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A new documentary called"The Game Changers" is out to show that a plant-based diet is the most valuable one for athletes -- or, actually, for anyone interested in improving their health.
It's the most recent signifier of this growing trend in sports where an increasing number of athletes are picking a plant-based diet -- eschewing the conventional high-protein or high-carb diets of the past.
A lot of other films, such as"What the Health" and"Forks Over Knives," also concentrate on the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but"The Game Changers"' manufacturers have a very clear and somewhat new angle: It also aims to dispel myths linking manhood, virility, and strength to beef consumption.
In one part of the movie, researchers run an experiment demonstrating that a plant-based diet contributes to stronger and more frequent erections -- and it has led to a, shall we say, company answers.
"At our very first screening in the Sundance Film Festival, I had a very long line of individuals who wanted to understand how to begin eating plant-based at this time," U.S. Olympian Dotsie Bausch, an athlete spotlighted in the movie, says. "After seeing the movie, nobody wants to wait or make the transition gradually.
Bausch, the earliest Olympic competition in her discipline, stood as a plant-based athlete on the Olympic stage at almost 40 years old.
A top-10 Olympic distance triathlete in america for more than ten years, he attributes his success to a dietary plan which reinforced his immune system.
"Even though I had been putting all this stress in my body each single day, I very, very rarely got sick," Esselstyn states. "As an athlete, a enormous nemesis is getting sick."
In the movie, Esselstyn struggles 35 New York City firefighters to take his Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Challenge to learn how their weight, blood pressure, and internal biochemistry could measurably change in only 1 week. "When they are doing entire plant-based foods, we have got an average total fat reduction of 31 points, weight loss of nearly seven pounds, and blood pressure in 10 more than 5 -- and these men were just blown away," Esselstyn reports.
The reasons athletes and ordinary folks alike experience these physical changes are multifold.
"An entire food plant-based diet is inherently full of unprocessed carbohydrates," Dr. James Loomis, a plant-based-diet physician interviewed in the documentary, explains. "It helps us keep adequate glycogen stores, that's the energy we use for shorter length exercise and brief bursts of energy." Inflammation can also be reducedsignificantly while antioxidant consumption rises, resulting in improved recovery period. "The compounds which make blueberries blue or raspberries red or sweet potatoes orange--these are very powerful antioxidants. By ingesting a plant-based diet, it considerably increases your capacity to cancel this oxidative stress."
"There's more than enough protein in the plant-based diet to help build and repair body and muscle tissue following athletic performance," Loomis says. However, what do they eat? Well, they eat crops."
Plant-based athletes load up on protein by eating legumes, beans, tofu, seitan, almond and peanut butter, and legumes, among other foods, based on Derek Tresize, a professional vegan bodybuilder.
Based on published studies, 97 percent of Americans get over the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein. And overconsumption of protein is connected with kidney disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and even osteoporosis. Fiber, on the other hand, is what the majority of individuals are now deficient in -- 97 percent of Americans do not get the RDA, increasing risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic ailments . More immediately, this lack may also hurt athletic performance.
"We now know that fiber is so imperative in providing us stores of energy within the course of the day, in allowing us to be as routine as a Swiss commuter train so we are not backlogged, constipated, and having all this crap essentially festering in you for days at a time."
Another frequent question is whether you require dairy for strong bones. In fact, we could get all of the calcium we need from plants and might actually be damaging our bones with high dairy intake. Normally, we consume just 30 percent of the calcium in milk, yogurt, and cheese, but we consume double that percentage if we consume dark leafy greens, nuts, and beans.
"If you look at population data, states with the maximum milk intake, dairy intake, have the highest rates of obesity ," Loomis says. Theories as to why this could be are numerous. Dairy reduces pH levels in the blood due to high amino acid intake, and we must neutralize that acid by leaching calcium from our bones, Loomis explains. "The calcium that is in milk, where did that calcium come from? It really came from the dirt which the plants were grown inside."
In his view, no distinction should exist between sports medicine and routine medicine--we were designed to be busy.
"There is no such thing as sports nutrition; there is just healthy nutrition," he says.
For Loomis and a growing consensus of physicians, nutritionists, and athletes, that nourishment program could not be clearer.