Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Protein and Milk Myths

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a web site that I am so grateful for. I found it years ago when I was converting the family over to a vegetarian/plant-based/almost vegan lifestyle. The wealth of information on this site just has to be shared!

To get started you can snoop around their home page.


Want some delicious recipes to get you started? Check out this page.


Need a locator to find vegan restaurants in your area?


Have children and want to get them on the vegan path? Check out this page.


Want to explore a number of health topics??


Get your vegetarian starter kit HERE!!


You get the point I'm sure. I registered with them and get amazing e-mails containing great information and yummy recipes that I make for the rest of the family to incorporate with the raw foods I serve them.


Two articles I wanted to share today are the protein myth and the milk myth. We have been so brain washed over the years by the beef and dairy industries that at times it is just too hard for people to let go of old beliefs. Educating ourselves is of great importance when journeying down the road to health. Here are the articles copied from PCRM's site--Enjoy!

The Protein Myth

The Protein MythIn the past, some people believed one could never get too much protein. In the early 1900s, Americans were told to eat well over 100 grams of protein a day. And as recently as the 1950s, health-conscious people were encouraged to boost their protein intake. Today, some diet books encourage high-protein intake for weight loss, although Americans tend to take in twice the amount of protein they need already. And while individuals following such a diet have sometimes had short-term success in losing weight, they are often unaware of the health risks associated with a high-protein diet. Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers.

The Building Blocks of Life

People build muscle and other body proteins from amino acids, which come from the proteins they eat. A varied diet of beans, lentils, grains, and vegetables contains all of the essential amino acids. It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value, but current research suggests this is not the case. Many nutrition authorities, including the American Dietetic Association, believe protein needs can easily be met by consuming a variety of plant protein sources over an entire day. To get the best benefit from the protein you consume, it is important to eat enough calories to meet your energy needs.

The Trouble with Too Much Protein

The average American diet contains meat and dairy products. As a result, it is often too high in protein. This can lead to a number of serious health problems:
  • Kidney Disease: When people eat too much protein, they take in more nitrogen than they need. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must expel the extra nitrogen through urine. People with kidney disease are encouraged to eat low-protein diets. Such a diet reduces the excess levels of nitrogen and can also help prevent kidney disease.
  • Cancer: Although fat is the dietary substance most often singled out for increasing cancer risk, protein also plays a role. Populations who eat meat regularly are at increased risk for colon cancer, and researchers believe that the fat, protein, natural carcinogens, and absence of fiber in meat all play roles. The 1997 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer, noted that meaty, high-protein diets were linked with some types of cancer.
  • Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones: Diets that are rich in animal protein cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their kidneys and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Countries with lower-protein diets have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Increased calcium excretion increases risk for kidney stones. Researchers in England found that when people added about 5 ounces of fish (about 34 grams of protein) to a normal diet, the risk of forming urinary tract stones increased by as much as 250 percent.
For a long time it was thought that athletes needed much more protein than other people. The truth is that athletes, even those who strength-train, need only slightly more protein, which is easily obtained in the larger servings athletes require for their higher caloric intake. Vegetarian diets are great for athletes.
To consume a diet that contains enough, but not too much, protein, simply replace animal products with grains, vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), and fruits. As long as one is eating a variety of plant foods in sufficient quantity to maintain one’s weight, the body gets plenty of protein.

This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for informational purposes only.

What About Milk?

  • Calcium: Green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli, are better than milk as calcium sources.
  • Fat Content*: Dairy products—other than skim varieties—are high in fat, as a percentage of total calories.
  • Iron-Deficiency: Milk is very low in iron. To get the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of 11 milligrams of iron, an infant would have to drink more than 22 quarts of milk each day. Milk also causes blood loss from the intestinal tract, depleting the body’s iron.
  • Diabetes: In a study of 142 children with diabetes, 100 percent had high levels of an antibody to a cow’s milk protein. It is believed that these antibodies may destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
  • Contaminants: Milk is frequently contaminated with antibiotics and excess vitamin D. In one study of 42 milk samples tested, only 12 percent were within the expected range of vitamin D content. Of ten samples of infant formula, seven had more than twice the vitamin D content reported on the label, and one had more than four times the label amount.
  • Lactose: Three out of four people from around the world, including an estimated 25 percent of individuals in the United States, are unable to digest the milk sugar lactose, which then causes diarrhea and gas. The lactose sugar, when it is digested, releases galactose, a simple sugar that is linked to ovarian cancer and cataracts.
  • Allergies: Milk is one of the most common causes of food allergy. Often the symptoms are subtle and may not be attributed to milk for some time.
  • Colic: Milk proteins can cause colic, a digestive upset that bothers one in five infants. Milk-drinking mothers can also pass cow’s milk proteins to their breast-feeding infants.
based on percentage of calories from fat
 Fat Percentage
Cheddar cheese74%
Whole milk49%
“2%” milk35%*
* It is 2% fat only by weight.


Ideas for Delicious Dairy-Free Dining

Ideas for Delicious Dairy-Free DiningIf you are curious whether dairy foods are contributing to your allergies, skin problems, asthma, stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, or you’d like to see how your body feels when it is dairy-free, just give it a try for three weeks. It takes about three weeks to break or create a habit. And in that short time, many people experience major benefits, such as a drop in blood cholesterol levels, weight loss, relief from allergies, asthma, indigestion, or chronic stomach problems. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
  • Top your oats or cold cereal with fortified rice or almond milk.
  • Make smoothies with enriched vanilla soymilk or drink an ice cold glass of your favorite soymilk with your meal or snack.
  • “Leave off the cheese, please.” Order your entrĂ©e or salad with no cheese. Many dishes can be easily made cheese-free. Ask for guacamole, rice, or extra salsa in your burrito or on your tostada instead of the cheese. Put more vegetables on a dinner salad or add some beans, nuts, or baked tofu chunks instead of cheese.
  • Most recipes calling for milk can be made with soymilk instead. If it’s a soup or other savory dish, be sure to purchase plain soymilk for cooking.
  • Make creamy dips and desserts using silken tofu in place of sour cream or cream cheese.
  • Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn or pasta for a cheesy flavor instead of Parmesan.


This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for informational purposes only.

Get your protein from a variety of greens, rotating them each day.
The Raw Family had this wonderful article on their blog summing it up quite nicely.
Every protein molecule consists of a chain of amino acids. An essential amino acid is one that cannot be synthesized by the body, and therefore must be supplied as part of the diet. Humans must include adequate amounts of 9 amino acids in their diet.
In his book, The China Study, Professor T. Colin Campbell shows that the U.S. RDA for protein is greatly overestimated. Studies of the diets of chimpanzees compared to that of humans confirm the same truth. “Chimpanzees maintain a fairly low and constant protein intake …”[1]
vitoria 163 Abundance of Proteins in Greens
Victoria Boutenko
I have looked at the nutritional content of dozens of various green vegetables and I was pleased to see that the aminos that were low in one plant were high in another. In other words, if we maintain a variety of greens in our diet, we will cover all essential aminos in abundance.
I decided to calculate by myself the essential amino acid content in one big bunch of kale and one big bunch of lambsquarters (a weed). I have chosen kale because it is available in most produce markets. Lambsquarters is one of the most common edible weeds that grows in different climates. Most farmers should be able to identify lambsquarters for you.
I then compared the numbers that I got with the amounts of essential amino acids for an average adult recommended by USDA[2]. For more information on the content of Essential Amino Acids in Lambsquarters and Kale, please see page 43 in my book Green For Life
The resulting numbers demonstrated that dark green leafy vegetables contain similar or larger amounts of amino acids than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). However, because of the confusion between vegetables (roots) and greens, we are told that vegetables, including greens, are a poor source of amino acids. This inaccurate statement has led to the malnourishment and suffering of people for decades. The lack of research on the nutritional content of greens has led to a great confusion among the majority of people, including many professionals. Dr. Joel Fuhrman wrote in his book Eat to Live: “Even physicians and dietitians… are surprised to learn that …when you eat large quantities of green vegetables, you receive a considerable amount of protein.”
Where do I get my protein? Being aware of the confusion around vegetables, I understand why this became a popular question. Since most people were not aware that greens have an abundance of readily available essential amino acids, they were trying to eat from the other food groups known for their rich protein content. However, let me explain the difference between complex proteins found in meat, dairy, fish, etc. and individual amino acids, found in fruits, vegetables, and especially in greens.
It is clear that the body has to work a lot less when creating protein from the assortment of individual amino acids from greens, rather than the already combined, long molecules of protein, assembled according to the foreign pattern of a totally different creature such as a cow or a chicken. I would like to explain the difference between complex proteins and individual amino acids with a simple anecdote.
Imagine that you have to make a wedding dress for your daughter. Consuming the complex proteins that we get from cows or other creatures is like going to the second hand store, and buying many other people’s used dresses, coming home and spending several hours ripping apart pieces of the dresses that you like and combining them into a new dress for your daughter. This alternative will take a lot of time and energy and will leave a great deal of garbage. You could never make a perfect dress this way.
Consuming individual amino acids is like taking your daughter to a fabric store to buy beautiful new fabric, lace, buttons, ribbons, threads, and pearls. With these essential elements you can make a beautiful dress that fits her unique body perfectly. Similarly, when you eat greens, you “purchase” new amino acids, freshly made by sunshine and chlorophyll, which the body will use to rebuild its parts according to your own unique DNA.
Contrary to this, your body would have a hard time trying to make a perfect molecule of protein out of someone else’s molecules, which consist of totally different combinations of amino acids. Plus, your body would most likely receive a lot of unnecessary pieces that are hard to digest. These pieces would be floating around in your blood like garbage for a long time, causing allergies and other health problems. Professor W. A. Walker from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, states that, “Incompletely digested protein fragments may be absorbed into the bloodstream. The absorption of these large molecules contributes to the development of food allergies and immunological disorders.” [3]
The ironic result of consuming this imperfect source of protein, (animal protein), is that many people develop deficiencies in essential amino acids. Such deficiencies are not only dangerous to health, but they dramatically change people’s perceptions of life and the way people feel and behave. The body in producing neurotransmitters uses some essential amino acids, like tyrosine, tryptophan, glutamine, histamine, and others. Neurotransmitters are the natural chemicals that facilitate communication between brain cells. These substances govern our emotions, memory, moods, behavior, learning abilities and sleep patterns. For the last three decades, neurotransmitters have been the focus of mental health research.
According to the research of Julia Ross, a specialist in nutritional psychology,[4] if your body lacks certain amino acids, you may develop strong symptoms of mental and physiological imbalance and severe cravings for unwanted substances.
For example, let us consider tyrosine and phenylalanine. The symptoms of a deficiency in these amino acids can cause:
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Attention deficit disorder
In addition, the symptoms of a deficiency in these amino acids may lead to cravings for:
  • Sweets
  • Starch
  • Chocolate
  • Aspartame
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Caffeine
  • Cocaine
  • Tobacco
Using available data from official sources [5] I have calculated the amounts of these two essential amino acids that we can receive from either chicken or dark green endive:
CHICKEN                                    ENDIVE
One serving:                               One head:
222 mg tyrosine                         205 mg tyrosine
261 mg phenylalanine              272 mg phenylalanine
As you can see, contrary to the popular opinion, there are plenty of high quality proteins in greens. According to the explanation of Professor T. Colin Campbell, “There is a mountain of compelling evidence showing that so called “low-quality” plant protein, which allows for slow but steady synthesis of new proteins, is the healthiest type of protein.”[6] For example, the protein from greens doesn’t have cancer as a side effect. Yet, in many books, greens are not even listed as a protein source because greens have not been researched enough.
Greens have sufficient protein to build muscle in grazing animals. I received this testimony from my very first American friend, a farmer with a BA in psychology from Harvard University, Peter Hagerty of Maine: “When our sheep are in the barn eating concentrated feed such as ground corn and oats, they gain weight much more quickly, but young lambs, once they reach 120 lbs or 90 % of slaughter weight, begin putting this concentrated food into fat rather than muscle which is not advantageous for the consumer who has to trim this fat off and throw it away. If the lambs are grass fed, they grow more slowly but they can reach full slaughter weight with very little fat. So my observations are: concentrates seem to put on easily burnable fats and grasses put on quality muscle.”
In summary, greens provide protein in the form of individual amino acids. These amino acids are easier for the body to utilize than complex proteins. A variety of greens can supply all the protein we need to sustain each of our unique bodies.
As a recommendation, I invite everyone to try green smoothies, the most pleasant and palatable way to consume greens I have found to date.  Get your protein and enjoy!

[1]Nancy Lou Conklin-Brittain, Richard W. Wrangham, Catherine C. Smith, Relating Chimpanzee Diets to Potential Australopithecus Diets, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. 1998.

[2] Data from Average Adult Male, Age 19-31, Weight 170 lbs. Source: National Research Council, “Protein and Amino Acids,” in Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th edition (1989); USDA SR17
[3] Walker WA, Isselbacher KJ. Uptake and transport of macro-molecules by the intestine. Possible role in clinical disorders. Gastroenterology: 67:531-50, 1974
[4] Ross, Julia, M.A. The Diet Cure. New York: Penguin Books. 1999.
[5] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2005. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18
[6] Campbell, T. Colin, Ph.D. The China Study. Texas: Benbella Books 2004.

How about a recipe?


Girl Power Salad

by Elizabeth @
1 Container of Organic Girl Super Greens, rough chop
16 oz organic strawberries, reserve 6 for the dressing, sliced
2 Ruby Red grapefruit, juiced
6 organic strawberries, sliced
1 tsp Trader Joe's wild raw honey
1/2 T Barlene's Flax oil
1/2 tsp raw black and white sesame seeds
Blend dressing ingredients well.
Plate the greens and strawberries, pour dressing over them and mix gently. Enjoy!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for completing yet another organizational project.




kelli said...

great compilation of resources! i know this sort of post takes a long time. thank you elizabeth! xoxo

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Kelli :)

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