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Thanks for stopping by! I'm young, I'm in love with my man, and I'm a mommy. We're busy, but happy. I'll share with you how to eat natural, healthy, whole foods while balancing family life! Learn to love your food, it will love you back!
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post Series-Protein

What about protein?
Many people that switch to a plant-based diet get that question all the time.  The idea that we need 20% protein in our diet and that the best sources are animal sources (i.e. chicken, beef, fish, etc.) is ingrained in our heads thanks to another effective campaign by the cattle and dairy industries.

Would you be surprised if I told you that our bodies really only need 5% protein and that vegetables contain plenty of protein? If you are not familiar with Colin Campbell’s The China Study, it is a very interesting read on the subject.  He conducted the largest human study ever and documented that eating a diet of 20% animal protein led to all the modern degenerative diseases.
“Campbell noted that rats fed 20 percent casein (cow-milk protein) developed cancerous tumors and died early, while those fed 5 percent casein were lean and vigorous beyond their life expectancy. When the diets of the two groups were switched, Campbell and other researchers around the world repeatedly got consistent results. Formerly lean animals developed tumors and died on a high-protein diet. And the tumors of overweight, cancer-ridden animals disappeared and life expectancy increased when they were switched to low-protein feed.”( Robyn Oppenshaw)

So, we may think we’re not getting enough protein, but the China Study’s conclusion was that Americans are suffering from a protein overload, in fact!  Another interesting point Campbell made was that all the massive amounts of animal protein that we eat causes such an acidic state in our bodies that calcium is leeched from our bones in order to bring our bodies back into alkaline balance.  So, you know that saying, “milk, it does a body good,” well, it actually doesn’t. 

Good sources of plant protein include beans and lentils, almonds, cashews and walnuts.  You can find smaller amounts in whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, bulgur and some fruits and vegetables. And while we’re at it, some good plant sources of calcium include dark leafy greens, cooked beans, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds (especially sesame seeds).

To eat animal protein or not?
That question can only be answered by you. You have to do what feels right and comfortable.  We eat some meat in our family, my children even less than my husband and I, probably 2-3 times per week; most of the time it is chicken.  Very rarely do I buy red meat or fish.  We do eat eggs regularly though.

We don’t consume much dairy.  We have switched to drinking almond milk and I will occasionally use small amounts of cheese in a meal (mostly dinners). I do like having my kids eat yogurt because it is cultured it acts differently in your body than other dairy.  The good bacteria is especially good for my hubby and kids who all have tummy problems. I will only buy plain though, as it only has 2 ingredients listed typically; milk and live cultures. Flavored yogurts on the other hand have many, many ingredients listed.  When choosing dairy products choose the full-fat option (just limit your intake).  Otherwise, you will be buying a product that has “fillers” that make the taste and texture better.  

If you do choose to consume animal products (milk, cheese, other dairy, meat, poultry, fish), I think it’s important to be choosy.   Try to choose meat from cows that have been grass fed, eggs from chickens that are able to roam freely and eat bugs and grass, and fish that has been wild caught, rather than farm raised.  These animals are in their natural habitat, eating what they were designed to eat (instead of corn and soy products), not administered antibiotics and have been allowed to move and live freely, rather than be cooped up and cramped in a living space much too small.

You will probably have sticker shock when shopping for items labeled “organic,”  “wild-caught,” and “free-range.” I admit, this is one area where I struggle to find the best out there. Not all grocery stores carry this type of food, so you may have to travel some in order to find something suitable. Here’s another area where you have to remember to make gradual changes.  If they are not comfortable for you, they will not stick!

Next time, I'll be wrapping it up with sweets and whole foods.

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