Here is an excerpt from my book Living on Live Food from the question and answer section:
Q. What About Protein (And Calcium)?
A. This is by far the question Im asked most frequently.
Protein does not create protein in your body. Amino acids create protein in your body. And the best source of amino acids are leafy green vegetables.
When you eat meat, fish, or chicken, youre not getting as much protein as you think you are. Take chicken, for example. Say there are 20 grams of protein in a chicken breast. Once you cook it, you destroy half the protein. Now your body has to digest and assimilate this heavy, dense source of 10 grams of protein, that will take up to 100 hours. How much do you think is getting stuck in your body as toxic waste by the time it reaches your colon? How much protein from a cooked chicken breast will you actually get? Maybe a few grams, if youre lucky.
When I speak to bodybuilders and athletes about this, they often insist that animal protein is the best protein available. If its such a good source, why do they need so much of it? Some of my bodybuilding friends feel it necessary to eat large portions of meat with each of their six daily meals!
Many green vegetables are excellent sources of high quality protein. A bowl of uncooked greens or sprouts may only contain a few grams of protein, but you can digest and assimilate all of it because they still have all of their vitamins, minerals, and enzymes intact. This makes this protein far more useful to your body.
You Come Out Ahead In Two Ways:
First, youre getting high quality protein without the other harsh and dangerous substances, like hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, drugs, and other unknown substances forced upon farm animals to make them as fat as possible in the cheapest possible way. Second, youre getting a lot more protein while eating a lot less food.
In Conscious Eating, Gabriel Cousins writes: According to the American Dietetic Association, pure vegetarian diets in America usually contain twice the required protein for ones daily need. Harvard researchers have found that it is difficult to have a vegetarian diet that will produce a protein deficiency unless there is an excess of vegetarian junk foods and sweets. In fact, if vegetarian protein is consumed in its live state, even less protein is needed because research shows that one half of the assimilable protein is destroyed by cooking.
John Robbins, in Diet for a New America reports: If we ate nothing but wheat (which is 17% protein) or oatmeal (15% protein) or pumpkin (15% protein), we would easily have more than enough protein. If we ate nothing but cabbage (22% protein) wed have over double the maximum we might needs. In fact, if we ate nothing but the lowly potato (11% protein) we would still be getting enough protein. This fact does not mean potatoes are a particularly high protein source. They are not. Almost all plant foods provide more. What it does show, however, is just how low our protein needs really are. There have been occasions in which people have been forced to satisfy their entire nutritional needs with potatoes and water alone. I wouldnt recommend the idea to anyone, but under deprived circumstances it has been done. Individuals who have lived for lengthy periods of time under those conditions showed no signs whatsoever of protein deficiency, though other vitamin and mineral deficiencies have occurred.
Consider The Sources Of The Information Youre Getting!
Robbins also notes that the National Dairy Council has spent tens of millions of dollars to make us believe that osteoporosis can be prevented by drinking more milk and eating more dairy products. Yet throughout the world, he reports, the incidence of osteoporosis correlates directly with protein intake. Recent research has shown that with a greater intake of meat and diary products, there is a higher rate of osteoporosis
not the other way around! In fact, the world health statistics show that osteoporosis is more common in precisely those countries where dairy products are consumed in large quantities: the United States, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Most of the research that has been done on protein has been funded by the meat and dairy industry. We have all been taught, in school, from television, from our parents , to drink our milk so we will grow up with healthy bodies and strong bones. In his book, Living Foods for Optimal Health, Brian Clement agrees: Unfortunately the meat and dairy industries speak louder then medical journals. Their multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns ignore what even the most conservative medical investigators no longer deny - excess protein robs our bodies of strength. With their high protein content, milk and meat actually contribute to the accelerating development of osteoporosis. Certainly most people do not know that one teaspoon of sea kelp mixed in a glass of water gives approximately a thousand times more calcium (without animal protein) then an eight ounce glass of milk. You can bet you wont hear that information pop up in a catchy jingle. This false fan fare is not new. Remember when the manufacturers of Wonder Bread convinced your family in the 1960s that white bread could build strong bones in twelve ways? Wonder has since had to recant. But we were duped.
The more protein in our diets, the more calcium we lose. Eating a high protein diet rich in dairy products is not a good way to get your calcium. Your best sources are green, leafy vegetables such as collards, kale, cabbage, lettuce, along with apricots, figs, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, and other raw foods.
Intuitive Eating author Humbart Santillo writes: On a low protein diet, less calcium is needed since the body doesnt need additional calcium to neutralize the by-products of heavy protein consumption. Moreover, the high phosphorus content of protein foods causes a lowering of calcium in the blood, and this leads to calcium loss in the bones. When one starts lowering the protein content and increasing the amounts of vegetables and fruit in the diet, blood calcium normalizes, and calcium loss from bones is diminished.
Numerous studies directly oppose the National Dairy Councils recommendation of 1200 milligrams of calcium per day. For example, the Medical Tribune reported, in a major study in 1984, that vegetarians were found to have significantly stronger bones.
Take a look at these statistics from researchers at Michigan State and other major universities. They found that, in the United States, by age 65, that:
? Male vegetarians had an average bone loss of 3%
? Male meat -eaters had an average bone loss of 7%
? Female vegetarians had an average bone loss of 18%
? Female meat-eaters had an average bone loss of 35%
Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that calcium supplementation has no effect on the rate osteoporosis occurs as compared to women who took no supplementation.
Nathan Pritikin also points out an interesting fact about osteoporosis:
African Bantu women take in only 350 milligrams of calcium per day. They bear nine children during their lifetime and breastfeed them for two years. They never have calcium deficiency, seldom break a bone, rarely lose a tooth. Their children grow up nice and strong. How can they do that on 350 milligrams of calcium a day when the National Dairy Councils recommendation is 1200 milligrams? Its very simple. Theyre on a low protein diet that doesnt kick the calcium out of the body
In our country, those who can afford it are eating 20% of their total calories in protein, which guarantees negative mineral balance, not only of calcium but of magnesium, zinc and iron. Its all directly related to the amount of protein you eat.
When People Say Im Craving Protein
David Wolfe points out in Sunfood Diet Success System, When someone says `I need protein, what they really need and want is fat. Most people and nutritionists cannot distinguish between the desire for fat and the desire for protein. People can give up steak much easier than cheese, because steak is mostly protein whereas cheese is mostly fat.
High animal and dairy protein consumers tend to experience higher rates of breast cancer, 40% more coronary disease, more hypertension, 2.3 times more colon cancer, 3.6 times more prostate cancer, and 10 times more lung cancer than non meat eaters.
As far back as 1961, The Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that 97% of heart disease could be prevented by a vegetarian diet!
Kidney stones are also a serious problem resulting from too much protein. Excessive protein puts an enormous amount of stress on the kidneys. It doesnt just disappear from the body. Kidneys have to work very hard to get rid of it, and it can begin to degenerate the kidneys and to cause hypertrophy and inflammation.
Recent research is debunking many other previously held truths. Take iron, for example. Vegetarians suffer less from anemia than meat-eaters, yet most people do not believe this. Why? Because weve been told by the meat industry that the best source of iron is - you guessed it - meat!
Gabriel Cousins, author of Conscious Eating has this to say about anemia:
Why do vegetarians have less anemia? The answer, I believe, lies in the leafy greens, which often have a higher concentration of iron than flesh foods. For example, according to the USDA Handbook No. 456, gram for gram, kale has fourteen times more iron than red meat. Spinach, Popeyes comic strip power food, has approximately eleven times the iron as ground beef. Strawberries, cabbage, bell peppers, and even cucumbers have more iron per weight than ground beef or sirloin steak. Researchers have also found that Vitamin C, which is high in fruits and vegetables, significantly enhances the bodys ability to assimilate iron.
More important than what we eat is what we can digest and assimilate.