Where Do You Get Your Protein From?
Some of the questions I get most asked on the clinic:
1. Where do you get your protein from?
2. How do you get enough calcium?
3. If I stop eating carbohydrates will it help me to lose weight?
4. How can I get iron if I don’t eat red meat?
1.How Do I Get Enough Protein?
Protein is essential for a healthy diet; it is an important nutrient required by the cells of the body for the building, maintenance and repair of cell tissues and is as equally important as regulators of body functions. The building blocks of protein are called amino acids and we can either make these in our own body or we can get them from the food we eat. Essential amino acids are amino acids that the body can’t make so we have to obtain them from our food; there are 9 essential amino acids.
“It is the amino acids that are really meaningful part of protein.”
Since everybody cell contains protein (bone, skin, muscle, body organs, and blood) and there is a constant renewal of the cells in the body, you can now see why it is so essential to have protein in your diet. Actually, the time when protein requirement is at its highest in the body is during infancy and childhood when the body is growing most or during serious illness, surgery and pregnancy.
“Approximately 33 grams of protein are lost each day by the average adult male and must be replaced in the diet.”
There are many sources from where to get your protein for your diet such as animal meats, cheeses, milk, grains,
legumes and vegetables. In the modern western diet of today, which is eaten by most people living in developed countries around the world, people have been led to believe that they must eat large amounts of animal protein each day so that they can function properly in their daily busy lives and to build up their muscles. This is commonly referred to as the “protein myth”. Animal products also contain large amounts of fats, saturated fats, hormones and many undesirable chemicals from antibiotics and other medicines in them.
“Most individuals are surprised to learn that protein needs are actually much less than what they have been consuming.”
These high protein diets of animal products can lead to higher risks of disease and other health issues such as cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol, kidney problems and osteoporosis.
“Osteoporosis is not first a disease of calcium deficiency. It is a disease of excess protein. Animal and dairy products are full of sulphur-rich protein.”
The best sources of protein are the amino acids in fresh living plant foods such as spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, peas and hemp seeds. Sea vegetables are also another good source as are nut, seeds, grains and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soybeans, tofu, quinoa and tempeh. To get your full complement of essential amino acids it is good idea to eat a varied diet of these throughout the day so that if one food is low in a particular essential amino acid, another food will make up this deficit.
“Because of their high levels of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, sprouts are considered to be one of the most perfect foods known to man.”
2.How do I Get Enough Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral essential for the normal development and functioning of the body. It is an important constituent of bones and teeth.
“Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, accounting for roughly 2% of total body weight. 99% of the calcium is located in the bones and teeth and most of the remainder is in the blood.”
Ultimately all calcium comes from the soil in the ground originally. Through the process of photosynthesis plants take in this calcium through it root system and makes it available in a form that is suitable for human consumption. People then have a choice of how to get this calcium into their bodies; they can consume animal products from animals that have eaten these plants or they can cut out the middleman and eat the plants rich in calcium directly. Dairy products such as milk and cheese are the main source of calcium in the modern western diet. The problem is that, cow’s milk is designed for cows, it is super charged to grow a calf to cow in a very short space of time.
“Cow’s milk is not the right food for people. It is specifically designed for its own species of animal”.
It’s an interesting fact that humans are the only species of mammal that return to drinking milk after they have been weaned off, even a cow will push a calf away when it knows it’s ready to be weaned. You then have to look at the whole myth developed by the dairy industry that if you don’t drink enough milk and get enough calcium into your system you are more likely, especially if you are a girl, to suffer from osteoporosis in later life.
“There never has been a single case of a calcium deficient disease recorded in medical history.”
As Dr. Brian Clements stated earlier osteoporosis is firstly a disease of excessive protein from animal based products such as milk and cheese.
“Milk (cow’s milk) is a contributing factor in constipation, chronic fatigue, arthritis, headaches, muscle cramps, obesity, allergies, and heart problems.”
However, other excellent sources of calcium exist for people who don’t want to consume animal based products. Eating a varied diet of these foods will give you sufficient calcium to meet your daily calcium requirements. In fact,
“Less calcium is needed when there is reduced intake of protein.”
Foods such as dark green leafy vegetables like kale and turnip greens (not spinach) are good for calcium. Black strap molasses is very high as is tofu processed with calcium sulphate. As drink calcium fortified orange juice is high and for children soy milk fortified with calcium will ensure they develop strong bones and teeth. Did you know that?
“One teaspoon of sea kelp mixed in a glass of water gives approximately 1,000 times more calcium than 8 oz. cup of milk.”
3.If I Stop Eating Carbohydrates Will It Help Me To Lose Weight?
The answer to that question is yes, you will lose weight in the short term, But, and it’s a big But, at what cost to your body are you willing to pay? What’s important in your diet is the source of carbohydrates you intake in your diet.
“Several health problems have been linked with an excessive intake of “empty calorie” carbohydrates. Probably the most common and best publicized is obesity”.
People should increase the amount of nutritious carbohydrates in their diet and at the same time reduce their intake of fat and carbohydrates of the refined sugar and devitalized grain types.
“It is the consumption of refined carbohydrates with added fats that has contributed to our weight problems.”
What lowering or stopping your carbohydrates intake means is to lower your calorie intake, carbohydrates are important as a source of energy for the body and are essential in human growth and development, they are one of the main constituents of food along with fats, protein, minerals, vitamins and water, they are the cheapest, most efficient and most readily available source of food energy in the world.
“Carbohydrates are frequently condemned as being the main culprit responsible for obesity when fat actually contains more than twice the number of calories.”
Carbohydrates come from plants and are first manufactured by plants as a simple form of sugar called a monosaccharide or a simple carbohydrate such as glucose, complex carbohydrates are made up of 100’s of these simple sugars joined together. Fibre is an example of a complex carbohydrate and fibre is vital for the human diet but yet we are unable to digest it the main benefit of fibre is that it binds with unwanted waste and toxins in the bowel and removes them. Therefore a diet low in carbohydrates can result in sever constipation.
“I advocate a diet rich in complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and grains, because when these foods are consumed in their natural state, they are relatively low in calories and high in fiber.”
Over the years there have been many “miracle diets” advocating weight lost through low carbohydrates, high protein diet. But now concerns have been raised that this diet could be harmful to a person’s health in the long run. The first thing to remember by “been on a diet” is that “you have to come off it”. And what happens next is the weight piles back on and often what happens is more weight piles on than before, as Dr Atkins said of his own famous low carb., high protein diet,
“I concede that the worst feature about this diet is the rapidity with which you gain if you abandon it.”
In the article “Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets” published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine the article shows that people who responded to this survey and who were on one of these so called miracle diets reported medicinal problems such as constipation, loss of energy, bad breath, difficulty concentrating, kidney problems, hearth related problems, gall bladder problems but to name a few.
“Low fibre intake is associated with increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes and constipation.”
So excess weight is not caused by eating too much food but by eating the wrong foods. For a long lasting weight loss diet,
“The key to eating well, being full and being fully nourished is to eat foods that are low in calories, high in nutrient density and high in fibre, because they give you the feeling of fullness. These are complex carbohydrate foods!”
4.How Can I Get Iron If I Do Not Eat Red Meat?
Iron is a mineral that is essential to life. A deficiency in iron may lead to anaemia. Most of the iron in our bodies is contained in the haemoglobin of our red blood cells and is an essential component in the transfer of oxygen in the body. The rest is stored in our liver, muscles and in other iron stores. Iron, like any mineral initially comes from the ground. There is a huge myth surrounding iron; that it is only available through the consumption of red meat and this has been exploited by the huge meat industry over the years and even in the Oxford Medical Dictionary under the definition of iron it states,
“A good dietary source is meat, particularly liver.”
However, iron is readily available in many other foods, it is found in legumes, dried fruit, soybeans, black strap molasses, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Not all iron taken in the diet is absorbed by the body as the body can’t easily secrete it once it’s absorbed.
“A recent study has shown that the iron nutritional status of vegetarians and meat eaters is essentially the same.”
One of the reasons for this is that vitamin C taken in the same meal, helps with the absorption of iron into the body and vegetarian meals are usually full of vitamin C. Vegans and vegetarians must be sure to eat foods high in iron everyday and enhances iron absorption. Women need more iron than men in their diet.
“Fortunately, many vegetables, such as broccoli and bok choy, which are high in iron, are also high in vitamin C so that the iron in these foods is very well absorbed.”
Too much iron as well as too little can be dangerous on the body so the body tightly regulates how much it will absorb, if stores of iron are low it absorbs more from the diet. It’s also an interesting fact that cooking in old cast iron pots and using iron cooking utensils can increase the supply of iron in the diet. Whole grain cereal products fortified with iron are another source.