I'm going to make the assumption that everyone reading this is human. Ok, here we go ...
Many people are concerned that they are not getting enough 'protein' in their diets. In fact, they are eating too much. Because of all the "experts" offering conflicting advice, the public is confused.
In fact, the consumption of large amounts of protein has been associated with many serious health problems, including cancer and heart disease. In fact, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and others have now proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything more than 5% of animal products in our diets cause problems!
The body excretes less than an ounce of protein each day, suggesting that the nutritional requirement is quite small. Protein consumed in excess of this amount contributes to toxic waste buildup in the body. Protein, in fact, is no more important than any other category of nutrient.
Some will argue in favor of eating animal products, stating that it is necessary to build and maintain strength, yet the strongest animals in the world (elephants and oxen) eat only raw grasses and fruits.
Here's a key point that I want you to remember: The human body makes protein from eight essential amino acids, so these are necessary nutrients, not animal products. The original source of amino acids is plants.
A plant based diet supplies an abundant amount of the eight essential amino acids we need to make protein. There is no reason to eat all of the eight essential amino acids in fixed proportions at every meal. The human body can combine the essential amino acids consumed at one meal with essential amino acids consumed at another time.
Think about it: animals don't require specific combinations of vegetables at the same time to satisfy their protein requirements. Humans don't either.
The body maintains a constant supply of amino acids circulating in the blood and lymphatic systems. These amino acids are deposited into circulation as they become available, and are withdrawn from circulation as they are needed.
The liver regulates the quantify of amino acids in the blood to maintain a constant level. The cells also act to regulate the amino acid level. This system is called the amino acid pool, and accounts for the body's ability to synthesize complete proteins, regardless of the amino acid composition of any particular meal. The body successfully synthesizes all of its protein requirements as long as the diet supplies all eight essential amino acids. This "amino acid pool" theory has been expounded for decades by various health authorities, such as Arthur C. Guyton and T.C. Fry.
In addition, much of the world's Asian population exists on an essentially meatless diet, and the major import of this "deprivation" is a significantly lower incidence of cancer and heart disease ... and no evidence of protein deficiency!
So, where do we get the eight essential amino acids? They are found in every fruit and vegetable! These foods, for example, contain all eight: bananas, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, nuts, okra, peas, potatoes, sesame seeds, summer squash, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
Having said all that, being a vegetarian is not a guarantee of good health. A diet of primarily COOKED vegetarian food can be quite disease forming!
The human body needs carbohydrates for fuel. Animal products (flesh, milk) supply no carbohydrates.
The human body needs fiber for healthy colonic function, like peristalsis and elimination. Animal products supply no fiber.
As I've already said, the human body requires amino acids to build human protein. Animal products do contain complex animal protein, but it must be broken down into AMINO ACID components by digestion. This is a very inefficient usage of the body's energy, and human bodies are not designed to do this. Furthermore, cooking animal products alters the structure of the amino acids, rendering them virtually useless, if not actually harmful. Carnivores, like cats, do not eat cooked animal flesh.
Speaking of carnivores ... carnivores have long sharp claws and teeth for tearing and cutting animal flesh. Humans have hands and molars for picking fruits and chewing nuts.
Carnivores have acid saliva to digest animal protein. Humans have alkaline saliva, containing the enzyme ptyalin, to digest starch.
Carnivores have the ability to eliminate very large quantities of uric acid, a by product of protein digestion. Humans can eliminate only minute quantities of uric acid, a substance that is high toxic in the human body.
Most mentally healthy human beings are not instinctively drawn to kill animals. Most mentally healthy human beings probably wouldn't even eat animal flesh if they knew they could survive without it, and they had to do the killing themselves! How do you feel about killing an animal for food yourself?
We need roughly 6% "protein" (amino acids) in our diet. Some people require a bit more than others, due to age and activity level. But ALL THE PROTEIN YOU NEED IS AVAILABLE FROM PLANTS, in a form that our bodies can absorb.
For example, as a percentage of total calories, here's a sample of how much protein some kinds of plants supply (when raw or sprouted). Everything on this list has a higher protein content than any animal product (before cooking):
Alfalfa seeds: 35%
Mung beans: 27%
Sunflower seeds: 27%
Split peas: 26%
Garbanzo beans: 24%
Eating a variety of plant foods and consuming enough calories to support your level of activity will enable you to make plenty of protein with the amino acids! A green juice in the morning, and a good variety of vegetables throughout the day supplies MORE than enough amino acids to build all the protein we need.
A different way that protein requirements are often presented is in terms of body weight. The recommendation is to get 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day (this is high, by the way). A kilogram is 2.2 pounds, so a 160 pound adult would need 58 grams of protein (like I said, very high - most people only need about 30 grams). A 2,000 calorie per day diet composed of 12% calories from protein supplies 60 grams of protein, and this requirement is easily met on a raw food diet. Luckily, measuring amounts of protein and studying tables is unnecessary when you eat a full spectrum of raw foods!
Much of the misinformation and confusion about human protein requirements is based on animal studies using rats in the early 1900s. Later, in the 1950s, research on the protein requirements of humans revealed that rats and humans have different protein requirements and that plans provide all the essential amino acids in the amount that humans need!
Still, the powerful and highly profitable meat and dairy industries (bigger than Big Pharma or Big Oil) are happy to reinforce misconceptions about the requirements for meat and dairy in the human diet, and these industries are aided through generous subsidies and other support by the USDA! The federally funded National School Lunch program, for example, spends more on dairy products than any other food item, and the USDA still includes milk as a "required" beverage in this program, despite research showing that milk not only lacks nutritional benefits, but actually has an adverse effect on health. (In fact, cow's milk causes most human diseases: cancer, diabetes and heart disease, just to name a few.) On the one hand, it's supposed to encourage us to eat healthfully, but it's also designed to support agricultural profits. Unfortunately, profit usually prevails, compromising health awareness.
So, relax and eat your plants. Doing so will guarantee that you are getting enough amino acids to build protein.