Yes, you certainly can I get enough raw food protein eating just plant foods!But how?
Our body needs protein for many tissues (including muscles of course, skin, even nails), enzymes, hormones, antibodies, transporting and replacing cells. And much more.When we talk about protein, we actually mean amino acids, the building blocks for our bodies. Out of the 22 amino acids that make up proteins, there are 9 that our body cannot manufacture itself and hence we need to deliver them in through the food we consume.
That is why we call them “essential”. All nine of the essential amino acids are present in raw fruits and vegetables – raw food protein – in sufficient quantity to meet our needs.Not only can you get enough protein on the raw food diet, but in fact you get the best quality amino acids in as everything is pointing to plant food being the best source of raw food protein:
Complex vs. simple protein
Meat and dairy contain complex protein.
Let’s say you’ve just eaten a small chicken breast that contained 20g of protein in its raw state.
When you cooked it, the animal protein became more condensed and compact (proteins “tighten up” when you heat them – like your egg omelette in the morning, for example; first the eggs are liquid and then tighten up into a semi-solid state). This process destroyed great amount of the protein. Also, cooking make the proteins more difficult to digest.
All in all, cooking made about half of the chicken protein unusable for your body. And that is not the end of the story. Now after you eat your cooked chicken, your body needs to work somehow backwards to break the rest of the available complex proteins down into single amino acids and then build them back up into protein once again – this time for your structure (muscles etc.).
Greens contain simple amino acids that are easy for our body to digest and build up straight into protein. Simple.
Acidic foods vs. alkaline foods
Meat and dairy are the biggest source of acid. Acid means breaking down, removing oxygen from our body, and is related to various diseases. Often, your body will need to take calcium from your bones to fight the acid.
On the other side of the spectrum are greens, since plant raw food protein is considered the “safe” protein, which does promote healthy alkaline and oxygenating environment in your body.
Is plant raw food protein “complete”?
I am pretty sure you have heard at some stage that the plant protein is not “complete”. This is based on research done on rats in the 1940/70’s. The fact is, that even though plants as a group contain all nine of the essential amino acids, you can’t find all nine of them in any single piece of fruit or veg. But animal food does have them all.
However, the “incomplete raw food protein” theory has been dismissed since (1990’s) after the scientists discovered that our bodies have protein recycling mechanism, which allows the body to complete the “amino acid mix” from its amino acid pool. Yes, we still need all of the nine amino acids but we do not need to eat them in one single meal or day.
Of course, the meat and dairy industries are still eager to keep circulating this false idea of incomplete raw food plant protein. It’s good for the business.
If you are getting enough calories in your quality and varied plant based diet every day, you are fine!
Fat content (approximate amounts)
Meat – 50-80% calories from fat (depends on type of meat)
Eggs – 60% calories from fat
Milk – 20-55% (depends on type of milk)
(Cheese is around 75% and butter has a whopping 99%)
Most vegetables and fruits are very low in fat.
Vegetables – trace to 10% (mainly cruciferous veggies)
Fruits – 1-10%
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule
Avocados – 80%
Nuts – 70-80%
Olives – 75%
Coconut – 90%
Although these raw foods contain significant amounts of fat, their fat is not considered harmful to your health. And they still contain a wide array of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and alkalinity.
How much is raw food protein is enough?
If you eat enough calories from fruit and leafy greens, then it is virtually impossible to be protein deficient on a raw food diet. It turns out that there is no such thing as protein deficiency anyway, as in fact no such medical term exists. Interesting! The closest medical terms are Kwashiorkor and Marasmus, which both arise due to an inadequate diet and starvation.And even if protein deficiency did exist, the question of daily protein intake requirement is probably the one single most controversial area of nutritional requirements – in all diets.
So how much raw food protein do you need a day?
Numerous scientific studies have shown the daily need for protein to be about 25-35 grams per day. But it might make more sense if we talk in percentages.Traditionally, people say 15 to 20% of a daily calorie intake should be from proteins. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) on food packaging tends to show a daily protein requirement of 10%.
The WHO (World Health Organization) says humans need about 5% of their daily calories to come from protein to be healthy. The USDA think it should be around 6.5%. Interestingly, this is in sync with human breast milk that has 6%. This is all we eat and drink as babies when our bodies grow the most!
Hence, humans (and apes in general – back to Mr. Gorilla) thrive on a diet of 80%+ of calories coming from carbohydrates, 10% (or less) from raw food protein and 10% (or less) from fat. Most raw fruits and vegetables fall roughly in that range (how natural!):
– fruits 3-9%
– vegetables 10-50%
– Sprouted seeds, beans, and grains 10-25% of their calories from raw food protein. (To compare: milk has about 25% and meat cc a. 50%)
Rawfoodia, an average rawfoodist woman, gets about 2,000 calories in a day from raw plant foods that have an average of 10% of their calories from protein. The 200 calories worth of protein (approx. 50 grams) is more than adequate!
Rawfooder, an average rawfoodist male, gets about 3,000 calories in a day mostly from fruit. Today he got in 37 grams of raw food protein – exactly the amount in 3,000 calories of bananas!
As Dr. Graham pointed out, getting any more than the recommended levels may actually contribute to the health problems.
What about athletes?
We have been brainwashed to think that it is vital for us to consume loads of meat and dairy to be strong. It is, indeed, important for athletes to make sure they’re getting enough carbohydrates. Otherwise their muscle glycogen levels will be insufficient to give them optimal performance. Also, if athletes have inadequate amino acid intake, they are unable to build muscle. Athletes need more calories than sedentary people by far, but they don’t need to increase the percentage of calories coming from raw food protein. They’ll already get more just by eating more food. You will get enough protein from a raw food diet to repair and build muscle tissue. People on a raw food diet typically put on muscle with ease.
What does it mean for you?
We can’t sit around to eat leaves all day to get our protein. We’ve got stuff to do.
If you have a good quality and variety of raw foods then you will have no problem to hit approx. 10% of raw food protein.
Two green smoothies a day and you’re laughing. (Learn all about green smoothies here.)
Nuts, seeds, avocados and the like can pump up the protein intake. Soak and sprout your nuts, seeds and legumes to enhances bio-viability of amino acids and proteins to get even more in.
Learn to like the algaes / seaweeds (e.g. nori, kelp, etc.)
Not convinced? Want to supplement?
There are a number of great all raw food protein supplements out there. My favourites:
– All raw hemp / brazil nut / proteins powders that you can sprinkle on your salads or add into your smoothies for example.
– Raw spirulina and chlorella tablets that you can just pop into your mouth and chew like nuts. If it was not enough that Spirulina is 60% plant based easily digestible raw food protein, it is also a fabulous source of B12 essential for healthy nerves and tissue (especially for vegans) and B-complex, all the essential amino acids, iron, beta carotene, chlorophyll the natural cleanser..and much more…and has only a few calories…wow!
– Blue-green algae – similar to spirulina/chlorella, just even more pumped up in some ways. Available in liquid or powder form. Great in smoothies or raw soups/sauces, for example.
– Bee Pollen – they say it’s high in all the essential amino acids, plus 8 more non-essentials. I like it in smoothies and raw breakfast cereal.
We are what we eat !