As a combatives instructor for the US military (including the US Marines, US Army Rangers, and US Navy SEALs), as well as a former UFC fighter, I see the human body as a powerful machine with the potential for excellence in many areas, including strength, speed, stamina, and recovery. Until I got badly injured while training, I never thought this potential had much to do with food, which I saw mainly as just calories and protein.
But, unable to train for six months after my injury, I started researching the optimal diet for recovery and stumbled across a study about the Roman gladiators which concluded that they ate little or no meat. This seemed really far-fetched to me since I was confident that animal protein was necessary to build muscle, sustain energy levels, and recover from injury. So I flew to Austria to meet the researchers who made this discovery and left convinced that the gladiators — known at the time as Hordearii, or “the Barley Men” — really did train and compete on a plant-based diet.
This shocking discovery launched me on a five-year quest for the Truth in Nutrition, modeled after Bruce Lee's Truth in Combat philosophy: "Research your own experience, absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.” Beginning with this mindset, I put every preconception I had about nutrition to the test, traveling to four continents to meet with dozens of the world’s strongest, fastest, and toughest athletes, as well as leading experts on athletics, nutrition, and anthropology.
What I discovered was so revolutionary, with such profound implications for human performance and health — and even the future of the planet itself — that I had to share it with the world.
— James Wilks
James Cameron is an acclaimed filmmaker, deep-sea explorer, and inventor. In addition to writing, directing and producing numerous top-grossing feature films, including Avatar and Titanic, Cameron has also directed and produced several highly acclaimed ocean-focused documentaries, among them Ghosts of the Abyss, Expedition Bismarck, and Aliens of the Deep. Cameron was one of the executive producers of Years of Living Dangerously, the 2014 Showtime series on climate change battlegrounds and the winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.
Executive Producer / Bodybuilder / Actor / Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an actor, producer, businessman, investor, author and philanthropist. A former professional bodybuilder, Arnold won Mr. Universe at age 20 and went on to win Mr. Olympia seven times. He also served two terms as Governor of California from 2003 to 2011.
Jackie Chan is a Hong Kongese martial artist, actor, film director, producer, stuntman, and singer. One of the most recognizable and influential cinematic personalities in the world, Chan has received stars on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has also been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 most charitable celebrities.
Lewis Hamilton is a five-time Formula One champion, considered the best driver of his generation and one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. Hamilton holds records for the all-time most career points, the most wins at different circuits and the all-time most pole positions.
Novak Djokovic is a professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 1 in men's singles tennis. Djokovic has won 15 Grand Slam singles titles, five ATP Finals titles, 33 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, 12 ATP Tour 500 titles, and has held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for over 250 weeks. He is the first and only male player to have won all nine of the Masters 1000 tournaments.
Chris Paul is a nine-time NBA All-Star who currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times. Paul has also served as the National Basketball Players Association president since August 2013.
Louie Psihoyos is a former National Geographic photographer and filmmaker who directed and appeared in The Cove, which won over 70 awards globally including the Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature in 2009, and Racing Extinction, which aired in 2015 on Discovery Channel in more than 220 countries and territories.
James Wilks is a mixed martial artist best known for winning Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter. He also serves as a combatives trainer for government agencies including the US Marshals, US Marines, US Army Rangers and US Navy SEALs.
Joseph Pace is a Canadian writer and researcher who has been focused on the future of food for more than two decades. Prior to his work on The Game Changers, Joseph coordinated What’s On Your Plate?, a multidisciplinary report that examined the hidden costs of industrial agriculture in Canada on public health, rural communities, the environment, and animal welfare. Joseph also played a pivotal role in helping to launch NutritionFacts.org, the first non-commercial, science-based website to provide free video updates on the latest in nutrition research.
Scott Jurek is one of the greatest ultrarunners of all time, having won most of the sport’s most prestigious events, including the 153-mile Spartathlon, the Hardrock 100, the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon, and the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, which he won a record seven straight times. Scott also set the United States all-surface record in the 24-Hour Run with 165.7 miles.
Founder, International Anti-Poaching Foundation
Damien Mander is a former Australian Royal Navy Clearance Diver and Special Operations Military Sniper who now serves as Founder and CEO of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.
Boxing Heavyweight Title Contender
Bryant Jennings is an American professional boxer and world heavyweight title contender with a professional record of 24 wins and 3 losses.
Linebacker, Tennessee Titans
Derrick Morgan is a linebacker who has spent the last nine seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
Lead Delegate, American Urological Association
Aaron Spitz, MD is the lead delegate of urology for the American Medical Association and also directs the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Orange County Urology.
Archeological Geneticist, Max Planck Institute
Christina Warinner, PhD is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, a Research Affiliate of the Molecular Research Group at the University of Zurich, and a W2 Group Leader at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
Former Team Physician, St. Louis Rams/Cardinals
James Loomis, MD is a board certified internist who served as team physician for the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Cardinals. He is currently Medical Director at the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and also serves on the clinical faculty of the department of internal medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.
World Record-Holding Strongman
Patrik Baboumian is a professional strongman and former Germany's Strongest Man with multiple world records including the front-hold, keg lift, log lift, and super yoke.
Two-Time Australian 400M Champion
Morgan Mitchell is the two-time Australian 400 meter sprinting champion. She also represented Australia at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
President, American College of Cardiology
Kim Williams, MD is the Immediate Past-President of the American College of Cardiology and the James B. Herrick Professor of Heart Research and Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Rush Medical College.
Former Firefighter / Triathlete
Rip Esselstyn is a former fireman and world-class triathlete who won the Masters National Championships in the 200-yard backstroke, setting the American record in the process. He is also the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Engine 2 Diet, Plant-Strong, The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet and The Engine 2 Cookbook.
Founder, Preventive Medicine Research Institute
Dean Ornish, MD is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and was the first researcher to prove that severe coronary heart disease can be reversed by comprehensive lifestyle changes. He was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, and appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy.
Eight-Time US National Cycling Champion
Dotsie Bausch is an eight-time U.S. national cycling champion, a two-time Pan American gold medalist, and an Olympic silver medalist.
American Record-Holding Weighlifter
Kendrick Farris is a three-time Pan American Games champion, the current American record-holder in the Clean and Jerk as well as Total Weight, and the only American weightlifter to compete in the last three Olympic Games.