Some nights, you can waste 45 minutes searching Netflix for something decent to watch. Others, you stumble upon a fantastic documentary that inspires you to reevaluate how you live. The Game Changers is one of them.
James Wilks, a UFC champion and mixed martial arts instructor, is the narrator of this piece. He travels the world meeting with elite athletes and learns something he never believed throughout his years of competition: that following a plant-based diet is the ultimate self-defense.
In the documentary, Wilks interviews those athletes along with multiple doctors and scientific researchers, drawing attention to the common misconception that we need protein from animals to be strong and energetic.
Dr. James Loomis has worked with athletes in both the MLB and the NFL. He says the theory that animal-based protein is required for people competing at high levels is bogus.
It’s also not true that plant-based protein is incomplete. You’ll learn that as long as enough amino acids are consumed, vegetarian or vegan diets are just as effective in delivering protein to the body.
Think about it: all the protein digested from a steak comes from the plants the cows, themselves, ate. The cows, pigs, and chickens are the middle-men. Why not cut them out and go directly to the source?
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
We’ve heard from the medical community, but what about the people making the switch?
Wilks interviews elite athletes who have proof that a plant-based diet is best: Olympic medals, heavyweight championships, world records, and more.
Scott Jurek is a record-holding American ultramarathoner. He’s a vegan.
US cyclist Dottie Bausch was close to retirement when she switched to vegetarianism in her late 30s.
She became a machine, with her speed, endurance, and strength improving to a point where her country had no choice but to send her to the Olympics. At the age of 39, she made it to the podium and is still the oldest person, male or female, to ever medal in her event.
Real Men Eat Meat?
What about the big guys?
US weightlifter Kendrick Farris broke two American records and won the Pan Am games after cutting animal proteins out of his diet. He wonders where he didn’t do it sooner.
Germany’s strongest man, Patrick Babouime, has superhuman strength and is vegan. He asks if you’ve ever seen an ox eat meat. Well, have you?
And then there’s world-famous Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in his heyday would eat 10-15 eggs a day and tons of animal protein.
Now 69-years-old and following a mostly vegan diet, Arnold’s cholesterol levels are the lowest they’ve ever been.
NFLer Derrick Morgan of the Tennessee Titans talks about how his recovery rate after being knocked around in games improved dramatically since becoming vegetarian. His cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation levels are also down.
Seeing Is Believing
Need more proof?
Dr. Robert Vogel says what an athlete eats before a performance will have a direct impact on how well they do.
He fed three members of the Miami Dolphins burritos on two separate days. On day one, two players ate meat burritos, and the other had a wrap containing only plant-based protein.
On day two, they all ate the vegan option. Samples of their blood work showed the player who ate only vegan burritos had clear plasma on both days. The other athletes, however, had very cloudy samples on the day they ate meat, an indication of fat in the blood.
That’s after one meal; what’s a lifetime doing to us?
Healthy People, Healthy Planet
The experts interviewed say animal-based protein sources affect microbial activity in our bodies and promote inflammation.
Studies have proven plant-based diets can reduce the risk of heart disease, a leading cause of death around the world, by 55%.
Another less scientific study suggests the more meat men eat, the quicker they lose an erection.
There are signs everywhere that we make an essential shift in the way we eat, not only for our health but for the health of the planet too.
Three-quarters of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock, resulting in an enormous amount of water depletion and water pollution. As the documentary states, agriculture is the biggest culprit of our climate crisis and is also the silver bullet towards a solution.
If we all make the shift to eating more plant-based foods, we could make a real impact on the world.
So much is at stake if we don’t change the way we eat. Do yourself a favor and watch The Game Changers on Netflix. This blog doesn’t do it justice.
After watching it, I am convinced.