When it comes to doing something about (1) climate change that is more effective than purchasing a hybrid car, and (2) reducing obesity in children and in adults, then switching to a meat free diet is at the top of the list.
Overview – Vegan Diets are Healthier for the Planet and for People
The WHO (World Health Organization) says humans need about 5% of their daily calories to come from protein to be healthy. The USDA puts this figure at 6.5%. On average, fruits have about 5% of their calories from protein. Vegetables have from 20-50% of their calories from protein. Sprouted seeds, beans, and grains contain from 10-25% of their calories from protein. So if you are eating any variety of living plant foods, you are getting more than adequate protein.
Numerous scientific studies have shown the daily need for protein to be about 25-35 grams per day. So if you ate 2,000 calories per day, and ate raw plant foods that had an average of 10% of their calories from protein, you would get 200 calories worth of protein, or 50 grams. This is more than adequate to support optimal well-being.
Other studies have shown that heat treating a protein (such as with cooking) makes about half of it unusable to the human body. So some believe raw plant food protein is even a better source than cooked plant foods or animal foods.
There is still a huge, foolish, misguided idea that plant protein is not “complete” and meat is required. This is based on studies done on rats in the 1940’s. This false conclusion was drawn before we discovered the body’s protein recycling mechanism and its ability to “complete” any amino acid mix from our bodies amino acid pool, no matter what the amino acid composition of a meal consumed. This false idea is still perpetuated by the meat and dairy industries, in an attempt to influence people to continue consuming their products.
The truth plant proteins are incomplete proteins, but when you combine them, you will get all of the amino acids you need.
The Raw-Vegan Diet
The Raw-Vegan Diet which consists of fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, sprouted legumes, seeds and nuts, is moving from the fringe to the mainstream attracting the attention of top chefs around the world. Raw-vegan food is considered healthy because of its living enzymes. The enzymes in food aid in digestion and are destroyed at 118 degrees of heat. Heating also depletes food of vitamins and minerals which is why cooked food is thought to lead to excessive food consumption in the body’s attempt to gain adequate nutrition.
Here’s a list of books compiled by the American Dietetic Association:
* “The Raw Life: Becoming Natural in an Unnatural World,” by Paul Nison
Nison is a raw-foodist and chef who has authored many books on spirituality and health. According to his Web site, this 352-page book is a “must have” for anyone new to the raw food diet.
* “Raw: The Uncook Book,” by Juliano Brotman and Erika Lenkert
Co-author Brotman owns a raw-food restaurant and catering service in Santa Monica, Calif. According to HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, “Raw” does not focus on “100 variations of salads” but instead offers recipes for foods such as sun-baked pizza, vegan sushi and burritos.
* “Conscious Eating,” by Dr. Gabriel Cousens