Amino acids and protein

I want to address the issue of "protein" in our diets in a slightly different way.

We have been brainwashed since birth (at least in the US) that we must consume animal flesh, milk and eggs to get enough "protein" in our diets. In fact, we would have to consume quite a bit of these things to get enough amino acids to build protein, and it's totally unnecessary and harmful!

The rampant concern about "protein" deficiency reveals a widespread misconception about it! Some of the largest and strongest animals in the world, including silverback gorillas, horses and elephants thrive on a plant based diet, and very few people wonder where they get their protein.

Humans build protein from amino acids. There are only eight amino acids that we have to consume, and ALL eight of them are in plants. For example, you can get all eight amino acids needed from a potato, carrot or banana.

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 how much protein each kind of plant supplies (when raw or sprouted):

Fruits: 6%
Nuts and seeds: 11%
Grains: 12%
Vegetables: 18%
Legumes: 30%

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 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. 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.