Probably the single most common question I have been asked since shifting to a plant-based diet is “Where do you get your protein?”
This is completely understandable as ever since the 1900’s we have associated protein with animal-based foods. For most when you hear the word protein, the first thing your mind goes to is beef. Why wouldn’t it? For almost 200 years we have been led to believe that animal-based foods are essential for humans to gain their recommended daily intake of protein. The industries that produce and market these products have been pushing this narrative for as long as any of us can remember. I remember growing up seeing clever marketing campaigns from the beef industry such as “7 days without beef makes one weak” or where the dairy industry got in our heads with images of athletic people with the slogan “Milk, it does a body good.”
As a society, we have been fed this narrative from birth, for generations now, so there is no wonder we have such ingrained beliefs on the subject. Over the last 50 years or so, however, scientific studies have consistently turned this belief system on its head, but the industry pushback and marketing is stronger than ever.
The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted, The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PHD discovered that not only is animal protein unnecessary in the human diet, but in high doses can turn on cancer cells whereas plant protein did not. Dr. Campbell’s study concluded that “Casein (the protein in milk) is the most relevant chemical carcinogen” that has ever been identified.
In 1968, Dr. Campbell detailed a study in relation to the consumption of animal protein and increased cancer risk. Research found that when the animals in the study consumed a diet including 20 percent protein, , they had increased tumour growth, whereas the animals fed a diet of five percent had absolutely no cancer growth.
This study features in the 2011 documentary “Forks over Knives.”
There is this almost reverence towards getting enough protein in our diets, especially if you are an athlete. The fact of the matter is that it is almost impossible not to be getting enough protein, whether you eat an animal-based or plant-based diet, and the standard Western diet contains vastly more protein than your body actually needs. To be truly protein deficient, you would have to be calorie deficient. You would literally have to be starving. Yet, we still see advertisements for protein rich foods to ensure we have a healthy and so-called “balanced” diet. Young athletes being encouraged to consume copious amounts of protein powder to achieve the results they need to succeed. With casein being the main protein found in these powders and being considered a potential carcinogen, makes this a very worrying trend in nutrition. A trend that is set to ensure the profits, not only of the government subsidised animal agriculture industries but those of the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
So, it’s easy to see we have been misled into believing we need to eat a lot more protein than we actually do, and that the only true source of high-quality protein is from meat, dairy and eggs. Well, what about plants? Do plants contain protein? The simple answer is yes. Every plant contains protein. The rate of people eating plant-based diets has increased substantially in recent years, yet no hospital has found the need for a protein deficiency ward. The fact is, people are not only surviving on plant-based diets, they are thriving. As more and more elite athletes are discovering the benefits of ditching the animal-based diets for a cleaner way of eating, the myth surrounding the need for animal proteins has been completely dispelled.
Plant-based Strongman, Patrik Baboumian (see image), is a great example of how plant protein is effective in growing and maintaining a strong, healthy body. The Iranian body builder became vegetarian in 2006 and in 2011 decided to switch to a 100 percent plant-based diet and has gone on to break several powerlifting records such as 2011 Germany’s strongest man, 2012 World record beer keg lift, 2012 world record front hold and the 2013 yoke-walk carrying an astonishing 560kg on his shoulders walking 10m in 28 seconds. Baboumian has since retired from power lifting but remains a strong advocate for a plant-based lifestyle featuring in the 2018 documentary, The Game Changers.
Many other high-profile athletes have moved away from animal-based diets also. These include Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, Tia Blanco and Nick Kyrgios. (Read More…)
So, where should we be getting our protein?
According to an article published in One Green Planet, “Plant-based proteins should be sourced, according to Dr. Campbell and to PCRM, from whole, plant-based foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains- not processed products or animal products. According to Dr. Campbell and to PCRM, eating a diet that includes a serving of legumes, greens, vegetables and grains at each meal, will provide plenty of protein, along with wholesome, plant-based nutrients.”
(This article has been provided as information only and in no way substitutes professional medical or nutritional advice.)
More on Dr. Campbell and Cancer Prevention:
Dr. Campbell has funded the nonprofit organization, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, based in Ithaca, NY at Cornell University, which provides comprehensive education for individuals interested in plant-based nutrition. The school offers a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition and has become a nationally recognized nutrition education program. Campbell also has a documentary coming out called Plant Pure Nation, due in early 2015, which will be produced by his son, Nelson Campbell.
“Diet can be used to prevent and reverse cancer just like it prevents and reverses heart disease,” said Dr. Campbell. “A diet high in animal protein increases the amount of carcinogens going to the cells. It increases the enzyme MFO (mixed function oxidase) that causes increased carcinogenic activity.”
Source: Dr Colin Campbell