Thanks to modern medicine and ultra-biased media outlets, there is a lot of fog surrounding the issue of protein. People simply do not know what protein is or what it does.
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 a very dangerous 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.
#2 Human Breast Milk Contains 5% Protein
That’s right. Only 5% 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 than a growing infant is to completely ignore nutritional science, human anatomy and physiology, and just plain common sense.
#3 All of the Great Apes Consume Low Amounts of Protein
None of our closest primate relatives eat the 30% protein that is recommended by the RDA. Even the mountainous gorilla’s diet, which is comprised of more protein-rich vegetable matter than the other primate diets, still does not meet the 30% requirement.
And, if given the choice, gorillas actually prefer to eat lower-in-protein sweet fruit instead of greens!
#4 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.
#5 Physical Activity Does Not Affect Our Protein Needs
Are you listening, all you hardcore bodybuilders that I’m sure are reading this “pansy” raw vegan blog?
I’ll repeat it, just in case you were too busy idolizing your cooked food inflated biceps. 😉
Physical activity, including weight lifting, does *not* affect protein needs.
No matter how much you workout, or what activity you participate in, your protein requirements will not change. The amount that is required for muscle development is so small as to be negligible.
In other words, protein shakes and “power” bars are completely useless, not to mention toxic.
#6 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 not only lacking in protein. Your body will also be deficient in all of the macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, phyto-nutrients, etc.
On the other hand, there is a very real problem today with too much protein. With the over consumption of processed foods like meat, cheese, dairy, and so-called “whole” grains, the average American is eating way too much protein on a daily basis.
And because this protein is cooked and comes from inappropriate nutritional sources (i.e. meat, eggs, grains, etc), the protein itself cannot be broken down into simple amino acid chains. What remains is both useless and harmful to our bodies.
#7 Cooked Protein is Harmful to the Body
Cooked protein is denatured, meaning that the molecular structure of the protein has been destroyed. When heated, the amino acid chains of the protein fuse together.
Our bodies do not have the ability to fully breakdown the protein once the chains have been melded together via heat. The protein is now not only useless, it has become extremely toxic to the body. Consumption of cooked protein is linked to kidney failure, allergies, and even arthritis.
That’s why eating food in its whole, raw state is the absolute best way to get your protein. Not only will you be receiving adequate protein, you will be eating protein that can be fully broken down into its amino acid chains and easily used by the body
So…How Much Protein?
Now that we know the truth about protein, this is an easy question to answer. As long as you are eating enough calories, you will be getting enough protein. And if your calories are coming from appropriate sources such as raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, than you will be receiving quality protein as well.
Still think you need more protein?
Did you know that the World Health Organization actually advocates only 5% protein? And this 5% is considered *more* than enough protein for the average full-grown person!
This means that on a diet of raw peaches alone, which provide 8% protein, you will be receiving more protein than is actually necessary to be healthy.
All from a diet of just fruit!
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. Give a raw food diet your all for at least 30 days. 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. 🙂
For more information on the best raw vegan diet, be sure to visit Fit On Raw and subscribe to Swayze’s newsletter Peachy Keen Ezine. By subscribing, you will also receive the free report The 4 Principles of a Healthy Raw Diet as well as the 5-week mini-course The Fool Proof Transition to Raw.