Hello beautiful friends,
In today’s post we have a look at the popular topics of protein and calcium and whilst we chat about food, remember, ultimately what I care about is your happiness. Your health is one of the cornerstones to your JOY. Here’s how it works:-
The food you eat becomes your biochemistry.
Your biochemistry equates to your physical health.
Your health influences the way you feel.
The way you feel has a huge effect on the thoughts circulating in your mind.
And the way you think is WHO YOU ARE….
Who you share with the world...happy, productive, creative or grumpy, slothful and uninspiring!
But before I go on about protein and calcium, please note, I’m not here to bag meat and dairy, well not much anyway. I won’t get too much into the ugly truths, like the pus in dairy (yep, you read that right)! Essentially today I’m a cheerleader for plants! I’ll present a brilliant case for the ‘earthboundlings’ and you can make up your own mind. Freedom in essential to JOY.
Lets start with this quote from the very eminent Dr. Dean Ornish, founder and president of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Univeristy of California- San Francisco:-
"For more than thirty-three years my colleagues and I…. have conducted a series of studies showing that what was once thought impossible was often achievable. We found that a whole foods, plant-based diet, moderate exercise, stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation and learning to give and receive love more fully could often reverse the progression of coronary heart disease, early-stage prostate cancer, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, hyper-cholesterolemia, obesity, depression and other chronic diseases….
We found that changing your lifestyle changes your genes….
Your genes are a predisposition, but not your fate.”
So when considering the move to a more plant-based, living foods (raw) diet, the questions on everyone’s lips are”-
“Where do I get my protein?” and “What about calcium?”
As you know, I’m loving my (mostly) raw foods way of life. I’ve never ever felt so good. I can definitely credit my choice to eat more raw, living, plant foods with an increase in my energy, aliveness, flexibility, peace of mind, inner strength, emotional balance, motivation and love for others and life.
I have been and continue to be astounded by the amount of energy I have and how little “protein” I seem to need now. Slowly over the last 3 years my desire to eat dairy, eggs, fish, chicken or red meats has pretty much completely gone. I occasionally have some when I’m out but what’s important is that I don’t crave it and I just don’t need it.
Over the years I’ve listened to my body and slowly adapted my eating as my body guides me. No hard, fast fads and rules here. No mind over matter. It’s a team effort at my place, between my mind and my body. It’s YOGA!
So at the behest of my beautiful body, I eat mostly fruit, green leafy plants, nuts, seeds and sea vegetables as well as small amounts of legumes and grains, sprouted and cooked. 80-90% of my food is raw.
So naturally, my eyes are open, my ears primed, to glean any information I can, to explain how I’m not only surviving but thriving on this diet. This is what I’ve discovered:-
1. There is protein in every living whole food except some fruits.
From your breakfast banana, to your salad for lunch and pumpkin for dinner. Plants foods are packed with protein. So when we think of protein, instead of the picture of beef, fish, eggs etc, we can start thinking zucchini! An average zucchini contains 2 grams of protein and in fact, some plants, namely green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and silverbeet, have more protein than meat does.
Greens contain over 30% protein whilst meat can be as low as 20%. Not only that but the protein in greens and other plant-based foods is a better source because when eaten raw, greens, fruits and vegetables contain AN ABUNDANT SUPPLY of their own ENZYMES, so that their protein is easily digested.
Compare this to meat, which has fewer enzymes and they’re all destroyed in the heat of cooking. Plant foods are also cleaner and safer with no added artificial hormones, antibiotics, chemicals and drugs.
You’ve always known it’s good to eat your veges.
2. You CAN get all the protein you need from a plant-based diet.
Firstly we need to look at the belief that we need lots of protein to be healthy and strong. It’s a myth. In fact it could be just the opposite. Eating too much protein could be one of the greatest contributors to our health problems today.
“Studies show that as protein consumption goes up, so does the rate of chronic disease.” Kris Carr, from her New York Times Bestselling book, “Crazy Sexy Diet.” (You’ll learn more about this when we chat about calcium).
Reports of exactly how much protein we need vary with some experts recommending as little as 20-35 grams per day and up to 60 grams. Many people eat double. When you consider that animal products are loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol, tax the digestive system, increase your blood acidity, contain carcinogens and unlike plants, are devoid of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, phytonutrients and fibre, we can see the link between increased consumption and disease.
A plant-based diet consisting of greens, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes contains all the 23 amino acids we need to manufacture our own protein for the building and repair of body tissues and other functions. It’s enough to sustain even the most elite athletes, like for example Carl Lewis – 9 Olympic Gold Medals (he’s vegan) and Meagan Duhamel a world champion skater. And in the video, “Reversing the Irreversible”, about ordinary peoples’ successes on a raw food diet, one ultra-distance athlete (in her 50’s I think) describes having healed herself of breast cancer and going on to run an incredible 50 marathons in 50 days. WOW! Close your mouth.
Here’s some of the top protein-dense plant foods:-
3. Protein is recycled in the body unless it’s damaged.
Now that’s ground-breaking news and explains everything …. why with the massive amounts of raw foods I’m eating, I have less and less desire for “protein” foods.
The math is simple. If you’re well nourished, clean and functioning well on the inside, then your internal protein remains intact and is recycled.
If it’s not broke, then there’s no need to fix it.
What causes damage to our endogenous protein is a lack of micronutrients, toxic build-up, blockages and stagnation, essentially all the symptoms that tell you you’re not too healthy. And it's easy to know. Here's the symptoms of malnourishment and toxicity:
Abdominal bloating, sluggish digestion, constipation (pooping less than twice / day), a weak immune system, regular colds and flu, fatigue, clogged arteries, feeling stressed, stiff muscles, aching joints, being overweight, hormonal imbalances, a foggy brain, the blues and irritable moods.
So by eating a diet rich in raw, plant foods your body is not only being nourished, it’s detoxifying, clearing out, dumping the rubbish and unclogging all those blocked and stagnant areas so that your inner environment is sparkling clean, healthy and brimming with aliveness.
Check out “Foods to Thrive By” for some top foods to both nourish and detox your body and mind.
4. Micronutrients come before protein, carbs and fats.
Essentially it doesn’t matter how much protein you’re eating or from what source, without adequate micronutrients i.e. minerals, vitamins, enzymes, anti-oxidants and phytochemicals, your cells will starve.
As I mentioned in my last Raw post “Foods to Thrive By” I read a study that found that most Americans were protein deficient at a cellular level, despite being one of the world’s biggest meat-eating nations.
Protein makes up the walls of our cells, so a deficiency in protein means that our cells become weak, the exchange of nutrients across the cell membrane is impaired and they’re more susceptible to invasion from viruses and toxins. When you add this scenario to the findings in Dr. Joel Wallachs’ famous study “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie”, (also in the USA), where he found that ALL subjects in the research program were mineral deficient at a cellular level, it all becomes crystal clear.
We need an abundance of minerals for almost every biochemical reaction in the body. They’re even more important than vitamins. Hence, load up your plate with lots of alive, nutritious mineral, vitamin, enzyme and anti-oxidant rich plants and you’ll benefit from both their easily absorbed protein as well as enhancing the digestion and absorption of whatever else you eat.
Everyone will have different needs for protein depending on the quality of their inner health.
We all need a regular supply of protein as part of a balanced diet as our cells are naturally constantly replaced (you have a new liver every month, a new stomach every 6 weeks).
On a plentiful plant-based diet, including lots of greens, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes you’re getting a bountiful supply of protein as well as micronutrients for efficient digestion, absorption and utilization of your food.
And you never know, if you increase your plant food intake, you may just find like me, that you feel so good, you can let the fish swim, the chickens peck and the cows moo till they grow old and grey.
This is how I did it:-
I started by giving up wheat (hence bread, pasta and lots of processed foods) and began eating a SALAD for lunch every day. Soon my body just shouted loud and clear... “this feels good”. I began to look forward to that salad every day and miss it if I didn’t have it.
Then I discovered the GREEN SMOOTHIE.
And before long my body also began to tell me very clearly it likes that too. Green smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, plus lots of seeds, nuts (activated), sprouted legumes and fermented foods as well as some cooked grains and legumes like quinoa, buckwheat and mung dahl.
So with these new nutrient-rich additions, little by little my body was nourished and satiated and other foods simply became crowded out.
No space, no hunger, no cravings, no need … for bread, pasta, cereal, dairy or meat.
There was no deprivation involved! No hand-wringing, frown-filled, tortured moments. With the steady inclusion of these two heros, I found instead I began to crave cleaner and cleaner food, viz, simple plant foods, until now the desire for meat and dairy has gone.
A three year process in all. This may change. Who knows? But the more I discover about the statistics on health, I’m erring towards a fully-fledged “vego” identity. I’d love to hear your responses to this post. Are you surprised that all vegetables and especially spinach contains protein? I know I scoffed at first.
So next time we’ll have a look at some of the facts about calcium:- what are the best sources, what affects it’s absorption, what affects it’s depletion, can you have too much and the effects of too much and too little. There’s lots of eye-opening moments in this one and I promise, I won’t talk much about the pus! Are you reaching for the rice milk right now?
Leave your comments below and I’ll see you soon on the blog.
JOY and happy cows.