When you have the world salivating for your health and fitness insights, it’s hard to say something that doesn’t generate controversy. However, when you teeter over a fault line like veganism — a political, personal and generational flashpoint — the tightrope tightens.
Case in point: Lewis Hamilton’s recent Instagram post: a video promoting a “revolutionary new documentary” on plant-based athletes, which has sparked fierce debate among his 12.2 million followers.
View this post on Instagram
Performance is everything and it all begins with having the optimal fuel. If we want to feel good, have more energy and perform to our best, we need to have the right fuel in our bodies. I’m proud to be Exec Producer on @gamechangersmovie, alongside the legends @jamescameronofficial, @schwarzenegger, @jackiechan, @djokernole and @cp3. It’s a revolutionary new documentary and I can’t wait for you guys to see it this September. Tickets available now #thegamechangers #changeyourgame
“Performance is everything,” Hamilton captioned the trailer; “if we want to feel good, have more energy and perform to our best, we need to have the right fuel in our bodies.”
“I’m proud to be Exec Producer on @gamechangersmovie, alongside the legends @jamescameronofficial, @schwarzenegger, @jackiechan, @djokernole and @cp3.”
“It’s a revolutionary new documentary and I can’t wait for you guys to see it this September. Tickets available now,” Hamilton wrapped. So far so promotional. However, as the documentary challenges the stereotype that you need to eat meat to get massive, a clashing of plant-based zealots and carnivorous cynics soon commenced.
From positive comments like “just do it!” and “get healthier; become a game changer” to more tentative reactions like “I’m on seafood only right now, hopefully I can take the next step to plant base only by year end” and firmly negative responses like “well done because of all your boring preaching on this I’m having some lovely venison steaks tonight” there was a wide range of opinion.
There were also comments that turned into discussion threads of their own like, “I’m a big guy, 6’1 235lbs, idk how my body would feel if I stop eating meat.”
Some responded succinctly (“healthier!”) to this question, while others provided helpful personal insights: “First you would loose [sic] lots of weight without any effort. Then you would feel proud of yourself for doing it and your soul would feel lighter. Happier. That is what happened to me.”
“Don’t need it. More protein from plant foods. You’ll probably get bigger and feel infinitely healthier.”
And the support kept rolling in, from “almost all the guys in this video are BIG guys — that should get you started,” to “[I’m] 6’7 and 275,5 lbs. Nearly 3 years vegan now and never felt better and stronger brother.”
“All the strongest animals in the world are plant based. Join them.”
However, the positivity did not last, with comments like the following (“an incredible film that will show how incredible the vegan lifestyle is”) from Dom Z Thompson, a renowned Vegan bodybuilder prompting others to question the documentary’s objectivity.
“This video is marketing too.”
Others sympathised with the vegan cause, but criticised their militancy: “The trouble is Lewis, as much as I believe in… looking after not only yourself but the environment as well, the biggest difficulty for me, not only as a chef but as a lover of food as well, is that meat and seafood just taste so good, they are what dishes, meals, cultures are based around. I aplaude you for pushing this, it is what the world needs, but there is always room for some animal protein!”
“It is not unnecessarily killing an animal, it is farming, we have been doing it for thousands of years as a species,” another burger-lover added.
To which one vegan responded with, “there is no room for unnecessarily killing animals. A life is more valuable than a human’s taste buds.”
And just as it seemed no nuance would be added to the debate, one savvy commenter dropped this gold nugget.
“Looking after the environment is important, I understand how much energy goes into making 1kg of beef. I’m not saying that veganism should be shut down, I understand the concept and the health benefits, however we are omnivores and fish and meat should be part of our diet. I do agree that as a species, we eat too much and we are draining the world as a result and that is something that needs to be tackled. But we shouldn’t stop eating it all together. Obviously each person has their own viewpoint and I respect each one. All the best to you, I wish you well.”
“I don’t buy animals that have been mistreated,” another added, “I am very much in support of high levels of farming and animal welfare.”
But, as one vegan suggested, even happily-raised animals have an extra environmental cost: “here in Brazil, 91% of the Amazonia is being devastated to grow grains for slaughter animals, do you agree with that? In addition, animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all modes of transport combined! (UN 2017). I understand that there is a cultural factor, but 130 years ago slavery was common, today we all know that there is no room for this practice.”
To which some of Lewis Hamilton’s followers suggested the discussion was getting a little off topic: “the post isn’t even about eating meat… it’s about using a plant-based diet to become strong… I just really don’t get it or really why ur trying so hard to kindly ‘shame’ someone.”
So, can you really get strong by going vegan? As we recently reported, it’s not so much which diet you pick — whether it’s keto, mainstream science, vegetarian or even carnivorous, making a nutritionist-approved diet plan and sticking to it is almost always going to give you better results than just going with the flow (and your processed food cravings).
As to which diet is the best for your overall health (as opposed to simply getting ripped): check out our nutrition advice page and reap glowing skin and a life longer than an extended Netflix binge.