Frank Ferrante is a no-holds barred Sicilian from Brooklyn with an incredible story to tell. Being Italian myself, and an ex-New Yorker, we naturally gravitated to each other at a mutual friend’s house where I learned about his amazing life transformation. A drug addict since his early 20’s, Frank contracted Hepatitis C and, as a result, was on a cocktail of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the toxicity of his meds only served to make his depression and lethargy worse. From the photo he showed me, he looked older than his years, weighing close to 300 pounds. He probably had high blood pressure as well. In other words, Frank was a mess. Yet, today he is 110 pounds lighter and off prescription drugs. He looks younger and more vibrant. He has embraced a more spiritual lifestyle and has even re-united with estranged family members. So how did he do it?
The saying, “You are what you eat” has Frank’s name written right next to it. Café Gratitude, an organic vegan restaurant in San Francisco, decided to make Frank their 42-day “clean up” project. They fed him three meals a day of cleansing raw vegan food. They added in three helpful coaches from the restaurant for support, and together they set up Frank’s regimen plan. Frank admits quite honestly that he had no idea what he was getting himself into when he agreed to the project. But he liked Cafe Gratitude’s owner and staff, and so he signed on. And so the journey began.
His progress is documented in the film May I Be Frank and it’s definitely worth watching. Let me say that this is no whitewashed documentary. It’s both gritty and brutally honest as Frank comes to terms with his personal demons. Yet, at the same time it is hilarious and charming (much like Frank). Viewers will get an eye-popping look into Frank’s colonic sessions and doctor’s visits. (He may have missed his calling as a stand up comic.) You’ll see him embroiled in altercations with his ex-wife, who he has a love/hate relationship with, as he comes to heal painful wounds and do some personal soul searching. It’s not an easy ride for Frank, but it is an endearing one as he learns to start loving himself. Frank calls his documentary “a film about sex, drugs, and…” And that description pretty much sums it up. You will be rooting for him, you will be groaning along with him, but in the end you will have witnessed the triumph of the human spirit.
I had to ask Frank how a 54 year old drug addict had found his way inside a vegan restaurant in the first place. His response was just as funny. “In AA they’re always talking about Gratitude. I figured Café Gratitude was a place for recovering addicts to hang out.” Call it Divine Intervention at work. Frank’s journey has now become a mission to help others–which is what it’s really all about in the end. You go, Frank! www.MayIBeFrank movie.com
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Dr. Kathy Forti is a clinical psychologist, inventor, and author of the new book, Fractals of God. amazon.com/author/kathyforti