October 17, 2007

by Traci Sellers, with Kal Sellers, MH

Traci: As I sat down to lunch with my grandma, I was delighted to notice that my salad had been made with romaine lettuce, which I had recently learned had the highest protein content of all the lettuces. I made a comment about it and grandma said, “Ha, the only way you are getting protein from that is if there are bugs on it!”
Kal: Little did she know that romaine lettuce contains 40% of calories from protein and that t-bone steak only comes in at 34% of calories from protein.[1] 
Traci: She had fallen victim to one of the most common dietary blunders in America, a misconception put forth by advertisements made through government subsidies for meat and dairy products.
Kal: The W.H.O. and the Food and Nutrition Board from the National Academy of Sciences both say that the actual requirement for calories from protein is 4.5% (human breast milk ranges from 3-5%).[2] Even fruit contains between 4-16% of calories from protein!
Traci: Not only do our leafy green vegetables contain more than ample protein, their protein is in the form of amino acids –which our bodies easily recognize and can use immediately–unlike animal proteins that must be broken down before being re-combined as needed.
Kal: We recommend that live vegetables (i.e. not processed or cooked except, perhaps, lightly) be central to your meal. They provide everything we need to build healthy cells and to create an alkaline blood stream. When we are done digesting vegetables, the high water content fiber eliminates easily and feeds friendly flora.
Traci: Terrific! And as I always say, knowing ‘why’ is good, and we gain the most value when we take it to the kitchen and make it taste great!  
[1]  Nutrition Almanac, 4th ed. 1996, Kirschmann, pp. 446, 464
[2] [4.5%] “Protein Requirements,” Food and Agricultural Organization, World Health Organization Expert Group, United Nations Conference, Rome, 1965; [4.5%] Food and Nutrition Board “Vegetarian Diets,” Washington, D.C., National Academy of Sciences, 1974.