My husband and I are what could be termed “older” fitness and outdoor enthusiasts. We take full advantage of Madison’s countless parks, gym’s and healthy eating options. Every morning we do something fitness related, whether it’s running, biking or going to our local gym for weightlifting and a good stretch. Each year we set goals that include local running and biking events to keep us focussed and motivated. The older we get (56 and counting), the more obvious the link is between what we eat and how we feel during and after exercise.
A few months ago, we happened across a documentary called Game Changers, which explores the relationship between diet, athletic performance and recovery. The mind (and narrator) behind the film is James Wilkes, a retired mixed martial artist who studied nutrition’s relationship to his recovery from a major leg injury in 2011. After studying the bond between diet and recovery, Wilkes decided to cut meat and dairy out of his diet in the hopes of reducing the inflammation in his leg. He was startled at what he discovered. Not only was recovery accelerated, his strength, athletic performance and sense of well being made a dramatic shift for the better. Game Changers highlights a remarkable array of scientific, medical and case-study examples of the benefits of eating a clean, plant based diet.
Although wary of changing a lifestyle that included 55+ years of eating meat, chicken, fish, (pizza!) and dairy products, we were curious to learn whether the health benefits outlined in the film could outweigh the sacrifice. For us, there was a two week mental and physical adjustment that at times was uncomfortable ~ more so for my meat and fish-dependent husband (who complained every day for week). The results? What was to be a two-week cleanse/trial is now in month three of a permanent change in the way we live and eat.
We expected to see benefits, but we weren’t prepared for their degree. We could cite weight loss, dramatic improvement in our 10K times, lower blood pressure, lowered cholesterol and lowered resting heart rates ~ but those measurable results don’t compare to the benefit in how we feel. Gone are midday drowsiness, morning soreness and workout fatigue. We sleep better and have more energy during the day, even after a long run. If you watch Game Changers and decide to try it for a few weeks, don’t be surprised if you love it and decide to adopt a plant based diet for life. The results are that impactful.