Video Of The Week: The Game Changers

Our daughter suggested that The Gotham Gal and I watch this documentary on Netflix. We did that this week.

My New Year’s Resolution this time last year was to reduce the number of meals where I ate meat to less than half. It turns out that was not a particularly hard resolution to meet as I quickly realized I was already mostly there. But I did reduce my meat consumption in 2019.

After watching this film, I am going to keep on that trajectory. Hard lines don’t work well for me so I am not adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or any other diet. But I believe that I can reduce my meat consumption significantly without impacting my quality of life and I am on my way to doing so.

There are plenty of good reasons to reduce my consumption of meat but for me the environmental footprint of the meat production industry is the one that really moves to me to make this change.

#climate crisis#Food and Drink

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I’ve been there for a bit.Originally motivated by coming to grips with the humane aspect of industrialized farming, buying only from farmers i know personally at the green markets or at restaurants who do so as well as part of their brand.In the last year as i’ve becoming more involved in regenerative agriculture, first in wine, then more generally.It’s just a good thing, health and environment wise.I’ll admit a bit easier for me as I live with a wellness, nutritional, culinary entrepreneur.

  2. Headwall Sports

    For a good counter-point see below. Entertaining but… little weak on facts?

    1. William Mougayar

      Good counterpoints. I will be watching the movie before rushing to judgment. thanks for this article.

      1. Headwall Sports

        Wonder if documentary’s are best medium for communicating complicated nuanced scientific information? Especially when science is not yet well established or controversial.

  3. LIAD

    Lots of detractors saying it was all pseudoscience.Either way. My takeaway from watching it is to try and grow sideburns like that crazy power lifter.

  4. William Mougayar

    Will watch it and decide. My meat consumption is already low to start with.but generally, the food industry should be put to shame due to increased industrialization, use of preservatives, antibiotics, excessive manipulations, long travel cycles, etc.. what happened to clean, wholesome, local, organic, pure, natural foods that are grown or come from less than an hour away from where you buy them? i want to eat like my grandmother used it.

    1. awaldstein

      How do you reconcile artisanal agriculture with current populations?One of my favorite meditations.

      1. William Mougayar

        It’s a global and local challenge for sure.

        1. awaldstein

          only once in my life have i eaten at a restaurant where all the food and drink was raised, grown, made within a mile.

          1. William Mougayar

            There are many Farm to Table restaurants although the practice is more revered in Europe. 2-3 hours Is ok. Seasonality is as important.(I wasn’t thinking of drinks, although as you well know, some natural wines do not travel well)

          2. awaldstein

            good point re: distance and wine. don’t know what I can take from the statement that some natural wines don’t travel well.Some of anything don’t do something as well. Nada to do with natural as an approach to making wine. Equally true for the weird can’t age stuff.

    2. Girish Mehta

      Listen to approx 9-10 minutes from the 13:00 mark of the Joe Rogan podcast William (#1393). It will give you sense of whether you want to invest time in that film. Note: this episode was preceded by a Chris Kresser debunking episode (#1389). You probably don’t want to spend time watching the entirety of either podcast (I didn’t…).p.s. BTW, I am not defending a non-vegetarian diet. My own diet is probably ~ 85 % vegetarian.Why do you need to put Big Food to shame ? Withdraw.Edit: I meant “withdraw from” Big Food.

      1. William Mougayar

        Sorry not withdrawing. 2 parts, 1/ Processed Food is bad for you. 2/ industrial food production is sub-par on quality outcomes.Among many other articles:

        1. Girish Mehta

          Ha, I meant “withdraw from” Big Food. I should have been clearer.Over a period of several years, I gradually withdrew from Big Food. Now on average about 80% of my daily calories are untouched by Big Food. (The remaining ~ 20 percent is only because “life happens”…stuff you cannot control).

          1. pointsnfigures

            I think it’s more about clearer labeling. The lobbyists screw it all up. What used to be non-organic might be organic now because the FDA changed the definition. Ending factory farming might mean that a poor person can’t eat because they can’t afford the high end organic stuff. But, clear labels and freedom of choice will make all the difference. BTW, virtually no difference in the vitamins you get from organic produce and non-organic produce. Walmart is also a huge villain for a lot of folks, but is the largest organic grocer in the world.Our food supply chain is way too regulated. There are price supports, subsidies, tariffs, ceilings that totally screw it up. It curbs innovation as well. All of it really stems from FDR and The New Deal which was not about food, but about creating votes.

          2. William Mougayar

            Got it. We are on the same page. The only can you will find in my pantry is for italian tomatoes- that’s it.

        2. Richard

          What does Processed Food mean today?There may be no food more processed than Beyond Meat ?Foods with Vegetable / Canola Vegetable Oils ?soy Isolates?

          1. William Mougayar

            I’ve recently learned about Beyond Meat’s popularity, but I’m not a fan.So much junk food is processed. The food processing industry is huge and harmful.

          2. Richard

            I tasted some of beyond meats early product 2009. Mock meats were always controversial in the natural food space. But, you can think of beyond as the blockchain of meat.

    3. Richard

      The problem is the there is a high R squared when regressing a countries wealth and the percentage of people who DO NOT farm.

  5. kidmercury

    For people interested in the debate they should watch the debate between James Wilks and Chris kresser on the Joe Rogan show. More importantly, everyone agrees on 99% of the issues, people are only debating minor aspects. Basically just cut down/eliminate eating processed food and sugar.Re: environment, organic > vegetarian/vegan (I say this as a former vegan who loved it and still lives eating minimal animal stuff). Glyphosate is poisoning the world, the animals, all of us, and everyone’s kids.

    1. Girish Mehta

      Your biggest returns to health are from withdrawing from Big Food. That is – Food is something that does not come with a nutrition label.

      1. SL_SPEC

        Yes, – find a mail order butcher, or you should be able to find plenty Upstate NY meat at shops in NYC. – Look around, Local meat is better for the economy and environment than any big ag grain/soy product.

    2. pointsnfigures

      Remember, Glyphosate doesn’t work in wheat crop. Only corn and beans. There is no strand of wheat that is resilient to Glyphosate.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      I would first watch the Joe Rogan and Chris Kresser video –… – without James Wilks as his counterargument approach is mostly a response with shallow depth. Chris Kresser has since released a followup. What should happen is once Chris has had a chance to review the citations that James brought up, to then offer to debunk too. Whether Chris has the time or if both are willing to continue down this road, which is in fact important work to do,A few links..

      1. Jim

        James Wilks exposed poor Chris Kresser. Kresser admitted that he got tons of facts wrong in his “debunking”. Kresser is a joke and if he wasn’t misinformating so many people I’d feel embarrassed for him. It was so bad that Joe Rogan said he’s considering pulling down the “debunking” episode that you posted!

        1. Maroonblazer

          I think you have that backwards. Wilks struggled with basic percentages and interpreting statistics.

          1. Jim

            Kresser cited a study that was inconclusive, but disingenuously portrayed it as conclusive by lumping together percentages that if lumped the other way would have actually disproved his own point. Wilks called him out on it. Wilks was right.

          2. Maroonblazer

            The study didn’t disprove the null hypothesis whereas Wilks claimed, wrongly, that it did.

          3. Jim

            The study showed a 50% chance of cancer in men who drink milk. Think for yourself! Look it up! Don’t believe these charlatans. Sometimes these “debunkings” are like watching the Darwin Awards.

          4. bigsledog

            exactly, Wilks just attacked Kresser on nitpicky details and never properly defended any claims from the movie

        2. Ian Cruz

          Wilks just yelled over Kresser for a couple hours, not “exposed him”. There are so many fallacies in Game Changers, it really shouldn’t be taken seriously at all.

  6. kenberger

    Financial note: start shorting steakhouse chains?

    1. pointsnfigures

      Supply demand. If a lot of the world stops eating it, the price will go down. Either the steakhouses will make more margin, or they will pass along the savings to their customers creating more demand.

  7. Vendita Auto

    I visited a abattoir in my late teens (way back) never eat meat from that day on. Not a vegan, being a vegan is not a healthy choice it is a lifestyle choice.My choice is line caught ocean fish, In the last five years I cut out all diary products and am careful about any processed foods not that I treat my body as a temple.Athletes competing at the highest levels are not vegans other than a “very” small minority stats do not lie, the ones I personally know take rads (steroids) substitutes out of season.To state that gladiators were not meat eaters is B.S. the culture and lifestyle of military men back in the day dictated high protean (meat) dietary needs can you imagine the army foraging for wheat & rice to boil around the camp firesShow me the “peer reviewed” evidence not a movie funded by rich born again movie mogul.It is the poor that have to eat crap diets to drain the health care systems that are near non existent while A VC followers talk of “regenerative agriculture, first in wine” under the banner of environmental action”Ah, what’s puzzling you Is the nature of my game” “Pleased to meet you hope you guessed my name”

  8. bsoist

    Interesting. I’ve been planning to watch this, but I’ve also been seriously considering increasing my meat eating.I was vegetarian for a short time as a young man and then completely abandoned it in the early 90s.In 2010, I stopped eating all meat but fish (about 0.5-1 lb a week). I did it mostly to support my daughter and because of the way animals are treated. I continued mostly because I felt much better.I’ve never really missed it, but sometimes I’ve thought it would be nice to enjoy traditional (local? ethnic?) foods which contain meat – especially when traveling. I’ve resisted only because I wonder if it might “shock” my system.I’m not really open to being “sold” one way or the other, but I’d love to hear from anyone who has personally gone back to meat eating – or anyone who eats meat very, very rarely.

    1. awaldstein

      i eat meat rarely, on occasion.fussy about its origins.i’m just fine with it.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I was carnivore, only high fat beef, for ~8 months – it cleared up a lot of digestive issues and I also lost 70 lbs during that time; intermixed with water fasting and intermittent fasting, only doing one meal per day for quite awhile (OMAD). A few months ago I introduced raw kale into my diet as well.I can’t do low quality meat (like most people eat) anymore because I notice how it makes me feel bad.There hasn’t been any adequate research on diet yet.

  9. JLM

    .US meat consumption per capita rising to 222 lbs per person in 2018 including beef, poultry, pork.This is also the product of the fabulous Trump economy. Living higher on the hog.This is being driven by record low grain prices.Production — different than consumption — overall up with increasing export demand driven by African Swine Fever killing half of China pigs.Vegan thinking being offset by keto focus.Very fringe thinking but understandable.Had a lovely Christmas feast of prime rib, turkey, ham, crab cakes at the Homestead in the western Virginia mountains in the lap of luxury where Southerners have been eating meat since 1766.Luxuriated in the hot springs enjoyed by Geo Washington and Tom Jefferson and 23 POTUS — meat eaters. [Pretty sure I could feel the Dec of Independence bubbling up into me.]Happy New Year to all. 2020 is going to be a great year. Blessings upon all of us.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Matt A. Myers

      My diet primarily consists of high fat beef, however a few months ago I introduced raw kale which I eat daily too – it actually allows me to eat more meat now; I imagine as the fibre and higher magnesium quantity I’m ingesting calm my nervous system and distributes/slows absorption of the meat some. Chicken and pork don’t make me feel well. I use no seasoning, not even salt – though I used to use pink Himalayan salt.I basically eat 1 animal, a cow, per year. At some point I would hope to be able to order a whole cow, freeze it, thaw as I need. I would be able to easily source the animal, even visit to see how it and its herd are treated. Factory farming I don’t agree with, nor monocultures especially where whole forests are being destroyed to rape the land, destroying the soil very quickly making it unusable for agriculture.The vegetarians and vegans who claim they’re responsible, accountable, eaters are ignorantly blissful; some may be, however it would be extremely difficult to guarantee where everything you’re eating is sourced from – and there’s certainly a premium to pay if legitimately sourced.

  10. jason wright

    This blog is rendering like it’s 1998 in Safari and Chrome at the moment.

  11. sigmaalgebra

    Ah, usual breakfast: 16 ounces of chocolate milk from 2% milk with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Yum!!Common meal for lunch or dinner: Pizza!(i) Start with a big can of crushed tomatoes, fix up with usual suspects olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, heat to 180 F or so to sterilize, and put in 2 quart covered plastic bowls.(ii) For a batch of dough, 1 kg bread and pizza flour, 650 ml water, 1 T Fleischman’s active dry yeast, 1 T table salt, mix, knead, let rise, divide into 8 pieces, store each piece in a 1 quart covered plastic container.(iii) For one pizza for one, take the dough in one of the 1 quart containers, on a thin sheet of Teflon form into a disk about 7″ in diameter, microwave for 60 seconds, rotate, and repeat. Top with tomato sauce, some shredded part-skim Mozzarella, and some pepperoni.Place in a standard cast iron frying pan with a cover, on a standard large electric burner at about 1/3rd power for 15 minutes. Quarter, add about 1 T grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, and EAT!Points: Can go from wanting a pizza to eating one in about 20 minutes with 15 of that just waiting. So, unless live in, over, under, next to, or close to a pizzeria, faster than carry-out or delivery. Since don’t heat up an oven, faster than frozen or store bought big fresh.Due to the use of the frying pan, do get the coveted crisp crust bottom.With the lid on the frying pan, DO get enough of an oven. So, don’t have to heat up a big oven or get a pizza stone to 600 F.So, the process is good on preparation time.Just from the nutrition labels on the basic ingredients and some arithmetic can estimate nutrition, e.g., about 650 food calories.For my taste, the flavor is good.Then for cost: Sit down for this, especially if have been paying $20, $15, $8, or $7.95 for pizza delivered, carry-out, frozen, etc.: First, big congrats to US wheat farmers! The flour for one pizza costs about 9 cents! Next, all the ingredients for one such pizza costs a little under 40 cents. So, for the large pizzas you get otherwise, the ingredients cost likely under $2, maybe about $1.50; the rest of the cost is for labor, taxes, rent, insurance, defenses against lawyers, packaging, last mile delivery, earnings, etc.I know; I know; it’s bad for the good ozone, good for the bad ozone, is not artisanal, organic, 100% all natural, gluten free, or GMO free, contributes to the “climate crisis”, is sinful (as usual, anything any good contributes to the “climate crisis” and is sinful, that is, is sinning against the Climate God), isn’t vegan, etc. It’s SO sinful! It doesn’t reaffirm some catechism — as one colleague once said about some theorems I proved once, “it’s radical, provocative”. I can hear the NYT headlines about Little Liawathia “outlaw sinful, dangerous home cooking!!!”.But, look at the up side!!! There are no pizza boxes or plastic wrap to fill the land fills for 1000 years and threaten to bury all of us in the gigantic trash crisis from our sinful uses of packaging materials!!!Want to cut taxes? Okay: Do some home cooking!

  12. Susan Rubinsky

    I didn’t watch the film, but the biggest problem (that many have already documented in the comments) is the Big Food industry — many Vegans are doing more to poison the earth than others who are more careful about sourcing their food. It’s not about eliminating one specific food over another — the holistic balance of animal/vegetable is critical to the environment — it’s about choosing foods that have minimal processing, from seed to table. If you’re eating soy products, you are contributing more to destroying the ecosystem balance than if you are a thoughtful meat eater. Here’s why: more than 90% of soy (and corn) products are produced with monoculture GMOs designed specifically to thrive under abundant applications of Glyphosate. One of the fastest ways to change the impact you’re having on the environment is to eliminate all Soy, Corn, and Canola from your diet — this is very hard to do because these products, especially in the form of oils, are in practically everything. Despite that, you can do it by using olive oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, and/or sunflower oil — most of these products are not GMO, even if it’s not labelled as such. I purposely try to buy oils sourced from the EU where standards are more stringent (Trader Joe’s often has EU sourced oils). If you eat out at restaurant, start asking what oils are used and their sources.NOTE: I am not against GMOs, just against the misuse of GMOs in which the negative ramifications outweigh the positives. For example, in the U.S., there is experimentation occurring with GMOs to curb a worldwide blight on citrus (which originated in China and is spread by an aphid). I think that’s a promising use of GMOs.

  13. jer979

    Good call. Been vegan for 5 years and the environmental impact is a core pillar.

  14. Ian Cruz

    What are your thoughts on regenerative agriculture and its ability to sequester carbon into the soil and have a net positive effect on the climate (as opposed to conventionally raised meat or the highly processed vegan foods like Beyond Burgers. etc.)https://blog.whiteoakpastur…I’m not even going to respond to many of the outlandish health claims of the documentary (Iceberg lettuce has more antioxidants than Salmon!). I only advise my friends that switched after the documentary that going plant-based means going plant-based, not grain-based, high-carb (and if so, it should be high-fiber, low glycemic load), high-sugar, with processed fake meats like the Beyond Burger (which uses Canola oil as it’s second most common ingredient). And then when you do restrict such a large food group, get bloodwork/vitamin testing done regularly. A simple example of a common deficiency is for essential fatty acids, the ALA in plants has a low 1:10 conversion rate to EPA/DHA, so I would supplement that (along with B12, Choline, Creatine, Zinc, D3, Selenium, Carnitine, Carnosine/Beta Alanine, Taurine, and Essential Amino Acids). Oh, and having insanely low cholesterol probably isn’t good (read Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore) and beware of lectins (read Plant Paradox by Steven Gundry) and prepare vegetables properly (shop for fruit in season, peel veggies, soak nuts, etc.) . Going vegan isn’t as simple as switching from chicken nuggets to Quorn, and burgers to Impossible Burgers, after all.

  15. awaldstein

    sure, when you want.i know lots of pieces no coherent strategy.late spring i’m traveling for pleasure–Tblisi and Porto.have a great new years.

  16. Matt A. Myers

    Indeed, quality of meat a person is consuming, and a lack of junk foods, are the most important parts to health; otherwise there’s the idea of the “vegan honeymoon” – where people attribute going vegan to feeling like the reason they feel much better, however it could that they’re actually eating cleanly now. I can’t do chicken or pork, they make me feel degrees of sick, however high fat, quality beef, I feel great with. There are certain types of fish that bother me too, some of which had showed up on Igg food sensitivity testing I’ve done – which I’d recommend to do, it could be specific meats (potentially all meats) that your body has an inflammatory reaction to. There could also be an underlying microbiome / GI tract / gut bacteria issue leading to difficulty digesting meat properly, leading to you feeling sick after eating it, so I’d recommend a microbiome (stool sample) test too.