The Game Changers

The Game Changers

This film documents the explosive rise of plant-based eating in professional sports, mixing real-time, groundbreaking science with cinematic stories of struggle and triumph.

By Patrick Donovan – Author/Screenwriter
US Navy Disabled Veteran – 1980 – 1991
Seattle, WA (The Hollywood Times) 10/18/2019

“The quest for truth, is only useful if you’re prepared to take action on what you find.
– Bruce Lee
“The power to work out, to achieve, to build up,
to become the best you can be starts with good nutrition.”
– Patrick Donovan


Seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger, five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, The Ultimate Fighter winner James Wilks, Olympic silver medal-winning cyclist Dotsie Bausch, world record-holding strongman Patrik Baboumian, ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek, two-time female Australian 400m champion Morgan Mitchell, American-record holding Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris, plus a dozen members of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans

About the film:

The Game Changers is a new film executive produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan that documents the explosive rise of plant-based eating in professional sports, mixing real-time, groundbreaking science with cinematic stories of struggle and triumph. The film features some of the strongest, fastest and toughest athletes on the planet — and it’s backed by them too — with additional EPs including Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic, and nine-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul.

About the Director:

Louie Psihoyos and Lucy Sheils

Directed by Oscar®-winner Louie Psihoyos, The Game Changers follows the story of James Wilkselite Special Forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter — as he travels the world on a quest for the truth about meat, protein, and strength. Showcasing elite athletes, special ops soldiers, and visionary scientists. Wilks’ journey exposes outdated myths about food that not only affect human performance, but the health of the entire global population.  

The Review:

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is where we start off.  What this man teaches is banned in MMA. He teaches to the Marines, CIA operatives, other military and non-military personnel.  He dreamed of becoming a Kung Fu Master. He was beaten up when he was a kid. He idolized Bruce Lee and found out that he, too, was beaten up like James Wilks and he had a simple philosophy studying the best of all the martial arts:

  • Research your own experience
  • Absorb what is useful
  • Reject what is useless
  • Add what is specifically your own

15 years and 5 black belts later, he was given the opportunity to put his training to the test!  He was injured and spent more than 1000 hours studying nutrition and the Roman Gladiators trying to soak up all the information he could to defy the odds while laid up for 6 months.  Archaeologists excavated more than 68 skeletons of Roman Gladiators. What they found was nothing short of amazing. 

Roman Gladiators found in Turkey

They found high bone mineral density which indicated intense training and high quality diet which built up strong muscles and strong bones.  This diet gave the Gladiators the nickname: “Hordearii” which means: Beans and Barley Muncher. No kidding! Something else that was interesting was that if the streatham levels were low, the flame testing the bones would be blue. If there were high streatham levels, the flame would turn bright red. This meant that the Gladiators were predominantly vegetarian. 

[1]But a diet of barley and vegetables would have left the fighters with a serious calcium deficit. To keep their bones strong, historical accounts say, they downed vile brews of charred wood or bone ash, both of which are rich in calcium. Whatever the exact formula, the stuff worked. Karl Grossschmidt, a paleo-pathologist at the Medical University of Vienna says that the calcium levels in the gladiator bones were ‘exorbitant’ compared to the general population. “Many athletes today have to take calcium supplements,” he says. “They knew that then, too.”

MacGregor / Diaz

Conor MacGregor was a big meat eater.  Nate Diaz, was on a plant based diet.  Scott Jurek built his career running through the toughest terrain.  He transitioned to a plant based diet and won the race (the Super Bowl of running) 7 years in a row.  Dr. James Loomis is a team physician for St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals states that energy for exercise comes from carbs NOT protein or animal meat!

Edwin Moses and Carl Lewis both changed their diets from animal protein to plant based diet. Morgan Mitchell from Australia is a long distance runner.  Cyclists are another group of people that require power. Dotsie Bausch did just that and she became like a machine being the oldest man or woman that ever won a gold medal at any Olympics at age 39! 

The biggest misconception in sports nutrition is that you need to eat lots of animal protein to get big and strong at a high level. That’s just not true!  For example: once cup of cooked lentils and a peanut butter sandwich (on wheat bread) has just as much protein as 1 8 oz steak or three eggs.

As it turns out, where the heck do you think animals get their protein from? PLANTS! Yep! They graze all day eating grass, hay, cornmeal, etc. The cows you consume are: VEGETARIANS! So, bypass the middle, “manimal”, so to speak, and go straight to the source!

Beef Burrito – Black Bean Burrito – Chicken Burrito

So, you ask, “What about the quality of protein?”  Well, here we go again! As long as the proper amount of amino acids are consumed, the source was irrelevant. “There was no differences in strength or mass/muscle mass…”  Ya don’t say! Booyah! So the Burger King “Impossible Burger” isn’t such a bad choice after all. You know, <chomp, chomp>, I tried once and was blown away. It’s REALLY good! Expensive but good.  [2]Believe it or not, they use HEME, yes, that very HEME that’s found mostly in animal food and what makes is CRAVE meat! But, plant-based heme is made via fermentation of genetically engineer yeast. No kidding?

Black Beans on the left and Chicken on the right
The cloudy part is what goes through your arteries.

It all sounds great in theory, but all the athletes eating plant-based proteins were lean. Where are all the BIG GUYS? Kendrick Farris was in the 2016 Olympics and defied the odds. Broke two American Records, won two Pan American Games and 5000 miles away there was Patrik Baboumian – World record-holding strongman. He’s one of the strongest men on the planet. NO MEAT, NO MILK, NO EGGS!  Someone asked him, “How can you get as strong as an ox eating just plants?” His reply was simple: “Have you ever seen an ox eating meat?”  He stopped eating meat in 2005 and weighed only 110 kilos. He now weighs 130 kilos on a plant based diet. He got stronger and bigger! Ya don’t say?

Patrik Baboumian the worlds strongest man!

It’s hard to fathom how strong Patrik really is. He’s almost superhuman!  He looks like Wolverine carrying the yoke with 1200 lbs. Nate Diaz beat Conor MacGregor who was eating two steaks a day. It was the greatest upset is MMA history!

What is in the food you are eating?

Dr. Robert Vogel conducted a study and is the Co-Chair, NFL Subcommittee on Cardiovascular Health.

There’s a direct connection between a meal and endothelium function. The endothelium is a lining of blood vessels that regulates blood flow throughout the body. It knows that a particular muscle or organ needs more blood and it opens or dilates increasing blood flow to that part of your body. What an incredible machine we are huh?

The Endothelium
Blockage forming
Your arteries being blocked

But, if the endothelium is impaired, clogged, like your pipes, then it cannot do its job. It cannot open up and therefore impairs athletic performance!  The meat based protein lingers on for 6 – 7 hours PER MEAL!  So, if you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, a hamburger or two for lunch and a steak for dinner, you’re SCREWED!

Plant-based food is the secret weapon!

Dr. Scott Stoll – USA Bobsled Federation

He looked at which protein package was the better protein and which package will help the overcome inflammation and which one will help the body to recover? It’s all about damage, repair, damage, repair and if you can repair the damage quicker, you will become the better athlete.

With animal protein you’re getting protein infused with inflammatory molecules like Neu5Gc, Endotoxins, and Heme Iron.  When consume animal products it changes the microbiomes, the bacteria that live in our gut.  Then what happens is that they overgrow and produce inflammatory mediators like TMAO. A single hamburger can decrease blood flow also increases inflammation by 70%! What? 70%? Are you serious America? In the arteries, inflammation reduces blood flow.  In muscles and joints they can increase soreness and delay recovery. OMG!!!  That’s more Ibuprofen that I want to take, right?  Why bother when you can DUMP the meat and eat the beets?

This is what Plants do for you and Animal Foods DO NOT!

With plant-based protein you’re getting protein that’s combined with antioxidants, phytochemicals, and minerals and vitamins that are going to reduce inflammation, optimize the microbiome, optimize blood supply and optimize your body’s performance. Iceberg lettuce has more antioxidants than salmon or eggs!  No kidding?  Switching to a plant-based diet can reduce measures of inflammation by 29%…in just three weeks! OMG! Bring on the Kale, baby!

Your diet can be the most powerful aspect of your improved life.  A plant-based diet is better for recovery.  This means that if you are a diabetic like me, you can heal faster, reduce inflammation, optimize the blood flow in damaged tissue and accelerate the healing process! YOU DON’T SAY?

Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. – Director, Heart Disease Reversal Program, Cleveland Clinic and internationally renowned heart researcher and Dr. Dean Ornish – Founder, Preventive Medicine Research Institute – found that the in all the studies, the same thing that affects performance affects our health. 

Dr. Kim Williams – President, American College of Cardiology – when you eat animal products you start to form plaques in the coronary arteries.

Dr. Columbus Batiste – Chief Cardiologist, Kaiser Permanente Riverside – people think “Well I don’t eat red meat!” It’s not just the meat, it’s not just the fat, and for nearly 50 years we were told that saturated fats increase health risks and therefore, leaner meats, egg whites, and low fat dairy products were the solution. WRONG!

You see, we’re going to be a whole lot better by just getting rid of the animal products and there are really good biochemical reasons for that. Heme Iron is one them for example.

Dr. Helen Moon – Hematologist, Kaiser Permanente Riverside

Heme Iron from animals, poultry, and yes, fish all have it. They did a meta-analysis for six prospective dietary studies over 130,000 patients and they came to a conclusion that 1mg a day appeared to be significantly associated with increase in risk of CHD. What is CHD you ask?  Simple: Coronary Heart Disease due to Heme Iron.  To put that in perspective, an average Hamburger has 2 to 3mgs of Heme Iron.  1mg is the cut off and chicken and tuna are above that line too!

Meats Galore!!! Really?

But it isn’t just the iron in animals food that’s the problem, it’s actually the animal protein itself! Shocked?  It’s not just red meat, chicken, eggs or milk, it’s the moment of ingestion that a chemical process begins inside the body. When the protein found in animal or fish foods is cooked, preserved or digested by a gut bacteria, highly inflammatory compounds are formed 

which corrode our cardiovascular system. Therefore, this explains why people who get all their protein from plants reduce their chance of heart disease by a WHOPPING 55%. You don’t say? And the hits just keep on coming! That’s why the only diet that’s been shown to reverse heart disease is: DING, DING, DING! You guessed it! Plant-based diets.

Avocado Wrap

What’s the number one killer of firefighters? Heart attacks. 67% of firefighters die in the line of duty from heart attacks.  Dr. Rip Esselstyn, son of Dr. Caldwell B Esselstyn, and a former firefighter teaches this to a select group of firefighters in Brooklyn, NY.

It’s the 7-day rescue challenge. A plant-based diet. And yes, The ARNOLD, is on a plant-based diet and he’s improved in every way at 69. Did you know that cancer is connected directly to animal protein? My Uncle Paul died of colon cancer, my Uncle Joe died of Stomach Cancer and cancer is prevalent in my entire family on both sides!  My 90 year old aunt was just diagnosed 2 months ago with Cholangiocarcinoma or Bile Duct Cancer. It’s a mass in the large duct of your liver. She’s been given 6 months to live and it’s inoperable.  This killed Walter Payton at 40 with less than 20,000 people a year getting this form of cancer.  All linked to animal foods. What did I tell you?

You see, human’s do not have any anatomical, physiological, or genetic adaptations to meat consumption.  What researchers have found by revisiting archaeological sites is that plants were prevalent in the diets of our ancestors and that early humans were mostly, vegetarians! Why? Well, what is the most readily available food anywhere on the planet? PLANTS!  So, by contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.  Why you may ask? Hang on, I’m going to tell you.

Dog Digestive Tract v. Human. We take longer to digest plants vs. meat.
Meat ROTS in your gut until it’s finally removed from your body, unlike a dog, where it doesn’t take long to digest.

Our digestive tracts are 15x’s our body length and animals are only 4x’s their body length. Therefore, plants require more processing time and meat sits in our guts and ROTS! No kidding!  The biggie here is we also lack the ability to produce our own vitamin C. All plants have vitamin C and it shows just how reliant on plants we actually are.  This is why humans have Trichromatic Vision (Color) which is very different than carnivores which have Dichromatic Vision or B&W.

Human Teeth are NOT made for chewing meat. They’re for Plants! Really!

Our teeth are not even designed for meat. They are designed to chew PLANTS! But the glue that told us we NEED TO EAT MEAT was that there was only one vitamin that could only be gotten from MEAT and that’s B-12 and that’s simply not true either!  But because we don’t like to get our hands dirty, eat mud pies, crawl in dirt, get it in our mouths, people don’t consume ‘dirt’ off potatoes, veggies or drink river water and due to heavy use of pesticides, we can only get B-12 from a supplement whether you’re a plant or meat eater.

Here’s one for you! If you’re a man, do you like to have sex? Don’t be ashamed, really, I mean are you a manly man? Do you want to be better in the bedroom? THEN STOP EATING MEAT!  You think I’m kidding?  The meal you eat will have a massive effect on your erection. Don’t laugh. Think I’m kidding?  WATCH THIS FILM! While you sleep, men’s bodies have erections and if you want a bigger circumference? STOP EATING MEAT!

Let me give you an example of one of the studies. There was almost a 500% increase in how many erections a man had during the night and 13% change in the hardness of his erections because the on the second night of the study, he ate all plant based foods during that day. STOP EATING MEAT for god’s sakes! The women of the world need us men to have more erections! WE NEED to make more babies! It’s up to us guys to be a manly men like Popeye the sailor Man and eat spinach! I never heard Olive Oil complain, did you?

Moving on. It’s high time we start making changes because we aren’t getting any younger.  This whole fantasy that we need meat to get our protein is bullshit.  Look at a Gorilla. A Gorilla will ‘eff’ you up in 2 seconds. What does a Gorilla eat? PLANTS!  Maybe, just maybe, the primates, the animals we eat, are onto something and maybe, just maybe, we need to stop putting meat in our mouths. 

Over ¾’s of the planets ag farmland is used for livestock and that’s about 83% of the worlds farmland produces only 18% of the worlds calories.  Animals consume 6x’s the amount of the protein they produce and they require MASSIVE amounts of food which is the major reason for deforestation.  I did the article about Paul Rosolie’s viral video on the Amazon burning. Remember?  Here’s the link in case you forgot. (Paul Rosolie). Why was the Amazon burning? It was burning because of deforestation to make more room for more farmland to grow the consumption of animal food.  Are you getting it now?

Let’s have a look at some facts shall we?  Meat requires a disproportionate use of fresh water and therefore 25% of the rivers no longer reach the ocean.  Take this for instance: 1 Hamburger has 2,400 liters of embedded water. Are you getting this people? More than a quarter of humanity’s fresh water consumption goes to animal foods. We are 7-plus billion people on this tiny blue marble and by 2100, or sooner, we’ll be close to 9 billion. What’s going to happen when we have to make a choice between saving the planet and giving humans water or deforestation and increasing that 25% fresh water to the animals for food? It’s not just fresh water depletion that’s the issue, it’s water pollution. Did you know that in the United States, farm animals produce 50x’s more waste than its entire human population. That’s 350 million Americans’ waste overshadowed by animals fifty times!

The choice is clear, at least it is to me. This is more than just meat eaters vs. plant eaters. This is about the planet, our humanity, our lives, our sustainability and our continued existence. You need to watch this film. You need to pay attention to the statistics. You need to seriously consider stop eating meat and understand the global ramifications of our love for meat because one day, the water may be too polluted to drink, the air: too nasty to breathe and the plants: dying from the things we’ve done today that will have far reaching affects decades and centuries from now.  This film truly is: A Game Changer!

Photo Credits:

Website: with information, recipes and more to get your motivated to make the change!