The foods we eat are personal choices and any time we make statements about foods people really enjoy, it becomes controversial. My goal is to provide you with the nutritional facts based on research so you can make choices about the foods you consume based on health related criteria, not taste. Our bodies can handle an occasional indulgence of most any food as long as we are not allergic to it (never eat foods you are allergic to) and consumption of the food is limited in frequency and amount. If you eat animal foods, choose lean sources from wild and free range, organic sources.
The evidence is clear from research compiled for decades that the consumption of animal protein promotes many diseases including cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and obesity. One such study, The China Study, which is the largest nutritional study every undertaken, proved that consumption of more than 10% of daily protein from animal sources turns on the cancer promoting ability of certain genes. Over and over they were able to turn on and turn off the cancer expressing ability of the genes, simply by controlling the protein source and the amount. Likewise, this did not happen with plant based foods.
Other recent large studies from England and Germany show that a vegetarian diet can actually double the number of NK (natural killer) cells protecting against certain cancers and can reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease when compared to the diets of non-vegeterians. Source: Malter M, Schriever G, Eilber U. Natural killer cells, vitamins, and other blood components of vegetarian and omnivorous men. Nutr Cancer 1989;12:271-8.
The consumption of plant based foods, provides not only ample protein when consumed in adequate variety and amount, but also supply a wide variety of nutrients and phytonutrients that promote a healthy body. Nutrients should come from whole food based sources and not from isolated or synthetic nutrients. The body is designed to extract nutrients from food and does not absorb or assimilate very well vitamins and other phytonutrients that have been synthesized or isolated without the thousands of other compounds that exist in whole food sources. The body recognizes the leaf of spinach and the floret of broccoli, however not as well the nutrients that have been added to a vitamin pill or vitamin drink. Therefore, to optimize your health, eat from the garden of life abundantly and often, get daily sunshine and fresh air, exercise, drink plenty of pure water and add relaxation to your daily routine.
Foods from animal sources typically contain higher percentages of saturated fats, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides all of which are known to promote cancer and the saturated fats promote obesity. Even consuming products from free range animals that should be free of the pesticides, hormones and antibiotics does not negate the fact that when 10% or more of your daily intake of protein is from animal sources, you increase your risk for several health issues. The consumption of saturated fats from animal products is implicated in the increase of high cholesterol, triglycerides and obesity. Obesity is also implicated as being a potential cause of cancer. The arrangement of compounds in the animal protein chain may also play a role in its illness promoting ability, more studies need to be performed to better understand the actual cause. This effect is not evident when proteins are consumed from plant sources..
Amino Acids are the building blocks for all proteins. Amino acids contain a nitrogen group, which is unique to each different amino acid, and an acid group. The nitrogen and acid groups can be linked in any number of ways to form thousands of specific proteins. Amino acids help build cells, repair tissue, form antibodies, build RNA and DNA, carry oxygen throughout the body and aid muscle activity. Red blood cells, antibodies and enzymes are types of proteins. There are 9 amino acids that are essential, meaning your body cannot manufacture them. They must come from the foods you eat. The 9 essentials are: Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine.
There are 11 non-essential amino acids, your body can manufacture them on its own. The 11 non-essentials are: Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine, Cysteine and Glutamic Acid. The last two can become essential during stressful times, such as severe illness. There are other amino acids, but unlike the 20 listed above, they do not build protein. The body could care less the source of the amino acids. It has no way to know if they came from a meat, dairy or a plant source. It is not prejudice to a particular source. Amino acids are amino acids and there are 20 used for building proteins in the body.
Our dietary sources provide complete proteins and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins provide all of the 9 essential amino acids and are provided primarily through animal protein source such as meat, eggs and dairy. However Soy Beans and Quinoa (Keen Wa), a grain, are two vegetative sources that provide complete proteins. Incomplete proteins may have 1 or more of the 9 essential amino acids missing and are derived from plant food sources.
Including a variety of plant based foods can provide all of the 9 essential amino acids. The consumption of grains, beans, nuts, seeds and leafy greens every day can insure you are getting adequate amino acid intake to satisfy your protein needs as long as adequate calories are consumed. In addition plant source foods provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, enzymes, very little saturated fats and provide many health promoting compounds such as fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants that are not found in animal foods. In addition animal sources of protein are more likely to have higher saturated fat levels, growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticide residues in their tissues and have been exposed to cattle feed that may have animal proteins as part of the feed source.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) provides too much animal protein for optimal health in most cases. The RDA for protein is .8 grams per kilogram of healthy body weight. The World Health Organization recommends that humans eat no more than 11 ounces of meat per week. That would be 1. 57 ounces per day. Animal proteins make the body acidic and lead to osteoporosis and other health problems.
The results of the China Study showed that nutrition has a very powerful influence on a wide variety of diseases. Animal based foods were linked to higher cancer rates and higher blood cholesterol levels and promoted other diseases. Whereas plant based diets were connected to low incidents of cancer rates, cholesterol levels and other diseases. Fiber and phytonutrients such as antioxidants from plant foods were also linked to lower levels of digestive tract cancers. Between T. Colin Campbell’s research and many other studies, it appears that good science and additional research studies are providing a clear picture between diet and health. Because of this research we are now able to largely reduce our risk of developing deadly diseases just by making the right food choices.
Quotes from leading health organizations about the consumption of animal products:
derive from the evidence on cancer and are supported by evidence on
other diseases. They emphasize the importance of relatively unprocessed
cereals (grains), non-starchy vegetables and fruits, and pulses
(legumes), all of which contain substantial amounts of dietary fiber and a variety of micronutrients, and are low or relatively low in energy density. These, and not foods of animal origin, are the recommended centre for everyday meals.”
“Statistics show that about 40 % percent of the population in the US is expected to develop one type of cancer or another in their life time. This is because of their western diet which is characterized by high fat and high animal protein. Animal
nutrients such as casein and other nutrients are found to be promoters
of cancers while plant proteins such as soy protein and wheat protein
gluten do not have a promoting effect on cancer. He says that
vegetarian diet with no protein from any animal source reduces the risk
of cancer.” Reference-The China Study
vegan diet has documented clinical efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis.
Low-fat vegan diets may be especially protective in regard to cancers
linked to insulin resistance--namely, breast and colon cancer--as well
as prostate cancer; conversely,
the high IGF-I activity associated with heavy ingestion of animal
products may be largely responsible for the epidemic of 'Western'
cancers in wealthy societies. Increased phytochemical intake is also likely to contribute to the reduction of cancer risk in vegans.”