Saturday, September 13, 2008

Plant Protein vs. Animal Protein

Besides nuts and seeds, most people aren't aware that plants contain proteins. Dr. Fuhrman has a deep understanding of this. He assures people in his books that they can get plenty of protein from plant foods.

Here are some examples of protein content as a percent of calories:

Food Percent Protein
Watercress 50%
Alfalfa sprouts 33%
Chinese cabbage 32%
Spinach (frozen) 51%
Broccoli (frozen) 45%
Mushrooms 31%
Lentils 29%
Romaine 28%
Peas 27%
Kidney beans 27%
Asparagus 26%
Great Northern beans 25%
Cauliflower 23%
Lima beans 22%
Oats 15%
Walnuts 14%
Almonds 13%
Pistachios 13%
Buckwheat 13%
Millet 12%
Casaba melon 12%
Apricot 10%
Cantaloupe 9%
Grapefruit 8%
Brown rice 8%

Dr. Jeff Novick, a contributer on Dr. Furhman's Healthy Times Newsletter and director of nutrition for the National Health Association said, "The next time someone tells you that vegetarians don’t get enough protein, tell him that he or she doesn’t get enough scientific information."

Given this information, you might ask what's the difference from getting protein from plans instead of animals. It seems like most animal products have higher protein -- maybe it's easier to eat some eggs or meat that cutting up produce all the time. Well, there are some differences in the two sources. Dr. Fuhrman compares the benefits (or effects) of eating Animal Protein with Plant Protein:

Animal Protein
Raises cholesterol
Promotes Cancer
Promotes Bone Loss
Promotes Kidney Disease
Accelerates again

Contains Saturated fat, Cholesterol, and Arachidonic Acid

Plant Protein
Lowers Cholestrol
Protects against Cancer
Promotes bone strength

Contains Fiber, Phytonutrients, Antioxidants

I also just read on that recent medical studies show that eating vegetable protein saves your gallbladder. In the study, the people who consumed higher quantities of vegetable protein had a much lower risk of needing their gallbladders removed. This is nice to know since both of my parents and my older brother had their gallbladders removed a year ago.

In case you're wondering where to get your protein from plants, there are a variety to choose from:

-- dark green leafy vegetables

-- vegetables

-- brown rice

-- whole grain cereal, bread and pasta

-- beans and other legumes

-- soybean products

-- sprouts

-- seeds

-- nuts

-- spirulina, chlorella, and other Superfoods

I just looked up my previous post about finding protein on a plant-based diet and saw that I gave similar statistics for the protein percentages I listed up above, but it doesn't hurt to list them again. We've seen enough dairy commercials and ads to last us our lifetime. So I guess repetition on here is okay too. Regarding the milk ads, I just have to say that I hate seeing that white mustache on celebrities -- such an unappealing look. I do have to admit, though that the "Got Milk?" campaign was pretty clever. I'd like to see a t-shirt that says "Got Greens?" with a little blurb on the back telling the world that spinach is over 50% protein and has 10 g. protein per 2 cup serving (about a salad's worth).

Don't forget too that if you get your protein from a plant source, your body can break it down and digest it much thoroughly (and without taxing the body and taking your energy away). Thus, if you get your protein through plants, you won't require as much. If everyone (myself included) would concern themselves with eating more vegetables instead of meeting their protein quota, we'd all enjoy better health.

I'll get working on that "Got Greens" t-shirt. I have a friend in the t-shirt industry. Wouldn't you know it? They say that whenever you have an idea, so have 100 other people. I didn't find exACTly what I was talking about, but found a few close ones. That one with the veggie pictures is pretty scary! Maybe I could make one that says, "Got Enough Protein?" (and just beneath that, "with only plant foods") and on the bet, it says "Absolutely!" Okay, enough of the t-shirt daydreams. Time for some real dreaming -- it's past 11:00 p.m. Night-night!

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