The Vegetarian Family Series Part 3 of 3: Having the Animal Protein vs. Plant Protein Debate With Your Family


Animal Protein vs Plant Protein

Nutritionists, and those in the commercial meat industry, will often and purposely use misleading terminology to confuse consumers into thinking that animal protein is superior to plant protein. This design of misconception all too often leads people down a path of unhealthy diet plans, with the possibility of further distancing themselves from natural health, a healthy body weight set-point and well-being.

Animal based proteins have been classified as higher quality because they come as a more complete amino acid ‘package’ closely resembling the amino acid profile that our bodies need, and we utilize them very quickly. This is common knowledge and is hard to refute. However, such a rapid assimilation of amino acids – efficiency, in this case, doesn’t equate to better health.

According to T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, “There is a mountain of compelling research showing that ‘”low-quality” plant protein, which allows for slow but steady synthesis of new proteins, is the healthiest type of protein. Slow but steady wins the race.”

Although the supposed ‘lower quality’ plant proteins may not come as such a ‘complete’ package in terms of matching our proteins, as a group, they do contain all of the proteins that we need to thrive. We ensure that we get all of them by eating a varied plant based diet. Not only do we receive all the amino acids to keep us thriving, we also minimize the numerous health risks associated to eating meat.

We are seeing this myth slowly unravel before our eyes, but only the people who are willing to open their eyes to the truth of new information, are receiving the message. Even such popular medical journal publications such as Lancet have reported this false discrepancy. Published in a Lancet editorial “Formerly, vegetable proteins were classified as second class, and regarded as inferior to first-class proteins of animal origin, but this distinction has now been generally discarded.”

“We now know that through enormously complex metabolic systems, the human body can derive all the essential amino acids from the natural variety of plant proteins we encounter every day.” T. Colin Campbell


Our Bodies Naturally Recycle Proteins Every Day

One of the key discoveries that changed how we understand proteins was that of ‘recycled’ proteins also known as endogenous proteins. Our bodies quite efficiently recycle and reuse about 100 and 300 grams of our own protein every day. Before we discovered this, it was generally believed that in order to absorb and utilize the essential amino acids in the diet, the diet must contain all the amino acids in certain proportions and presented all at the same time.

Detrimental Health Effects of Animal Protein

Why eat animals when you can get everything you need to not only be healthy but to totally thrive from plants? Besides the dangers of eating too much protein, in excess of 10%, eating animal based proteins, in any amount can prove detrimental to health. Eating animal flesh is highly acidic, leaching alkaline minerals like calcium from bones. Meat is also extremely toxic with all of the antibiotics and artificial hormones fed to animals to make them grow faster and bigger (guess what they do to you when you eat them) and can exhaust the liver and kidneys having to work overtime to detoxify the body of these toxic and harmful substances.

It also takes quite a lot more energy from our body to digest and break down meat, sapping our bodies of our vital life force. In addition, contrary to popular belief, it’s consuming animal flesh that spikes an insulin response in the body leading to insulin resistance and atrophy of the pancreas setting the stage for type 2 diabetes. And regardless of how ‘lean’ the meat, eating animals contains high amounts of fat and cholesterol, leading to all sorts of cardiovascular problems including heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke. This is totally aside from the incredibly clear and unmistakably conclusive research that Dr. Campbell discusses in his book, the China Study outlining the most comprehensive health study ever conducted, directly relating animal protein to cancer.

So, the next time you come up against opposition from a family member about your vegetarian or vegan diet, you’ll be smartly armed with educated responses to their well meaning (or, otherwise) concerns. When we choose a plant based diet, the sum of that single decision has extremely far reaching, positive consequences, and we can know that we are playing our part in contributing to the health of our own bodies, our families, communities and to the health of Planet Earth.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews