April 21, 2015 was a good day for me. It was Day 21 of my personal fitness challenge, which includes switching to a whole-foods plant-based way of life. Julianne, my daughter Marissa and I headed to Louisville to see a pre-screening sneak peak of a new documentary movie based on that theme, entitled “PlantPure Nation.” Louisville is only one of 23 stops across the country privileged to enjoy the sneak peak.
We rushed out of Lexington at about 5:30 after getting off work early and picking Marissa up. The movie was to start in Louisville at 7:00 PM, so we really had to hurry. We did get there a bit early, thank goodness. It was a sold-out show. In fact, they had to open a second theater to screen the one-night only movie.
The basic premise of the movie: PlantPure Nation tells the story of three people on a quest to spread the message of one of the most important health breakthroughs of all time. When nutritional scientist and author T. Colin Campbell inspires Kentucky State Representative Tom Riner to propose a pilot program documenting the health benefits of a plant-based diet, they inadvertently set in motion a series of events that expose powerful forces opposed to the diet. When industry lobbyists kill the pilot program, Dr. Campbell’s oldest son Nelson decides to try his own grassroots approach in his hometown of Mebane, North Carolina. The film further examines the political and economic factors that suppress information on the benefits of plant-based nutrition, while making the connections of this idea to larger issues such as medical practice, farming, and food deserts. The movie documents the movement from there, focusing on the success of Nelson’s approach and the challenges in fighting industry lobbyists. The movie is directed by Nelson Campbell and produced by John Corry, the writer and producer of the acclaimed Forks Over Knives, another classic documentary proposing change in the American diet.
So, how did we even find out about the movie and how did we get started with this in the first place? I think a preface to Julianne’s and my venture into the world of whole-foods plant-based eating is in order before I review the movie. A few years ago Julianne heard about the book “The China Study” by biochemist and nutritionist T. Colin Campbell. Touted as “The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss, and long-term health,” she wanted to read it and work towards changing our lives.
From there, she read books by Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and other whole foods proponents. We then watched documentaries such as the aforementioned Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and others. Julianne was convinced that becoming a vegan was the way to go. And, then, she migrated more towards the plant-based whole-foods philosophy. She subscribed to numerous email lists and was totally engrossed…almost radically so. She tried and tried to convince me. I went along…but only in a supportive way. I did not want to quit eating my meat and cheese and buttered rolls. But, I was supportive nonetheless. I would eat vegan/plant-based whenever I was with her. I would commit “dietary adultery” when on my own. Obviously, I was not committed like SHE wanted me to be. But, what she didn’t know was that I was gradually working up the courage within me to get that “passion” on my own. This is something that one must really ingrain on their own… By April 1 of this year, I was ready to roll on my own (see my April 1 blog post – Can You See The Real Me?) Anyway, through one of Julianne’s emails she learned about the movie release of PlantPure Nation and asked to go. So, off we went to Louisville last night. Following is the movie trailer…
Personally, I had not read much about the movie, nor did I know until yesterday that Nelson Campbell, the Director, would actually be there to discuss the movie. With my new resolve in place and down 16 pounds since April 1, much of that attributable to going “plant-based,”, I was excited to go see the movie and be there for the event.
After dropping Julianne and Marissa at the door, I parked the car and then rushed in. As I walked to restroom before the show(I am drinking lots of water!), I was shocked! There in front of me was China Study author T. Colin Campbell!!! I recognized him immediately because of the books and movies I had seen him in. I had to get a photo with him (and I did…)
So, it was time for the movie. Nelson Campbell spoke a moment before the movie and then we were off. The documentary started with a historical perspective, a discussion of how Dr. Campbell went from being a hog farmer to a proponent of Plant-Based, Whole-Foods eating and them some shots from China during Dr. Campbell’s classic research for his book.
From that point Nelson moved us into the “meat” of the movie (yes, pun intended!!), namely, showing how Dr. Campbell, joined by Dr. Esselstyn and Kentucky State Representative Tom Riner attempted to get legislation passed to change the Kentucky diet and recommended a course of action in November 2011 — take a . It also showed how they were listened to intently, but, eventually knocked down by food lobbies. Ultimately, the legislators refused to acknowledge the potential benefits and quashed it.
So, Nelson went to Mebane, North Carolina where he could lay the seeds of this grassroots effort to bring better health to the masses. He started small, offering ten-day “jumpstarts” of freshly prepared plant-based meals to 16 local influencers in Mebane, including a business executive, a journalist, two physicians and a local farming couple. He documented it in film. Many of these folks were raised on southern like meat, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, etc. Could they handle a TOTALLY plant-based diet for 10 days? Would they lose weight and get healthier? Well, the results were astounding, as Nelson shows in the film. Many of the folks were shocked.
Soon, Campbell carried these “jumpstart” sessions to other locales including churches, businesses, etc. All of them showed similar results. Reams of data were now available to show what only TEN DAYS could do. Imagine what a lifestyle change could do? With these results in hand, Nelson began again with Rep. Riner to convince the Kentucky Legislators to initiate a program, even with the backing of Kentucky State University. The final vote was a shocker (but will not be revealed here…)
As these things happened during the movie, one could hear guffaws and laughter, as well as gasps from the packed theater. Even with all of the evidence before them, and the TRUTH of the ill effects of the American diet before them, the Legislators didn’t get it. But, I could understand their objections completely…I too had been hood winked by the government all these years and, as noted above, put up with it, but was skeptical. Nevertheless, unlike the government officials, I finally got the gumption to put it to the test…and since April 1 I personally have lost 16 pounds (so far – in 20 days), I have more energy and I am finally convinced. My foray to Louisville was my official “coming out” party to not only join, but to promote the PlantPure Nation full force in this amazing grassroots movement!!!
It is unfortunate, but the film is only scheduled to open the week of July 4th in limited release in over 100 cities, beginning with the first 23 cities on the tour. It could be in many more places and YOU can make that happen by JOINING THE MOVEMENT too. (Learn about the Movement HERE)
PurePlant Nation now has a Kickstarter Campaign (thru May 14) to market the movie in a wider release. You can contribute to help them reach their $150K goal by going to the Kickstarter Page. They also are planning a HUGE RALLY in Washington, D.C. on May 9. I won’t be able to attend, but, if you are interested, please do! This rally is also being filmed for inclusion in the final cut PlantPure Nation. It will be held at Lafayette Square 16th St. & Pennsylvania Ave. NW on Saturday, May 9th 12 noon – 1pm EST.
Team Sumoflam is happy to join the PlantPure Nation!!