Plant-Based Diet: A Miracle Worker


When I was a senior in high school, my Anatomy and Physiology teacher played us a video called Forks Over Knives which made me realize how important our diet is to our health. The documentary shows how a plant-based diet can prolong an individual’s health and in some cases help reverse an individual’s illness. In the film there are three sick people: one has breast cancer, one has heart problems, and one has a dangerously high cholesterol level. They all follow the whole-food, plant-based diet through the consultant of a physician and they began to see a positive change in their health. I was astonished to see how much the plant-based diet changes the lives of these individuals because it was like watching a miracle happening before my eyes. I realized that the food that we choose to consume really takes a toll on our health.

Plant-based diet can be mistaken to be the same thing as vegan but there is a distinction between the two. Plant-based diet involves the consumption of whole foods such as beans, grain, fruits, vegetables. and starches. You want to try and eat foods in their most whole form which means avoiding processed foods. Vegan is avoiding the consumption and the use of animal products. Vegan involves a more political and philosophical aspect than the plant-based diet because it is deeply rooted in animal rights.

One thing that I continued to ponder about after watching the movie is that if a plant-based diet can reverse illnesses why is it not more known or recommended more often to patients by physicians or nutritionists. But after reading Roger Ebert’s review on the film, I was able to get an explanation. Moving to a plant-based diet is a big step and only a few doctors are willing to suggest proper nutrition to their patients “as an alternative to pills, stents, and bypasses.” An ancient Egyptian proverb that was mentioned in the movie says, “One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keep your doctor alive”. In America now, we can find many cases that proves this quotation to be a more accurate proverb like those demonstrated in the movie. Many Americans are facing health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many others.

The bibliography that follows includes a review of the film Forks Over Knives and three articles: one examines the environmental impact of the plant-based diet through a French study, the second is by Rosane Oliveira in which she distinguishes the difference between plant-based diet from vegan diet, and the third is by Robb Wolf and he explains what a Paleo diet is. Together, these sources explain what a whole food, plant-based diet and it’s affect on the environment.

Whether these annotations will help prepare me for a future writing of my own, I do not know. But I can say that the information that I have learned through this research has changed my perspective on how our health and the environment is greatly affected by what we choose to consume each day of our lives.

Annotated Bibliography

Ebert, Roger. Forks Over Knives Movie Review (2011). All Content. 11 May, 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

In Roger Ebert’s review on the documentary Forks Over Knives, he discusses how he believes that the film could actually save an individual’s life and how the film has transformed his lifestyle in a positive way. Like the doctors and nutritionists in the documentary, Ebert thinks that every individual should maintain a vegetarian based diet in order to be healthy and he is convinced that “we are raising the first generation of children who will not live as long as their parents.”

Gerken, James. “Plant-Based Diets’ Environmental Impact Examined In French Study”. The Huffington Post., 14 Apr. 2013. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

In the article “Plant-Based Diets’ Environmental Impact Examined In French Study”, James Gerken reports about a French study that was conducted to analyze the amount of gas emissions generated through the production of plants, fish, meat, and fowl. Food production such as fruits and vegetables don’t constitute as much greenhouse gas as raising livestocks but it still makes up fifteen to thirty percent of greenhouse gas emissions in development countries. In the study, two thousand French adults were analyzed on their eating habits by using a food diary for seven days between 2006 and 2007. Nicole Darmon was the study’s senior author from the National Research Institute of Agronomy in Marseille, France and in the study she closely examined the food diaries to “compare the nutritional quality of people’s real-world diets and how much greenhouse gas they produced” along with her colleagues. Through the diaries, the researchers were able to determine the four hundred most commonly consumed food and a database was used to see how much greenhouse gas was emitted to produce each one. As a result, about 1,600 grams of carbon dioxide were emitted per 100 grams of meat produced which is fifteen times the amount of fruits, vegetables, and starches. Darmon and her colleagues found that fruit, vegetables, and fish which are considered the “highest-quality” diet emitted about the same amount of greenhouse gas as “low-quality” diets that are high in sweets and salt.

Oliveira, Rosane. “The Great Vegan vs.Plant-Based Debate.” UC Davis Integrative Medicine       Program. UC Davis University of California, 19 Feb 2015. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

The distinction between a plant-based diet from a vegan diet can be confusing. Rosane Oliveira is the Founding Director of the Integrative Medicine program at the University of California Davis and she distinguishes the difference and similarities between whole food, plant-based diet and vegan. Oliveira explains that a whole food, plant-based diet focuses on whole or minimally processed plants like nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and seeds while avoiding food that derived from animals. The main purpose of a plant-based diet is to nourish the body with food that contain its natural nutrients. A whole food, plant-based diet is mainly about what to include in your diet while a vegan diet is about what to exclude in your diet.

A vegan diet focuses on avoiding the consumption of any animal proteins or animal-based foods but it doesn’t exclude highly processed food like cheese, meat substitutes, and candies. The vegan lifestyle doesn’t only encompass about what to eat but also the “philosophy of life which fights against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation.” Vegans don’t use animals in any shape or form. They don’t wear animal skin, don’t use any products that include animals, and reject any products that have been tested on animals.

Wolf, Robb. “What Is The Paleo Diet?”  Robb Wolf. Robb Wolf, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 6 Dec. 2015

In “What Is The Paleo Diet?”, Robb Wolf explains the components of maintaining the Paleo diet and it’s impact on the body. The Paleo diet is like another form of the plant-based diet. A healthy paleo diet consists of food such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish oil, and grass-fed meat. The intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants increases while grains. legumes, and dairy decreases because they are believed to be at odds with the body’s health.Some of the benefits of the Paleo diet includes improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity. Wolf also mentions that wild meat is actually remarkably lean it contains a lower amount of saturated fats compared to grain fed animals. Wild meat also contains a significant amount of omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. The Paleo diet is known to have reversed the symptoms of insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes. Wolf states, “our Paleolithic ancestors and contemporarily studied hunter gatherers showed virtually no heart attack or stroke while eating ancestral diets.”


Q&A with Chuck Klosterman

On Friday morning, Chuck Klosterman held a Q&A session at Lenior Rhyne University. Chuck Klosterman is one of the featured authors in Lenior Rhyne’s Visiting Writers Series and he is a pop culture critic. In class, we read his article “My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead” and in groups we analyzed it. During his Q&A session, Klosterman didn’t mention his work “My Zombie, Myself,” but he did talk about his other writings.

Klosterman started off the session by having a discussion on science. He mentions Thomas Kuhn and says that Kuhn sees science to be subjective and not objective which is the opposite of how general scientists sees it. Kuhn believes that he science he studies is more than in depth the basic science that other scientists studies which caused many scientists to dislike him. Klosterman says that science doesn’t evolve slowly but instead it evolves in bursts.

The subject of Klosterman’s second discussion was about technology but specially about his experience of life change through technology. He began the discussion with an excerpt from one of his upcoming books. He mentions that when he was in college in North Dakota, only two students had emails and that he did not think that the internet had a chance of becoming popular. Now in modern time, the internet is involved in the majority of everything that we do. The internet is evolving our practicality. Klosterman believes that the impact of the internet is so strong that it has reinvented things that don’t even involve or affect the internet. The internet helps emerge the past with the present.

For the last fifteen minutes of the session Klosterman asked for questions. One of the questions asked was which book should a reader start if they have never ready any of his books before and he said that his opinion of his own books differs from what his audiences’ opinion. He personally liked his first book the most and his most successful book is actually his least favorite book. He said that if he had to recommend one of his books then it would be Killing Yourself to Live.

Work Cited

Klosterman, Chuck. “My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 3 Dec. 2010. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

In Chapter Fourteen of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Rob becomes frustrated with himself because “he was overeducated and underskilled” to find a job and he does not know how to properly approach himself in an interview. Rob is a very intelligent individual but some of the choices that me makes hurts his potential of becoming a better man or a better person for himself. Rob is always willing to help others but when others try to help him he rejects it. I think Rob’s pride gets hurt if he receives some type of help but I do not understand why. Oswaldo gives Rob interviewing advices but he felt as if Oswaldo was “telling him something he didn’t want to hear” (342). Oswaldo has good intentions but he presented his advices in a rushed and demanding way that may have made Rob feel like Oswaldo was disrespecting his lifestyle.

I still find it surprising how Rob, a Yale graduate, has a difficult time finding a job. Yale is such a prestigious school that I thought the school would help secure their graduates with a good job. Jeff Hobbs says that “His [Rob’s] needs and wants were basic: sustenance, companionship, sex, music, marijuana, little else” (342) but even though they were “basic” they also caused Rob to struggle in life. They were his escape from reality but when the unemployments checks come in “he was ashamed of those check and the dependency they represented” (340). Every time reality hits him he realizes the answer to the problem is that “he needed a job” (340).

Rob is not a needy or picky person so if there was a job that hired him he would would have gladly accepted and he would have worked to the best of his ability. His work ethics are similar to his mother’s. Jeff Hobbs says, “By all accounts, he could have lived happily on a teacher’s salary, the way Coch Ridley, Friar Leachy, and many of his St. Benedict’s colleagues did” (343). Money was important for Rob but not in a selfish way. He saw money as a source to help those around him even if they didn’t need help. What I found conflicting is that he would help others more than he would help himself. We would go to extreme measures to help provide for another individual but he would not change his behavior for an interview that could change his life for the better.

Work Cited

Hobbs, Jeff. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. New York: Scribner, 2014. Print.

The Key to Writing: “Blogs vs. Term Papers”

The article “Blogs vs. Term Papers” discusses the quality and efficiency that blogs and term papers hold for students by interviewing professors from different college campuses. Every professor has his or her own way of teaching which means that they will have have their own preference for the form of writing they want their students to do. I think that blogs and term papers have their own specific usefulness for writing practices though a blog can be more flexible than a term paper. A blog can include both formal and informal writing so a professor may have his or her students using blogs for casual writing or for more traditional and rigorous writings. A term paper may seem to be less flexible because it has a more professional structure to it.

As I read the article, I reflected back to my high school courses and realized that I had never been required to write a blog but I have written many papers that were similar to term papers. During my junior year of high school I was required to write a research paper about a career path so I decided to do it on dental hygiene. The process of the paper took about a whole semester. It involved a lot of researching, critical thinking, and timing. In the article, Douglas B. Reeves proposes that “those who do write [term papers] have a dramatic leg up in terms of critical thinking, argumentation and the sort of expression required not only in college, but in the job market. ” I agree with this statement because even though I prefer not to write papers like term papers I realized that my writing has improved and that I know more about writing structure.

Term papers requires a more in depth thinking process from students which is a reason why professors might prefer this method over blogs and why students might prefer blogs over term papers. Professors may see this as a great method to help students exercise their writing skills and to gain more knowledge about a more professional style of writing. Students may think that writing term papers are a dread because it involves a long writing process that requires too much thinking and effort. Andrea A. Lunsford suggests that “when [students] write a term paper, they feel as if they do so only to produce a grade.” Students who typically do not have an interest in writing may not favor term papers as much as blogs but it doesn’t mean that they don’t put in as much effort.

Students might prefer blogging because it involves less structured writing and it allows for a little more free writing than term papers. Blogging is also similar to a social media website. There is a public nature so it allows for a greater audience rather than just an instructor to analyze the student’s work. A blog tends to make itself more open for personal writings and it may feel less pressuring for some students to write a blog rather than writing a lengthy term paper. It allows students to have a broader audience so they may prefer blogging more than a student who prefers a less public nature. Students will be able to interact more with other students because they can see other blogs and post comments. Matt Richtel asks, “Why not replace a staid writing exercise with a medium that gives the writer the immediacy of an audience, a feeling of relevancy, instant feedback from classmates or readers, and a practical connection to contemporary communications?” With more people to view their work, a student can feel like their writing is more significant. With the “contemporary communication”, blogging can be “relatively fun” (Richtel).

I agree that “choosing to educate using either blogs or term papers is something of false opposition” and that “teachers can use both” because my experience at Lenoir Rhyne University confirms it (Lunsford). In my Critical Thinking and Writing English class I used a blog to discuss the writer Jaki Shelton Green and her poem “i know the grandmother one had hands”. I will also be using a blog to post of the revision of my English essay so my second post will be more formal than my first post. Though my English essay is not a term paper, my second blog will prove that “teachers can use [blogs and term papers]” because it is a formal paper within the form of a blog. As I continue to write “rigorous writings” and “personally expressive blogs” I learn new skills from both methods and they positively affect my writing (Richtel).

Blogs and term papers have their own pros and cons. Professors can choose to use one or both for their classes. William H. Fitzhugh states, “Writing is being murdered. But the solution isn’t blogs, the solution is more reading.” I agree with this statement because if students read more then they will have more knowledge but that is if they actually do read of what is assigned to them. Reading more will allow the students to have a wider range of vocabulary and obtain more knowledge which is beneficial when writing a term paper. Term papers and blogs are both great writing exercises for students to do. Each method has its own purpose and they are both academically beneficial so there really is no right or wrong choice. Term papers can help students with their English skills and it allows for more discussion from different points of views. Blogs enables students to be creative and opinionated in their writings while focusing on the purpose of their writing.   

Work Cited

Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2015

Jaki Shelton Green

Jaki Shelton Green is one of the many authors featured in the Lenoir-Rhyne Visiting Series and she visited the campus on September 10th. Green’s presentation mainly focused on her short works but she also discussed about events that influenced each of her writings.

One of the first poem that Green read was “i know the grandmother one had hands” which she elaborated on the background of the short work. While working on “i know the grandmother one had hands” Green worked with women in the correction system who were on death row. She visited them once a week for a year. From my understanding, the short story was originally her grandmother’s grandmother’s story so to me the story seems to hold a significant meaning to Green. She also gave a brief overview about how her grandmother’s grandmother grew up. She was a “slave child” but she knew how to read and write because her half siblings had taught her. Green’s grandmother’s grandmother lived in the “big house” but she had to grow up with struggles because the “white mother” did not like her. When it was discovered that she could read and write she was beaten and sold to a neighboring plantation. Green shared these different details with us which allowed me to understand more in depth about the poem.

When Green was discussing about “I know the grandmother one had hands” I was confused about whether she was the one who originally wrote the poem or whether it was her grandmother’s grandmother.