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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Apr 05, 2011 01:35AM ● By Kimberle Smith

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

Albert Einstein

Did you know that cows are vegetarian? That’s right; the very large, very strong animal that we go to for our protein gets its protein from grass. Cows by nature are vegetarian as are horses, elephants, giraffes as well as many other strong animals on the planet.

We’ve been trained to think that protein equals meat, dairy and eggs, but protein can be found in many plant foods, some of them containing more protein than any animal source.

Amino acids are protein building blocks. Eight of the twenty-two amino acids are considered essential because they are not produced in our bodies. These essential amino acids must be found in food. Foods that contain all eight are called complete proteins. Complete proteins include: alfalfa sprouts, clover sprouts, most fruits, garbanzo beans, leafy greens, lentils, sesame seeds, almost all nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower greens and soy foods.

Current protein recommendations for an athlete are about.5 to .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For an average person that would be about 60 to 70 grams per day. If you are not athletic then you need much less protein. Researchers have found that when consuming protein in its uncooked state, one needs only half the recommended amount or about 35 grams daily.

Temperatures above 118 degrees destroy the amino acids that are the building blocks of the protein in food, making them less available for our bodies to use as fuel and more likely to produce inflammation. After eating a cooked meal our body’s white blood cell count increases by up to 600 percent. Our body recognizes components of the cooked food as invaders and attempts to neutralize them.

Therefore, by eating more raw plant source foods we lessen our need for protein as well as our risk of diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, kidney disease, liver and prostate disorders, and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that is linked to an excess of protein. Our bodies need calcium to process proteins and when there is not enough calcium available in the system it is taken from the bones to complete the process. Americans have the largest incidence of this disease in the world, and we eat the most meat and dairy products of any other culture. There is only one tribe in Africa that suffers from osteoporosis; the Maasai tribe, which raises cattle.

So how do we get enough protein? Everyone should have one to two servings of dark-green, leafy vegetables a day. This will provide you with beta carotene, iron, folic acid and calcium. Add a handful of nuts and seeds, soaked and sprouted. 3½ ounces of sprouted sunflower seeds contain 22.78 grams of protein. Soaking and sprouting increases the vitamin and mineral content. The same 3½ ounces contains 116 mg calcium, 5.06 mg zinc, 689 mg potassium, 1.75 mg copper and 354 mg magnesium. One-half cup of beans provides the protein equivalent of one ounce of meat, complex carbohydrates, fiber, zinc and iron. Lentils also provide protein, fiber, zinc, iron and folic acid.

Kimberle Smith is the owner of A-Live & Healthy Organic Eatery & Juice Bar. The restaurant is located at 205 McLeod in Merritt Island. For more information call 321-576-0990.

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