Day 16 – Protein is the hip kid


images-4In North America we have a strange tendency to favour one of the macronutrients at a time. Macronutrients are the basic components of food. There are 3 categories: protein, carbohydrates and fats. For some reason only one is allowed to be the cool kid and they get to be the king of all the land. They rotate in popularity: protein is in, carbs are out. Carbs are in, fat is out. But then fat is good again and sugar is bad (including all sugars such as fruit). Many diets will pop up to support that one macronutrient and by extension one type of industry that has a vested interest in their product being popular.  Protein and fat have been BFF’s recently because protein that is animal based also includes fat. And lately fat is where it’s at. In this clique the only carbohydrates that get to play are soy and corn, mostly GMO (genetically modified organisms) that are grown to feed the protein and fat (animals). These guys have some power on their side: the agribusiness lobbyists have a lot of money to buy government support. This includes the whole factory farm industry, dairy and cattle industry and Monstanto.

It seems to me that we are currently obsessed with protein. There seems to be a concern that somehow we are not getting enough, but in North America it is not a big issue unless food intake is very low. Both my mom and I have been asked about the lack of protein in our cleanse. My mom, in particular, received a lot of comments. Even a hairstylist that she went to the first time told her the cleanse is “dangerous”. A staff person at a whole foods market told her that “there is no protein in plants” and she has to supplement even though she is on it for one month. However, no one thinks anything about the dangers of inhalers I use or the blood pressure medication my mom was taking. Shouldn’t getting off that stuff be much more of concern than lowered protein levels for a month? One of the warnings on the Advair inhaler I no longer use states “Salmeterol, one of the active ingredients in ADVAIR increases the risk of asthma-related death” Hmmm…. So I am MORE likely to do die from asthma using asthma medication then without it? They rate how often we experience certain symptoms. In the “common symptoms” column is “pneumonia (COPD patients), increased cough, fever with shaking chills, shortness of breath, sharp or stabbing chest pain during deep breaths and increased rapid breathing”. The rare and very rare symptoms are of course more severe. So is lower protein still a concern here?

Also, to set the record straight: there IS protein in vegetables. Not as much as in animal products, legumes and seeds but there is some. Vegetables such as dark, leafy greens and sprouts both have an abundance of essential amino acids which are the building blocks for proteins. Secondly, this is not a permanent diet, it is a temporary cleanse. I don’t think anyone would dispute that proteins are important, but certainly a month of lower protein is fine. I think the high protein and high fat trend is fading and there seems to be more and more interest in a whole foods, plant based diet. One that includes protein, carbs and fat by the way! Okay, my rant is done. Thanks for listening!


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