Diets Exercise

The Game Changers

            Often I face skepticism when recommending a plant-based whole food diet for disease prevention or as part of a disease cure.  If I should venture to mention the additional advantages for enhanced immunity to disease, enhanced strength, or virility I find myself at the risk of even more suspicion that I’ve wandered into some type of Voodoo medicine.

            In an ideal world, there would be a pill for every ill, and the process of healing would be effortless.  In the real world, our body’s ability to repair itself is where the most amazing results come from.  For this to happen, we must first provide an environment supportive of healing.

            In practice, creating an optimal healing environment usually requires overcoming misconceptions about what is healthy, changes in long-held habits, and overcoming subtle addictions.  Granted, there are many medications that have a place in the healing process.  Unfortunately, without a suitable environment for healing, few medications can accomplish all that’s possible.

            The most challenging concept for many is understanding that a diet heavy in animal-based foods is too rich in protein and too low in fiber.  Granted, it’s only right to be skeptical when the message you hear from your doctor is in opposition to long-held beliefs.  So, who can you trust if you can’t trust your mother, Tyson, Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Mars, Kraft Heinz, or General Mills?  As for your mother and others from her generation, the food education they received was largely dictated by the Department of Agriculture, which promoted guidance that was greatly influenced by the large food companies.  The result has been that most people tend to believe what the major food manufacturers and distributors want them to believe.

            For help overcoming false nutrition beliefs you may hold and a refreshing perspective about why a plant-based diet is the best diet for most people, I recommend the documentary, ‘The Game Changers.”    In the film, you will hear from authorities in the scientific community and from athletes that have demonstrated superior performance from a plant-based diet.

            If seeking optimal health, perhaps you should trust Dotsie Bausch, a seven-time U.S. national cycling champion who, at 39, was the oldest cyclist to ever qualify for the Olympics, not to mention returning home with a silver medal.  Then, there is Patrik Baboumian, Germany’s former strongest man who holds multiple world records, including lifting a staggering 1,213 pounds over his head.  Add to that the greatest ultramarathoner of all time, Scott Jurek, who ran the Appalachian Trail in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes (faster than anyone else at the time).  Last but not least, Arnold Schwarzenegger presents a compelling case for why he eats plants and avoids animal protein.

            While “The Game Changers” puts most of its energy into profiling athletes with superior strength and endurance, there is more to learn from medical doctors as they debunk popular myths about “incomplete proteins” and other nutrients.  This is followed by an explanation of why “eat like a man” marketing campaigns that glorify beef are quite disingenuous in view of blood test showing the negative effects of meat.  Also expect to learn that when eating a diet of only plants, you may still get 70% more protein than you need.  Anthropologists and archaeologists also debunk common beliefs about benefits of the Paleo diets (including the Atkins diet).  There is little doubt now that early humans ate mostly plants.

            The movie also addresses the comparative benefits of vegetarianism versus veganism.  The sensible point is made that changing one’s diet to plant-based foods isn’t necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition.  While some vegan populations do show the best health outcomes, populations in the Blue Zones did quite well with a diet that was less than 5% animal protein.

            A memorable moment in the film is when Germany’s Strongest Man is asked, “How could you get as strong as an ox without eating any meat?” His answer, “Have you ever seen an ox eat meat?”  Also memorable is a segment about nocturnal erections that demonstrates the negative effect animal protein has on blood flow. It seems real men don’t eat meat!

            You may be wondering, “Is this a movie I need to see?”  Well, if you have family members that have been reluctant to go plant-based, then the motivational value of the movie might be just what they have been needing.  Personally, I see more value in winning their hearts and minds with a movie than in threatening reluctant eater with a celery stalk.

            Nancy Neighbors, MD

What if I missed premiere showing

of the movie?

After October 1, 2019, the film will be available to pre-order on iTunes. To order use the link ‎The Game Changers on iTunes.

            If you missed the movie and just want the facts without the drama, cardiologist, Dr. Steve Lome, made a video in anticipation of possible naysayers. Click the link that follows to view his video The Game Changers Debunked? A lifestyle medicine cardiologist’s review!

Gourmet Eggplant Rollatini


6 medium potatoes (about 2 lbs.), with skin, washed

2 cups filtered water, divided

1 Tbsp. miso paste

1 large eggplant

1/2 onion

3 cloves of garlic

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

1 handful spinach, washed, pat dried, and chopped

4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. tamari, divided

3 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish


Fill a large pot with water halfway full and bring to boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 35 minutes or until soft. It’s ok if the potatoes break a bit.

In a food processor or blender, mix one cup of the filtered water with the miso. Set aside.

Slice the eggplant using a mandolin set on the thinnest setting. Place the slices in a large grilling pan and add one or two tablespoons of the water/miso liquid. Sauté the eggplant slices on both sides adding increments of the water/miso liquid as needed to avoid burning. Set the eggplant slices aside on a flat surface.

In a food processor chop onion and garlic. Add to a pan and sauté with the remaining cup of filtered water over medium heat until the onions are soft and fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Transfer the cooked potatoes to the mixing bowl and add the sautéed onion and garlic, rosemary, spinach, yeast, and tamari. Using a fork, potato masher, or your bare hands, break down all the ingredients and mix them all together.

Place about 3 tablespoons of the potato mixture near the end of an eggplant slice. Roll it up and pat both sides of the roll so that the mixture stays inside. Insert a bamboo stick vertically at the finishing end of the roll to help it stay together. Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture and eggplant slices.

Sprinkle with some pomegranate seeds and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy immediately.

By Nancy Neighbors, MD

... Dr. Neighbors provides a blend of traditional family medicine and evidence-based lifestyle medicine in Huntsville, Alabama. When indicated, lifestyle change is recommended as the first line of therapy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.