Like most vegans, I was ecstatic that the Game Changers movie had been released on Netflix, first night in and it was most certainly myself and my husband’s evening’s entertainment.
The film explores the life of plant based athletes and reveals some very interesting facts about plant based nutrition, and the effect that a meat reliant diet has on the body (and environment.)
It follows various strongmen, track athletes, football stars and other plant based athletes who have all adopted a vegan lifestyle. (Even Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an appearance!)
Hands down, any vegan or omnivore should watch this film.
Despite the fun and incredibly entertaining way the film was shot and produced, there are some really interesting facts that are brought to the fore. Some of the points I have summarized below:
Plants Are Optimal Fuel: Muscles run on glycogen, a form of carbohydrate in our muscles. This is energy and fuel that is optimal for performance. Ketogenic diets which promote animal protein and low carbs end up making people tired, lethargic and lazy as they have no fuel to run on. Some plants, like sweet potatoes and oats are high in carbohydrates which help to fight fatigue and optimise our fuel.
Plants Reduce inflammation: Animal based meals cripple our arteries as they are full of cholesterol and fats. Research has also shown that meat contains (or leads to the formation of) pro-inflammatory compounds. The damage these inflict can be severe, with research showing that a hamburger can increase inflammation levels by up to 70%.
Plants on the other hand come packed with high doses of anti-inflammatory compounds, including thousands of powerful antioxidants. In fact, plants having on average 64 times the antioxidant content of animal foods. This explains why switching to a plant-based diet helps reduce inflammation.
Meat Is The Leading Cause of Death: 60% of global deaths are due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer, with diet being a major contributory factor (even beating smoking.) The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBDS), the largest study of risk factors for disease, concluded that the number one cause of death in the United States is the American diet.
‘The American Diet’ includes loads of meat, dairy products, eggs, fried foods, refined grains and sugars, with low intakes of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Research by the GBDS revealed that the top four foods we need to consume more of to reduce risk of death are fruits, nuts/seeds, vegetables, and whole grains. All told, the GDBS calculated that circa 1 in every 5 deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented if human beings simply ate more unrefined plant foods.
Cancer: More research has shown that eating just one-quarter of a chicken breast per day increases the risk of some of the fastest growing cancers by up to 280%. A 2011 Harvard study found that people who eat a diet high in animal protein (including red meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs) have more than a 400% increased risk of dying from cancer.
The Big Picture: Despite our own health, one of the most pertinent points that was brought across was our complete and total dependency on the ever powerful Meat and Dairy industries, who, by default are destroying the planet in order to raise livestock for human consumption. Damien Mander, an anti-poaching activist turned-vegan says in the film “The actual biggest threat we have is the meat industry and the land that they are continually taking away from what we have left of these natural wilderness areas. Inch by inch, yard by yard, mile by mile.”
Despite the ethical issues, the complete horror and disgusting conditions that these poor animals are forced to live in, its simply not sustainable for us to slaughter 70 billion animals a year, to feed roughly 10 billion of us (with the population continuing to grow).
Indeed, I sincerely believe more focus should be on the Meat and Dairy industries, to uncover the horrors they are doing to animals, to our environment and to our own health.
The stats above are all taken from the film, and I encourage anyone to watch The Game Changers to get a better understanding of what’s really going on.
Another great film to watch on Netfilx, is What the Health which debunks a whole lot of pro-meat myths and has some really great stats about plant based nutrition as well. Read my review here.
All images and facts come from the Game Changers webpage, which can be found here.