One of the most common questions plant-based people are asked is where they get their protein from in their diet. The current obsession with dietary protein is particularly rife among the health and fitness sector. With protein-fortified fitness shakes and powders and “Olympic” diets packed with eggs and lean meat, athletes and trainers alike are convinced that their requirement for protein increases with the amount of exercise that they do. Big money brands make a killing by selling snacks, bars and shakes that promise better performance and physique based solely on their added proteins. However, the average American (non-athletic) male currently consumes twice the daily recommended protein intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board. This is a problem because the major source of protein in the Standard American Diet is animal protein from meat and dairy, which is also high in saturated animal fats.
PROTEIN DEFICIENCY DOESN'T EXIST
While protein is an essential nutrient and does contribute to lean muscle mass, we require far less of it in our diets than many health articles and fitness companies would have us believe. Have you ever heard of a person who is suffering from protein deficiency? There is no medical term for protein deficiency. It does not exist because sufficient protein is present in all foods that we eat, including vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. Consider the lean, powerful and muscular physiques of animals living in the wild, such as gorillas, elephants and rhinoceros. Where do you think they get their protein from? They have amassed and maintained their far superior physiques and muscular strength by eating a plant-based, herbivorous diet consisting of grass, plants, bananas and leaves. In fact, our obsession with acquiring protein from animal sources is rendered quite ridiculous when you consider the protein in the pigs, sheep, cows and chickens we consume has been assimilated by them into their bodies from the protein in their plant-based diets!
PLANT STRONG POWER
To prove this point, there are many successful, high-performance vegan athletes and bodybuilders out there who have proven that broccoli is mightier than the egg when it comes to good sources of protein. ‘Germany’s Strongest Man’, Patrik Baboumian, proudly wore his ‘I’m a Vegan Badass’ t-shirt to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival, where he carried an incredible 550 kilos for over 10 meters, setting a new unofficial world record. 78 year old plant-powered bodybuilder Jim Morris is the face behind PETA’s ‘Think before You Eat’ campaign and has said “since becoming vegan, all my health problems have completely disappeared. My yearly checkups are perfect.” So where do vegan athletes and bodybuilders, such as Patrik and Jim, get their protein from in their plant-based diets?
Many people believe that “Protein is King”. They buy into the collective fear that by not eating animals, we are somehow not getting enough protein in our diet when in truth, by simply eating a diet full of living, whole, REAL foods we can be as strong as an athlete…or a gorilla!
CURE WESTERN DISEASE
Perhaps the most controversial claim, but the evidence is too compelling to ignore. Professor T. Colin Campbell conducted the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between the food we eat and our health. His book ‘The China Study’ examines the results of his 20 year research plan and compellingly puts forward the argument that the countries that have a diet based on plants and whole foods are less likely to develop disease such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. All of the studies indicated that the most damaging substances we can ingest are animal protein and dairy products. This science was not inconclusive; the FACTS showed that the people studied, who followed a plant based diet, with no animal products, showed little or no signs of “western diseases.” Whether you believe this or not, the proof is seeing it in your own health when you cut out meat and it’s by-products from your diet.
COMBAT WORLD HUNGER
Unbelievably the cold fact is the more meat we eat, the fewer people can be fed. More than 70% of the grain that we harvest is fed to the tens of billions of livestock that are killed every year for the meat industry. There is more than enough plant-food in the world to feed our world population. So why are millions starving? Meat consumption is an inefficient use of grain. Consider this: one child will die of hunger right this second whilst elsewhere cattle are eating 16 pounds of grain to produce only 1 pound of beef. If you’re not angry yet, you’re not paying attention. If we stop breeding animals for slaughter and used the corn, soybeans and grain to feed the worlds hungry instead, the issue with world starvation would be solved.
PREVENT THE WATER CRISIS
Haven’t you heard? Every year the competition for access to a clean and abundant water supply intensifies. Currently 1 in 9 people on the planet lack access to safe water for drinking, bathing and cooking with. When you realize that 70% of the earth’s fresh water is consumed by animals farmed for slaughter you’ll know that removing meat from your diet will have more planetary impact than taking shorter showers. In fact, you’ll save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for 6 months.