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Can any one explain the Protein thing...?

I have been bombarded with conflicting information regarding sufficient protein intake. Now, the recommended daily intake for a person of my gender and age is about 45 grams of protein a day.

People from this website have told me not to trust this pre-determined recommendation, saying that plant-protein and animal-protein differ greatly, that I’ll be able to achieve all the protein essential to my health just by eating lots of green vegetables and fruits. Can any one explain this more thoroughly to me? What is the actual difference between the way my body metabolizes plant-protein versus animal-protein, and in turn, how much protein do I actually need if I can’t trust the recommendations based on animal-protein?

Also, recently, I was in a nutrition shop, the man who worked there talked with me for a good while, asking me about my diet and physical symptoms; I informed him that I was a raw vegan and told him of my physical hindrances. He suggested different natural supplements I could take, how they would improve my health, why I’m experiencing these physical symptoms, et cetera. THEN, he said something along the lines of: “It doesn’t matter how you get it. It certainly doesn’t have to be from meat. So, with your vegan diet, and based on your body’s needs, I would recommend that you get at least 100 Grams of Protein a day. I don’t care how you go about getting it. But it’s absolutely crucial for you to make sure you are getting this protein.” 100 Grams a day! And this guy was no chump. He knew what he was talking about. Every health/nutrition based inquiry I had, he explained comprehensively in detail.

So, what is the take on this? I’m aware that a lot of the people on this website really don’t believe that protein consumption should be emphasized with any true relevance to health. And that may be the case, with meat-eaters… I mean, if plant-protein and animal-proteins are different, then the way the body reacts to these proteins are obviously different, and maybe it’s optimal for us to consume large amounts of plant-protein… A couple indicators of having a protein deficiency are inexplicable cravings for sugar and hair loss… which are two of the things I am experiencing with a worrisome intensity. So, can any one lead me to some thing that can explain plant-proteins? And can any one suggest how I could perhaps go about consuming an adequate amount of 45-100 grams of protein a day (without having to eat an entire tree)? I am really, genuinely concerned about this. I’ve noticed the hair loss since converting to vegetarianism, and for a while I just ignored it, convincing myself that I was being paranoid (especially since my mother now has EXTREMELY thin hair after suffering from the malnutrition of anorexia as a teenager. so, I just assumed that I was concentrating on all the hair I was shedding in fear of accidentally depriving myself of essential nutrients- which, now, I believe I have been, unfortunately, and it’s not just hypochondriacal anxiety). My hair is like coming out in handfuls, every day. And I feel as if my hair has thinned considerably, just by looking at it. I have had abnormally THICK hair since I was a kid, and now… well, it’s not so thick… and I’m not very amused with that fact (even though the frustrations of having thick hair has always annoyed me, I’ve secretly cherished my hair. further more, I’m not very fond of what losing my hair implies for my health, obviously there’s some thing wrong). Okay, so, any thing any one can say or suggest to me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you : )


  • geniusrawmodel23geniusrawmodel23 Raw Newbie

    Ok. Don’t worry about protein. You get plenty without even trying. You see, protein is made up of amino acids. Those amino acids are found in their natural state in plant foods. When we eat animal protein, our bodies have to break it down into those same amino acids in order to use it. So what you want are the amino acids. Which are found in abundance in plant foods. So you save your body so much energy by getting the amino acids right from the start( in the veggies and nuts and whatnot). Does that make any sense? As far as your hair….you may not be getting enough of some other nutrient. Maybe fats or minerals. Sorry, not a nutritionist here. (: But DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE PROTEIN THING. Please. If you want to understand it more clearly you should read fit for life by harvey and marilyn diamond. It is a great book and I really learned alot from it. K

  • geniusrawmodel23geniusrawmodel23 Raw Newbie

    Oh, and most people get way too much protein. Not getting enough is never a concern unless you just aren’t eating at all.

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    One thing to understand is that the current definition of “protein” is a chain of amino acids (like building something with leggos or building blocks). I had a misconception that protein is “one thing”. There is a definition of a “complete” protein and that has some misconceptions around it since many people have been taught that one can only get a “complete” protein from animal products . There is also newer research out that challenges the older theory of needing complete proteins that one has to “balance” non-animal products so they combine to make “complete” protein (like the classic combination of rice and beans). I seem to remember a thread that mentioned sources of this newer information… search on the keyword “protein” if you want to find it or maybe someone will repost the links here…

    Is your brain exploding yet from the conflicting info? 8O

  • I’m going to address the hair thing, since I’ve never had a problem with protein.

    What you’re going through has happened to me twice. I’ve always had very thick hair (and I secretly loved it). When I went vegan for the first time, it started falling out—slowly, at first, but gradually I was losing what seemed like entire handfuls every time I stepped in the shower. I had to clean out my brush every morning and evening, and when I realized that I only had about a third of my hair left, I had a serious breakdown. I had been trying to convince myself that I was “shedding,” and it would stop after a while. It stopped when I reverted to a normal vegetarian diet, and I went through the whole thing again the second time I went vegan.

    You can’t deny that something is wrong when your hair is choking the vacuum cleaner. I’m glad you’ve already realized that, because admitting it is like pulling teeth! Do you eat a decent amount of iron? That was my problem. In the course of a year, I had eaten mostly fruit and grains, which supplied everything BUT iron. I found out that it helps produce whatever glues hair to your head—I’ll try to find the sources again—and when your body runs low, it pulls iron from less-vital places like your scalp.

    If you think it’ll help you, do some research regarding iron’s link to hair loss. My hair stopped falling out within a month of upping my iron intake, and now I have these new, annoying little tufts all over my head. Still, I’m glad to see them. Dried fruit is supposed to be a good source, but it’s too sweet for me. Hemp seeds have 20% RDA (if you put any stock in RDAs—it’s a lot either way) of iron in two tablespoons (160 cal.), and of course leafy green veggies have it, too. Nothing wimpy. I mean the hard-core greens! ;)

    Here’s a list I found:
    1. Dried Fruit
  • superkat92 and Bluedolfin, thank you! Thank you for explaining that. I was getting so frustrated with the all the contradictory information and oppugning facts. It was rather dizzying, as if I were spinning in a circle, constantly following the same loop… “This source says I should do this… This source says I should do that… But this source says I should do this… However, this source says I should do that…” I didn’t know what to think. I felt like a dog with two separate masters living on opposing sides of the village, unable to be obedient and loyal to both. superkat92, I think I will check out that book, thanks for the recommendation.

    Evigail, that is exactly, exactly what I have been experiencing! The hair loss seemed gradual at first and only became distressing after the unending persistence of it. I too have to empty my brush after combing my hair, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the shower drain held enough of my previously-attached hair to sew together a full length Wookiee costume. Every time I take a shower, I squeeze the excess water from my hair before I stop the water, and it’s literally like the equivalent of the magic trick with the scarves and the top hat, just unending, every time I stroke my hand over my hair, my palm is filled with new loose hairs that I have to wash away in the water. It’s ironic that you mentioned the iron-deficiency. I think that has been my problem, inadequate iron intake. When I was at the nutrition shop, the guy there (the 100 gram protein guy) explained to me that the most probable reason as to why I’ve been feeling the way I have been is due to lack sufficient iron consumption. He went over the symptoms of iron deficiency with me. I told him I was recently tested by my doctor and that my iron levels were supposedly normal. He said that this was most likely not the case. He said that it was more likely that my iron levels were ‘normal enough’ to appear normal on a test. He gave me this pamphlet explaining to me the correlation between something called serum ferritin and low-iron.

    The pamphlet says: “Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, and unfortunately, unless those with iron deficiency are also anemic, they tend to fall through a major crack in the medical system. Despite the fact that one woman in four suffers from iron deficiency, it is not routinely tested for during medical examinations. It boggles the mind, especially in view of the fact that iron deficiency can be detected using a simple test called serum ferritin. As it stands, iron stores need to be almost completely depleted before anemia will become apparent through a routine blood test. This failure to catch iron deficiencies during the preliminary stages of the disease, a stage called pre-anemia, is so prevalent that more than half the women in a study of 136 women between 18 and 55 with unexplained fatigue had low serum ferritin levels.”

    The informative 100 gram protein guy told me that if I were to start taking an iron supplement, he could almost guarantee that I would feel like a whole new person with in 4 days time. So, I’m hoping he’s right, it would definitely be a miracle.

    Thanks for the iron suggestion. I feel better knowing that upping your iron worked for you… not so helpless. I don’t want to have to say good bye to my hair and I’m starting to actually miss the aggravation I felt at ‘tolerating’ my thick mound of bush-like hair. Ever since I was a kid, knowing about my Mom’s hair loss, I have been so afraid that it would happen to me (even if there was no reason for it to happen, I just feared it would). I hope I haven’t done any permanent damage.

    Again, thanks!

  • chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

    If you are worrying about protein, you are most likely a victim of advertising & marketing from the animal foods industry. We

  • Hi

    I will recommend you to do a LIVE BLOOD TEST. Maybe it can help!!

    My partner was losing his hair too. When he did the test he found that he had metals in his body. He did a natural treatment with raw food and his hair is back now.

  • Rawbeginner – I’m glad you’re feeling more optimistic! As for permanent damage—well, my hair grew back both of the times that I corrected the problem. I grumble about the whisps growing everywhere, but seeing them really puts me at ease.

    The shower thing drove me INSANE! The magic trick comparison is right on. I can’t believe I didn’t go bald in a matter of weeks. It falls out when you brush your hair beforehand, it falls out when you shampoo, it falls out when you rinse, when you wring it out, when you brush it again, when you blow it dry…Halfway through my shower, I would have to pull a chunk of hair from the drain because the tub would start to fill up. It was twice as bad if I hadn’t showered the day before, because it would all come out at once. The wet stuff just sticks to your fingers and gets tangled in everything.

    I’m so glad you’re open to this! I hated, HATED admitting I might need more iron, because anemia is the stereotypical hole in veganism. “Helpless” was exactly how I felt, and I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. That pamphlet’s absolutely right; there’s a lot of research suggesting that iron deficiency is on of the most prevalent health problems, since a conventional diet is loaded with things that make it difficult to assimilate (like soda)—but it doesn’t always end in something as obvious as anemia. I never had a blood test, but I pulled up my lip one morning and saw that my gums were nearly white, and I could see my teeth right through them, which is a common sign. THAT was terrifying. Now they’re healthy and pink again.

    It’s a shame that you’ve had to grow up fearing for your hair, only to have this happen! Double-whammy. Just hang in there; you’ll get it sorted out.

    EDIT! I forgot to mention chia seeds in my first post. They have about 30% RDA iron per three tablespoons. I think that’s about 140 calories, which isn’t bad, and they’re quite tasty once they’ve absorbed some water. I know there are some recipes around the site, or you could toss them into smoothies.

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    chriscarlton, great post!

    rawbeginner, be careful about the iron and don’t overdo it. The body can’t excrete excess iron if you take too much and it can cause severe damage if it builds up in the body. I have beta thalassemia and know, so be careful with the iron suppliments.

  • DeborahBeeDeborahBee Raw Newbie

    A protein that is high quality is one that contains sufficient amounts of all “essential” amino acids. Our bodies cannot synthesise essential amino acids so we need to eat foods that contain them. I use www.nutritiondata.com which gives an Amino Acid Chart. Also, if you type in a food that doesn’t have a high quality of protein the website will match that food with other foods that will complement it in terms of protein.

    I eat spinach, seeds and avocados which are all great sources of high quality protein. I eat small amounts at a time (except spinach) and my muscle tone has increased greatly over my first year of raw, with little exercise. So I must be eating enough protein.

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