They decide and the shotgun sings the song.
I think it’s safe to say most of us believe what we believe due to what we constantly hear. What we hear on the radio, on the internet, what we read from news sites, blogs, social media sites. And what we hear from people that are influential in our lives: friends, family. For the majority of us what we hear from these sources can dictate how we live our lives from simple things such as a movie we choose to see or major things that can directly impact our lives like the foods we choose to eat. And the ironic thing about this last sentence is most people will not consider that a major choice that will impact our lives.
But the food we choose to eat has a major impact on our lives. Having finished a certification in plant based nutrition run by the leading medical experts in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and so on, my belief about this was confirmed, and reinforced. Did you know the only diet to reverse heart disease is a whole foods plant based diet? This is only one of the many benefits of following a whole foods plant based diet. I’ll be posting more in the future but for now, lets get on with the subject of this post.
I’m sure if I were to take a quick survey on how much protein people thought we need we would get answers such as 20%, 30% or even higher. If you are trying to add muscle, or are an active body builder you are probably consuming levels higher than 30%. And for the vast majority of these people their protein is coming from animals, not plants. Is that an issue? Absolutely. Read the China Study or watch Fork over Knives to see the direct impact on cancer tumor growth when consuming animal protein at levels above 20%. To summarize IGF-1 (Insulin growth factor 1) is in high levels in animal products and IGF-1 is responsible for cell replication, which is ok when you have a cut that the body needs to repair but when in your body at high levels due to consuming animal protein it impacts the growth of cancer tumors. And a high protein diet damages our cells and accelerates aging. It makes our kidneys work so much harder as it has to process all this protein and this can lead to kidney stones.
Are we obsessed with protein? Yes. Recently I saw on a person’s computer monitor an image of all the logic fallacies such as straw man fallacy, appeal to authority, etc. I told this guy what a cool wallpaper and I could relate since a lot of the videos I watch having to do with veganism has examples of these as people use them to defend why they continue to eat animals. So, he said ‘Wow, I didn’t know you were vegan’, and then a look on his face of deep thought appeared and he asked me ‘Where do you get your protein?’ I’ve heard this so many times it didn’t phase me , but it speaks to my point. Why are we obsessed with protein? I think for a few reasons.
Here’s a bit of a history lesson. In 1839, protein was first isolated by a Dutch chemist, Gerhard Mulder, then named from the Greek word, proteios. Protein was isolated from meat, leading to the idea that meat and protein were the same; another mistaken belief that still survives for many people. Carl von Voit, a prominent German physiology professor recommended 118 g/day for an adult man of average weight, even though he had determined that 52 g/day was enough (later research showed even lower levels were enough). By the early 1900’s the link between meat was firmly established in the minds of men, the link that eating meat was macho, and not eating meat meant you were a wimp and through the years the stereotype has grown to political views – vegan = left leaning communist or socialist, terms used in the derogatory sense. Real men eat meat!
Eating meat, or protein, was also a status symbol as only the rich could afford it. But let’s look at another angle, the marketing angle.
It’s easy to market meat with these associations we have with meat, protein. The social statuses that come with it. The peer pressure. Riding on the belief that we need a lot of protein it’s so easy to add that to the sizzle of the commercial showing you the slab of beef grilling on the bbq, ‘get the protein you need from our grade A Alberta beef, only the best’, or ‘we have the juiciest chicken breasts for you to enjoy’. How do you do that with broccoli or spinach? ‘Our broccoli is super dark green and our spinach leaves are the finest and smoothest’. It just doesn’t sell does it.
Then we have the fitness industry pushing supplements. You are told by your trainer, the gym where they sell the shakes, by your friends and so on that you need to supplement with protein to ‘make those gains’. Of course they tell you that because that adds to their bottom line. It’s all about the dollar bills y’all. In 2016 the protein supplement industry size was at 12.5 billion expected to rise by 6%! These industries do not want you to understand that the notion that you need to supplement with protein is not true. And this is true for any protein supplement, plant based or not.
Let’s look at Robert Cheeke. Adopted a vegan life style in 1995 at the age of 15. A two time natural body builder champion, Robert does not supplement with protein. Not since 2011. Robert was like most of us, he bought into the lies that you need to supplement with protein, branch chain amino acids, etc. Then in 2012 after educating himself and digging deeper into the whole protein thing he decided to change it up. No more supplementing, nothing. Nothing but a whole foods plant based diet. So what happened? He lost 60 lbs and no longer competes. NO! This is what the industry would want you to believe! Robert MADE gains in both strength and muscle growth. Was it a fluke, a short lived benefit? No. Even to this day Robert is the strongest he has ever been. No supplementation and no focus on protein rich foods. In fact, his focus is on complex carbs because as we know, we need complex carbs, it’s what fuels our body. It gets you through those workouts. Yams, brown rice, lentils, leafy green veggies, fruits. All these gains while consuming only 10% – 15% of calories from protein. How is it possible? The meat industry, the supplement industry, the bro that pumps iron and has smelly protein farts would tell you different, ‘bro, you need to load up on protein, you better get a Casein or Whey shake from the counter or you won’t be making those gains!’.
I have the answer
Do you want to add strength, and muscle growth? It’s easy, it really is. Follow a whole foods plant based diet. And, eat as much as you want, don’t go hungry!
Most people, or really everyone who follows this diet and is not gaining strength and muscle mass (the assumption you are working out properly) are not eating enough calories. You need to consume enough high quality, nutrient dense calories so your body can grow.
Save your money! You worked hard for it! Don’t spend the $60 on the tub of cancer inducing protein powder because it’s going to end up in the toilet anyway! You are literally shitting your money away! Stop listening to uneducated people who are doing the things that another uneducated person showed them. It’s your body and what you put into it will directly impact your health.
Yours in health,