Where do you get your protein – Again….

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We have probably all heard this question, that is, if we are not practicing the Standard American Diet (SAD).

How do you answer the question?  My husband (a vegetarian for 35 years before going raw) usually says, “Have you ever heard of someone with a protein deficiency? I haven’t.”  For him, this usually ends the conversation.  However, some people are persistent and want to convert you back to the dark side by insisting you have to eat meat and dairy to get your protein.

So what else can you say to those who believe we need to eat lots of animal protein?

What are the official guidelines for protein?

The World Health Organizations report DIET, NUTRITION AND THE PREVENTION OF CHRONIC DISEASES lists on page 56 the nutrient goals it recommends and gives protein as 10-15%.

What is the purpose of protein in our diet?

Protein is needed for growth.  If you are an adult, you no longer need protein for this.  Protein is also needed for replacing worn out cells and repairing injuries to your body.

How much protein does the average American eat?

According to Dr. Doug Graham in his book The 80/10/10 Diet the average American, eats 16% protein.  He also states that this number has been consistent the past 40 years.  So for all the talk about needing more protein and Americans thinking they need to eat more protein, protein consumption has been stable.

What happens when we eat too much protein?

Osteoporosis and tooth decay are problems associated with high protein consumption.  Why is this?  Protein foods predominant minerals are the acidic minerals – chorine, phosphorus, and sulfur.  Proteins are acid forming in the body.  The body likes to maintain a neutral to slightly alkaline state.  After eating acid forming foods, the body returns back to its neutral state by removing calcium from our bloodstream.  The calcium in our bloodstream is then replenished by removing from our bones and teeth.

Other illness associated with the over-consumption of protein includes cancer, arthritis, premature aging, impaired liver function, kidney failure, and autoimmune diseases.

What is the best source of protein?

Most of us have been taught that we must eat animal products to get our needed protein and that this protein is of the highest quality.  But what does this mean?  The highest quality protein designation is given to animals because it has the right amount of amino acids.  Plants proteins have been called lower quality proteins because some are lacking in one or more of the essential amino acids.  However, as a group they contain all of the essential amino acids.

According to T. Colin Campbell in his book, The China Study the concept of quality really means the efficiency with which food proteins are used to promote growth.  He goes on to say, this would be well and good if the greatest efficiency equaled the greatest health, but it does not.  His research proves that plant proteins provide for better health even though they are considered lower quality.

See the FAQ’s for a list of plant foods that have all 8 essential amino acids.

Where should we get our protein?

Fruits and vegetables contain adequate amounts of protein to meet our needs as long as we consume enough calories to meet our needs.  The list below shows the percent of calories for carbohydrates, protein and fats for 100 grams of the fruit or vegetable.

Percent of calories from: Carbohydrate Protein Fat
Apples 95 2 3
Apricots 84 10 6
Banana 93 4 3
Basil 52 31 17
Broccoli 70 20 10
Cabbage 76 20 4
Carrots 90 6 4
Celery 74 17 9
Cherries, Sweet 91 6 3
Cilantro 53 30 17
Corn 78 10 12
Cucumber 69 19 12
Figs 93 4 3
Grapes 95 3 2
Kale 72 16 12
Lettuce, Green Leaf 63 30 7
Orange 90 6 4
Parsley 57 27 16
Peaches 86 8 6
Pepper, Green 78 15 7
Pepper, Red 78 13 9
Romaine 65 23 12
Spinach 54 31 15
Strawberries 85 7 8
Tomato 75 17 8
Watermelon 87 7 6
Zucchini 72 18 10

If we consume enough calories of fresh fruits and vegetables then we should have no problem in meeting our protein requirements on a raw food diet.




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