Chapter 9: Too Much of a Good Thing? Week 6: Finding Balance with Protien

This chapter was fascinating to me.  Being in the minority of Americans who do not get enough protein, I really learned a lot about additional protein resources that I don’t always look to and side effects of too much or too little protein.  For example, Alex states high protein diets have been linked to cancer, osteoporosis, asthma, constipation and migraine headaches and low protein dieters, like myself, get strong sugar and sweet cravings, have difficulty concentrating, feel fatigued and spacey, may be anemic, have hair loss or breakage,and unhealthy facial coloring.  In addition to the diseases at risk for those with high protein diets, some symptoms can include low energy, tight and stiff joints, stress, bad body odor and breath, dehydration and weight gain.  The reason diseases and symptoms are seen in the organs when protein is too high is because protein is metabolized in the kidney and liver and when there is too much protein, it taxes these organs which causes disease.

There is a whole section in this chapter that also explains the effects of high protein diets on glucose and the blood, which can be seen on page 130 in the book.

Alex encourages her clients and anyone else who does eat meat to increase consumption of leafy green vegetables and other veggies in order antioxidants, fiber and complex carbohydrates to balance the intake of animal protein.

Alex also explains the dangers in adding fish to our diet and cautions us against buying farm-raised fish as they are given hormones as well as are being raised in areas where there is a high amount of PCB’s, a known carcinogen, as well as traces of industrial-grade fire-retardant.  By broiling and baking fish, and allowing the fat to drip away from the fish, many of these carcinogens can be cooked out, however, mercury will always remain in the fish not matter how you cook it so just keep that in mind.  Whole Foods has a really nice chart at their fish counter which has an asterisk next to those fish containing the highest amount of mercury.

Antibiotics are a source of “poison” found in livestock feed, rivers, streams and soils near factory farms.  It’s very important to be cautious of all animal products in our diet and to make sure to buy organic eggs, fish, meat and poultry when possible to avoid ingesting these antibiotics. 

The Dairy Dilemma
“A high protein diet, especially one built around animal products, makes our blood acidic, which is a condition the body tries to fix by pulling calcium from the bones….Once calcium is leached from the bones, it leaves the body for good, via urine.  This, surely, can lead to osteoporosis.  Research shows that the nations with the highest calcium intake from dairy consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis and hip fracture, while there are fewer such fractures in populations where dairy intake is low.  The truth is calcium is calcium (just as protein is protein).  We can get calcium from plant sources in a form that doesn’t disturb our blood pH levels and, consequently, allows our bodies to store the calcium more efficiently….vegetarians – and vegans in particular (who eat no dairy) – enjoy diets rich in both protein and calcium but without the attendant blood acidity of their meat-eating counterparts and so, as a group, have better bone health…Milk is the most common cause of food allergies.  Millions of people in this country have trouble digesting milk products because of the proteins or sugars found in milk…earliest ancestors met all of their calcium needs by eating wild plant foods, and even had a higher level of calcium intake than we do now….An overreliance on cow’s milk in children can lead to anemia.  This is because milk is low in iron, and kids who drink a lot of it may crowd iron rich foods out of their diets…Kids who drink a lot of milk through adolescence are also at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  The fat content in milk rates second only to that in beef (almost half of the calories in milk are from fat) and has been linked to heart disease…link of milk consumption to ovarian cancer…you shoudl buy only organic milk, in order to be ensured that the milk you are drinking is hormone – and antibiotic – free..Dairy-free cheeses, which are lower in fat and have no cholesterol, are improving in quality and can work for sandwiches and recipes when the craving strikes you… staying away from these highly processed cheese substitutes during your detox, as they are still far away from the whole food.”  Direct quotes from Alex Jamieson as written in the book.

Alex warns of danger in our food supply of bacteria in apple juice, chicken sandwiches, meat and poultry.  Campylobacter is present in 50%  of raw chicken sold in the United states with Salmonella found in undercooked and raw eggs, poultry, pork and beef, E. coli can be found in ground beef and Listeria has been found in hot dogs, lunch and deli meats, juices, soft cheeses and smoked seafood.  It’s important to be extra careful when consuming these food items.

Alex has a nice list of non dairy sources of calcium, with the highest amount of calcium being present in the following, amaranth (1 C = 240 milligrams), black beans (1 C = 120 milligrams), northern beans (1 C = 160 milligrams), beet greens (1 C = 150-180 milligrams), Bok choy (1 C = 158-200 milligrams), collard greens (1 C = 225-300 milligrams), broccoli (1 C = 160-180 milligrams), dulce sea vegetables (1 C = 567 milligrams), kale (1 C = 180-200 milligrams), kelp/kombu (1 C = 305 milligrams), rhubarb (1 C = 250-360 milligrams), sesame seeds unhulled (1 oz = 381 milligrams), soy milk enriched (1 C = 350 milligrams), spinach (1 C = 175-244 milligrams), tempeh (1 C = 150 milligrams), tofu (4 oz = 145-258 milligrams), and wakame sea vegetable (1 C = 520 milligrams).

Keep in mind with all this awesome information, Alex says it’s impossible to eat too many vegetables, however, it’s very difficult to get complete essential amino acids from plant sources alone.   Non-animal sources of protein lack one or more of the essential amino but this problem can mitigated by having a variety of non-animal protein sources during the day.  A variety of whole grains, beans and vegetables each day can help give your body everything it needs.  Alex does caution against one protein source, soy.  As soy is one of the top 10 allergenic foods, signs of a soy allergy can include acne, anaphylaxis, gas, indigestion, cankers, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, and hives.  But if you aren’t allergic tofu is a great protein and can neutralize toxins according to Chinese medicine, just make sure to purchase organic and GMO free soy as most soybeans that grow in the United States are genetically modified.  She also suggests preparing proteins by poaching, roasting, steaming and stewing which are safer methods of cooking as opposed to charcoal grilling, frying and broiling which can cause you to ingest carcinogens.

Plant sources that  include the highest amount of protein are, pearled barley (almost 20 grams/cup), refried canned beans (almost 14 grams/cup), dry bulgur ( a little more than 17 grams/cup), chickpeas/garbanzo (almost 12 grams/cup), couscous (a little over 22 grams/cup), lentils (almost 18 grams/cup), quinoa (22 grams/cup), soybeans (a little over 22 grams/cup cooked), tempeh (30 grams/cup), tofu (20 grams/cup) and white beans (19 grams/cup cooked).

Check out Lisa’s Lentils for delicious recipes and other fun updates related to health and nutrition!


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