‘That stuff can’t be good for you’ my mam turns and says to me yesterday as I was eating a full plant based meal. You should watch ‘The Game Changers’ on Netflix I said to her, and after she said she wouldn’t have time, I decided to write this to give her the most interesting examples and studies from it. This documentary focuses on athletes who have exceeded their expectations all whilst eating a plant based diet.
Starting way back with our ancestors, Dr Fabian tells us about a study on 68 Gladiators whose bones had high mineral density, this basically means they had intense training and a high quality diet. To most people this would mean that they were big meat eaters, protein comes from meat and meat makes strong men, right? Wrong. They were found to have high strontium levels in their bones which is something carnivores do not have, proving to us they were mainly vegetarians. Dr Nathaniel Dominy explains the misconception that our teeth are proof we are natural born meat eaters. In gorillas, they show their canines against opponents to show how long they are (assumably to scare them away) and in carnivores their back teeth are sharp to rip meat. Now, the back of human teeth are square and low cusped to be able to grind plant tissue.
Let’s take a look at the Miami Dolphins. Three participants, let’s call them MT, GW and KS, had their blood drawn two hours after eating dinner for two days. Dinner on day one was a meat burrito for MT and KS but a bean burrito for GW. On day two all three had bean burritos. Dr Robert Vogul explains that the endothelium is a lining of blood vessels that regulates blood flow through the body, when it is impaired it affects athletes performance. If the plasma in the blood that was taken from the players is clear, it means that their blood flow is good and the endothelium is working well. The only one that had clear plasma on day one was GW, but on day two all three had clear plasma. Showing us that plant based diets help our blood flow.
My most favourite example on this documentary is Patrick Baboumian. He is practically a superhuman, using 700 pound weights as a warm up. He holds multiple world records for the weight he can lift and has achieved this with only a plant based diet. In his words, ‘someone once asked me how you could get as strong as an Ox without eating any meat, and my answer was have you ever seen an Ox eating meat?’. I won’t go into too much detail about him as he is amazing to watch, but he holds the Guinness world record for carrying a whopping 1224 pounds, the largest amount any man has ever lifted, and at the end of it he screamed ‘vegan power!’.
An amazing fact from this documentary is that all of our protein comes from plants, yes, all of it! Meat is just the middleman, the plants they eat is where we get our protein from. Proteins are a string of amino acids that we get from food, because plants aren’t ‘complete’ proteins it is a misconception that you won’t get all your essential amino acids from plants. Every single plant contains all the essential amino acids that you need, as long as you get a sufficient amount of them it does not matter where they are coming from.
As Dr Kim then goes on to explain, when you eat any form of animal product you start to form plaques in the coronary arteries which limits their function and blood flow. After a month of plant based diets, blood flow improved in a study of people and after a year, severely clogged arteries became less clogged. However, in the group that cut red meat but still ate fish and chicken, after a year their arteries were more clogged. Even more scary is that people who eat a meat based diet have a 75% chance of premature death from all causes and just to frighten you a bit more, they have a massive 400 to 500 percent increased risk of death from most cancers.
At almost 40 years old, Dotsie Bausch was and still is the oldest person to stand on the podium in her category. She is an eight time USA cycling champion and says when she switched to a plant based diet she became a machine. Her teammates could not keep up with her and she went from pushing 300 pounds to 585 and no team has ever made such a comeback from the deficit they were in. If you need an example that hits a little closer to home, let’s look at Mcgregor vs Diaz. A well-known champion fuelled by steak, and a fighter who accepted to go against Mcgregor only 11 days before hand who is fuelled by plants. Against most predictions, Diaz won. Mcgregor said it was a ‘battle of energy’ in the ring and that’s why he lost.
But what about B12, don’t we need to get that from animals? A very unknown fact is that animals actually have to be given B12 supplements because all of the chemicals we use on our foods erodes it, as we used to get our B12 from grains of soil or drinking from rivers. Even meat eaters don’t get enough, so the best way for everyone to get it is simply by taking supplements.
Finally, In a study done on a group of firefighters, the group switched from a meat eating diet to a plant based diet for one week and the results were insane. One man’s cholesterol was originally 276 and within just one week dropped to 169, another’s from 262 dropped to 172. Across the board, the average blood pressure drop was 21 points and the average weight loss was 6.12 pounds.
I highly recommend this documentary as it also explores things like adverts exploiting the idea of a ‘manly man’ through meat (spoiler alert, erections are much bigger in men who are plant based) and it also explores the environmental impact. Great watch for someone who wants to change to plant based or simply wants some more information!
(All information has been took from the Netflix documentary The Game Changers)