The most common asked question when considering a raw plant-based protein diet. Most of us were raised to believe protein should come from animal sources but nothing could be further from the truth.
Obtaining protein without animal foods is easy and raw vegans and vegetarians are the least likely to have a protein deficiency because the highest-quality, most digestible source of protein for humans is raw plant protein. That’s the key – digestible protein! The protein most people think of – meat, fish, eggs and dairy is actually second-class inferior sources.
We are not debating we need protein because we all agree we do. The question is from what source we consume our protein.
The belief that plant foods are deficient of protein is a myth. Plant foods are plentiful in protein. For instance, broccoli obtains 45% of its calories from protein, spinach 45%, cauliflower 40%, celery 21%, grains are 8 to 31%, nuts and seeds are 8% to 21% with fruits being lowest around 5-8% average.
In regards to protein, cooked animal protein is difficult to digest, creates inflammation in the tissues and is rough on the kidneys. Consuming excess protein – especially cooked animal protein – is incredibly taxing on our bodies. One of the greatest untold truths about protein is that by relying on cooked foods for protein and not consuming enough raw plant protein it is possible to be deficient in one or more essential amino acids. In other words to be starving your body of the protein it really needs while damaging it with too much of the kinds it doesn’t.
The free-form amino acids found in plant foods makes them a superior source of protein-building blocks. Some of the best protein plant foods include:
- bee pollen (best of high-protein foods)
- blue-green algae
- goji berries (14% protein)
- dehydrated and powdered grasses
- green-leafy vegetables (such as parsley, spinach, kale, collards, green cabbage, arugula)
- hemp protein (30 grams per tablespoon)
- Incan berries (16% protein)
- pumpkin seeds
- sprouted grains
- sprouted wild rice
- all sprouts
- vegetable powders
Animal proteins are “complete” since they contain all of the amino acids in substantial quantities. Plant food tend to contain only some of the amino acids or if they contain all of them, usually one or more is in much lower supply amounts in animal foods. This information is what led people to believe that animal protein is therefore better.
Research today now shows that the body makes no distinction between “complete” and “incomplete” proteins. It has what can best be described as an amino acid pool, and it dips into this to get the amino acids it requires at any given time. This pool is fed both by the foods taken in each day and also protein the body has salvaged for recycling, which supplies over 80% of our protein needs.
What many don’t know about protein is that heat damages amino acids making them hard for the body to utilize. Lysine and tryptophan are two essential amino acids that have been scientifically proven to be denatured by heat at 110 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
Our bodies need all the amino acids in the right quantities for its building, maintaining and healthy functioning of the brain. Without these essential aminos our bodies cannot produce the neurotransmitters for healthy mental and emotional functioning.
Victoria Boutenko states in her book Green For Life: “The ironic result of consuming this imperfect source of protein [i.e. animal protein] is that many people develop deficiencies in essential amino acids. Such deficiencies are not only dangerous to health, but they dramatically change people’s perceptions of life and the way people feel and behave.”
Boutenko’s research has led her to believe that amino acid deficiencies caused by relying on cooked animal protein are a leading cause of depression and a host of other disorders endemic in western society.
Protein is the building block of life which gives us our structure that is used by the body to build and repair itself.
As we age, our ability to manufacture non-essential amino acids starts to decline therefore we should eliminate this burden from our body by taking all amino acids in through the diet. All of the amino acids – the eight essential ones and the 14 non-essential ones – can be obtained in plentiful quantities on a raw vegan diet.
How much Protein do you need?
For adult women, 46 grams of protein daily are recommended while men; slightly more at 56 grams per day.
The average American today is estimated to be eating between 100 and 150 grams of protein a day.
So in summary we do need protein – digestible protein – in the correct amounts. You may want to add more digestible plant-based proteins in your diet. Too much protein is aging to our bodies.
David Wolfe – Longevity Now Program