Game Changer


The very word brings up negative connotations. Vegans preaching their dietary gospel on social media. I associate vegans with health-food-grocery-shopping, patchouli-wearing, dreadlock-bearing, patchwork-clad, Prius-driving hippies. They’re not, at least, not all of them.

An old roommate my mom and I lived with was an Extreme Vegan. I remember her disdain for all meats, plus she was just weird, extreme everything. The family that Little Guy and I lived with when Ex and I split in 2008 were vegetarians, now vegans. Little Guy’s dad was a vegetarian, and I swore I’d never become one. I have tried a vegetarian diet so many times, and it never worked for me.

I may be metaphorically eating my words.

Husband and I watched “The Game Changers” on Netflix last weekend. It centers around a UFC fighter, James Wilks, who injures both of his knees and expects a 6-month recovery. He investigates how diet affects healing and inflammation in the body. He meets with doctors who dispel many common beliefs about athleticism and manliness and how the media affects our notions of what’s healthy. One of the doctors feeds some college football players meat burritos one day and vegan burritos the next day. He draws blood after each meal and shows them the difference, side-by-side of how each meal affects it. The meat meals turned their blood cloudy. Vegan meals made the blood clear. Risk of heart disease and diabetes goes down. The doctors dispel the notions that soy raises estrogen, that milk increases bone density or testosterone, that a meat and dairy-eating diet is healthy, and that sugar causes diabetes. They show evidence that all these common beliefs are untrue. Cancer risk decreases on a vegan diet too.

James meets other professional athletes who have changed to a vegan diet, such as the Tennessee Titans’ defensive line. You know, the massive, 200-pound-plus guys? Look who’s in the NFL playoffs this year. They are!

An entire NYC fire fighters’ unit (manly men!) are provided groceries to try the vegan lifestyle for a week. Their blood gets drawn before and after. They all had reduced cholesterol, the bad kind that clogs the arteries and causes heart problems.

The UFC fighter meets an Olympic, power-lifting champ who’s vegan. He wears a shirt that reads “I’m a vegan badass!” The man is ridiculously strong and big. A couple of other UFC fighters get interviewed. A female, Olympic bike-sprinter champion. An Olympic, female, running sprinter champ. A trainer. A competitive body-builder. They all say the same thing. Their endurance is better than ever. They are stronger than ever.

I have always thought of vegans as wimpy, bony waifs. I have had the typical arguments of ‘How can anyone be strong without meat? How can anyone get enough calcium or iron, especially as a woman, without eating meat?’ Not anymore!

It’s possible. And I’m going to start transitioning to it. Have started.

Also, with my GI issues, I have uttered the words ‘I’m never eating green stuff again.’ I stopped eating meat 6 days ago and have eaten more vegetables this week than I normally do in a month. No bathroom emergencies. Surprising!

Reducing my inflammation through diet appeals to me. Sometimes, my everything hurts from recovering from surgeries and having cancer in my bones. I went back to work 3 days ago after a 2-and-a-half week vacation. The first day, I hurt. Sitting at a desk and standing takes strength and endurance. The second day, I hurt the worst and took painkillers all day for my back. Yesterday, it wasn’t so bad.

I’m interested to see how I feel after a month of a vegan diet. Husband is taking a more moderate approach and will eat meat every now and then and have whole milk in his lattes. I finally bought some non-dairy milk yesterday and had it in my latte this morning. It’s a little different but still tastes fine. I’m really in it for the coffee flavor and caffeine anyway. 🙂

I understand why vegans preach their gospel now too. I want to protect everyone I know from health issues. My son, my dad, my husband, my mom. Oh, in the movie, there was a good part about dementia being caused because of blood flow restriction in the brain’s blood vessels due to a meat and dairy-based diet. Mind. Blown. I don’t want them to put anything in their bodies or cook meals that would potentially cause them cancer.

I don’t want to be preachy though. No posting on social media about it. No spouting to co-workers. I plan to quietly make changes and see how I feel. Husband knows. Traveling and going out to dinner may be challenging. I ate a delicious beet burger for lunch yesterday though. Yum! A vegan diet will also be challenging because I don’t digest nuts, so a big protein source is out of the running for me. I still have plenty of other options. I’ll keep posting.

If you have Netflix and are open to just watching some interesting information, check out “The Game Changers.” That’s all. Post your reaction. I’m open to listening.

Much love to you! Mwah!


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