Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 13: What about protein?

Today, I drank:
A quart of water at 6 am
A Quart of veggie juice (celery/carrot/fennel) at 7 am
A quart of 1/2 orange juice, 1/2 water at 10 am
A quart of Veggie juice (see above) at 1 pm
A quart of Veggie Juice (as above) at 3 pm
A quart of Veggie Juice (celery/carrot/CILANTRO!!!) at 5 pm.

I'll drink another quart or 2 of water before bed.

I took 2 cascara sagrada today and a few hours later, my body expelled as much solid waste as a normal eating day! Amazing..and I'm not eating. I'll do a CE tomorrow to stimulate my liver and expel more.

Now, about protein. I've done a lot of research on the raw vegan way of eating since I was turned on to raw vegan food in February, 2006. The biggest misconception is the one that vegans don't get enough protein. That may be true for vegans who eat cooked food. Here's what Brigitte Mars, a long time vegetarian turned vegan, who's studied nutrition in general for many decades and raw veganism since 2001, has to say. I use her writings as they are the most elegant and easy to understand. This is long, with a prelude about cooking preceding the information about proteins. Note: Items in italics are added by me.

"Proteins start breaking down under the application of heat. According to studies in Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Nutritional Research, well-cooked proteins have only 50% bioavailability. Proteins start becoming denatured. [from Wikipedia: Denaturation is a process in which proteins or nucleic acids lose their tertiary structure and secondary structure by application of some external stress or compound, such as a strong acid or base, a concentrated inorganic salt, an organic solvent (e.g., alcohol or chloroform), or heat. If proteins in a living cell are denatured, this results in disruption of cell activity and possibly cell death. Denatured proteins can exhibit a wide range of characteristics, from loss of solubility to communal aggregation.] Denatured proteins are not usable by the body and have been linked to disorders including heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Cooking coagulates the proteins [e.g., raw egg white to cooked egg white] and causes them to become deaminated. [Deamination is the process by which amino acids are broken down when too much protein has been taken in. The amino group is removed from the amino acid and converted to ammonia. The rest of the amino acid is made up of mostly carbon and hydrogen, and is recycled or oxidized for energy. Ammonia is toxic to the human system, and enzymes convert it to urea or uric acid by addition of carbon dioxide molecules (which is not considered a deamination process) in the urea cycle, which also takes place in the liver. Urea and uric acid can safely diffuse into the blood and then be excreted in urine.] The amino acids lysine and glutamine are both destroyed by cooking; and when the amino acid methionine is heated, it begins to inhibit the production of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells).

When greens that are high in oxalic acid (beet greens, collard greens, rhubarb stalks, Swiss chard, lamb’s quarter, purslane, sorrel, and spinach) are cooked, the oxalic acid combines with calcium, iron, and magnesium; over the long term, ingesting cooked oxalic acid impedes the absorption of calcium and iron by the body. When oxalic acid is consumed in raw rather than cooked foods, however, this effect is minimalized.

Cooking damages fats, changing them into trans-fatty acids that impede cellular respiration and that can be a factor in heart disease and cancer. When heated, the fats in oils adversely affect the skin, leading to clogged pores, acne, and eczema. Excessive use of cooked oils also causes craving for stimulants like alcohol and caffeine and can lead one to feel unclean, depressed and heavy.

Cooking softens food fibers, which can hamper intentional motility. Cooked fibers become demagnetized and leave a slimy coating on the intestines. In fact, you are more likely to have gas, heartburn, and bloating after a cooked meal than after a raw one. Cooked carbohydrates become carmelized and dextrinized [sugared], and are known to increase body weight.

A diet of cooked foods requires the body to devote more energy toward digestion and elimination. When you eat cooked foods, you are more likely to feel fatigued, groggy, and hungry the next morning. The eliminative system (the pores, lungs, kidneys, and bowels) becomes congested and overworked, leading to states of disease. Because cooking depletes the nutrients in foods, it is more difficult to feel satisfied by eating them; therefore, overeating and obesity become the norm.

Eating cooked food causes an immediate increase in white blood cell production and causes a pathogenic leukocytosis. In addition, after a typical cooked-foods meal, red blood cells tend to clump together. When the clumps reach the capillaries (where blood from the arteries delivers oxygen to the body’s cells and enters the veins), circulation in these tiny vessels becomes clogged.

On June 28, 2002, The Washington Post reported on a Swedish study finding that acrylamide, a chemical known to cause cancer in animals and listed by the world Health Organization as a probable carcinogen in humans, is produced in foods when certain combinations of fats and carbohydrates (such as a mixture of French fries and potato chips) are heated to temperatures greater than 248 degrees Fahrenheit. ‘We found the substance at levels [in these foods] that, if it was just one product, we would ask that it be immediately taken off the market,’ stated Leif Bush, head of the Research and Development Department of the Swedish National Food Administration. Raw and boiled foods, on the other hand, were found not to contain acrylamide.

The free radicals, toxins, and loss of nutrients that result from cooking contribute to aging, bloating, depression, weight gain, cellulite, hair loss, wrinkles, anxiety, and puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.

Getting enough PROTEIN:

“We’ve been trained to recognize meats, eggs, and dairy products as good sources of protein. However, protein can also be found in many plant-source foods – and some of these foods contain more protein than any food of animal origin.
Proteins are made of amino acids, and 22 amino acids are known to be necessary for our physiological health. Eight of these amino acids are termed ‘essential,’ because they cannot be produced in the human body and must instead be consumed through the diet. Protein is necessary for tissue growth and repair as well as the formation of blood cells, antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Protein provides the body with energy and plays a role in the body’s balancing of water and electrolytes.

While it is imperative to have protein in the diet, it is also important not to overdo it. Excess protein can overload the lymphatic system’s ability to cleanse itself. A diet that is excessively rich in protein can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, kidney, osteoporosis, and liver and prostate disorders. Studies at the Max Planck Institute for National research [in Germany] have found that too much protein in the diet -- even if only a small excess – can decrease the body’s ability to transport oxygen, and lack of oxygen is thought to be a contributing factor in the development of cancer.

The amino acids in protein start becoming destroyed at 118 degrees Fahrenheit and are almost completely destroyed by 160 degrees Fahrenheit. In terms of food, this means that cooking causes food proteins to coagulate and become denatured, making them less digestible and more likely to produce inflammation. In fact, cooking food to a temperature just under 200 degrees Fahrenheit causes leukocytosis, a condition wherein leukocytes (white blood cells that attack foreign substances) are called in to help with digestion. After the consumption of a meal including cooked protein, white blood cell levels increase by as much as 600%. This immune system response indicates that the body, in striving to maintain homeostasis, is recognizing components of cooked food as invaders that must be neutralized.

Because cooked proteins are at least partially denatured, food that is cooked provides the body with much less protein than the same food in its raw state. As cooked food is predominant in our culture, protein-intake recommendations (currently hovering around 70 grams a day) tend to be based on cooked rather than raw food. But researchers at the Max Planck Institute have found that when protein is consumed in its raw state, a person needs only half as much as when protein is consumed after being cooked. In other words, instead of eating 70 grams of cooked protein a day, you can eat 35 grams of raw protein and still meet your nutritional needs.
Proteins that contain all eight essential amino acids are called complete proteins.

These are found in foods including:
• Alfalfa leaf
• Buckwheat
• Clover blossoms
• Fruits (most of them
• Garbanzo beans
• Leafy green vegetables
• Lentils
• Millet
• Mung beans
• Nuts (except hazelnuts/filberts)
• Pumpkin seeds
• Quinoa
• Sesame seeds
• Sunflower seeds
• Soy foods [from Patti: which I recommend against eating]

Other good protein sources include:
• Avocados
• Blue green algae
• Beans
• Broccoli
• Brussel sprouts
• Cabbages
• Carrots
• Cauliflower
• Coconut
• Cucumbers
• Eggplant
• Hemp seeds
• Melons
• Okra
• Oranges
• Papayas
• Parsley
• Peaches
• Pears
• Peas
• Peppers
• Spirulina
• Sprouts
• Sting beans
• Summer squash
• Sun-dried olives
• Sweet potatoes
• Tomatoes
• Turnip greens
• Watercress
• Zucchini

Generally speaking, vegetables have a higher percentage of protein per caloric content than nuts, and nuts have a higher percentage of protein per caloric content than fruits, but there are exceptions to these generalizations, of course.

Here are some examples of the amount of protein in foods according to their total caloric content:
Almonds 12%
Broccoli 46%
Buckwheat 15%
Cabbage 22%
Honeydew melon 16%
Kale 45%
Pumpkin 15%
Spinach 49%
Walnuts 13%
Watercress 84%
Zucchini 28%"

FROM PATTI: An ounce of tri-tip, which is super-lean, cooked, has 25% protein.
I hope this answers your questions about protein and vegans. Let me know if you have any others, or if you have comments. Thank you.

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