I know, I’ve blogged about this more than any other subject. But I’m going to say a few more things about it today, just in a slightly different way, because of that old statistic that people have to hear something 11 times before they believe it. And because that’s the question we plant eaters get most often, “But where do you get your PROTEIN?”
The World Health Organization says humans need 5 percent of daily calories to be protein. The USDA says 6.5 percent. On average, here’s what plant foods contain:
Fruits 5 percent
Vegs 20-50 percent
Sprouts, nuts, beans, grains, seeds: 10-25 percent
So you get plenty of protein from plants. When you eat these proteins raw, they’re undamaged by heat and therefore more usable by your body, too. Greens are highest in protein of the vegetables, so they are ideal for building and repair in the body. We have a protein excess in the Western diet, not a protein deficiency.
Amino acids are protein’s building blocks. Animal flesh combines those amino acids in a highly structured way–that’s all it means when people talk about “quality” proteins. On the other hand, vegetable proteins are comprised of free-floating amino acids. The first 8 amino acids are called “essential” because we have to acquire them from food. The last 14 are built from the first 8. Vegetable proteins, in free form, are easier to digest, give you more energy, and contribute to beauty and feeling well!
Some say, “But I feel better when I get much more protein.” Years ago, I felt the same way–I noticed I had more energy eating chicken and fish. Then I recognized truth when a book I was reading said that many animal protein eaters experience weakness/fatigue when they go off animal protein because of the inevitable cleansing that results. So they attribute the difference in the way they feel to “needing” meat rather than feeling poorly when they cleanse as an adjustment to ending an addiction. (These opinions are then further supported by diet-plan promoters who advocate for unnatural amounts of protein, as well as scientifically unsupported “blood type” and “metabolic type” authors.)
I put the idea that my “feeling better” was related to cleansing, not need, to the test. I can honestly say I have more energy now than ever before. It’s not true what people say, that you’re just going to feel worse in your 40’s than you did in your 20’s! I feel MUCH better at 41 than I did in my 20’s! I just had to go off chicken and fish for LONG ENOUGH. I plan to never go back to eating those foods full of antibiotics, steroids, foodborne bacteria, and all kinds of pathogens.