Former MMA fighter James Wilks on why going vegan is a ‘Game Changer’ – Metro US

Former MMA fighter James Wilks on why going vegan is a ‘Game Changer’

Former MMA fighter James Wilks on why going vegan is a ‘Game Changer’

The same old narrative has been set in stone ever since the concept of grilling meat has been around: Eating meat is your best bet for gaining protein and a surefire way to build the muscles needed to compete in any competitive sport. But, what if it was all just some clever marketing in order to move products off of shelves? 

Former MMA fighter James Wilks had been a believer of the same old routine. As an athlete, he maintained a high-protein diet eating chicken, turkey and occasionally beef. He even adopted a paleo diet for a time to home in on getting as much protein in his system in order to maintain his muscle mass. But then something peculiar happened. After suffering an injury in 2011 while training for a fight, he decided to do some research into the food he had been ingesting. He began to understand that switching to a plant-based diet would provide a more direct source of protein without the inflammatory properties found in meat that can slow down your recovery. From there, he began to find out more, which resulted in Wilks being the subject of a brand-new feature-length documentary, “The Game Changers,” directed by Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos.     

“I got injured training for a fight and I decided to do some research. As I did this research, I really felt like I’d been fooled or lied to,” says Wilks about the start of his journey. “My parents had given me misinformation, not maliciously, but they had told me for years that I needed to eat meat and animal protein to be strong. Of course, the industry’s marketing to everybody, saying that we need meat to be strong and we need milk for our bones; the opposite is true, actually. The countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest rate of fractures. So I felt like I had been lied to. I woke up, literally, at 2 in the morning just out of nowhere and thought I should make a documentary about this and tell everybody. I hate being lied to. I just thought I’d tell the world what I found.” 

The film follows Wilks as he meets with famous professional athletes who have adopted a vegan diet including five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, world record-holding strongman Patrik Baboumian, and even famed muscular man and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. Wilks also puts athletes from both the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans to the test with adapting a new diet to eye-opening results about the misconceptions tied to not eating meat and competing at such a high level.   

“I think the primary [misconception] is that you need meat and animal products for protein. When we know now that all protein originates in plants and animals are only the middlemen,” explains Wilks. “Animals are really doing people a disservice. They’re robbing the food of the fiber and phytonutrients. They’re concentrating intensified and heavy metals and they’re adding an inflammatory component that isn’t good for performance. Whether it’s athletic performance, sexual performance … In the long term, that inflammation actually helps cause many of the leading diseases: heart disease, cancer and diabetes.” 

The film also delves into the other reasons why we should consider cutting down our meat consumption, but Wilks feels that people do not need to take drastic steps that they may not be comfortable with. He just wants to present the facts for the rest of us to process in our own ways. 

“There are many motivations for people switching to a plant-based diet, whether it’s performance, health, animals or the environment. I think something in there is going to resonate with everybody no matter how old you are, no matter your demographic or income level. There are so many reasons for switching to a more plant-based diet. We’re not trying to say ‘go vegan’ or ‘go vegetarian,’ necessarily. The film is trying to show some facts and dispel some myths, which will hopefully create a shift toward more plant-based eating.”  

You can catch the one-night-only premiere of “The Game Changers” tonight in select theaters. 

Head over to gamechangersmovie.com for more information.

Watch a trailer for “The Game Changers” starring James Wilks below …