What You Didn't Know About Protein
Think of it like a beaded necklace, with each individual bead representing an amino acid and the complete necklace, a protein. When we eat a protein, the body must disassemble the necklace to acquire the individual beads. The necessary beads are then recombined in the order the body requires, and the unnecessary beads discarded.
This requires a lot of energy and an initial acid (hydrochloric acid releasing pepsin) to break down these complex proteins through the peptide stages and finally into amino acids before your body can use them.
Your body does not use protein, it uses amino acids
This is why we call proteins, especially flesh proteins, second hand amino acids. They create a lot of acid waste byproducts that must be eliminated through the lymph and kidneys. Yet, fruits and veggies are considered first hand superior amino acids and leave an alkaline ash. Actually, all foods have and are made up of amino acids. This gives them structure. However, these first hand amino acids are simple and easy for your body to break apart and use. This is why high consumption of flesh protein can make for increased body odor, where fruits and veggies cleanse the body and eliminates body odor.
Foods that have a high concentrate (complex) structure of amino acids include flesh (muscles, organ & gland tissues, etc.), and to a lesser degree, nuts, beans, and sometimes starches (like grains). When we consume proteins from animal flesh, nuts, beans, etc., the body must first breakdown those proteins into their respective amino acids. These separated amino acids are then grouped into the sequences our bodies need for building tissue and the waste is eliminated through the kidneys and lymphatic systems. If your digestion or any of these bodily systems are compromised or congested in any way, eating high amounts of complex proteins will challenge the body’s ability to maintain proper balance.
Remember there are only two sides to chemistry: acid or alkaline. When people are dealing with health issues they are predominantly falling on the acid side of chemistry. Acidosis (the buildup of acids in tissue) is responsible for inflammation, pain, and destruction of bodily tissues. It is well known that complex proteins can be constipating and putrefactive causing toxemia and acidosis.
Amino acids (not complex proteins) are what the body requires to build and repair tissues, make hormones and balance blood sugars. Amino acids can be easily obtained from plant sources and the body will group them together in a specific sequence to become a useable protein. These plant sources of protein are nitrogen rich and have dominance over the acid side when broken down. In other words, plant proteins are much easier on the body.
So What Proteins are Optimal For Health?
To answer this question, consider the following. It takes a lot of work and effort on the body to break down proteins into usable amino acids and eliminate the waste. The more concentrated the protein, the more work for the body, and also the more acid wastes the body must remove. So here are the options and considerations:
1. Animal Proteins. (dairy/whey, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, etc.)
This is concentrated protein which takes a lot of stomach acid and enzymes to break it down into usable amino acids. There is a lot of acid and other wastes the body will not need from animal proteins. Many people with health concerns and poor digestion find that they do better without animal proteins. For many, meat sits in the stomach like a rock because it is hard to digest and causes constipation for many. This should not be a debate on whether people should eat meat or not. It should be about what is best for each individual. With our compromised bodies today, rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and children who are getting weaker and weaker each generation, we will find that many people are not healthy enough to handle much, if any, animal protein. For people wanting better health, it is wise to reduce animal protein. You will take stress off digestion, reduce your acid waste load and give your body a better chance to restore health.
Commercial whey protein powders have been around for decades and in the meantime have caused a lot of health and digestion issues for many people. Corporate advertising has done a great job, considering these products are still quite popular in health food stores. Many athletes and body-builders have become very sick and even died from excessive protein consumption, especially in the form of whey. There is no reason at all for anyone to consume excessive amounts of proteins, even if you are exercising. This is a fabrication of the advertising industry selling products. Nobody has a protein deficiency, unless someone is horribly ill. In industrialized nations, most people die prematurely from excessive amounts of foods, such as protein, which causes acidosis and can lead to eventual kidney failure and dialysis. Remember the tragedy of the Atkins diet?
Most whey proteins come in the “isolate” form, which means it has been processed and denatured, making it harder to digest. Avoid all isolate forms. Also be sure to read the labels. These cheap products come loaded with artificial flavors, aspartame and other weird toxins.
If you want amazing insight from a bodybuilder about the dangers of whey protein, please read this article so that you can avoid the same mistake made by so many over the last few decades… No Whey, Man. I’ll Pass on the Protein Powder
2. Plant Proteins. (nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, pea, brown rice, soy, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, etc.)
These are superior to meat mainly because they are easier to digest and absorb and overall easier on the body. They have a much lower acid waste byproduct. I caution the brown rice proteins because of the starchy carbohydrate concerns, and although soy has become an extremely popular plant protein, I HIGHlY recommend staying away from ALL soy products (learn why). I personally feel hemp is the best protein, with pea right behind it. Nuts and seeds are a great source, but I do believe soaking them overnight makes them easier to digest (learn how to soak and sprout your nuts and seeds).
There is an on-going argument on whether we "need" meat or not and if we can get adequate protein from plants. I personally believe this argument has been settled. I know many people who are strong, healthy and fit on plant proteins. There are athletes, bodybuilders and hard working people who do amazing without meat. The longest lived ancient cultures in the world ate very little to no meat in their daily routine such as the Hunzas.
We personally use the Proteinxym, Strength of Samson Blend and VIVO protein powders. There are many other decent plant protein powders out there on the market for convenience. However, you can simply start eating soaked nuts and seeds, hemp seeds and greens like spirulina and chlorella on a regular basis.
3. Amino Acids.
There are a lot of amino acid products available as well on the market. BCAA's (Branch Chain Amino Acids) are sold at workout-focused health stores. They are mostly synthetic, poorly absorbed and a waste of money. You can never attempt to replace eating real foods with a man made version and expect real benefits. However, there is a neat product by Body Health called Perfect Amino. It is plant based amino acids already broken down, yet in a stabilized form. When you consume them, 99% is absorbed right into the body with no digestive effort. They did a study that showed the following absorption rates and you can find more info here.
Perfect Amino: 99% absorption
Egg: 48% absorption
Meat, Poultry and Fish: 32% absorption
Whey & Soy Protein: 18% absorption
BCAA's: 1% absorption
Essential aminos are not produced by the body and must be obtained from a food source.
Here are the eight essential amino acids in Perfect Amino and why we need them.
Tryptophan encourages the release of serotonin and melatonin.
Lysine deficiency can result in a deficiency in niacin (Vitamin B). It is beneficial in treating and preventing herpes.
Methionine supplies sulphur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth.
Valine is needed for muscle metabolism, tissue repair, and for the maintenance of proper nitrogen balance in the body.
Leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis and may be the major fuel involved in anabolic (tissue building) reactions.
Isoleucine is important for blood sugar regulation, muscle development and repair and energy regulation.
Threonine is important for antibody production. It can be converted into glycine and serine.
Phenylalanine stimulates certain hormones including adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are activating substances in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
The reviews are pretty amazing about Perfect Amino. Check it out.
Amino acids are crucial to life, cellular growth and repair, hormone production and so much more. We cannot be healthy without them because they are part of God's design. When people are sick, they stop digesting food properly and become amino acid deficient. Taking quality plant-based aminos or easily digested plant proteins can literally be lifesaving for those with sickness and disease. There is a reason you don't see really sick people eating more meat! Plant based proteins and aminos are amazing for all people whether fighting for their health, involved in heavy labor jobs, athletes or your average person who just wants to be healthier.
Again this isn't about being vegetarian or not, this should be about what is best for you or your family. I always strive to see things from a Godly, Christian perspective. Of course, Biblically speaking, God allowed meat. But my opinion is that it was not the original intent, it came about as a result of sin, and it is not optimal for human health. Genesis 1:29 was the original intent, seed bearing plants.
Our family seems to eat less and less meat every year, and we don't really miss it. Do we still have it from time to time? Sure. This isn't about being dogmatic or pigeonholing people into labels such as vegetarian or vegan that often creates division and often-times mindsets of perceived superiority. I want us all to be one in Christ Jesus, without judgment at any level, yet desiring to know the truth and share what is best for human health. This is about learning together and finding ways to become healthy in a generation of people that have lost their way. Look around us and look at our own families. We are riddled with sickness and disease. Something has to change. And I feel this is part of the equation that can get many on a road to better health.