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  1. Plants: The Original Protein Source (Thinking Beyond Meat) Samuel Hartman Louisville Vegetarian Club Plant-based eating class 3 of 4

  2. A Brief History of Protein • “Protein” comes from the Greek word “proteios” meaning “primary” or “standing in front.” • Each protein molecule consists of amino acids: nine essential, four nonessential, and eight conditional • Absolutely essential for growth! In general, 50g minimum of protein per day for most people.

  3. How Should We Get Protein? • Plants are the original source: the animals who are carnivores only get their protein from the flesh of animals who eat plants. • Are we omnivores? This is an ongoing debate. We caneat meat, but should we? • 15,000 years ago, we hunted and gathered out of necessity. Now, we eat by choice. • Many signs now point to plants at the optimalprotein source. Why? Health, environmental, and ethical considerations.

  4. Comparative Eating Anatomy

  5. The Burden of Proof: Why Meat? • Rather than assume humans have to eat meat, let the meat eaters show us why it’s important. • Common reasons: protein, vitamins (B12), minerals, ease of access, and tradition. • All of the nutrients, macro and micro, can be obtained from plants, and they’re probably better for you.

  6. The Protein Myth: Common Knowledge • Common thinking advocates “lean” cuts of beef, chicken, pork, fish, etc. • Is this the optimalprotein source? Probably not. • Given the alternatives, meat is not a health-promoting food, and can significantly raise mortality.

  7. The Protein Myth: Meat Kills • 2009 NIH-AARP study (600k): modest increase in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular mortality associated with red and processed meat intake. • 2012 Harvard study (121k): Each extra serving of red meat: 13% increase in premature death, processed meat: 20%. • 2010 EPIC-NL study (38k): Diabetes risk increases with higher protein risk, specifically animal protein. Vegetable protein not associated. • 2010 Low-carb study (130k): Low-carb animal protein diet associated with higher all-cause mortality, low-carb vegetable protein diet had the opposite effect.

  8. The Protein Myth: Chicken and Fish • Okay, we get it: red meat is bad! What about chicken and fish? • Generic chicken contains: fecal matter, arsenic, E. Coli, Salmonella/Campylobacter, and drugs • Organic chicken (or turkey) not much cleaner • Fish varies, but often high in: methyl mercury, organochlorines, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other environmental toxins.

  9. What About B12? Or Iron? • Vitamin B12 is crucial, but we need a tiny amount each day (3-7 mcg – that’s micrograms!) • While we once may have obtained it naturally, supplementation is typically required now. It comes from bacteria! • Iron: for men, don’t sweat it. Women do need more, but spinach, lentils, and Vitamin C are the ticket!

  10. The Protein Myth: It’s Only Human • Mark Bittman, in NYT claimed: “it’s only human…it’s traditional…it’s mainstream.” • Don’t sell yourself short – change is natural – and is often in the right direction. Ex. racism, sexism.

  11. The Protein Myth: Speciesism • Speciesism: prejudice or bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species (and against…) • What is the difference? Consider the status for moral worth as sentience: the ability to feel, or perceive. _______ SPECIESIST

  12. Enter Plants: Pure Vegetable Protein • Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables are fullof protein. • Consider 1 cup of: Lentils (18g), Navy beans (16g), or Quinoa (8g). • 1/4 cup of: Hemp seeds (15g), Almonds (8g), Sunflower seeds (8g) • Simple trade off, or benefit? Nuts and beans have massive advantages.

  13. Enter Plants: Wheat Meat and More • Seitan(wheat gluten): High in protein, low in everything else (18g/serving!) • Tofu: The classic meat replacement. Proper cooking is a must! • Wheat and soy “meat” products: Tofurky, Field Roast, Boca, Lightlife, Gardein, etc.

  14. Enter Plants: Full Spectrum Eating • 1) Breakfast: tofu scramble, toast, fruit. Lunch: Black bean & sweet potato salad, fruit. Dinner: Quinoa & cooked veggies. Snacks: fruit, soy yogurt, trail mix. Protein: 69g • 2) Breakfast: raisin bran, soymilk, banana. Lunch: Bean chili, salad, cornbread. Dinner: Brown rice/lentil pilaf, broccoli. Snacks: whole wheat crackers, fruit, nuts, orange juice. Protein: 87g. • Allergies? Swap soy for almond, rice, coconut. Wheat cereal/crackers for gluten-free variety.

  15. “Foreign” Foods? • America’s obsession with meat belittles the protein sources that the rest of the world eats: • Masoordaal (red lentils) • Chana Masala (chickpeas) • Yaki-dofu(tofu/soybeans) • MisirWat(green lentils) Addis Grill

  16. Still Not Convinced? • Killing animals is one thing…but what about torture? • Birds, cows, pigs are “objects” or “commodities,” not creatures with interests. • Ex. Chickens: unnatural light, tiny cages, de-beaked, 6 week of life, then scalded alive. • Foiegras & veal:particularly nasty.

  17. Still Not Convinced? Seaboard Investigation • Warning: graphic video (approx. 4 min long) • Humane Society of the United States Undercover Investigation, 2012 Video at :

  18. Still Not Convinced? Environmental Destruction • Animal agriculture takes a huge toll on the earth’s precious resources: • 90% of the world’s soybean crop is used for animal feed • Livestock contributes to 18% of the world’s total GHG • 70% of Amazonian rainforest deforestation is due to livestock production • Developed countries must cut meat-eating in half to stabilize N2O by 2050, or we are doomed.

  19. Let’s Recap: Eat Plants! • Burden of proof: why eat meat? • Meat is bad for us; we can get nutrients elsewhere with ease. • We can reject the past (speciesism) and create new habits, traditions, ways of eating and living. • Animal agriculture is very, very cruel, and bad for the environment. • Plants are cheap, healthy, and in abundance. They are the original, and best, source of protein.

  20. From Veganist: “Perhaps the greatest promise of a plant-based diet, in my view, is that it can help us evolve. A plant-based diet gives all of us an opportunity to be transformative agents in the task of creating a more perfect world. This isn’t hyperbole. If our intentions are to have peace, happiness, kindness, and abundance, we have to put those intentions into action. Beyond wanting peace, we have to sow seeds of peace. …[E]ach time we eat we are given an opportunity to make the world kinder and to reduce the harm we cause. Andto benefit our own health and vitality as we do so! Our food choices affect others like virtually nothing else we do, rippling outward and multiplying their impact day by day, year by year, meal by meal. Every time we choose what to eat we vote in the most democratic election on the planet. (Kathy Freston)

  21. Next Week: Extending Compassion to All Thank You! Questions?E-mail: Cell: 956-BE-VEGAN See hand-out for references and picture credits.

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