Now streaming on Netflix, The Gamechangers is a feature documentary following James Wilks, a recovering athlete, and his journey discovering plant-based competitor’s increase in performance. Produced by several individuals, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, this offers a fresh perspective on diet and physical performance.
A key aspect of the film focuses on the misconception of meat contributing to ideas of masculinity. Advertisements direct masculine strength to the idea of eating a big cheeseburger or heavy steak for dinner. This is a myth the meat industry has banked on for years. The Gamechangers mentions this in the stigma men might face when ordering food in social situations.
“I ate a lot of meat. They show those commercials selling the idea that real men eat meat. But you’ve got to understand that’s marketing. That’s not based on reality,” Arnold Schwarzenegger shares during the film.
During the film, a study compares a meat-based meal versus plant-based meal effects on the duration of an erection.
Surprised by the positive effects of a plant-based meal one athlete shares, “Growing up, if I saw some big dude at a restaurant eating a big ol’ steak, and it’s like, ‘Oh—I need to be like that,’ and then, like, see a guy order a salad off the menu I’m like, ‘He’s soft, right.’”
To Be a True Man
Along with debunking meat-related masculinity myths, The Gamechangers also provides solid answers to the infamous protein question. The idea that one needs to consume animals to meet protein needs has been answered and debunked. Another example includes Chris Pratt, a bacon-loving actor, who unexpectedly decided to go vegan.
If animals are said to be a source of protein, where are they getting their energy from? In fact, a plant-based diet cuts out “the middle-man,” as the film would describe, and gets straight to the source. Another point made is that modern day vegan body builders exist and can sustain quality muscle mass.
While The Gamechangers focuses heavily on the advantages of a plant-based diet and athletic performance, it is also to be noted that the benefits span across other areas including environmental well-being and ethical action.
The Meat Industry Responds
This is not to say that the film itself has not been met with criticism. According to Men’s Health magazine, the film has been criticized for providing faulty science while subscribing to out-dated ideas on what it means to be a man. In another publication, Beef Magazine, claims are made to suggest the average consumer cannot properly monitor a plant-based diet. The author ends the article stating, “As a beef producer, I’m grateful for your support and your continued beef purchases!”
While documentaries are made to support a specific message, it is also important to consider what the messenger has to gain. In this example, what do those pushing a plant-based diet have to gain versus those who push a meat-based diet?
One final quote from the film, “A gorilla will F*** you up in two seconds, and what does a gorilla eat?”
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