The top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

(1) Where do you get your protein from, if you are on a plant strong diet?

I am asked this question on a very regular basis. My answer …. the same place that the gorillas, elephants and oxen get their protein. From plants and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Protein is just another word for a complex combination of amino acids. All plant based whole foods contain amino acids, and these are the same amino acids that exist in animal based whole foods.  Plant based and animal based whole foods simply differ in the percentages of the different amino acids that make up their protein structures. During catabolism all proteins, irrespective of their source, plant or animal, are broken down in the same way into amino acids, which are smaller molecules, ready to be absorbed through the intestine, sent to the liver for re-packaging and then sent off to cells to be used. One average sized potato contains 7 – 8 grams of protein and this is the same amount as a serving of cheese.  1 cup of oats contains 10-11 grams of protein and what is more interesting is that one cup of celery contains 0.7 grams of protein.  Most people don’t think vegetables like celery or lettuce contain protein, but they do.  All vegetables no matter what they are contain some percentage of protein.  So, all in all, being on a plant-based diet provides all the amino acids you require

(2) What are complete and incomplete proteins?

This is such a hotly debated topic.  Animal proteins have been described as “complete high quality” and plant-based diets have been maligned as having “in-complete low quality” protein structures, therefore not giving us all the amino acids we require for life. Nothing can be further from the truth. Animal proteins have been described as higher in quality than plants because of the way they are used within the body.  Animal proteins are very similar to our muscle structures and therefore the body does not need to work them so hard after they are absorbed into the body.  They are in the exact ratio that our body needs them to be so are more economically used. Plant-based foods also contain all the amino acids you require, however they are in a slightly different ratio and therefore the body takes a little longer to assemble them in the ratio’s that we require. There is no problem, as if there were, then the millions of vegetarians around the world would all be deficient, sickly human beings. This is just not the case. Check out Jim Morris who is a vegan bodybuilder. http://www.greatveganathletes.com/jim-morris-vegan-bodybuilder. He is pictured on his website at aged 61, and wow what a muscle bound body.  He has been a vegetarian since 1985 and a vegan since the year 2000. He was 65 when he began his vegan journey.  Today he is 80 years young and still maintains that body. A quote from Jim, which I really identify with – “Health and well being are a way of life. Not a certain diet or set of exercises or any other single area, but a combination of all the aspects of your life.  Accept full responsibility for yourself, your health and your choices. The western civilisation culture is anti-health in that it is designed to produce profit, not health.  Read up on epigenetics. You control more of the genes which differentiate you from other humans than you realise.  You are your own creator and creation.”

(3) Isn’t olive oil good for you?

Do you want the short answer or the long. Short answer NO. Olive oil contains as much saturated fat as lard. It is a waste of calories.  In one tablespoon of olive oil you have 128 calories of pure fat. These are empty calories, and not worth wasting your time with.

(4) So where do you get your essential fatty acids or omega-3 from?

The human body is capable of making all but two fatty acids it needs.  The two it must obtain from foods are Omega-3 and Omega-6.  Omega-6 we find and get in abundance in all animal products, plants, processed and packaged foods.  At a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 of 25:1 and as high as 50:1 for some people, getting omega-6 fatty acids is not an issue.  Too much omega-6, however, causes many health dis-eases.  Omega-6 is pro-inflammation whilst Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory. It is the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 that is important when it comes to health outcomes.   The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 should be 1:1 in an ideal world or no more than 3:1 in a not so ideal world. Plants are the major source of omega-3, and make it in the way of ALA (alpha linolenic acid) and AL (linoleic acid).  ALA is the precursor or primary building block for DHA (Decosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eiconsapentaenoic acid) and if you are eating a wide variety of plant based foods then you will be converting all the ALA you eat into all the DHA and EPA you need. Did you know that flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are amongst the world’s richest foods for omega-3 fats?  If you eating a plant-strong diet, then you will not be missing out on these two vital nutrients. Our daily requirements for essential fatty acids are 1.1 grams for females and 1.4 grams for males which is no where near as high as we are being led to believe by the media.

(5) What about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)?

Fascinating question. Most of the time I am asked, or I am told, that there is no evidence to support the argument not to allow GMO’s into our food environment. Research shows that GMO’s do not alter the DNA of a human being. Good argument, but here is my counter argument.  There is research that shows GMOs affect the DNA of our gut bacteria.  Our microbiome.  These gut bacteria out number us by at least 10: 1.  That means there are at least 10x more of them than there are of us.  And we live symbiotically with these colonies of gut bacteria.  The latest research into our gut microbiome is truly fascinating.  We are learning more and more about the importance of a good gut microbiome to human health every day.  There are now thought to be more than 1500 different species of bacteria living within our gut. One expert into gut microbiome asked the question, are we carrying around these gut bacteria or are they wearing us? But back to the question, what about GMO’s. Well, we do know that GMOs are capable of altering the DNA of our gut bacteria. Now that is a scary thought. If there are 10x more of them than me, and I am living symbiotically with them, and they are playing a huge role in my overall health, what will happen to my overall health if I alter the gene expression and patterns of my particular microbiome. So should we be allowed to put GMO products into our food supply, the short answer is in my opinion, absolutely not. Do not let yourself be used as part of a live human trial. Avoid GMO products at all cost, especially if you have any autoimmune dis-ease or gut issues.