Today I wanted to talk something that is one of the most understood nutrients and subjects in nutrition: Protein. I go into much more depth on this topic in my new book Radical Beauty, but with so many people getting sick and aging quickly, which is related to this subject, I can’t help but to bring this important topic up again.
I also want to be clear for those of you who may be new to Beauty Detox and the principles found in my books, that we’re not here to say a blanket statement like, “Everybody should give up meat”. I do have many clients and many readers who still consume some animal protein. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. But it is a matter of doing your research and making the best choices for your personal health and beauty. Even if you do still want to eat animal products sometimes, you can cut back on the portion size and the number of times you do a week.
Why should you do this? Let’s dive right in!
We hear so much in the media about too much fat and too many carbs, don’t we? In essence, all these high protein or low-carb diets that have sprung up are very acid-forming in the body. This acid formation can make our bodies age faster and can cause precious minerals to leech out of our systems, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on our kidneys and liver—our detoxifying organs.
Not something we want to do!
Because protein has been bred as a sort of royal macro-nutrient (you’ve heard the expression, “You can’t have too much protein”), toxicity starts to amass in our bodies. And when you think about it, very few people actually think less is more. Most people think more of a good thing is better, right? While we’ve gone through periods as a society of popular diets encouraging a reduction of fat and carbs, we’ve not yet seen a massive emphasis on reducing protein (though many experts are calling for a reduction now, but due to the popular and familiar tastes of grilled chicken and hamburgers I believe it is slower to come).
This mentality is damaging and causes health and Beauty issues, to our detriment.
Athletes and Protein
For those in the Crossfit world or serious competitive trainers, I’m sure a lot of your fellow trainees are always harping on you about protein. It’s like that manly talk we hear when someone asks in the gym, “Hey, how much weight you can bench?” In fact, Crossfit is sort of associated with Paleo, which is just another of the same high-protein, low-carb iteration. (in Radical Beauty we discuss the controversial roots on which this particular diet is founded).
There’s a lot of focus on protein and how much you’re getting. Almost your whole meal is protein or protein-based in terms of its priority and being the sort of “star” of the meal.
However, as I’ve discussed in my books, blogs and podcasts, you can get way more than enough protein from eating a plant-based diet when it’s comprised of whole foods such as—green vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, certain grains even, like quinoa. There is so much protein in those foods!
There are so many forms of protein at our disposal without having to eat huge amounts of any animal protein, which is heavy and acidic in your body.
There is also the topic about how the protein is consumed and what happens with all the hormones, steroids that are injected into the animals, not to mention the GMO corn and soy and countless contaminants in animal feed (in Radical Beauty we write an in-depth analysis of what is in commercial animal feed, and it is downright frightening). This is what I wanted to get into today. And again, if you do choose to eat meat, that’s okay. You don’t have to be vegan to follow Beauty Detox, however I do encourage smaller portion sizes and more plant-based meals, for sure.
A Side Note
While this is not the focus of this blog, I can’t help myself by making this quick note: Ayurveda espouses the believe that “So is the micro, as is the macro.” In other words, what is good for us personally is what is good for the planet. There shouldn’t be any inconsistencies or contradictions. Everything is connected.
So while there may be differences in option, nutrition-wise, one thing that can’t be denied is that animal agriculture is the WORST thing for the planet. It is responsible for 90% of the destruction of the rainforest (clearing land for free range cows to graze), the mass killing of dolphins and sharks in fishing nets, deforestation, on and on. How can a diet, such as a high protein diet like Paleo, be the right way to eat when it is so directly destructive of the planet and every species on it? The answer is because it can not be the right way; otherwise there wouldn’t be that inconsistency.
If you haven’t already see the documentary Cowspiracy, please do as soon as possible. It is a must watch!!
What is Protox?
Whether you are a person who has some meat in your diet or not, it’s helpful to understand a term that I’ve come across, which is Protox (this is oxidation of protein). The way that most people consume their protein, particularly animal protein, is toxic in the sense that when you cook or burn protein, you char it—creating oxidative inflammatory molecules that are actually really serious and produce some significant detriment to our health.
Too much consumption of oxidized dietary protein has a negative impact on our body and our mind.
The term Protox, is more about the preparation. Unfortunately, the cooking methods that are used is one of the factors that cause the meat (at least for some people) to be more palatable that they’re able to consume huge portions.
Then, when you consume huge portions of oxidized protein, this is what ultimately triggers a lot of negative health issues, like inflammation (which is something I’m not willing to battle with!).
My new book, Radical Beauty, that is co-authored by Deepak Chopra, talks about all different aspects of living and promoting a life of Beauty. One of the pillars that we discuss is all about circulation. In fact, there is a section about oxidation and research shows that it is considered the prime, if not the primary cause of aging.
Eating these forms of meat that are cooked in this way is causing oxidation in your system.
When you look around at society, you will see all these products and treatments, facials and layers of “pancake” makeup, all trying to help us look and feel younger, but all the while, if you are still eating lots of cooked meat and animal products, you are counteracting all those other products we spend out money on…and becoming probably more frustrated with not getting the results you want, so turning to them more and more!
This is what has driven me to inform people so they can then choose whether they want to keep some protein in their diet or not. If you want to keep eating meat, this is your personal choice (again, it’s not all or nothing), but I recommend greatly reducing the amount and making the choice to add more vegetables, in order to reach your highest potential of your health and natural beauty.
You can also choose to only eat meat when you really feel like it, or once or a few times a week, rather than just casually, or because you feel you’re not getting enough protein in a vegetarian meal (which we know isn’t true).
Be aware and present as to why you are making the food choices that you are.
Keep in mind that oxidized protein is one of the most problematic things that we can consume. What’s crazy is that it’s already cooked, it’s already burned or charred and it doesn’t stop there. Even the way we store protein, or when it’s been cut and it sits for a while—there’s a number of ways that it oxidizes. This is what we need to be aware of, that’s it’s not just cooking the meat but all the other steps before and after.
People will have these meals done that way and then they’ll microwave it or reheat it on top of that and it’s like oxidation on top of oxidation on top of oxidation on top of oxidation. Need I say more?!
Now imagine you’re working out or doing some sort of active fitness lifestyle and you think you need more protein; you might find yourself consuming oxidized meat 3, 4, 5 or 6 times a day!
It’s a huge load on your body and your organs.
There are many ways that oxidation is created in meat. Anywhere from frying or cooking or steaming or even sitting on the shelves, like meat just sitting (hamburger meat being ground up and being exposed to air, even if it’s sealed, or just sitting in a deli for a long period of time). Oxidation is occurring—YIKES!!
Deli meat has those additives to prevent you from seeing the oxidation, but it’s still oxidized. Imagine if you were to run pulverize broccoli (like they do ground beef), and then put that pulverized broccoli into a little package where it sits for however long meat typically sits, it’s going to oxidize like crazy! That broccoli is going to be so far from fresh and yet, for meat, it’s something that people just think is normal and acceptable and they buy it, then cook it, and oxidize it all over again.
Okay, so what can we do?
Making better choices…
In terms of making better choices about cooking and preparation and the methods of cooking, there are ways to cook at lower temperature or flash cooking, in general, just try not to char your food. Pick the methods that science has basically shown to produce the least amount of oxidative damage to the food. It probably won’t taste as good as when it’s charred but you’ll be making smarter choices towards a healthier you.
Retraining your mind-set…
It’s learning to retrain yourself and getting used to eating meat differently. I think that’s the big takeaway using the research that I’ve linked to throughout this blog and others. It’s about informing yourself and then making your own decision about what you want to eat, how much you want to eat, and how you want to incorporate some of these suggestions.
When looking into this subject, I was of course, curious about charred vegetables and found that it doesn’t produce the same ultra toxic effects as meat, but any charring is not ideal.
I hope this topic has provoked some thinking into all of you beauty and health seekers out there. You can research it on your own and think about it further. Again, there are the links in this blog, my vlogs and books where I go into protein quite a bit, particularly in The Beauty Detox Solution (you can listen to it right now on the audible version) and definitely in Radical Beauty.
Just remember in general, that if you’re not deficient in calories, it’s hard to be truly deficient in protein without really trying (though there are certain periods where you want to increase your protein such as when you’re pregnant, and you can easily add an extra Power Protein Smoothie every day as well as almonds, etc. to easily reach your protein needs).
If you’re eating a wide variety of plant foods and whole foods in general, you’re going to get more than enough for your Beauty and health needs. Eating massive amounts of protein, as we just discussed, can be very aging and is not beneficial. More is not “good more” when it comes to protein. So please read more into this topic and keep yourself informed.
I want you to feel and be your very healthiest, more energetic and beautiful for LIFE, not as a quick fix to lose 10 pounds, which is why I am so passionate about this topic, as I want to help reverse some of the massive misinformation on protein.
Thanks Beauties, for taking time to educate yourself towards a more Beautiful version of YOU! ;)
With love and gratitude,