Chapter Six

 

For the beginner, the question is: "What is there to eat with no 
meat?" "Protein is the issue!" "If I don’t eat meat, where am I 
going to get my protein?"

What is the "Protein Myth"?

It is a myth that protein is an issue. If enough unrefined plant food is eaten to get adequate calories, it is impossible to have a protein-impoverished diet eating whole plant foods. All plant foods contain some protein—even lettuce. So the first thing to get straight is that protein is not a problem! The idea that starving children starve because they do not get enough protein is just not true. Starving children starve because they do not get enough food of any kind. Let it be repeated. It is impossible not to get enough protein on an unrefined plant-based diet of adequate calories.

Can Plant Proteins Furnish All of the Essential Amino Acids?

Scientific studies have documented what has been known from history: that a single plant source, such as potatoes, can supply the essential amino acids. It has been suggested, on good grounds, that one of the major reasons for the Germans losing the first world war was their potato crop failure in 1914. That is not to suggest that getting all of your essential amino acids from one food is ideal or recommended. It is only to state that there is evidence that all the essential amino acids can be obtained in adequate quantities from plant sources, provided that the calorie intake is sufficient. Thus, essential amino acids are not the issue.

So What is the Issue?

The issue is starvation! The issue is not enough calories! So what is happening with the people who are getting fat on calories, and yet have an impoverished diet, which is deficient in many nutrients? The issue in the developed nations is refined, calorie-dense food. What is a refined, calorie-dense food? Most of what is on the shelves of the supermarket has been refined and is calorie-dense. Anything with advertising on the cover; anything packaged in a box; anything that says it is "enriched" is, more likely than not, to be impoverished, deficient in nutrients, and greatly increased in calories as compared to the unrefined commodity. Refinement of food is the issue! Food in its unrefined, natural state is very complex, having lots of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. By "unrefined," we mean the food is eaten as grown and as it naturally occurs. For instance: whole potatoes, whole carrots, whole oranges, apples, or whole anything else like the grains—wheat, rye, oats, corn etc. (They may be cut up, mashed, or milled, but if nothing has been removed, it is still unrefined.) However, the finer it is made, the more quickly it can be absorbed, which could give greater blood sugar swings. This should be taken into consideration, especially with diabetes.

What Does it Mean to be "Refined"?Refinement means that the grain or vegetable is ground up and chemically or mechanically split into different parts such as the oil, bran, fiber, protein or carbohydrates. Refining means that most of the vitamins are decreased or gone, many of the minerals are decreased or gone, and usually most of the fiber is removed. Then a little of what is removed is replaced and it is labeled "enriched"! This is very deceptive because compared to the whole, unrefined product, the refined and "enriched" product is greatly deficient in many of the original ingredients.

Why is Food Refined?

 

There are two reasons why food is refined. The first is that more money can be made from selling multiple refined products than from selling one whole product. The second has to do with the length of time a refined product keeps, which is called the shelf life of the product. A whole food will not keep on the shelf as long as does an impoverished, refined article. So, for commercial reasons, food is refined.

What About Food Engineering and Processing?

 

Many of our foods are now engineered. To make them taste good, sugar and fat are added to most of these products. This is where the great increase in calories comes in. The refinement of food itself, getting rid of the fiber, decreases the bulk of the food and increases the calorie/bulk ratio. But the great increase in calories comes from added oil or fat and sugar. Man has been attempting for a long time to improve on what God has done. Every such attempt results in failure as compared to the original article! A comparison of some common foods in their natural states and in their processed states is shown in Table 2.

Are Non-Caloric Sweeteners OK to Use?

These chemicals are not good for the brain and optimal working of our nerves. They also seem to encourage more food and sweets so their purpose is actually defeated.

What Difference Does it Make Whether or Not the Food Has Fiber and is Low Protein and Low Calorie?

The significance is considerable with reference to appetite satiation and weight control as well as the relationship to disease. Let us take these issues up briefly.

 

 

 

1 lb. Potatoes Cooked (whole) 1 lb. Potato Chips (processed)
Calories: 370 2,576
Fat content: 0.3g 165g
Sodium content: 12mg 4,540mg
Water content: 75.1% 1.5%
1 lb. Raw Apple (whole) 1 lb. Apple Pie (processed)
Calories: 263 1,209
Fat content: 2.7g 52g
Sodium content: 5mg 1,422mg
Water content: 47.6% 47.6%

(Adapted from USDA Nutritive Value of American Foods Handbook No. 456. 1975)

Will I Feel Satisfied After Eating?

 

Satiation is a feeling of being satisfied. We like to feel satisfied after a meal. There are two things that largely contribute to the feeling of being satisfied after a meal. The first and most important is habit. The body can cope with just about any change as long as it is consistent. Whatever you get used to seemsright. Thus, when changing from a less optimal to a more optimal meal, it may not at first seem to satisfy because it’s not what you’re used to. The second factor in feeling satisfied after a meal is a signal from the brain’s appetite center telling you that you’ve had enough to eat.

Physiologically it is complex carbohydrates that the body "keys on" for its signal to tell you when you have had enough. Complex (unrefined) carbohydrates signal your body in two ways:

1. Complex carbohydrates are high in fiber and high in bulk. This means that physically, they fill the stomach up and make you feel satisfied.

2. Complex carbohydrates also signal the body that it has had enough food when the glucose level has risen enough from the pre-meal level.

Carbohydrates signal the body to turn up the cellular metabolic furnace and burn food faster. This is why you can eat more (more bulk and less calories) and lose weight when you eat unrefined foods. The opposite is true when you eat largely refined foods. In comparison to the bulk and fiber ratio to calories, the refined foods have little fiber, are small in bulk, and high in calories because of the refined sugar and oil that is usually added to the processed foods. The low bulk of refined foods means that the stomach can never really be full before an excess of calories has been consumed. The body cannot sustain the rapid rise in blood glucose caused by the refined sugar, because the refined sugar is so rapidly absorbed. This leads to a feeling of hunger a short time later as the blood sugar level falls, usually below normal, because of the excess of insulin secreted. The end result may be obesity because the excess calories are best stored as fat—which leads us into the discussion of the "Western diseases."

How is Diet Linked to Western Diseases?

 

Artery blocking disease and the resulting strokes, heart attacks, backache, arthritis, gangrene of the fingers, toes and feet or legs is virtually unknown by most of the world’s population. Please note: These diseases are found mainly in North America, and other so-called "Western nations." The same is true for a whole host of other diseases such as: diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, diverticulosis, gallstones, varicose veins, and obesity. Population studies have shown that diet and exercise are the two most important factors in preventive healthcare against these diseases. It has been shown that people who leave China or Japan and come to the USA lose their "genetic protection" after a short while on the Western diet.

Plastic Genes?

 

Our genes are very plastic. That means that genes change according to the needs of their environment. Our genes are not set in concrete as is usually supposed. After a few short months or years, the Chinese or the Japanese start having the Western diseases that were largely unknown in their native countries where they lived a physically active life eating unrefined food! The reverse has also been documented; Australian Aborigines who developed diabetes after a short time eating city food were cured of their diabetes when sent back to the "Outback" and lived as they did before coming to the city.

So as you weather the discomfort of making some of the most difficult changes known to mankind—changing eating habits—think of the diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, and many other diseases that you are preventing or reversing by eating unrefined, unprocessed whole plant foods! And remember that God is your helper!