I have resisted reviewing (or even watching) this movie up until now because:
- I don’t like wasting my time arguing on the internet
- I don’t think it brings up anything new scientifically
- I don’t think it changes anything practically for me or my clients
So, this is not a review, but rather an observation of the relevance (or lack thereof) of the chaos and misinformation surrounding this movie.
In any case, this week, I was asked a question regarding this film by a client, so, I took it upon myself to do the research.
My goal was to address their concerns and questions in an informed and balanced way, without being dismissive and to see whether we could optimise their lifestyle further.
I could easily have said: “It’s a load of bollocks, ignore it” but this runs the risk of:
- Alienating people: I would much rather take the time to listen to concerns and explain something because this makes success more likely (both for my client in their goals and for me as a business).
- Confirmation Bias: me missing out on new information because I am ignoring anything that doesn’t agree with me
Now, while I can’t spend my time watching every film on Netflix, this one suddenly became more relevant, so I started to watch bits of it.
Then I checked out the reviews.
Then I found the rebuttals….
Oh the rebuttals.
During my research, I came across a rebuttal. What’s more, this was a rebuttal of a rebuttal. I then found myself wondering whether the initial author had since posted a rebuttal of the rebuttal to his initial rebuttal of the movie and at this point, the absurdity of the situation became clear.
Scientific cock measuring.
Not only was the film not providing anything new but people I respected were tearing each other apart over on the most minute details which were rapidly getting further and further from any real-world relevance.
I have a lot of background in science and this was making my brain hurt for no net benefit to my knowledge or practice.
There were some interesting points for sure (mainly related to methodology or the cherry-picking of evidence) and there were many flaws to what was being said by BOTH sides (but this was largely, and literally, academic).
Essentially, the question I wanted answering was:
✅ How does this help the individual?
✅ How does this help me?
✅ How does this help my client?
So, without repeating my post from a few weeks back or disregarding this whole debate as totally irrelevant (it’s not totally irrelevant, it’s just irrelevant from a practical perspective)…
…I am going to summarise what YOU should actually do or not do (irrespective of the movie as it doesn’t change anything, let alone the game):
? BEING VEGAN IS FINE: If you want to go vegan for ethical reasons then do your research and go ahead.
? IT CAN REQUIRE A LITTLE BIT MORE EFFORT: As a vegan, be aware that certain nutrients may be harder to come by and achieving certain goals may be more difficult. You will need to be resourceful and happy to put in the effort. You certainly do not automatically become healthier. Aside from this, you can achieve anything you want as a vegan (which is kind of what I hoped was the point that the movie was trying to make).
? DON’T GO VEGAN JUST FOR HEALTH REASONS: As touched upon, it’s not automatically healthier and can actually be more difficult as it requires more effort. That said, hard rules work for some people (a minority I would say) so I won’t rule it out.
? PLEASE, DON’T GO VEGAN JUST FOR PERFORMANCE REASONS: There is nothing unique about the vegan diet in terms of performance. It’s easier to perform better eating a more varied diet as evidenced by the 99.9% of other elite athletes in the world.
? EAT MORE VEG REGARDLESS: Regardless of your dietary choice, you should eat more vegetables. However, you are not a cow or a gorilla and do not possess their digestive systems so don’t try and just eat grass or leaves (or use this as an argument for veganism).
? ANIMAL PROTEIN IS FINE: Animal protein is fine for health (and excellent for muscle and performance) but it can sometimes be attached to saturated fat or various carcinogens (e.g. in highly processed or burnt meat) which are not good for you in large amounts. You can get sufficient protein as a vegan but it requires more effort (see point 2).
? DON’T GENERALISE: This does not mean all animal products are bad and you can’t tar them all with the same brush. Eating fish, for example, is extremely healthy.
? HEALTH IS SEPARATE TO ETHICS: If you do ALL of the healthy things (sleep, exercise, vegetables, calorie balance, stress control), I honestly don’t think there will be any further benefit from going outright vegan. Conversely, if you don’t do the healthy things and stop eating meat then you can be JUST as unhealthy (if not more so).
Game Changers has not changed the game, athletes can perform at the top level on a plant-based diet but this isn’t needed for health nor performance.
P.S. I have nothing against vegans or vegetarians, I just object to propaganda or entertainment presented as fact so my beef is with the film. I am gradually going MUCH more plant-based myself but will likely continue to incorporate animal products into my diet for the foreseeable future unless evidence changes.
P.P.S. I refer to it as a movie and not a documentary as it is more entertainment than informational. Additionally, it’s not my favourite James Cameron film (and I’ll be pissed if it caused the next part of the Avatar series to be delayed until next year).
P.P.P.S. I am VERY aware of the risk of confirmation bias in myself and am ALWAYS open to experimentation and changing my viewpoint and practice. I regularly read about and trial other diets and ways of thinking with a view to optimisation. I would much rather live longer and perform better than be right.