What everyone *does* seem to know is that we all need a lot of protein and this only comes from eating vast quantities of meat, eggs, dairy products, and other protein-enriched packaged goods.
The result of this obsession with protein is that people brand new to a raw food diet are very concerned with their protein consumption. In fact, many raw foodists turn to so-called “protein-rich” foods such as nuts and seeds because they think they need more protein to be healthy.
Because these foods are actually rich in fat, the average raw foodist ends up consuming an unhealthy high fat diet.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! I’m here to show you why you can eat a low fat raw vegan diet and still get plenty of quality, easy-to-assimilate protein.
First, let’s start with the basics.
What is Protein?
Protein, along with carbohydrates and fats, is a macro-nutrient necessary in the human diet. There are over 100,000 types of protein in the human body and each type is made up of chains called amino acids.
Why Do You Need Protein?
Modern medicine has done an excellent job of leaving the general public utterly ignorant when it comes to the use of protein. Some people believe protein gives us energy. Some believe that it makes us strong. Others think that it only comes from animal flesh.
And unfortunately, the vast majority thinks that protein deficiency is a rampant health problem.
Fortunately, the function of protein is actually very straightforward. Protein is necessary for everyday growth, repairing of tissues, and replacement of cells within the human body.
Yep, it’s that simple.
I know what you’re thinking: so how much protein do we really need?
Don’t worry, we’ll get to that!
Before we do, here are a few little facts that will help to demystify the protein issue.
#1 Everything Contains Protein
Contrary to what mainstream health outlets want you to think, every single thing that you eat contains protein. Whether it’s meat, nuts, rice, or even fruit. Everything contains protein.
Obviously certain refined substances are pure carbohydrates and do contain any protein. But I’m sure you have no intention of living off of powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and agave nectar, right?
#2 Human Breast Milk Contains 6% Protein
That’s right. Only 6% of calories from protein is necessary at the time when human development is most rapid and crucial.
To say that fully-grown humans require more protein per calorie than a growing infant is to completely ignore nutritional science, human anatomy and physiology, and just plain common sense.
#3 Our Body Pools Amino Acids to Create New Proteins
It was once believed that to get all of the essential amino acids, you would have to eat complimentary proteins at each meal in order to create “complete” proteins.
It is now known that our body actually recycles its own proteins. We have an amino acid “pool” from which new proteins are created.
This means that receiving all the essential amino acids in a meal, or even in a single day, is unnecessary.
#4 Physical Activity Does Not Affect Our Protein Needs
Unless you are a professional bodybuilder or olympic weightlifter, you don’t need more protein as the amount that is required for healthy muscle development is so small as to be negligible.
Switching to a raw vegan diet had no negative impact on my ability to lift heavy weights and I’ve continued to improve strength-wise over the years.
And any extra protein that you do need will easily be met by an increase in calories, which will naturally occur since you’ll be burning more calories by exercising.
#5 Protein Deficiency is Simply Calorie Deficiency
The issue is not with protein but with total calories consumed. If you are eating enough calories from *anything* (remember, every food contains protein), you are eating enough protein.
If you are not eating enough, then you are lacking in more than protein. Your body will also be deficient in all of the macro-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc.
On the other hand, there is a very real problem today with too much protein. With the over consumption of animal products and processed foods, the average American is eating way too much protein on a daily basis. Excess protein from animal sources has been linked to various health concerns, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
So…How Much Protein Do We Need?
It may sound crazy, but many experts agree that our bodies require less than 10% of total calories from protein. As long as you are eating enough calories and getting in plenty of green vegetables, you will get enough protein.
I tried to make this article very content rich, but still easy to understand. I want you to walk away feeling like you truly understand protein and are no longer afraid of it.
If you are still worried, see for yourself the benefits of a healthy raw diet. I guarantee after you experience some of the awesome raw results, protein deficiency will be the furthest thing from your mind.
You’ll be too busy wondering how to show off your new fit on raw bod.
Go raw and be fit,
P.S. Okay, so it’s fairly easy to get enough protein on a raw vegan diet, but what about other nutrients? What about iron and calcium and zinc and selenium and vitamin D and B12?!
Don’t worry, you can meet all of your nutritional requirements on a raw diet done right. In fact, I wrote an entire chapter showing you exactly how to do just that in my book The Science of Eating Raw.
The Science of Eating Raw
How to Low Weight, Increase Your Energy, Prevent Disease, & Meet All of Your Nutritional Needs on a Raw Food Diet
To learn more and order your copy today, just follow the link below:
Post Last Updated: 3/2/2013