I have been thinking a lot about the response to the The Game Changers documentary that was released in the last month or two. The response I have seen, as part of the vegan community, is that this is nothing new. It’s almost an I told you so sort of response. The benefits that the hero of the film describes and experiences being what many vegans have experienced and continue to do so. I include myself in that. Anecdotal it may be but that doesn’t make it wrong and let me tell you that to me it those benefits are incredibly real.
The other response has been to debunk the claims in the film. The tipping point for me was the Joe Rogan podcast (episode #1389) where Chris Kesser spent the best part of 3hrs debunking the claims in the film. I started to listen as I thought I was interested in the counter point. I managed about 20 minutes and then thought why am I listening to this? It’s not going to change my mind and if anything I will just get frustrated by what I am hearing.
You come to a realisation that it’s just a different view point and worse it’s just people arguing a point of view. The objectors to The Game Changers site the lack of scientific evidence or the selective choice of scientific evidence to support the claims that a plant based diet would be better for all. The naysayers seek to debunk the science.
I am no expert but I am pretty sure you can find a scientific report or reference to justify more or less any stance you want to take (with the exception that the earth is most definitely not flat!). The Game Changers, much like Cowspiracy and What the Health before it, offer a perspective that there is another way. The reality is that many or maybe most people do not realise that.
The other facts are that, particularly in the USA, but the Western world has epidemic levels of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other conditions labelled as lifestyle conditions. Obesity rates continue to rise and with it health has maybe never been worse.
Whatever we have been doing to date is clearly not working for an increasing number of people.
Considering this further you realise that there are no pro-meat or pro-dairy documentaries. There are millions of pounds of advertising and vast amounts of marketing telling us that milk, meat and eggs are good for us. That we should consume for protein and strong bones and teeth.
- that what our pizza really needs is more cheese in the crust
- that what we need in our burgers are extra patties and bacon oh and more cheese
- that milk has calcium that makes our bones strong
- that eggs are full of vitamins.
Where’s the film that describes how a vegan, we’ll call him Jack, who weighs in at barely 9 stone, has a pallid complexion and no energy. He has tried to sustain himself on plants but it’s just not working. He is vitamin deficient, his skin is dry and his hair brittle. Then someone in a white coat looks at his diet and suggests that he starts eating steak and eggs and maybe drinking cow’s milk. Over the coming weeks and months his body builds, his energy and vitality returns and the once barely 10 stone Jack is now a heroic 12 stone of muscle and confidence.
That film does not exist. That film will never be made.
That for me is the crux of the argument. Debunkers want to have their say as they want to protect their way of life and a film like The Game Changers questions that. It shines a light on behaviour that has always been that way. As a culture we grew up on meat and two veg. That was then and this is now. Where are the videos of celebrities and athletes that continue to eat meat telling us that? There aren’t any. Maybe they don’t need to as they consider that normal, it was and has been so for many years, you could argue that it’s been that way almost forever. The Game Changers represents a challenge and shift to that normal.
There is a lot of emotion bound up with food. We use food to celebrate and commemorate. We share our tables with friends and family and commune around food. A small subtle change to that makes everyone question their behaviour whether they want to or not. Then the response is an emotional one, people that continue to eat meat feel they need to justify themselves. That’s what I see the debunking as. An emotional response to something external that actually doesn’t warrant it.
It’s nothing more than choice. If you eat a traditional diet and watch that film and it makes you maybe change your behaviour a little then great. If it doesn’t have any affect on you then move on. The point of view offered by meat eaters is just a different point of view. Their normal is being challenged and they don’t like it.
Normal is being redefined. There really isn’t anything normal anymore.