“But where do you get your protein?”
It’s a phrase that vegans, especially plant-based athletes, hear all the time. It plays off the misguided idea that a human must eat meat to grow muscle and be strong. The nutrition argument is one of the primary justifications people use for eating animals. After all, why would you kill and eat a sentient creature if you didn’t need its meat?
The Game Changers Is a documentary that blows this argument out of the water. For example, look at James Wilks, who guides us through the film. James is a military combat instructor and former UFC fighter, and the very definition of “ripped.” We follow him on a tour of the globe, unearthing the stories of successful plant-based athletes.
We meet Patrik Baboumian, a record-breaking strongman who’s eaten nothing but plants since 2011. There is also cyclist Dotsie Bausch, whose plant-powered diet took her to a silver medal win at the 2012 Olympics – at 39 years old! In terms of sheer power, we also hear from Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris, who credits plants for a massive surge in his lifting capacity. Several endurance athletes also make an appearance, including the astounding ultramarathon runner Scott Durek, and Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton. With examples like this, it’s tough to argue that you need to eat meat to be fit and healthy.
The Game Changers also goes beyond athleticism and into general health. A knowledgable panel of plant-based doctors presents a slew of evidence supporting a fully plant-based diet. We see how animal-derived foods cause constriction of blood vessels and increased inflammation. We’re also presented with the startling difference between the cloudy, fatty blood of subjects who ate a meat burrito, compared to the crystal clear blood drawn after eating a vegan version. Also, with a touch of humor, three college students find out just how much “sleepier” their “🍆” gets after a dinner of meat, compared to one made from veggies. Another solid reason for eating plant-based 😜
Furthermore, we experience a success story from Rip Esselstyn, the son of esteemed plant-based pioneer Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Rip is a former firefighter who became concerned about the health of his fellow servicemen. Roughly 45% of firefighter deaths in the field occur due to heart disease, and Rip decided it was time for a change. He put together a group of volunteers from the New York firefighter community and challenged them to eat a fully plant-based diet for a week. The firemen returned just seven days later with surprising levels of weight loss, drops in cholesterol and blood pressure, and improvement in blood sugar levels. That’s definitely food for thought (pun totally intended!).
The one place where The Game Changers falls short is its coverage of Animal Welfare. We would have liked to see more acknowledgment of the suffering that animals go through in the food industry. However, the film does tell the story of Damien Mander. Damien is a former special operations soldier in the Australian Military who now heads the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. He shows real emotion when describing his realization that protecting one animal while eating another just doesn’t make sense. He’s been vegan ever since.
Overall, The Game Changers makes a coherent, compelling argument for consuming a fully plant-based diet. These athletes aren’t just healthy – they’re champions. So if they thrive like this, imagine what we can do! If (like us) you’re already eating a fully plant-based diet, then you’ll get a real kick out of hearing their stories. You’ll also get some fresh ideas to share with your friends and family to ditch the meat, dairy, eggs and honey. If you’re considering a plant-based diet, but concerned about your health, then this is the film for you.
Of course, if you still just want to know if vegans get enough protein … well, maybe you should ask Patrik Baboumian!
We hope we convinced you to check out The Game Changers. Look for it in a cinema near you – or get it on iTunes after October 1st.