By Nancy Mehlert, MS
Recently, there has been an uptick of interest in the 2018 documentary film called The Game Changers, available on YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and Netflix. The documentary is about the benefits of a plant-based diet for athletes. It is a flashy, male-oriented film with all the bells and whistles Hollywood has to offer, thanks to the producers, an A-list of professional athletes including James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul. The documentary talks about multiple success stories of athletes who consumed a vegan diet for athletic prowess while referencing scientific studies. The film also raises other arguments for plant-based diets such as humane animal treatment and environmental concerns. The documentary is very well done and very persuasive!
We encourage you to not fall prey to the shiny persuasiveness of this documentary and jump headfirst into a vegan diet. One way to keep a balanced perspective is to listen carefully to a response to the film by Joe Rogan and Chris Kresser here.
We are not suggesting that a vegan diet is not a good choice for some people, some of the time. However, it is very important to make clear that a vegan diet can be grossly lacking in some critical and required nutrients the human body must have to function. Also, done incorrectly, and without proper education, a vegan diet can be extremely high in carbohydrates and genetically modified foods, leading to chronically destabilized blood sugar, inflammation, weight gain, and disease. It is the most difficult diet to follow because it requires monitoring and education to avoid serious medical issues. So if you decide to give veganism a try, be sure to get a solid education about it, and consult with a functional health practitioner to monitor your health. Supplementation and routine testing will be essential. Remember, too, we are each biologically and physiologically unique. You should seek to find a nutritional plan that optimizes your own health status.