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The Simple Truth about Protein and Carbohydrates

The simple truth about protein and carbohydrates did not come easy in my journey to reclaiming my health and preventing disease. I poured myself into hours of studying a variety of health resources to get to the truth. It was a grueling task that I needed to accomplish if I was going to reclaim my health and prevent disease. As I transitioned from my unhealthy world into reclaiming my health, understanding and answering the following questions about protein and carbohydrates became an obsession.

  • What is protein?
  • How much protein should I consume?
  • What kinds of protein are healthy for me?
  • Where should I get my protein from?
  • Why is there so much conflicting information concerning the subject of protein?

The same questions apply to carbohydrates.  The answer to these questions changed my entire way of living, eating, shopping, cooking and enjoying food. In some respects, as long as these questions remain unanswered in your personal pursuit of health your progress will be daunted.  Once I arrived at the answers I proceeded to master applying them to my every day life.  Here is what I discovered:

The definition of protein comes from a Greek word, proteios which means of “prime importance.” Although protein is important for health, unfortunately its definition has led many, including medical and health organizations, to believe that it is the most important nutrient we must consume for health. Considering any nutrient as more important than all others establishes a faulty foundation for health. For 100 years Americans have been building the health of our nation on the assertion that protein is the number one nutrient humans need to build health and more specifically from animal sources. The misfortune that follows this error is now being evidenced in the increase of diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and countless syndromes.

Protein, fat, carbohydrates and water are macronutrients. This means that they make up almost all of the weight in food. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals which are also needed for health and are found in our foods in smaller quantities. Although protein is not the only nutrient the human body needs for health, its role is remarkable. It is in charge of countless of tasks everything from repairing tissue to functioning as enzymes and hormones. They are constructed as long chains of amino acids. There are hundreds and thousands of proteins united to sustain life.  Amazing!  It is not difficult to see why consuming adequate protein is a valid concern. The question is not whether we need protein but how much and what kind.  

Protein is needed on a consistent basis. The body uses them and needs to replace them by eating food that contains protein.
There are two sources of protein:

  • Animal-based foods provide what is known as complete protein.
  • Plant-based foods provide what is known as incomplete protein.

Although animal-based foods provide protein closest to human protein it does not come alone. Animal foods come with saturated fats, cholesterol, high calories, hormones and no fiber. Plant based foods can provide us with the necessary proteins for health with out the saturated fats, cholesterol and added hormones. They come with fiber, vitamins, minerals and countless of other nutrients. We do not have to subject ourselves to the dangers of animal protein when the plant kingdom provides the best of both protein and quality nutrients for health. Animal-based protein creates an acidic environment in the human body that promotes sickness and disease. The opposite is true of plant-based foods.  They create an alkaline environment that assists the body in health and wellness.

Women need 23 grams of protein per day to maintain good health. Men need no more than 38 grams of protein per day. Americans are consuming 125 to 140 grams of protein per day. When I first learned these facts I put them to the test in my own life.  In fact, I put everything I was studying on reclaiming my health to the test. In the early part of my transition from my unhealthy lifestyle to reclaiming my health I spent many days at my local grocery stores confirming and qualifying what I was learning. The life saving, life changing information was clear. I was one of the millions of Americans over consuming animal protein in dangerous quantities.

The following information is meant to bring awareness on how we can accumulate 125 grams of animal protein quite effortlessly.  I have chosen the most popular foods found in American households.

1 egg = 6 grams
1 cup of yogurt = 11grams
1 slice of cheese = 6 grams
2 ounces of turkey = 14 grams
4 ounces of fish = 24 grams
1 slice of bread = 3 grams
2 slices of cheese pizza = 13 grams
1% low fat cup of milk = 9 grams
4 ounces of ground meat = 23 grams
4 ounces of chicken = 23 grams
½ cup Breyers Ice Cream = 3 grams
1 ounce mozzarella cheese = 7 grams
A total of 142 grams

Once we consume it our body must break it down. Beyond the dangers of over-consuming protein is the consistent lack of plant based-foods, water, sleep, exercise and rest, all of which play a role in protecting our body from sickness and disease. Protein begins to accumulate in the blood stream, and places a burden on the liver, kidneys and colon. You cannot fight disease while consuming animal-based foods that deliver a constant slow drip of protein and remember they don’t come alone. In the end I was finally persuaded that if I had any hope of reclaiming my health I must abstain from animal-based foods and replace them with plant-based foods that deliver perfect amounts of plant protein, quality nutrients, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. I abstained from every form of animal products for two years and re-introduced them in safe ratios back into my diet after I reclaimed my health. Today I sustain and maintain my health eating a plant-based, low fat diet and enjoy animal-based foods on rare occasions.

Carbohydrates are equally essential for health and wellness. They are also equally misunderstood. Remembering that carbohydrates are also macronutrients found mostly in plant based-foods is a good place to start unraveling the simple truth about them. Here is what I discovered:

  • Complex carbohydrates are God-made.
  • Carbohydrates come in two sources.
  • There are complex and simple carbohydrates.
  • Humans were created to consume complex carbohydrates.
  • They are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, water and fiber.
  • They are derived from mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • They are in complex form which means that the body can regulate them safely using the healthy glucose and starches for health unlike simple carbohydrates.
  • Simple carbohydrates are man made.
  • They are stripped of their nutrients and fiber by the refining process; removing the very nutrients that make them safe to consume for health.
  • Processed foods in a can, bottle, box and a bag can be dangerous because they have been turned from complex into simple carbohydrates; the food industry adds insult to injury when they combine them with sugars, sodium, chemicals and man-made fats.
  • Americans have replaced the complex carbohydrate for the simple carbohydrate.
  • The following list of complex carbohydrates turned into simple carbohydrates demonstrates these facts perfectly.

Potato  —> potato chip
Brown rice  —> white rice
Whole grains —> white flour
Oatmeal  —> oatmeal bars
Apples —> apple chips
Sugar cane —> white sugar
Fruit —>  fruit juices
Vegetable —> vegetable juices
Whole grains —> breakfast cereals
Whole wheat —> white bread
Corn —> corn syrup
Fruit —> fruit bars

One last thought on complex carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide steady and ready energy. Simple carbohydrates store energy for later use in body fat. Unfortunately you need the energy for life today not for later use.

Once I settled the truth about protein and carbohydrates I was able to define what foods would assist me in reclaiming my health and preventing disease. The benefits of eating a plant-based diet versus animal-based foods and simple carbohydrates are tremendous. Put it to the test in your life, you won’t be disappointed.
Experience How Simple Health Really Is!
Becky Campos

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