Health Nugget – Short on Protein?

On becoming a vegan, I was convinced that processed foods and meats were not the best for the body. I was challenged by family members who consistently said I would die if I did not eat meat. But, after much research and realizing that the meat industry had convinced many that a meatless diet would be devastating to health, I was quite satisfied with my decision and have been much blessed ever since.

I share the following excerpt to help those who may still have fears of not getting enough protein. This answers the question: Where do I get protein?

Body’s Protein Needs

“In sickness and in health one of the most important functions of our body is to rid itself of poisons constantly building up from the breakdown of food being digested. There are four ways the body has to get rid of these poisons: the lungs, the skin, the bowels, and the kidneys. At each of these exit stations the body uses water as the doorman. Even the lungs use water to rid the body of the gaseous waste, carbon dioxide. You can tell that it is so by breathing on your glasses or mirror and you will see the drops of water. What does water and the body’s need for it have to do with protein?

“In the breakdown of protein the body produces urea, which is moved out of the blood by the kidneys. The more protein consumed the greater the need the body has for water to remove the urea produced as a result. Dr. Nathan Smith, professor of Athletic Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, likes to talk school athletes out of their protein habits. Energy can be more efficiently handled when it comes from complex carbohydrates like whole grains than from protein sources found in products of animal origin.

“A number of years ago in Haiti thousands of children were suffering from a protein deficiency disease called Kwashiorkor. After being weaned, the babies were given starchy diets poor in protein and the mortality rate for children under four years of age was 50%. To meet the crisis they initiated an instruction program of three handfuls of grain to one handful of beans. As a result the protein deficiency was halted and eradicated from the island. Thanks to the understanding of medical science, a crisis was halted and lives were saved. But now we are faced by another dangerous problem of too much protein.

“The fear of not having enough protein has led us to the opposite problem of too much protein. Even the false idea is presented that we need a certain kind of protein that can be obtained only from animal sources and that vegetable proteins are incomplete. There are populations around the world that eat 4% of their total calories as protein and these proteins are plant proteins.

“Science indicates that the 100-plus grams a day protein intake of the average non-vegetarian American puts a tax on the liver and kidneys, triggers a loss of calcium from the bones, and also leaves behind a toxic residue which before being eliminated often damages the body and thus makes it more susceptible to a variety of diseases, including cancer and arthritis.

“The question of how much protein the body needs varies from person to person, but the recommendation from the National Research Council is 46 grams for the ladies and 56 grams or 2 ounces for the men. These figures have been inflated by 30–50% because of allowing a margin of safety.

“Adequate protein is easily available from a vegetarian diet. Here is a list of a few foods and the amount of protein they contain:

1 cup pinto beans – 15 grams

1 baked potato – 5 grams

1 cup asparagus – 5 grams

2 slices of bread – 6 grams

1 cup broccoli – 6 grams

1 cup of green peas – 8 grams”

 Country Kitchen Collection, 44, 45, Family Health Publications, 1992.

By looking at the few items listed above, it would be very hard to have a protein deficiency.