The Protein Myth
One of the greatest modern myths is that, since your muscles are made of protein, then eating protein must be good for you. Another way of saying this is that if you want to have strong muscles, then you should eat muscles. Some cultures also believe that eating animal feet is good for your feet, eating heart is good for your heart, eating brain is good for your brain, and so on.
The Protein Lie
Eating dead animals and drinking the secretions of live animals is a good way to nourish your body with the building blocks that it needs. Those that tell this lie are not liars, but well-intentioned people that have learned an untruth, and are so convinced of it that they repeat the lie.
The Truth about Protein
Your body produces its own protein from the 20 amino acids found in fruit. And, your immune system is designed to protect your self-produced protein while attacking all other proteins, including those that are nicely-packaged with “heart-smart” labels and other misleading marketing tactics. Eating animal protein will result in lost energy, a weakened immune system, frequent problems in the digestive tract, and an increased incidence of heart disease, cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases. Choosing fruit and herbs instead of animal products will result in increased energy, a strong immune system, a healthy digestive tract, and a reduced incidence of cancer and heart disease.
Amino acids, peptides and proteins.
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of peptides and proteins. Peptides are made of two or more amino acids. Ten or more amino acids strung together are called polypeptides. Peptides consisting of more than fifty amino acids are called proteins.
There are twenty different amino acids, alphabetically: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, hystidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, therionine, tryptophan, tyrosine and valine. (The nine amino acids displayed in boldface are known as “essential amino acids” because our body is apparently not able to synthesize these internally, therefore it is essential that we get these from our food.)
When several amino acids are strung together with peptide bonds, the string is called “polypeptide”. Several of these “semi-finished” parts are then assembled in a finished product that has a unique 3D shape and a specific function. These finished products are called proteins.
Complete proteins and incomplete proteins.
You may have heard that “animal products contain complete proteins” and “plant products contain incomplete proteins”. These statements are misleading. Here, the operative word “complete” relates only to whether or not the substance contains the nine essential amino acids. Animal products do contain the nine essential amino acids, but soon you will see why this is not a good thing for humans. Some plant products, such as flax and hemp, do also contain all nine essential amino acids. Most fruits and vegetables, however, contain some but not all of the nine essentials. But this should not be a concern to anyone, since plant-based diets are not meant to rely on any one fruit or vegetable to provide every nutrient that you will ever need. Dr. John McDougall succinctly explains this in his short article, Plant Foods Have a Complete Amino Acid Composition, published in the American Heart Association Journals. In an upcoming article on this site, I will discuss many of the foods that provide essential nutrients including amino acids.
The human body is designed to turn the amino acids in fruit into thousands of different specialized proteins.
Your body is a sophisticated organism that is made up of 78 organs. Each organ is made of a group of tissues that work together. A tissue is a group of similar cells. It is inside the nucleus of each cell that proteins are formed from a group of amino acids.
Human cells produce around fifty thousand different types of proteins. Some examples are hemoglobin, collagen, enzymes and hormones. Our immune system is capable of recognizing the body’s own cells because of a specific type of protein called HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen).
The human body is designed to attack “foreign” proteins including viruses and animal protein.
When our immune system finds a protein that does not contain our own unique identifier, it considers this “foreign source protein” a threat. White blood cells called leucocytes are sent to attack the invader. When the body sends many leucocytes to a specific point of infection, the term leucocytosis is used to describe the inflammatory immune response that will hopefully save you from the threat.
Ideally, the immune system should be available to attack only the most serious threats, such as cancer, as well as viruses. But for those humans with the unfortunate habit of consuming animal products, the immune system is forced to send leucocytes to the entire digestive tract, day and night, without rest. This is called digestive leucocytosis. If this person should come into contact with a cold or a flu virus, the body will not be able to respond immediately to the virus, as it is perpetually backlogged with possible threats in the digestive tract.
Those that eat animal products will take longer to recover from cold and flu viruses.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, most uncomplicated colds last between eight and nine days, but about 25 percent last two weeks, and five to ten percent last three weeks. But Dr. Mercola recommends that his patients eat animal products including eggs, raw milk and grass fed cows. I do not consume any of these, and in the last fifteen years, I have been infected with the cold and flu viruses several times. Each time, my immune system eliminated the virus within mere minutes. This may sound shocking, but it is true. A box of tissues can last me a few years since I typically only need one tissue per infection. (Of course, there are other uses for tissues, but back when I ate animal products, I would typically go through an entire box of tissues with each cold or flu infection.)
Eating meat and ingesting animal products causes cancer.
There is a large and growing body of research that clearly demonstrates the relationship between eating animal products and increased cancer rates. Recently, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published the result of its extensive meta-analysis. The IARC found that processed meat is definitely a carcinogen, while red meat is “probably a carcinogen”. Their study did not consider the carcinogenic effects of eating poultry, fish or dairy.
In the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted, The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell shows how tumor growth is turned on and off simply by changing the protein intake of an animal. In his experiment, animals were exposed to aflatoxin, a potent carcinogen, until a tumor began growing aggressively. While the animals continued eating their “normal” diet of 20% protein, the tumors continued growing rapidly. But when these animals were switched to a diet with only 5% protein, the tumors stopped growing.
According to Dr. Campbell, who grew up on a dairy farm believing that cow milk was nature’s perfect food, the casein that accounts for 87% of cow milk protein promotes every stage of cancer growth. Campbell and his huge team of scientists in both the United States and China, showed an undeniable correlation between diets that include animal protein and the formation of several types of cancer, especially liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Eating meat is associated with an increased incidence of heart disease.
I have written a separate article on this topic, so you can follow the link to read that article if you have not already done so.
Vegetarians will have more energy because digesting fruit is fast and easy.
Fruit contains amino acids that are ready to be used immediately by the body in constructing any of thousands of forms of proteins that the body creates. Fruit also contains abundant pure water, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes. This combination is optimal for human health, and results in a fast, efficient digestion with a minimal expenditure of energy.
Attempting to digest animal products will result in energy loss.
Animal products do not contain the raw materials that we need. Instead, they contain a variety of proteins that were useful to the animal being consumed, but are of no use to a human being. The protein in chicken eggs, for example, is appropriate for the formation of feathers, a beak, and other chicken parts. (Remember, chicken eggs are fetuses destined to become cute little chicks.) Attempting to build a human body from chicken protein is like trying to build a house from car parts. Your car door probably looks fine right where it is, but it will neither be stylish nor functional on your home. Sure, in theory you could disassemble it, then melt down its metal and then create a new door for your home. But you can easily see how that process would be lengthy, complicated and costly. If you have ever eaten a large steak dinner… how did you feel afterwards? Ready to run a marathon? Or ready to pass out?
Cooking denaturalizes food.
It requires a stretch of the imagination to believe that our body will magically melt down then disassemble the animal proteins into usable amino acids. Try to imagine first melting down that car door, then attempting to disassemble it. Melted screws cannot be unscrewed and reused. It is an ugly reality: cooking denaturalizes protein. This means that the “natural” protein becomes something un-natural, unrecognizable and useless to our bodies. If you light a strand of your hair on fire, you will not be left with its component amino acids, but rather, toxic smoke and a disgusting melted blob that can never be re-assembled into a hair.
The human immune system rejects all foreign protein.
It is wishful thinking that the human body can use animal protein. The body is programmed to attack and eliminate it, since it appears as a foreign invader to our immune system.
To illustrate this point, consider the case of a person receiving a kidney transplant from his identical twin. This is an extreme example, since the twins’ DNA are more similar than the DNA of unrelated people, and certainly much more similar than the DNA of a person and a pig. The transplant must be done in an isolated part of the hospital since the recipient’s immune system must be suppressed. Following the surgery, the patient will continue taking immunosuppressant pills for the rest of her life, otherwise her body would reject the transplanted organ. (There are even cases of the transplanted organ rejecting the body!) If our immune system is designed to attack even a much-needed kidney from one’s identical twin, how could it possibly allow the protein of another animal to remain?
Eating animal products is linked with gastro-intestinal cancer, constipation, gallstones and more.
A study from the Gastrointestinal Research Unit of the Leicester General Hospital in the United Kingdom found that “Vegetarians were found to have a lower incidence of gastro-intestinal cancer, gallstones, diverticular disease (a disease of the large intestine) and constipation.”
You now know that eating animal protein will rob you of your energy, weaken your immune system, plug up your digestive tract, and maybe even give you cancer or heart disease. You also know that fruit provides all of the nutrients that you need to be healthy.
Consuming animal products will make your life mediocre. You’ll spend more time, money and energy on an animal-based diet, that will ultimately leave you battling illness at the mercy of the pharmaceutical industry. Alas, it was they that wrote the chapter on nutrition in the medical textbooks!
Don’t settle for mediocrity. Choose instead what’s best for you and your family. Choose to thrive on fresh fruit and herbs, and avoid the needless suffering.
Here are some delicious raw vegan recipes to get you started. Or visit Vida Lotus Retreat + Spa to learn more about healthy living.
- Plant Foods Have a Complete Amino Acid Composition, John McDougall MD, American Heart Association Journals, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/105/25/e197.full
- The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Common colds: Overview, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072727/
- Seasonal Influenza: Flu Basics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization, IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat, https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf
Dr. Joseph Mercola, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/22/the-common-cold-simple-strategies-for-prevention-and-treatment.aspx
Animal Protein–Meat and Dairy–Cause Cancer, T. Colin Campbell, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfsT-qYeqGM
- Are There Any Benefits in Eating Chicken Feet?, http://hubpages.com/food/Is-There-Any-Benefits-in-Eating-Chicken-Feet
- Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages? Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15702597
- Vegetarianism, dietary fibre and gastro-intestinal disease. Gastrointestinal Research Unit, Leicester General Hospital, UK. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7988064