Fulkerson, and the information in the film is from prestigious medical officials in this country," Brennan said. "Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a clinician and cardiologist, and Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a biochemist, are in the film. They each were doing studies on the major health problems that we have in this country, which include obesity, heart problems, cancer and diabetes."
The two doctors "found each other" and later revealed their results to the public, she said.
"They came up with astounding statistics on how diet and exercise affect the major diseases that plague our society," Brennan said. "It's astounding the difference that diet and exercise make, hence the name of the film, 'Forks Over Knives' — forks, for what you put in your mouth, over knives, being surgical knives. That's the analogy here — avoid surgeries, especially heart bypass, by what we put in our mouths."
In addition to the movie screening, various food samples made from healthy recipes will be available to those who attend, she said. These "tasty" items will be plant-based and will surprise guests "in a good way," Brennan said.
"These will be whole foods; in other words, no processed foods," she said. "Sweeteners will be natural sweeteners, and there will be things like agave nectar and honey. Everything will be whole grains instead of processed white flour and things like that."
A question-and-answer session will follow the movie screening to help reinforce and add healthy facts, statistics and more to the discussion, Brennan said.
"This is a major outreach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; we're also doing the Health Expo from 1-5 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Alma Community Center, 114 Collum Lane in Alma," she said. "It's a goal to try and help people regain and retain their health — the health that God designed for our bodies."
Many people fall prey to unhealthy living and a lack of exercise simply due to busy schedules and "forgetting how good healthy food" tastes, Brennan said.
"It's a paradigm shift for folks to think that what they are putting in their mouths has such a huge impact on how we feel and what diseases we have or can avoid," she said. "I think it's hard for people to think just what we eat can keep us healthy, but through personal experience, I know this absolutely works."
Lea Treshnell, communications secretary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, agreed.
"I think this screening will be a great event," she said. "Lots of people in our community are interested in making decisions that will change their lives. A diet such as a plant-based diet not only is a healthy lifestyle, but a delicious lifestyle.
"I have the Forks Over Knives recipe app on my phone, and it's great; it makes everything easier," Treshnell added. "I hope everyone at the event will download the app and take it with them on the go."
Brennan said she and other organizers plan to have some form of entertainment to keep the children who attend engaged.
"We feel very fortunate that the owners of the 'Forks Over Knives' film have given us this one-time license to share this documentary publicly," she said. "We'd like to fill our gym up and then some, so we're hoping for a large audience."