GOOD

New James Cameron Documentary Explores The Athlete Vegan Movement

“At our very first screening at the Sundance Film Festival, I had a long line of people who wanted to know how to start eating plant-based RIGHT NOW.”

A new documentary called “The Game Changers” is out to prove that a plant-based diet is the most advantageous one for athletes — or, really, for anyone interested in improving their health.

The film, executive produced by “Titanic” and “Avatar” director James Cameron, is slated for release in fall 2018. It’s the latest signifier of the growing trend in sports in which an increasing number of athletes are choosing a plant-based diet — eschewing the traditional high-protein or high-carb diets of the past.


Everyone from Venus Williams to the defensive line of the Tennessee Titans to the NBA’s Kyrie Irving and the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick is eating plant-based diets, citing numerous health benefits as their motivations.

Several other films, such as “What the Health” and “Forks Over Knives,” also focus on the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but “The Game Changers”producers have a clear and somewhat new angle: It also aims to dispel myths tying manhood, virility, and strength to meat consumption.

In one section of the film, researchers conduct an experiment proving that a plant-based diet leads to stronger and more frequent erections — and it’s led to some, shall we say, firm responses.

“At our very first screening at the Sundance Film Festival, I had a long line of people who wanted to know how to start eating plant-based RIGHT NOW,” U.S. Olympian Dotsie Bausch, an athlete spotlighted in the film, says. “After seeing the film, no one wants to wait or make the transition slowly. My hope for ‘The Game Changers’ is that it jump starts this plant-based revolution.”

Bausch, the oldest Olympic competitor in her discipline, stood as a plant-based athlete on the Olympic platform at almost 40 years old. She experienced nearly immediate changes when she went vegan. “My blood flow increased, my digestion improved, my recovery time was cut in half, and I had teammates who were 10 years my junior chasing me around the track,” Bausch tells GOOD.

Rip Esselstyn is another accomplished plant-based athlete featured in the film. A top-10 Olympic distance triathlete in the United States for over a decade, he attributes his success to a diet that strengthened his immune system.

“Even though I was putting all this stress on my body every day, I very, very rarely got sick,” Esselstyn says. “As an athlete, a huge nemesis is getting sick.”

In the film, Esselstyn challenges 35 New York City firefighters to take his Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Challenge to see how their weight, blood pressure, and internal biochemistry could measurably shift in just one week. “When they're doing whole plant-based foods, we've got an average total cholesterol drop of 31 points, weight loss of almost seven pounds, and blood pressure at 10 over 5 — and these guys were just blown away,” Esselstyn reports.

The reasons athletes and normal folks alike experience these physical changes are multifold.

“A whole food plant-based diet is inherently rich in unprocessed carbohydrates,” Dr. James Loomis, a plant-based-diet doctor interviewed in the documentary, explains. “It helps us maintain adequate glycogen stores, which is the energy we use for shorter duration exercise and short bursts of energy.” Inflammation is also reduced significantly while antioxidant consumption rises, leading to improved recovery time. “The compounds that make blueberries blue or raspberries red or sweet potatoes orange—those are all very potent antioxidants. By eating a plant-based diet, it significantly increases your ability to offset this oxidative stress.”

Of course, people often ask: But where do you get your protein?

“There is more than enough protein in the plant-based diet to help build and repair muscle and body tissue after athletic performance,” Loomis says. “I mean, you don't see mountain gorillas or elephants and ask, ‘Oh my God, where do they get their protein?’ But what do they eat? Well, they eat plants.”

Plant-based athletes load up on protein by eating lentils, beans, tofu, seitan, peanut and almond butter, and seeds, among other foods, according to Derek Tresize, a professional vegan bodybuilder.

According to published studies, 97% of Americans get more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein. And overconsumption of protein is associated with kidney disease, diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, and even osteoporosis. Fiber, on the other hand, is what most people are actually deficient in — 97% of Americans don’t get the RDA, increasing risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. More immediately, this deficiency can also hurt athletic performance.

Meat has zero fiber,” Esselstyn adds. “We now know that fiber is so imperative in giving us even stores of energy over the course of the day, in allowing us to be as regular as a Swiss commuter train so we're not backlogged, constipated, and having all this nonsense basically festering in you for days at a time.”

Another common question is whether you need dairy for strong bones. In reality, we can get all the calcium we need from plants and may actually be hurting our bones with high dairy consumption. On average, we absorb just 30% of the calcium in milk, yogurt, and cheese, but we absorb twice that percentage if we eat dark leafy greens, nuts, and legumes.

“If you look at population data, countries with the highest milk intake, dairy intake, have the highest rates of osteoporosis,” Loomis says. Theories as to why this might be are numerous. Dairy lowers pH levels in the blood because of increased amino acid intake, and we have to neutralize that acid by leaching calcium out of our bones, Loomis explains. “The calcium that's in milk, where did that calcium come from? It actually came from the dirt that the plants were grown in.”

In his opinion, no distinction should exist between sports medicine and regular medicine—we were all designed to be active.

“There's no such thing as sports nutrition; there's just healthy nutrition,” he says.

For Loomis and a growing consensus of doctors, nutritionists, and athletes, that nutrition plan couldn’t be clearer.

Sports
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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