“But where do you get your protein?”
This question is always asked of me. Heck, it is asked of most vegetarians, let alone a fruitmonster such as myself (what’s a fruitmonster?). So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people inquire into my protein intake. Especially given how completely skewed and distorted our collective ideas of protein are. Let’s face it here… you have probably been told all of your life that you need to eat meat three times a day and drink your milk in order to have strong bones and to keep your muscles from disintegrating. Well I’m here to boldly tell you that’s a absolutely and most clearly a lie. A lie told to insure the industry responsible for the annual slaughter of hundreds of millions of animals continues to make billions of dollars. I’m not just some hippie kid making things up, I am economically informed, scientific minded person who has done the research. Go ahead and do it for yourself if you don’t believe me, I’d love to have one more well informed individual out there (I’d start with the book in the next paragraph).
American society’s understanding of the protein needs of the human body have been shaped by the meat and dairy industry. Through lobbying and direct manipulation of the areas of government (FDA, USDA, etc) that create the “Recommended Dietary Allowances”, the daily intake of protein and fats (which primarily come from animal products in the Standard American Diet) have been artificially inflated. This is true of calcium and sodium intake and a whole slew of other items which I could spend posts upon posts ranting about. However, for a more eloquent and coherent explanation, I point you to The China Study (by Dr. T Colin Campbell).
Let’s get straight to the point of this post: you don’t need one drop of cow lactation or one bite of flesh to satisfy the very basic protein requirements of the human body. The argument justifying this is best contained in one simple, rather infallible argument:
A human mother’s breast milk is ~6% protein. Assuming the mother has a healthy, evolutionarily based diet (fruits and leafy greens!), this milk contains everything a human child will need to survive. While consuming this wonderful resource, a baby will routinely double its mass during the very rapid phase of growth it undergoes in the first few years of life. If this 6% protein concoction contains more than enough amino acids for such rapid muscle mass growth, then why would a full grown adult, who merely requires the very small amount of protein needed for daily muscle repair (even for athletes!), need more than this percentage of protein in their diet? The simple answer is they don’t. The super-high, ridiculously overblow protein requirements suggested by the USDA are in place to get you to consume more animal products. It’s manipulative. It’s ridiculous. It’s pretty damn messed up. But it makes money and that’s why it thrives.
But’s let take a step back for a moment and say that the USDA is right… and that I do need 0.8 g of protein for every 1kg of body weight. Since I weigh 63.5kg, that puts my protein requirement at 50.8 g per day. Even in this case you can get 100% of your daily protein requirements from fruits and leafy greens! To show this to be true, let’s consider a typical day for me, in which I eat the following (check the Munch Report if you don’t believe this is representative) :
Morning Snack: Juice of 4 Grapefruit
Lunch: Orange Smoothie – Juice of 4 Navel Oranges, Blended with 2 Bananas, 1 cup of dates, 4 cups Spinach
Here is what the nutritional breakdown of that day looks like:
First, note that I had a very healthy intake of over 3600 calories. This is great for me and has actually lead to some weight gains recently…I credit the incorporation of more dates! It is also likely a comparable amount of calories to what most of you eat in a given day. I surely don’t go hungry and am never lacking energy (as my friends can surely attest to ).
Secondly, check the breakdown. 2/93/5. What does that mean? Well that means that 2% of my calories came from fats, 93% from carbs and 5% from protein. I’m almost taking in as much protein as that very healthy baby was! (relative to total calories of course!). Forget your premonitions about carbs and sugars at this point, I will post about this at another time (for now, I recommend you read the 80/10/10 Diet – a fantastic and revolutionary book about the evolutionary human diet and the way to greater, lasting health).
Next, my total protein intake is 47g! That’s from eating mangoes, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, dates and leafy greens! If I’d only eaten one more banana or a few more leaves of kale, I’d have arrived at the (stupidly high) RDA value of 50.8g for my weight. That’s without any animal products, let alone any other food but leafy greens and fruits!
(As a clarification, I did not actually consumer 423% of my daily fiber allowance, because the oranges and grapefruits were juiced)
Also, it is clear that I am “in the green” on important things, such as vitamin C/A, calcium and iron (as far as the USDA says, that is). We’ll forget the fact that the calcium levels requirements are artificially inflated for you meat eaters… you have to make up for the acidification of your body that results when you eat meat. That acidification leaches calcium out of your bones in order to push your body back to a more alkaline state. Oh, and another point before I peace out, milk does the same thing… acidifying your body and actually making your bones weaker by drawing the calcium out of your bones…but I will save such thoughts for another day.
For now, I think I’ve successfully debunked the false premonition that people such as myself don’t get ‘enough’ protein.
“Dude, where do you get your protein? ”