Busting the myth on foods high in protein

By Paul Scicluna

The question of whether or not we need to eat meat to get protein has and will continue to be debated. Meat is of course, touted as the highest protein rich food. But there are other foods high in protein!

We’ve been led to believe certain things by vested interests, certain industries and companies about proteins.  

So let’s get back to basics. What is protein? Protein comes from the late Greek word “proteus” which means “first quality” or “first source,” from the early Greek word “protos” which simply means “first.”

Our ancestors knew back then that the best type of protein was from the first source, which came from plants. But along the way, certain industries and companies have influenced us to believe that you can only get protein from meat.

There’s over 200,000 identifiable proteins and all of them can be found in varying levels in plants meaning fruits and vegetables, as well as meats. Isn’t it interesting though how 99% of the public doesn’t know this…

You actually don’t have to consume copious amounts of meat to get the protein you need in your diet. That doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or vegan if you don’t want to. I’m just simply letting you know the simple fact that protein is available in basic produce such as all vegetables in varying levels. Yes, that’s right, there is such a thing as high protein vegetables!

Our society is consuming far too much meat these days which is being linked to a whole range of health related issues. If you wanted to mix up your diet and have less meat, then replace it with other protein rich foods including, nuts, legumes such as lentils, beans and chickpeas and green leafy vegetables such as kale, silver beet or chard and spinach – remember what Pop-Eye said “I’m strong to the finish coz I eats me spinach”. That was said for a reason.

The biggest and strongest animals on earth are herbivores - elephants, bison, giraffes, buffalo and rhinos, for example. Rhinos can weigh about 4,000 kilos (about roughly 9000 pounds) – they are solid bone and muscle. Yet, they get their protein just from plants.

Our closest relative is the gorilla. They are close to 99% anatomically and physiologically matched to humans. Now those big silverback gorillas don’t have a stash of supplements or a barbeque behind the bush to cook meat do they? So how does it get its protein? Their sources of protein are basically from plants - eating certain fruits and green leafy vegetables.

Gorillas are also one of the strongest land mammals on earth from a power to weight ratio perspective. 

The thing is that we have been trained from a very young age that you have to eat meat to become big and strong. I think every man was told that when they were young. Good marketing on parents who then pass it on to their children. This is how we are turned into “consumers” for companies to profit from.

You see now that you can get good sources of protein from plant sources such as fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts. Not only that, you can get calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, iron and plenty of other nutrients as well.  

So when someone says to you that you can only get your proteins from meat, you now know the truth and can tell them other foods high in protein!

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