Whey and the lack of protein myth

Let me ask you a question, and I want you to think about your answer, really think about it. I want you to think about your answer both in the current time frame and about 20 – 30 years from now. Think of your life now and your life in the future and everything that you’ll experience. Now, the question:

Why is health and fitness a priority for you?


photo woman bodybuilder using cable and pulley machine while facing mirror
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Thought about it? Good.

How many of you answered that the reason you are serious about health and fitness is for longevity? How many people answered that you are not happy about your body and want to change it? Maybe you have a passion to pursue such as running, biking, etc. All good reasons. And I’m positive if I asked you if you wanted to do these things for as long as you live without incident you would respond with a resounding yes. Knowing that let’s look at something I feel plays a very important role in achieving this.

too much of anything is bad

We have been lead to believe that we need to supplement our diets with protein. But wait, let me back up a bit, we have been lead to believe that we need more protein than we actually do. Ask someone what they had for dinner last night and they usually respond with the meat they ate: “I had BBQ chicken”, or “I had steak last night”, or “I had beef stew”. No one really answers that they had broccoli with rice and tofu, or they had a mix of chickpeas, greens, onions, and garlic. People generally always mention the ‘protein’ and nothing else (I put a single quote around protein to emphasize most people think only meat has protein).

raw almonds spilled out of small ceramic bowl on table
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We are obsessed with protein so much that people who are already eating animal products 3x a day are still supplementing with protein powder. Our protein intake has skyrocketed over the years. As a global average, per capita meat consumption has increased approximately 20 kilograms since 1961. Cheaper production methods, mass marketing, government subsidies, and marketing to our children through milk programs and promotions such as pizza day have led to the vast increase in consumption of dairy and meat. Then add supplementation on top of this

Most Americans are already consuming too much protein, roughly twice the recommended daily amount. We have been marketed to death that carbs are bad and protein is good. Why? Money basically. It’s much easier to market meat, dairy than it is to market plants. Which leads me to supplementation.

Therefore, I concluded that focusing on mostly whole plant foods (and very little processed foods) was a healthy and effective way to achieve fitness results.

Robert Cheeke – Two time natural body building champion

The more people buying protein powder = companies making more money. It also means the people promoting the supplements are also making money. It’s a huge industry. In 2019 an approx. 18 billion dollar industry. All built on this myth that we need more protein to be strong and healthy, and to grow!


But at what cost? What cost do you pay consuming additional protein you don’t need in the form of whey protein, or casein protein (both derived from dairy). Let’s look at the negative affects of whey and casein protein:

If this doesn’t shock you I don’t know what will.

Let’s go back to my initial question, why is health and fitness a priority for you? How can you keep doing the things you love if you suffer from any of the above effects? Health and fitness should always be looked at from the perspective of enhancing our lives, not negatively impacting them. So why do we do this? Why do the majority of people continue to destroy their bodies needlessly? I think this is why:

  • Peers: “My friends do it and man did they bulk up”. The same could be said in a sense for meth, or coke, “Man you have lost a lot of weight, you look great!”, but you wouldn’t start doing meth I hope.
  • Media: Bro science continues to promote these falsehoods and who does not like to hear what they are doing reinforced positively? If you are a Joe Rogan fan you are used to watching him with mainly one guest and most times what they say goes unrefuted. Look how this changed when Chris Kresser was challenged on the show in an open debate. But if you don’t have his guests fact-checked you will tend to believe what you hear because it’s on a highly popular podcast.
  • Lack of education: Unless you take it upon yourself to research nutrition from resources that are not funded by industry you’ll probably never know. To illustrate my point, ask people you know if excessive sugar causes type 2 diabetes and the majority of people will say yes, although almost a hundred years ago it was determined that saturated fat causes type 2 diabetes.
  • It’s not talked about: With doctors having on average less than 20 hours of nutrition training over 4 years, they are better at sick care than health care. They are more apt to prescribe drugs or have you operated on than tell you to deviate from the standard american diet. There is rarely a discussion focused on changing a diet to address disease but instead, the discussion is focused on medication, not prevention.
  • Culture and peer pressure: There is a lot of pressure to fit in, fit in with the family, and not rock the boat. Fit in with our friends and feel like we belong. Belong to a tribe. This may be more so with choosing a whole foods plant based diet but it is similar. We love to feel that we belong to a tight group, we belong in a tribe. Refuse your grandma’s cooking and be prepared to be treated like a traitor.

options

If you feel you need to supplement due to reasons such as not having access to a complete meal then supplement with a natural plant based protein such as hemp protein, or a mix of plant based proteins such as pea, brown rice, etc. Consuming the appropriate amount of calories for your lifestyle and goals is very important but always try to make it a priority to eat whole foods.

finally

Advocate for yourself by educating yourself and questioning the things you may believe or hear from others. If you haven’t already read it, I recommend reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study. This is the first book I read regarding the damage consuming animal products does to our body and also was the precursor to taking Cornell University’s plant based nutrition certificate course.

Continue to do the things you love, and set yourself up to continue to do these things many years from today.

Yours in health,

Darryl

I go where my heart leads me…

The meat of the problem

I think whether you’re vegetarian or vegan you probably get a bad rap from people. Not everyone, but some people: ‘Are you getting enough protein?’, ‘are you combining food to get the full protein spectrum’, ‘how do you stand not eating bacon?’ etc. Sure, being a vegetarian or following a plant based diet requires you to be aware of the amount of protein you are consuming, but so does being a meat eater. And of course there is the myth that following a plant based diet requires you to mix protein to get the complete branch chain amino acids that our body does not produce (there are 9 of them), also known as protein complementing. Check out the following links to read further about protein complementing and how it has been proven false. Eat enough plants to meet your caloric requirement and you will get the amino acids you need.

Choices

So what if you follow a plant based diet, or are interested in moving towards a plant based diet. What foods are there that can provide the protein that we need? Let me provide you with a list of foods rich in protein that will allow you to pack on muscle and strength:

  1. Hemp: Hemp hearts are a great source of protein, or you can also purchase hemp protein powder. 3 tablespoons contain 10 grams of protein and also contain omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.
  2. Seitan: Holy high protein content! 21 grams per ½ cup! Seitan is a great source of protein and can be an alternative to tofu. You can bake, grill or even braise it.
  3. Kelp, nori, spirulina: Packing 8 to 32 grams of protein per cup and rich in calcium, iron , iodine and potassium.
  4. Avocado: 10 grams of protein in an awesome flavor packed green potato like treat. How can you not like avocados.
  5. Peas: 9 grams per cup. Eat two cups and you probably have met a quarter of your protein requirement for the day.
  6. Soy: 1 cup will get you 28 grams! Wow!
  7. Lentils: 1 cup will get 18 grams. Throw the lentils into a chili and add black beans or kidney beans and you have a high protein meal.
  8. Peanut butter: A staple for me. I probably eat about 4 tablespoons a day. Each tablespoon contains about 4 grams of protein.
  9. Almonds: The same. A tablespoon will have about 4 grams.
  10. Oatmeal: Believe it or not, 1 cup will have about 6 grams of protein.

It needs respect

Protein should not be overlooked. You need to be aware of how much you are consuming daily especially if you are active and looking to increase strength and muscle size. Of course consuming too much protein can be detrimental.

Don’t hesitate moving to a plant based diet if you are concerned if you will get enough protein. You will! Like any diet you need to be aware of what it is you are eating. That’s it. Know that there are a lot of options to get that protein. I have listed only 10 but there are so many more.

No regrets

As of January 2015, I have been following a plant based diet for about 8 months and would not switch back to eating products from an animal. I use the term products because I think farming has lost sight of farming food and now farm products. The dollar is the driver of how animals are farmed, and how animals are treated. I feel better both physically and mentally. And I feel better knowing I have contributed to lessening the harm that goes to animals being farmed and also lessening the negative impact to the environment.

In the words of a fighter I’m a fan of, ‘don’t be scared homie’. Make the move to a plant based diet knowing that you will get the protein you need.

Do it. Make a change. Be the change for a better earth.

Yours in health,

Darryl