Plant Based Challenge

Protein

How do you get enough protein on a plant based diet? Well, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 35% whereas research shows this is the MAXIMUM amount of protein you should eat and research by Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, and others shows the max you should intake is 10% and ideal is 5 – 6%.  This can be easily obtained on a plant based diet.

Feed lotI believe most people who follow vegan diets are motivated more by animal rights than by health related facts. While I learned a lot in the process of trying the vegan lifestyle, I do not see it as panacea. I believe elements of the plant based lifestyle can be beneficial to add to your lifestyle, it can come with its own pitfalls. Not all vegan people are eating healthy. I strongly disagree with eating highly processed plant based products such as ‘imitation chicken’, imitation hot dogs’ and many of the other things which are so highly processed you cannot tell what it is made of.

It is amazing when you stop and consider which end of commerce determines the Recommended Daily Allowance. The percentages are set up to support the agriculture industry. It should be the other way around. The agriculture industry should be using the research of the health and medical community and then subsidies should be based on the real needs of human beings. Instead, when corn became subsidized in the United States, the glut of corn created a need to make more corn based products. Scientists found a way of fracturing the corn molecules in order to make high fructose corn syrup and a whole new industry was born.

Likewise, the growing demand for meat, fueled by the RDA, has resulted in rain forests being cut down, and replaced with animal feed lots. The animals – normally grass fed – are fed grain in the feed lots and they more than enough grain to feed the entire world population. Not to mention that cattle produce methane gas in their manure – which is a bigger polluter than cars are.

What is your motivation?

There are many environmental concerns and animal rights concerns, quite valid in their own right, that should be enough to encourage everyone to become plant based, however I think that isn’t getting priorities right. The absolute most important reason for going plant based is your own health. Read Dr. Colin Campbell’s information about protein and cancer.

In 2010 I tried going vegan, doing this for my health. I was morbidly obese. I was about 100 lbs overweight. It was effecting my health in ways I am probably was not even aware of. Most of all my issues are related to back and knee problems. My intention was to use a plant based diet to lose weight.

While my cholesterol was better than it was a few years before (because I had already stopped eating processed foods) it is still higher than ideal. It is in the zone between ‘normal’ and ‘at risk’ which frankly is not good enough. I want it to be normal or even lower than ‘normal’. My blood sugars were about 1 point below the ‘at risk’ or ‘pre-diabetic’ that also is not good enough. But more than that, I had such serious back and knee problems I cannot walk more than 3 blocks – and that is as hard as a marathon would be for most people. Literally, two parking spaces further from a door – is a palpable difference. The moment I stood, my brain says ‘sit down’ as I have no pain when sitting and 9 (on a pain scale of 1 – 10) pain as soon as I stand.

I am doing better with my mobility issues than I was a few years ago – when crossing a room with a cane would take me 5 minutes and be more painful than childbirth. At that time I was also in severe pain when sitting and no amount of pain killers enabled me to sleep – barring taking addictive drugs.

While I learned a lot in the process of trying the vegan lifestyle, I do not see it as panacea. I believe elements of the plant based lifestyle can be beneficial to add to your lifestyle, it can come with its own pitfalls. Not all vegan people are eating healthy. I strongly disagree with eating highly processed plant based products such as ‘imitation chicken’, imitation hot dogs’ and many of the other things which are so highly processed you cannot tell what it is made of.