May I Be Frank - Vegan Raw Film Review

Robin Collins | 11/14/10

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Read More: cafe gratitude, may i be frank, movie, Raw foodism

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Serendipity leads to transformation.

On the day, three-and-a-half years ago, that Frank Ferrante wandered into Café Gratitude on Ninth Avenue and Irving Street in San Francisco, he was 54 years old and weighed 287 pounds.

Depressed and lonely, Frank was a recovering drug and alcohol addict. He had a lousy relationship with his ex-wife and no relationship with his daughter.  He was pre- diabetic, had hepatitis C, drank 10 cups of espresso a day just to stay awake, and had been on anti-depressants for 10 years.

If you don't know the drill at Café Gratitude, the vegan raw food restaurant, every day they have a question.  On that day, it happened to be: "What do you want to do before you die?" which was delivered by Ryland Engelhart, the son of the owners.  

Frank's answer was, "I want to fall in love again, once more before I die, but I'm afraid nobody will love me with this body that I'm wearing." 

Touched by the honesty of the response, Ryland sensed a project. With his brother Cary, and his childhood friend Conor, he set out on mission. He knew he had story. Which led to the idea of a video. Which eventually became a movie entitled, "May I Be Frank." 

It would be funny, Ryland thought, if an Italian guy from Brooklyn, who pretty much speaks his mind in hilarious one liners, starts eating raw vegan food, loses some weight, and we video his responses.  Little did he know what he had. With anyone else, he might not have had much. With Frank as the "star," the movie is a gem.

The documentary chronicles what takes place when a goal is set and you have a support system of people around you who don't allow for failure. Frank literally put himself and his life into their hands and the three young men scheduled, schooled, and stood by Frank for a period of 42 days. He wasn't able to get away with anything. In fact, they taught him about a lot of things, including the power of love.    

The movie they wound up with is about the transformation of body, mind, and spirit.

This film is without pretense.  Raw in both food and emotion, the journey embarked upon by both sides is serious and funny, tense and touching, and transforming for everyone including the audience.

A contract was signed on Valentine's day. The journey began. The guys became Frank's spiritual cheerleaders. Each morning he downed a large glass of wheat grass juice.  Meals were vegan raw. There were daily affirmations.  

The timeframe of 42 days is derived from The Abounding River board game and book created by Café Gratitude owners Matthew and Terces Englehart about their practice in "being abundance."  

The first project was to cleanse Frank's kitchen by tossing almost everything in the fridge and cabinets.  Then came colonics, visits to a holistic practitioner,  breakthroughs with family members, and a whole lot more. The final week was filmed was at the Englehart's meditation and yoga retreat in Hawaii. By day 42 Frank was down to 157 pounds.  

Frank says, "I didn't lose the weight. I gave away what didn't belong to me." His life was changed forever. He's no longer on anti-depressants. He's writing a book. He still dislikes wheat grass juice. Did he find love? You'll have to see for yourself.


Read the whole story here.


5 Comments | Leave a comment


So in 42 days this guy went from 287 pounds to 157 pounds ? A 130 pound weight loss in 42 days ?
That can't in any way be healthy.
Is he still alive ?


Bill, if you look at the guy he is nothing but a picture of health compared to his old self. If one feeds his body the foods the body is designed to eat, such as plant foods - amazing and beautiful things happen to one's body. He's alive and doing well. 20 pounds of what he was carrying was most likely water, as our bodies retain water when we drink coffee, eat acidic foods such as dairy and meat and basically brutalize our systems with junk. We've been vegan/vegetarians with 80% of our foods plant based for 20 years and I haven't had a cold, flu or any sickness in almost as long. No doctor visits for this healthy 54 year old.


Great story, and just shows you not only the benefits of a veggo or preferably vegan diet, but that there are people out there waiting for someone to help them - as the article said, serendipity, and the restaurant owners recognising an opportunity - that's why i am always ready to open my mouth and let people know the health, ecological and animal compassion benefits of changing


Unless there was medical intervention (such as liposuction) these claims look bogus. Losing 130 lbs. in 42 days equates to over 3 lbs. per day loss. (And the notion that "20 lbs. is water" is ludicrous.) In order to lose weight, you need to lose body fat, period. To burn 1 lb. of body fat requires 3500 calories above and beyond the work needed to burn the energy in a day's worth of food. At three lbs. per day this is 10,500 --PER DAY. Even at 1000 cals / minute (which is pretty extreme, maybe not even possible for someone in bad shape) this would mean 10 1/2 hours of medium to heavy cardio, daily. Sorry, I just don't buy it. Show me the daily caloric intake / expenditure / weight.


tominreston, I completely agree with you.

Articles like this just put vegetarians and vegans up for ridicule. This article cannot be taken seriously.

A 130 pound weight loss in 42 days defies anyone's intelligence regarding nutrition and science.


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