Game Changer? Dietitians have been advocating plant-based eating for decades. So why did it take a documentary like “The Game Changers” to create a hype around plant-based diets? Lets take a look at the secret recipe behind its popularity, and what that looks like now, post COVID – now that ‘the game’ has really changed.

The first ingredient in the “Game Changers” recipe was freakishly good timing. It rode the wave of the worldwide vegan movement and the rise in awareness for the sustainability of our planet.

The second ingredient is the cherry picked range of celebrated athletes and scientists, each with an inspiring story that tugs at the heartstrings.

The last ingredient is the most key – something for everyone. Whatever your lifestyle, health needs or interests, “The Game Changers” leads you to believe that a plant-based diet is for you; benefiting athletic performance, energy levels, preventative health and wellbeing, chronic disease management, ethics around animal cruelty, sustainability and even sexual arousal. If it was produced in 2020, COVID-19 immunity may have also been on that list!

So how does it all align with what dietary science has to say? The plant-based approach is closely aligned with the new EAT-Lancet Commission, which looks at how we can have a healthy diet from a sustainable food system by transforming our eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste. The report recommends consuming five times less meat and dairy than a typical western diet. But, it doesn’t say we need to cut out animal products entirely.

While there has been some fairly strong and warranted criticism of the so-called science in “The Game Changers” by highly credentialled nutrition scientists like Joanna McMillan, some credit must go to producer James Cameron and his team for making us all wonder whether we might feel that bit better if we went plant-based.

I did – wonder that is. I especially wondered what else those pea protein powders might contain, given that the contents of such powders have been called to question by athletes who have failed drug tests! We wondered what you would need to add to a vegan diet for it to be ‘dietetically sound’. Turns out it was not that much at all, and can still be environmentally sustainable. To achieve the recommended intake of key nutrients that are often lacking in a vegan diet (B12, calcium, iron, omega 3s) all you need to add is a small can of sardines and a decent sized bowl of iron fortified breakfast cereal (like Special K). There are plenty of other ways to increase these nutrients with different food combinations, but in terms of maximum nutrients, a few little fish (with bones) and some brekkie cereal will do the trick.

For a personalised approach to meeting your nutrient needs, contact us here at Help Yourself or DM us on Instagram @helpyourselfnutrition

 

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