News Flash! Vegans Can Have a Protein Deficiency: Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Tuesday Jun 14 | BY |
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kevin gianni lecture
Be wary of what experts tell you at lectures… yep, even this guy. (How could you trust a “long hair” like that?!?!)

A lot of you wanted me to expand on a phrase that I wrote a few days ago on the blog…

Here’s what I wrote in case you missed it:

“There are many myths and untruths in the raw food world. I’ve seen them first hand as Annmarie and I traveled around the country for 2 years. What you see on the Internet is very different than what you see in person.”

There’s, of course, a lot to expand on, since there isn’t just one occasion when I was surprised or taken back by information or experiences Annmarie and I had during our travels around the U.S.

Today, since many of you asked, I’m going to give a recent example of where the “actual” didn’t match the “theory” that you may find pretty interesting.

Last week, I received an email from a friend who had been feeling some of the same burnt out symptoms that I had a few years ago.

She was feeling tired all the time, unable to get out of bed, agitated – the whole deal.

She had been vegan for quite a while – not fully raw, but ate a fair share of raw foods as well. She considered her diet EXTREMELY healthy. She’d read all the books, taken all the courses, etc. She’s also very smart, educated, and responsible.

But something wasn’t right.

She had purchased the “How to Read Your Blood Tests Program” (or I had given it to her!) and because she was not feeling right, took action and went to a natural doctor who could order all the tests under the “Vegan Panel” that Dr. Williams had outlined.

When she received her blood tests back, her results were somewhat shocking to her.

I say somewhat, because she knew something wasn’t completely right, so she knew they wouldn’t be stellar.

Here’s what showed up.

  • Low Vitamin D. (She lives in an area where there is PLENTY of sun.)
  • Low B Vitamins.
  • Low B12.
  • Slight Anemia.

These are the classic warnings that Dr. Williams and others caution about for raw food and vegan eaters – right in front of us. Apparently, it’s not a myth.

The good news for my friend is that, many of these can be corrected fairly easily. You probably know this too.

Supplementation with Vitamin D, B Complex, B12 and eating iron rich foods are a way to start. This, again for me at least, confirms that you have to be open to the possibility of taking supplements when you’re eating a plant based diet.

The supplement argument is what it is… you can fight it or you can go with it and get healthy.

I’m not going to get into that too deeply today, there’s something more pressing to address.

All the information above isn’t so shocking, really. What surprised her was the result of another test she took.

The results of this test directly spit in the face of many vegan and raw food experts. And the truth is, I doubt her case is the only one.

The other test she had was on her body’s protein levels. On this internal amino acid profile, many levels were low.

That’s right.

She was low in protein.

I can hear all the experts echoing in my head right now.

“I haven’t met anyone who was ever low in protein.”

Or, “the protein issue is old news, no one has a protein deficiency.”

Well, it seems like we have our first case ever.

(I’m being a little sarcastic here, of course, it’s not the first. LOL!)

Anyway, after hearing this I asked her if she could explain a little more so I could explain everything to you. This is an important case here – whether you want to believe it or not.

The truth is, there wasn’t much more to explain. She was low in protein.

Something that many plant based experts seem to ignore, deny or just plain old don’t want to believe.

I don’t know why they do this, because they’re the experts – I’m just a renegade journalist.

Maybe it’s because their edifices are too tall to see what’s really going on in the world on the other side.

Now first off, I’m not suggesting that everyone change their diet or that everyone is protein deficient.

This is the most important point here.

I want you to be as healthy as possible. If that means eating raw foods, great. If it means eating farm raised meats, that’s what works for you.

What I’m suggesting here is that it’s brutally important to get your blood tested regardless of your diet.

This way, you will understand what’s happening inside and be able to adjust (or not) accordingly.

Blood tests are a tool that any healthy person uses to get great results. Athletes are a perfect example. They use them to ensure they’re getting maximum nutrition for their bodies.

If you want everyday “athlete-like” performance, read your blood.

If you want to keep guessing about your health, keep believing that blood tests can’t help you.

This is a real world example.

When you go to a vegan or raw food lecture and hear experts talking about people never being low in protein, you believe it.


Because, there’s likely never anyone in the audience who has gotten their amino acids tested. The reason for this is because they were likely at another lecture the month before where another expert said the same thing.

I have to admit, in the past, I’ve said these words as well.

Over time, I’ve changed my tune a bit and another real world example like my friend’s here fortifies my new truth that you can be low in protein.

I’m sure if I presented this information to may vegan or raw food experts, they’d try to wiggle their way out of giving a straight answer like saying blood tests aren’t right (I’ll talk about this later), but the truth is, she was/is low in protein after eating a vegan diet.

So I’m sure you want to know why…

They’re not all wrong.

Here’s the good news.

The experts aren’t all wrong – or at least I don’t think so.

The reason they’re saying you won’t have a protein deficiency is because they’re looking at the intake of protein.

So if you eat enough calories per day on a plant based diet, you will get a decent and likely sufficient amount of proteins into your body.

The challenge, which most experts miss, is this – do those proteins get broken down into amino acids and then absorbed into the body?

The answer to this depends on how the body’s internal systems are working – namely your digestion.

If your body is unable to produce enough enzymes or HCL to denature and break down protein, you most certainly can have a protein deficiency. The protein you eat, in this case, is not being fully broken down and absorbed.

A further truth about this is that it’s possible for anyone, no matter what diet they have, to have this type of deficiency since it’s linked to digestion not intake.

So you can get enough protein, you just might not absorb it. It seems like the experts are assuming the body is like a machine, not a living organism.

I don’t know how so many experts can seemly pass over this information and blanket state you can’t get a protein deficiency. It’s somewhat irresponsible.

All it takes is a simple understanding of the digestive process that even someone like me can understand – and I didn’t go to medical school or anything like that.

So the experts are getting it wrong here – they’re looking at intake, not absorption.

There could be other factors too, but it is what it is.

I don’t actually know if low HCL or enzymes are the issue that my friend has. There could be other factors as well that are causing her low protein levels.

Maybe she wasn’t eating a wide variety of foods.

Maybe she wasn’t eating enough calories.

Maybe her genetics require a different diet.

Maybe she actually is an alien and needs to be eating moon rocks.

Who knows…

But the truth and bottom-line is, she is low in protein as a vegan.

Something, again, that has previously been deemed impossible by consensus.

But blood tests aren’t right.

I can hear the criticism already about this.

“But the blood test levels aren’t right, they’re based on a sick population.”

I used to say this as well.

The truth is, that if you go to a doctor who’s used to treating healthy people and has some years of experience reading blood tests, he or she will be able to identify optimal levels that are inside of the clinical levels.

The difference between clinical and optimal levels is this…

On any blood test, the lab determines clinical levels for disease.

If you’re above or below any of those levels, you can be diagnosed with a disease. (Or at least these are warning signs that something is really not so right.)

Optimal levels are levels that are a more tighter range that have been determined by study of healthy people through clinicians and lab testing. Yes, there’s actually science behind this, and there are conferences that practitioners go to to learn about these levels.

They are real, tested and exist.

Anyone who is simply criticizing blood tests because the levels are taken from a sick population, is missing half (or more) of the equation here and chances are they are not a practitioner or have ever seen patients in a clinical setting.

To be completely honest with you, if you look back 5-7 years into my work, you’ll find me criticizing blood tests, just like I mentioned above.

My truth, then, was that I had never had a health issue, had never done a blood test outside of a physical, and didn’t know squat about optimal blood testing levels.

I’m assuming, some of the others (though surprisingly so) that criticize blood testing are in the same boat I was.

But back to low protein levels in vegans and raw foodies…

What can you do?

Well, you can do two things.

1. You can completely ignore what I’m writing about here about low protein for vegans or raw foodies, and assume that I’m the one who is wrong and every other expert is right.

I’m pretty sure some of you will do this. This may or may not be a bad approach. I am a little wacky. Your health is in your hands, it’s up to you to take action (or not) on information you receive.

2. Or you can go to a practitioner and get your protein / amino acid levels tested if you feel a little off or not as “right” as you used to be.

Doing so will either prove me right or wrong. I don’t care which, I just want you to be healthy.

If you prove me wrong, it’s a win for you. You know what you’re doing – at least in terms of protein – is correct.

If you prove me right, it’s a win for you. You know what you’re doing – at least in terms of protein – is incorrect.

Maybe my friend and a few others that I’ve spoken to are the only vegans with low protein. I really don’t know unless there’s a larger sample study.

But her tests, put – at least – a crack in the wall of the protein argument, don’t you think?

Once you get your results back, you can adjust (or not) your diet to fill in the holes (if there are any.)

It’s entirely up to you.

To wrap this up, the most important things to take away from all of this are these:

1. You CAN have a protein deficiency.

2. Maybe you can’t listen to experts blindly.

3. Be open to new ideas, the ones you may have aren’t always 100% correct.

If you found this valuable, shocking or completely absurd, please be sure to pass this along to a friend or family member you care about. Thanks!

I want to know your thoughts: I’m a right or crazy about this protein thing?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. shine says:

    i think you are probaly right! really glad you mentioned it.. was going to put this on your last post about blending v micowave – how does one get some persective on this..i was all raw a while and hated raw my taste buds didnt improve as they say they got i eat about 80% raw – my prob now is that ive given up so many things there isnt much left that i actually like…for everything i dont eat ive heard sound reasons why..sometimes im hungry and i dont eat cos i cant face eating yet more raw veg – any advice or insights apart from i have a problem!!!

  2. Amy says:

    Great article Kevin! I’ve been vegan for four and a half years, and just a couple months ago had blood drawn and my D checked….. I was terribly deficient and had to do an eight week mega dose regimen. I just had it rechecked last week and thankfully my levels are now within the normal range. It appears as though I’m going to have to continue supplementing to fill in the gaps in my diet, and occasionally have my blood levels rechecked to keep an eye on it. I think it’s a good idea for everyone, vegan, raw, or SAD to check into what their levels of nutrients including D, Iron, B’s, and as you said protein are!

  3. Stephan Wilmas says:

    Hi Kevin,
    When I was raw I actually not only had my total protien levels checked, but individual amino acids checked. This test was very expensive but very interesting. My levels were ok. Granted this test was done only after 6 months of being raw. Dr. Clement says that supplentation is totally necessary in todays society which I agree. I don’t know the answer. I coudn’t make a raw lifestyle work although if I ever figure out how I will be going back since I loved the way I felt on it otherwise.

    I wish the scientific community would fund a study to give a group the optimal conditions and see what happens. I’m surprised hippocrates doesn’t have long term studies on this.

    Thanks for perservering Kevin!

  4. Karen says:

    Great article ! I was tested and failed the protein adequacy test in 2005 although I wasn’t even a vegatarian/vegan/raw foodist then. I was eatig flesh ! I have stress problems, and absorbtion issues, so even though I can take in enough, it doesn’t get processed and passed along to fill my needs. And I crave protein. So I’m another example of this. Thanks for addressing this issue.

  5. Yamina says:

    Hello Kevin !
    If you are crazy, I am too ! Because I thought exactly the same about protein deficiency and laboratory tests ! No one has the first and the second are untruthfull ! I love this sentence of Dr Bass about a guy who died for having misunderstood a word ! We are so mental and willing to have a Bible and its prophets that we can follow eyes closed that we are ready to accept every dogma, even and especially if it sounds definitive ! Thks for this article which makes me feel less “reactive” as I have been told recently ! If I don’t react (making these tests for example), I perhaps would fail for having faithunderstanding a word ! I love your report articles about your travels with their revealing details of true and common lives of people…

  6. Interesting to know: An elephant is a vegetarian. A lion is a carnivore.

    A lion eats far less freqently–a lion will gorge itself, if possible, on a kill. An adult will typically eat 40 pounds (18 Kg.) of meat at a time, as much as 75 pounds (34 Kg.) A single lion may take two or more meals from a kill over a 2-3 day period–after eating a large meal, lions will sleep for as long as 24 hours (what a life!). A full meal for a pride may result in four days of little activity, and no great desire to hunt until the sixth day. Note that the digestive system of the lion is simple, not unlike a human’s. Meat is fairly easy to digest and the elaborate digestive mechanisms present in their prey for breaking down celluose are not needed. Cats, in general have the shortest digestive tracts of all animals.

    On the other hand, ELEPHANTS may eat up to 300 kgs/day consuming grass, leaves, and other vegetable matter along with a high percentage of water. In captivity they eat about 30 kg hay, 10 kg carrots or similar, and 5-10 kg of bread. Some zoos give a “breakfast” of different grains, about 3-10 kg. Also vitamin’s, (especially A and D) minerals, (salt, calcium) and trace elements (such as Selenium) are often added. Depending on the temperature, they drink from 100 to 300 liters/day.

    Point is this: Vegetarian animals eat ALL DAY LONG, whereas carnavores may eat a ONE LARGE MEAL INFREQUENTLY.

    So, if you are a vegetarian PREPARE TO EAT–A LOT! and FREQUENTLY!

  7. QC says:

    Thanks Kevin for reminding me another check up!

  8. Jane says:

    Great article. I was tested and deficient in vit D, B’s and ferritin after one and half years raw vegan (have had low ferritin before raw though). My very nutrition literate doctors point of view is that she has come across a lot of long term vegetarians and vegans who had leaky gut and there just wasnt enough amino acids present in their diet to enable it to heal properly and so, due to absorption problems many showed deficiencies.

  9. Rachel says:

    I went vegan as well (not raw) and I’m hypoglycemic. I eat cage free eggs now to ensure that I get enough protein. I’m not happy about it, but it’s what I need. I wasn’t checked for protein, but my body let me know it was in peril with the hypoglycemic symptoms and eggs are making a huge difference. My doc tested my vitamin levels and my vitamin D was very low. I think everyone’s body is so individual, there is no right or wrong here. I’m so grateful, Kevin, that you are always giving us info to make the healthiest choices we can make for our individual needs–that’s why we <3 you!

  10. Alice Harper says:

    I would love to get my blood tested but it costs a fortune!

  11. Will says:

    Loved the article. We should be open and observe our feelings. If you feel tired all the time which is unusual, foggy, and anxious – there is something wrong. There is no shame in feeling better 😉 Thanks Kevin for your honesty!!! I’ve been there – done that!

  12. Fred D says:

    Great article!!!

    I’ve fallen into the “machine” mentality that you discussed. Just keep pursuing the perfect diet by reading and studying everything in sight and everything will work out fine.

    The reasoning continues…
    The Bible talks about people who lived hundreds of years and they did not have blood tests or modern witch doctors. There are people who live long lives today (over 100) and work hard until their deaths but they never heard of blood tests.

    Although there are many good reasons to avoid modern technology, there are also good reasons to make use of it. Proper blood testing is invaluable to those who really want to maximize their natural health pursuits.

  13. Annika says:

    I kept feeling sicker and sicker and was told it was all part of the normal detox of a raw vegan. When I finally had enough funds to get tested, I was very anemic, B12 deficient, very low on D and B Vitamins, hormones out of whack, and then some. I resisted making changes to my diet for a while, but when I finally caved in and started eating eggs, my body went crazy.

    I stuck the first egg in my mouth and I felt almost euphoric! I couldn’t get enough and ate egg after egg. For the next few weeks I ate so many eggs, I kept thinking I shouldn’t be eating so many, but I couldn’t stop myself. I craved them like crazy. After a few weeks the cravings stopped and I felt stronger. I feel much more satisfied with the food I eat now and am starting to regain my health.

  14. LeeHamm says:

    I think you need to give more examples of actual amino acids and their measured densities. Most routine lipid profiles give a single figure for blood protein and do not distinguish amongst individual amino acids. You say these are more expensive tests, so please give us some examples.

    Otherwise, I can say, I’ve been raw for two years, vegetarian for 20, and my doc says that my blood protein is good. Please tell me what else I should be looking at!

  15. Beverley says:


    Our urine has the perfect protein in it. Also, every single vitamin(B12 included) and mineral known to man. We have tons of amino acids and macrobiotics and probiotics in our urine. Also, every disase out there, we, in our urine have the antidotes to the dis-eases of the body.
    Check out urine therapy. One can do enemas with the urine and absorb what you are missing in the colon.

    smiles&happy days

  16. Beverley says:

    Forgot, we also have in our urine, HGH, the anti-aging(the best for we make it).
    And NO< it is not a waste product, big pharma would love for you to think that, while they continue to do there studies on it.


  17. LaJean says:

    Knowledge is power. If my health choices are working, I should not be afraid to put them to an empirical test. Our bodies are so individual–what works for one may not work for another, and the only way to know if what you are doing is working for YOU is to use the best, most objective and most sensible means you can afford to find out how much in balance your body functions and metabolism actually are.

  18. Sue Rushford says:

    Great article, Kevin – yes, we definitely consume enough protein, but if we’re not absorbing it, that’s a problem – and yes, I’m the prototypical vegan – D, B, and protein deficient with malabsorption issues – but that was without supplementing – now been on MegaFoods D, B, and lots of hemp, Vega, pea, brown rice & spirulina green smoothies – yes, they actually taste good with enough mango and banana – then I try to limit fruit the rest of the day. Adding more cooked beans & organic soy/tofu, too. Might look into NOW’s Amino-9 Essentials Powder, as long as it’s vegan(?). Hoping for an improved retest in the near future. It won’t happen unless I fix my gut, so trying to figure that out, simultaneously. I wonder why, as Jane pointed out, vegans often suffer from leaky gut & other digestive & absorption issues.

  19. Janet Doane says:

    Thanks, Kevin,

    The protein issue is certainly important. I learned from Karen Knowler’s website (The Raw Food Coach) that sprouted oats have 26 grams of protein per cup, and my recipe for kefired sesame yoghurt has 52 grams per cup! Check it out!
    Since regularly eating both of these easy to make foods, my protein intake has gone way up.

  20. Horace says:

    Hm, this article would be a lot more useful if it included any specifics. It’s long on hyperbole and short on content.

    Wow, one person had a bad blood test, and was diagnosed with a “protein deficiency?” What are the parameters used for that? How much did she weigh?

    This person could be suffering from celiac sprue, an allergy to the protein gluten causes the GI tract to become inflamed and not absorb nutrients. Or they may have undiagnosed hypoproteinemia, which is diagnosed by a decreased level of protein(s) in the blood. It occurs when protein is not properly absorbed during digestion (protein-losing gastroenteropathy). This can be caused by several gastrointestinal conditions, including impaired pancreatic function, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, gastrointestinal infection, parasite infestations, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.

    Just because this person was vegan or raw and gets a bad result (whatever it really was) does not in any way automatically extend to vegans or raw foodists in general. Oy! This person could easily have early indicators of kidney, celiac, IBS or liver disease, based on those results. Simply adding some protein or animal foods to her diet isn’t going to be meaningful.

    There is no test to measure if you are not consuming enough protein, fella. If there were, there would be a diagnosis for protein deficiency in the diet, which there is not.

    Vitamin D “deficiency” is rampant in the US, across all populations vegan, raw or otherwise. If you talk with Dr. McDougall, the rush to supplement is a big mistake.

    Not much of a “news flash,” I would have to say…

  21. LizGT says:

    It really makes me happy to see the positive comments here. Too often when someone even mentions any potential problems with a raw vegan diet, they are viciously attacked as if they had uttered blasphemy. Kevin, you are doing a fabulous job of balanced and research-based reporting, and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who appreciates it.

    Bottom line is: there is no one diet that works perfectly for absolutely everyone. We’re all different — otherwise we’d all have the same food allergies and get the same diseases. But the truth is that some people are allergic to nuts, and some aren’t; some people are prone to heart disease, others are prone to cancer. You’d think that would be obvious, but apparently it isn’t.

    Keep up the good work!

  22. Mike Seiler says:

    I’d love to know what specific tests, done by which labs are good at measuring protein and amino acids.

    I don’t want to depend on my doctor to know these things or even to make the best choice for me.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this article. With all the different articles and information out there, we have the choice to test on ourselves what works best for our individual bodies. We are all different and so should stop being sheep and follow whatever anyone says. There is not one formula for everyone. What may be good for one person is not good for the other. I think getting blood work done is very important because it does show where you are at and then you can make adjustments. I was also deficient in some areas and had to supplement. It does make a difference.

  24. Mark says:

    Ok Kevin, what I can say is you’re a GREAT marketer, but not so much regarding health.

    Here is the reasoning behind that statement (I can already hear everyone getting ready to defend you LOL).

    First off, you started out your career with asking everything to have scientific evidence to back it up. Otherwise it could be anecdotal you said. Then you kind of changed to saying it’s all depends on your own system and do what’s best for you.

    In this case, you’re using the example of MAYBE TWO people in the whole world that are vegan to make a claim that vegans can have low protein levels. This is like saying the general population MAY have a risk of cancer! Or risk of diabetes. Or risk of arthritis! Just find two people anywhere and make a general claim on the whole group. If this isn’t irresponsible, I’m not sure what is.

    Why are you a great marketer? Well, you caught the attention of almost everyone on your list so they’ll quickly run and read the article to find out if they are low protein. Give them an opportunity to buy the special or something else (nothing wrong with this – I support capitalism, just with honesty) Mission accomplished, good marketing. But is it honest?

    First regarding this ‘friend’ how apparently had low protein levels, you don’t know anything about her past eating history, health history, family history, what type of vegan diet she followed, what she ate (and didn’t eat) or just about ANYTHING that would help anyone make a recommendation as to the reason or a solution. And regardless if you do know any of this personally, you don’t reveal it in this article. Is this responsible?

    After 7 years of being on a completely raw diet, I’ve not only learned much, but also learned from many others as well. If you eat enough fruit and greens every day, it’s virtually impossible to be low protein. If you eat a ‘junk food’ vegan diet, get enough fresh fruit and greens every day, your system will be able to get plenty of easily usable protein. This is true for most everyone, I’m sure there will be exceptions of course. For example, if you eat lots of frozen foods, or have major digestion issues (which you shouldn’t if you’ve been on a raw vegan diet for a while) then yes, absorption may be an issue. And remember, not everyone is honest about what they eat so you have to factor that in as well.

    Regarding the hypoglycemia comment above, getting enough fresh, ripe fruit which will supply plenty of glucose into your bloodstream at normal levels without the spikes associated with juices, processed grains, FATS, some superfoods or other fake vegan foods. You need the fiber in tact in fresh fruits to release the sugars from fruit slowly. You need to keep your fat levels low – this is critical to keeping your blood sugar levels regulated and level. And even with high glycemic fruits, it’s normally isn’t an issue once you’ve cleaned out and been raw vegan for a little while. Again, for most people.

    I’ve personally experienced all of this personally and have spoken to hundreds of people with similar experiences over the years. Even though all my levels are excellent going on 7 years as a low fat raw vegan, I won’t claim it will be for everyone else since I don’t know what everyone else will eat, their health and lifestyle, etc. What I do know is the key is getting enough fruit and sufficient greens regularly and keeping the fat levels low. Just being vegan isn’t enough. And this works for most everyone.

    Hope this helps.

    Great marketing Kevin!


  25. Mark says:

    Sorry, this sentence was messed up:

    If you DON’T eat a ‘junk food’ vegan diet, get enough fresh fruit and greens every day, your system will be able to get plenty of easily usable protein.

  26. Barbcam says:

    Kevin, appreciate the article. For 2 years, I have been struggling to find the right ‘spot’ for me, from 100% raw vegan, to High Raw vegan, to where I am now – mostly vegan. My diet has evolved based on the ‘results’ or how I felt and the symptoms I was having. I recently added hemp protein powder to my green smoothies to boost my protein intake and pretty quickly saw my fingernails strengthen, as they had become very soft and flaky. My neighbor gives us fresh organic eggs raised with lots of love, and I will eat them occasionally as well. You have to find what works for you individually vs abiding by dogma alone. Am getting very interested in blood testing–may schedule one soon.

  27. Laurakins says:

    Hi Kevin- I’m so curious- what is a typical day of eating for you? Am I right in assuming you are an omnivore? Could you post a meal plan, maybe? I was a vegan for two years but now do so much better as a very low grain omnivore…not quite paleo though. I’d love to see what you (and Ann-Marie) do!

  28. Cam says:

    “Maybe she wasn’t eating enough calories?”

    Your body can’t utilize amino acids out of thin air. Saying that it’s possible to be protein deficient on a Vegan diet is like saying it’s possible that the next plane you fly on will fail and crash to the ground.

    Without understanding why this person was deficient we can’t accurately determine where the problem was. Perhaps there wasn’t enough fuel in the tank to get from A to B and the plane crashed and burned. Was it the type of fuel that did the plane in? Nope, just not enough.

    I don’t think the Vegan diet should be in the spotlight here as being the culprit for protein deficiency. If you aren’t eating enough you’ll be deficient on ANY diet.

    The reason why this article rubs me the wrong way is that the attention is on the type of diet when there’s a good possibility that the deficiency stems from something else (poor absorbtion, lack of variety or just plain not eating enough).

    I expect better.

  29. CSJ says:

    Sue, I can tell you exactly why so many vegans have leaky gut and malabsorption issues. Vegans and vegetarians tend to rely a lot on grains, which contain gluten and lectins, which can destroy the intestinal lining over time, leading to all sorts of ailments.

  30. Frank Jensen says:

    Kevin – everything is possible….
    There are always exceptions, abnormalities, that which does not fit the bill….

    And “read my fingers”: Science is about generalisations – and yes, one can ALWAYS generalize…. There is nothing else we can do… try to find what is true in most cases…

    The only absolute is that nothing is absolute….

    The sensationalist way you present it is, however, absolutely ridiculously American and sensationalist…. Let me repeat…. There are no absolutes… everything is possible…

    The only thing really worth mentioning and give kudos for is your friends ability to listen to her body and read the signs…. THAT is the true message and what we should all aspire to learn…. Now, that would be really worth writing about…. get off the sensationalism… there is already too much of that in the world…. Soon you too will be spouting the multi-level marketing methods if you are not careful… 🙂

    Good health and sensibility ..


  31. Susan Laing says:

    Funny you should mention this subject now as I am going for another amino acid profile test as years ago my levels were shockingly low! Which explained a few things to me. However one of my problems was that I had no HCL in my stomach . So I still take HCL and enzymes to this day. Anyway it was quite a scary result. So after being raw vegan for 5 years I have decided to go for another amino acid test. I ll keep you informed guys:) !

  32. Lois Kubota says:

    Everyone is different! You have to try things out and see if they work for you. Using a blood test is a tool to help you see if what you are doing works!

  33. TerriMary says:

    Kevin, I have always been a meat eater and so are most if my family and friends. In point of fact, nearly everyone I have met, all meat eaters, are low in B12, B’s, D. My tests indicated I was extremely low in these things also. I’ve decided it may well be part of the problem for my thyroid. My point is that it isn’t vegans who are low in these areas,,,,,it is EVERYONE. I think it is a rampant issue for all people, not just vegans. It annoys me when I’m told I will get a B12 deficiency by becoming vegetarian or vegan. I’m already deficient as a meat eater. It seems to cross all populations. We all need to be tested and start supplementing, at least until the FDA shuts down the supply sources like they did in Kansas with the Elderberry juice manufacturers.
    Thank you.

  34. Rhonda says:

    Good article and I think very helpful to this community. It is true that vegans, vegetarians and raw foodists go the route they do as they believe it to be the healthiest diet. I believe similarly and practice a vegan diet as well, so I am well aware that we need to be prudent about iron sources, Vitamin D B’s and B12 and include some high quality protein. So I feel I am covering those bases. There are some good products out there that can help increase the protein in the diet too. So be diligent about what you eat, and be proactive about getting blood tests and supplementing if you choose to eat a healthy plant-based diet.

    Kind regards,


  35. Cari says:

    Wake up people! I am willing to bet that most of you are deficient in protein, and you probably don’t need an expensive blood test to know that it’s true. Why are you trying so hard to fight nature and eat in a way that is not in harmony with what our bodies are genetically addapted for? The missing link is protien, and yes, it is a vital link! Do you have any idea how much healtier you would be if you added in a few eggs, some fish, or even, God forbid, some grassfed meat? in the words or Robb Wolf.”vegitarian proteins will keep you alive, they will not allow you to thrive. In order to obtain optimal health, your protein must have the following criteria:
    1. It must have a face.
    2. It must have a soul.
    3. You need to kill it, and bring it’s essence into your being.
    4. Really.”

    I know this seems harsh, but I think it’s time for a wake up call. I love what Kevin is doing here, and I follow much of his advice and purchace some of his products.I love that he dosn’t come off like a know it all and is open to new ideas and is always learning, and passing on that knowledge to us so generously. I just think it’t time to revisit an “old” idea, and reconsider the health implications of elimitating all animal protien sources. Are you so willing do defend your ideologies that you will sacrifice your health? Don’t answer, I know many of you would. But ask yourselves this, do I want to jest survive, or do I want to thrive?

  36. Sparrow Rose Jones says:

    Thank you so much, Kevin, for what you say about assimilation. I have been vegan for many years and my protein tests low. I have been eating the highest protein vegan foods I could find, to try to get those numbers up, but to no avail. It hadn’t even occured to me that maybe I was already getting plenty of protein but wasn’t properly absorbing it!

    I will do my research with this new angle in mind. In the meantime, do you think you could talk more about how to better assimilate protein on your next Q & A day? Thanks!!!

  37. Angie says:

    In addition to being low in vit. D, B12, and electrolytes, I was very low in protein when I was hospitalized (for complications of diabetes) a few years ago. I had been eating a raw and almost vegan diet (Every few months I’d have some fish and/or raw goat cheese) for about three years prior to that. I was eating plenty of calories as well as soaking &/or sprouting all my nuts & seeds, of which I ate plenty. Some people at the time thought it wasn’t possible for me to be protein-deficient, but there I was. I like to regularly get a few certain blood tests. 🙂

  38. Ville says:

    In Ken Wilber’s words: “No one is smart enough to be 100% wrong.” 🙂

    I’m going to get my blood tested ASAP.

    Thanks for your good articles.

  39. Andrew Chin says:

    Hello All,
    Protein deficiency is definitely a concern on a vegan diet. Donna Gates has noticed this as well. It’s one thing to take in protein, but another issue altogether to absorb and assimilate it.
    About 60% of the population needs a higher amount of protein. We are all biochemically unique. What is just as important as your macronutrient ratios is the order in which you consume your food. If you have higher fat and protein requirements, you will be better off eating your protein first before proceeding to the rest of your meal. People who do well on a higher carb diet will do well to eat their carbs first, and save their protein food until the end of the meal. However, some of these carb types don’t need any concentrated protein at all (i.e., Gabriel Cousens doesn’t need to consume spirulina, chlorella, etc.). Third, some people are in between the protein and carb types, and should ideally eat from all three macronutrient groups at the same time.
    Lastly, fermented proteins seem to be absorbed more easily. If you want to stay vegan, fermented products like SunWarrior rice protein or Potent Proteins from Body Ecology would be good choices.
    A high carb, low fat vegan diet is not appropriate for everyone. It completely ignores biochemical individuality. When you take a closer look, the high carb, low fat vegan is based on the old Lipid Hypothesis, which has been largely disproven. The original data, compiled by Ancel Keys, only included data from 6 countries, when data from 22 countries was available. I’m not against high carb, low fat diets, because they can be appropriate for some people. I am against bad science, though.


  40. Penelope says:

    One thing that multiple studies have discovered is that we don’t need as much protein as the USDA food chart suggests. It’s about 10%.

    Watch the documentary Forks Over Knives which is based on the China Study. I’ve watched a lot of documentaries, and thought this would be the same info in a different movie, but it was very good and shed light on info I didn’t already know.

    So, what I’d ask your friend is if she/he has any “symptoms” of being protein deficient? That to me would be the true test as to whether you were really low on protein or not.

    Most people don’t know what the symptoms are for protein deficiency (hair loss, brittle nails, extreme fatigue, and muscle atrophy to name a few.

    Or maybe your friend is a junk-food raw foodie – i.e. she/he eats to much sugar and starch and not enough dark green leafy vegetables, beans and/or nuts & seeds. You don’t need that much to meet a 10% of your nutritional intake of protein.

  41. Sue Rushford says:

    I think people are just fed up with the high and mighty holier than thou attitude of vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, and raw vegans – and I get that cause I was like that when I lost 50 lbs total on raw & felt better than ever – I was sure it was my savior, my answer to everything, and that I’d be immune from any further health or weigh challenges, but then when I blood-tested, things were not so perfect – the point was not to bash the vegan diet but to point out that it is not the cure-all, end-all, be-all to all deficiencies and health challenges just because you are vegan or raw vegan or whatever – tho you’re probably ahead of the game on many levels, you’re still susceptible to deficiencies and simply need to keep on it.

  42. chusmacha says:

    Supplementing with super protein would that help?

  43. Jota says:

    All dogma aside, low fat (especially low saturated fat) diets wreak havoc on horomone levels, your skin, and internal organs.

    Eating tons of fruit, “whole” or otherwise, will for most people lead to blood sugar issues (especially in concert with limiting dietary fat), resulting in weight gain and hardening of the arteries. Throw in excessive, compulsive endurance running, and you’ve got a great recipe for an early heart attack.

    Most of these things take time to develop, so exercise caution with food choice and dieting extremes. Your body will thank you, even if it takes some time to convince your mind.

  44. Bette says:

    YOU ARE RIGHT! My naturopath kept insisting I needed more protein and I persisted in my own way. I think I suffered for it.
    Not much I took as raw gold and carved in stone but that myth I did believe! yike!

  45. Julia says:

    Thank You Kevin. I often read your newsletter and find that you cover some of the more important and controversial issues in the raw food/vegan world. This particular article is great to open the eyes of others to the possibility that certain ideals like veganism can pose possible risk if your body’s constitution isn’t aligned.

    I am actually one of those former vegans that had a definite protein deficiency, along with the B12, D and very low blood pressure. I do think that a more full understanding of this issue can only come with the experience through it, and feeling what the body goes through. It is humbling to find that your beliefs can’t always match with what is the reality. For myself, I followed what I thought was a complete and healthy diet, like many of you. With lots of green salads, algaes, green smoothies, juicing, along with delicious raw desserts (which I continue to create and share!), fruits and occasional vegan soups and grains. This was not enough for my body, and is connected with poor absorbsion of minerals, from poor digestion. I think that offering this information and experience can assist those that are in a similar situation, are feeling poorly and wondering what is going on.

    What I suggest is yes, taking the blood test, and having a Natropathic doctor that you trust to assist in recovery. The most profound difference that I have felt toward recovery is the use of B12 shots, and I’m sure the patches would work as well, and the slow addition of some animal products like locally produced and well nourished duck or chicken eggs. The key here is really watching what each addition to your diet or supplement routine can make, so that you know it is beneficial to your own body. You are like no other.

    Thanks again and continue the flow of information!

  46. marc says:

    I walked this path… fortunately for me? I used my overall strength during workouts to determine whether I was on the right path. I lost a lot of strength. I did heavy spirulina and superfood greens, tried hemp protein and even used sunwarrior protein. My strength levels still didn’t return to normal until I started to add colostrum, raw eggs, fish, and now, grass fed whey and grass fed beef (on occasion).

    Also I noticed that most the people in the raw/vegan communities looked sick to me.. low in muscle tone, and emaciated. I’ve posted questions on the BDE about this.. Avocado still hasn’t addressed people who are into strength training or endurance type athletes. Not all people that workout are into steroids… there are actually some of us that are looking to raise our performance naturally.

  47. Andrew Chin says:

    Hello Chusmacha,
    Some people do seem to need concentrated protein. Nuts and seeds have a fair amount of protein, esp. pumpkin seeds, almonds and hemp, but they are more of a fat source than a protein source. This may or may not work. You could also try legumes as a protein source, even though they are more of a carb source than a protein source.
    Spirulina, chlorella and hemp protein are concentrated, but not fermented. One idea Donna Gates suggested was leaving a serving of these proteins overnight in water to allow it to ferment in order to enhance absorbability. This makes sense, and it could be worth a try.


  48. Ryan says:

    Jota, I don’t know where your getting this infrom from, high fruit will not lead to weight gain, in fact it’s almost impossible you would have to eat all day. Clogging of arteries? seriously? I don’t know what your smoking but seriously stop it. Fruit can never help to clog arteries. And as for blood sugar levels.. well Frederick Patenaude eats a ton of fruit and he has no such issues. Your completely mixed up my friend and need to research this A WHOLE LOT MORE, cos your way off base. What you describe is the results of eating a SAD diet.

  49. Andrew Chin says:

    Hello Marc,
    Yes, it does seem that animal protein is more absorbable than plant protein, at least for some people. Maybe it’s because the proteins are more similar to the protein in our own bodies. I don’t think it’s an accident that whey protein and eggs are at the top of the list in terms of Biologic Value. When I got on whey protein, I gained ten pounds! I used to do 4 tablespoons ohlorella per day, but I was still underweight. And it’s supposed to be 40% absorbable. I don’t think it was 40% absorbable for me, though.
    In the same way, some people seem to absorb animal fats more efficiently than plant fats, likely because plant fats have enzyme inhibitors. David Wolfe has stated this is one of the main reasons some people cannot do a vegetarian diet.


  50. Jota says:

    Ryan, maybe you should read up on fructose and why, in excess, it’s not your body’s best friend. I’ve researched plenty, but believe what you will.

  51. Thank you, Kevin, for this thought-provoking piece. I wish we would have had some extra time during our recent interview to touch upon this important topic. I completely agree with you that food absorption is the crucial factor behind nutritional deficiencies. Before I cleared out the 3,500 stones from the bile ducts of my liver and gallbladder, which caused me to experience one gallstone attack after another, I suffered from every nutritional deficiency you could imagine. The muscle wasting certainly indicated I was also protein deficient. Having been in the health field for 40 years, I knew that you need fats to digest and absorb protein, and you need bile to digest fats. Likewise, to digest carbohydrates you need fats, and to digest fats you need bile. My gallbladder was so packed full with stones, I was not able to digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Hence the wasting. I have seen thousands of sick people in dozens of countries throughout the world. Many of them did in fact suffer from protein deficiency, B12 deficiency and vitamin D deficiency. Over 60% were of them heavy protein consumers, about 25% were occasionally eating meat, fish, eggs, etc., and the rest were pure vegan/vegetarian. Like in my case, it didn’t matter what they ate; whatever they ate didn’t get digested and absorbed properly, resulting in the various ailments they were suffering from. After a series of liver and gallbladder flushes, most of these individuals were able to significantly improve or fully restore their digestive functions. I have eaten a vegan diet (with the exception of butter) for now 40 years. While I suffered from severe nutritional deficiencies before I cleaned out my liver 15 years ago, now at age 57 I have no deficiencies although I am still eating the same diet I ate back then. And I am a lot older now. I also don’t take any supplements any more. If we need supplements, it basically means our digestive system is inefficient. Before I restored my digestive functions, I tried every supplement and superfood I could find, to no avail. So I can certainly confirm what you said about absorption.

    However, I respectfully disagree with the blood test idea. I have analyzed all kinds of blood tests during the past 30 years. They are not a clear cut as the numbers on the printouts. I have personally sent the same blood samples to four different top laboratories in the US and received four different results. Some serum values were completely contradictory. Just one bacterium entering the blood can alter the test significantly, to a point that a person may be falsely diagnosed with diabetes, receive insulin, and because of the insulin shots actually develop the disease he didn’t have to begin with. I have written about this problem in Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation. It is far more common than known, although the published research is there.

    Blood test interpretation is a completely different category of dilemma. I found that a blood test indicating osteoporosis in a Vata type (one of the three Ayurveda body types)in nearly every case is false positive. Vata types naturally have the lowest bone density of all body types, but when you compare them with the other body types and take an overall average reading of the entire population, the naturally thin Vata types will automatically be categorized as being ill with osteoporis. On the other hand, a blood test of a normally heavy-built Kapha type who stores a lot of fat and fluids in the body, may determine he is at risk of suffering a heart attack because of his high cholesterol, although this is absolutely normal and essential for this body type. And if he happens to be over 60 and has a serum cholesterol level of 260, he is considered at great risk, even though research has clearly shown this is ideal for that age.

    Testing the blood of a Vata type may also determine a protein deficiency when compared with the average population. Other blood values may also be lower in this body type, but this in no way means there is something wrong with them. Instead of focusing on symptoms detected as ‘abnormal’ blood values, it is better to find out from a patient how he feels, looks, sleeps, and how well he digests what he eats, and whether all the health-sustaining factors are in place or not. ~ Andreas

  52. Moira says:

    Great article! Love how genuine and honest you are about your thoughts and research findings on such matter.

    I think you are right, I have been vegan for 10 years then dipped myself into raw foods for 3 years until I started feeling tired, out of my mind and overall not in tune with myself and despite having excellent blood results even B12 turned out I had really low blood protein levels and it kept dramatically dropping that took me eventually to the hospital with severe edema and organ damage…regardless of the protein topic in vegans and raw foodists the concerning point here is to really get your blood tested regardless of what diet you follow and make adjustments as what is required or whatever your body best works with.

  53. Esther says:

    I think you are crazy, but in a good way. Since no 2 people are alike, it makes sense that what works for one person will not work for another. What is true for one will not be true for another. There are too many things in this world of which diet is such a miniscule part that “we” think “we” know, then find out we were wrong. The best advice I ever got was to listen to your body, and do what works for you. Also, if it doesn’t feel right in your gut, it probably is not. I love the work you are doing. You are appreciated.

  54. Sandy says:

    Without enough protein, stress hormones will rise and break down your own tissue, particularly muscle and skin. (Remember, your heart is a muscle.) Accelerates aging. Healing and cell regeneration become compromised.

    Including regeneration of your gut lining, which perpetuates the problem.

    By the way, the liver cannot detoxify properly w/out enough protein.

    The resulting excess cortisol can raise blood sugar as well, interfere with thyroid function, and throw off steroidal hormone production. Then things really start to go downhill.

    Low protein can cascade into a series of undesirable effects. Not to be taken lightly.

    There are some good solutions to this issue, whether veg*n or omnivore, and whether the problem is not enough intake, or digestive issue.

    I’m all in favor of knowing where my body is at, so I can make any appropriate course corrections. Judging only by how you feel may not be enough. You’d be surprised how many people have all kinds of things going on, yet they claim to feel great.

  55. Margreet Busstra says:

    Dear Kev,
    The Chinese know already a long time that not any diet is suitable for every person. Everybody is different and needs to eat what fits to their constitution! Thanks for sharing your insights!

  56. Annette says:

    Wow Kevin, you sure got some emotion happening out there!

    I think your article was a good one. I had some blood tests done recently and my protein was slightly lower than the normal range and I eat eggs and fish. So it doesn’t surprise me that some people, whether vegan, vegetarian, raw or whatever can have issues with protein (or any other nutrient for that matter). It is possibly more of an absorption issue than an intake issue, as you said. And absorption can change on a daily basis due to things such as stress or if you are fighting off a bug or have low HCl or pancreatic enzymes. Also, age is a factor in digestion. As we get older, our HCl and enzyme levels tend to decline and that affects our ability to completely digest and absorb our nutrients.

    And in response to Mark…..yep, Kevin is a great marketer but he’s honest and doing it to better the health of his readers.

    And yes, I agree, Jota. Excess fructose is really bad for your body….can cause issues with inflammation which can lead to vascular problems and mess with your blood sugar levels if your diet is not balanced.

    Some of you raw vegans who have been eating this way for years need to show some grace towards people and realize that raw veganism is NOT a religion that everyone needs to follow with 100% total commitment – it is a choice that people make, just like people choose to eat meat or drink milk or eat junk food. And raw vegans can and do get health issues and would be wise to get their blood checked once a year just to keep an eye on things.

    Keep up the good work Kevin… least you get people thinking about their health and give them motivation to do something positive. Well done!

  57. Isabelle says:

    Dr. Cass Ingram talked about how we each fit into a certain cathegory with a body shape that reveals your weakness. Tyroid and adrenal type need more protein, whereas for pituitary types lots of vegetation is ideal. In my case, not a pituitary type, the raw diet has left me worse than before – I developed candidasis, bloating, bad digestion, cavities, losing hair. And I have done what the experts say and what the books say. So again, we are all different, but in general I have heard that a high raw diet over time weakens digestion.

  58. steve says:

    It’s good to know where you are with your blood 4~sure. I’m 95% raw (organic) vegan and I found a nice & tasty way to get my Protein (amino acids) Raw Almond coconut yogurt, its awesome plain, with strawberries, blueberries any fruit

  59. Colombiana says:

    Well, well..yes I have been trying very hard to be a vegan/raw foodist..or
    whatever you would like to call it. My blood proteins are low and I don’t know what to do. My body doesn’t digest meat, eggs or dairy. I do take enzymes and Betaine Plus with my meals..I have been easting nuts but I have gained 5 lbs..very sad. So what to do? thank you Kevin..please expand! we are listening! God bless you.

  60. Anna21 says:

    Sadly, a lot of raw vegans that I have met seem more preoccupied with weight than with health. Anyone that weighs more than 20 lbs (*sarcasm*) is mercilessly ridiculed as ‘fat’. And I do not see how eating 20-30 bananas in 1 day or weighing 20 lbs can ever qualify as healthy.

  61. Kevin, I’m surprised that you actually posted this article. I suppose you could say it worked since you got me to read the whole thing. That said, to take one case of any nutritional deficiency and imply that it was the result of one aspect of one’s diet/lifestyle is, well… ridiculous. And you know this better than anybody.

    If this was a more or less meaningless issue, that was not of such great importance to individuals, and I dare say, the world, I’d say, “OK, the guy’s got to put out something sensational here and there to keep his readership up.” But doing so with this issue is doing a disservice to everybody who would benefit from choosing less animal products, as well to our society that would reap so many benefits from a mass exodus away from consuming meat and dairy.

    I’ve been working on issues ranging from global warming to world hunger, to disease prevention, to rainforest depletion, loss of biodiversity, and many other environmental issues for over 20 years. Each of these areas, as well many others, would be greatly and beneficially impacted by a move toward a more plant-based diet. It is the low-hanging-fruit-solution for so many of these issues.

    Your article didn’t tell people to eat a lot of meat. What it did do was use a single case of protein deficiency to support and perhaps reignite the fear that so many have, when it comes to cutting back on meat and dairy. That’s a shame. Sure, we can eat an unhealthful vegan diet, and sure, you can eat a healthful diet with some meat in it. But in the context of a world that is destroying so many of its resources in order to create a meat-based diet, we as the “wholistically-minded” need too ask the right questions, and be mindful of the impacts of our words. In this case, the right question is something to the effect of, “Given the negative impacts of meat and dairy products on our world, what can we possibly do to eat as few of these animal products as possible, while maintaining peak health?” When you ask that question, you get answers that are truly beneficial for everybody today and for generations to come.

    And there are those who have been working on answering that question for decades as well. You know, since you interviewed Gabriele Cousens, MD. He has stated that he has seen that all types, (even those with higher metabolic protein requirements) can thrive on a plant-source-only diet. (See: )

    One final point. When choosing to eat or not eat meat, we need to all acknowledge that there’s a third individual involved in any decision that we make. That is, the animal we’re deciding whether to kill, or not. It’s not a high-and-mighty attitude that suggests that we consider that third party when making this decision every day. It is just the opposite. Thinking about the animal that might end up at the end of our fork is simply consideration for something or someone outside of ourselves. When we take actions with this consideration as our advisor, we’re much more likely to end up with a healthier and happier world. And that is what we all want, regardless of our current diet-style.

  62. To Mark:
    The only thing I know is that after about a year of being vegan I reached my lowest weight, about 94 pounds, I looked terrible, yes I was reading a lot, “acne is a detox reaction” yeah, to bad I listen to that because now my face is full of scars, but I kept going, then I found raw, that helped me heal and gain my weight back, but after only three years of being vegan first, and raw vegan later my B12 was dangerously low, my eyelashes were falling, my skin looked unhealthy again, what did I do? I kept eating raw, but reincorporated eggs, goats milk and sardines and oysters, now my skin is free of acne (sadly not from scars), and I regained my healthy weight, so, the lesson here, not everyone functions well on a raw vegan diet, even with green smothies daily for breakfast and dinner, green juices and everything you want to add.
    For Ryan:
    You should read about the effect of fructose (yes even with the fiber intact) on the body, especially the liver, how it causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, inflamation, rise in triglicerides, and… should I go on?

    Yes Kevin, I agree, protein could be defficient in a raw vegan diet, and not only because of absorption issues. I wanted so badly my raw vegan diet to work, now I am even getting my aquaponics system in home to grow my veggies and fish, sorry I couldn’t keep up, and now I am seeing a lot of people that thinks the way I used to think about vegan, and to fight the way I used to fight.

  63. Lauren says:

    Just want to say that I was a raw vegan for over 5 years…Long story short, it helped me at first b/c my diet was so bad, and I was so toxic, that the lightened load and improved food quality was a welcome change in my body.

    That said, I kept trying to force the diet even as I felt worse and started having thyroid and other hormone problems. I eventually did some testing, and guess what? Low vitamin b12, low vitamin d, low iron/ferritin, low b vitamins in general, low zinc, low copper, and although amino acids were in range, they were very low end in most cases and not optimal. I will say upfront that my digestion is a big part of the problem – it has always been on the weak side, but I actually think the diet, in the long run, made that worse.

    I still eat a huge amount of raw food, but now I eat farm eggs, goat milk products, some grass-fed beef and free-range chicken, bee pollen, sprouted quinoa, etc. The nuts were just too much for me, and the diet was too cold – also too cleansing and not building enough.

    I agree this diet can be done without getting all these deficiencies and problems, but a person really does need to know what they’re doing, I think, and supplements and/or superfoods are critical.

    I was so into it and convinced it was the answer to better health that I wouldn’t consider the diet as a problem until things got too far out of hand.

    I am doing much better now – still working on challenges, but no longer feeling so unstable and weak and strung out. And no longer so stressed about food choices and socializing, which is, in an of itself, an improvement in quality of life for me. Although, even with my more “paleo” diet, this is still a challenge. Amazing the crap so many people eat every day and the difficulty in actually finding a good choice!

    I see an ND in the SF area, and she has seen cases like mine before. I share this b/c I’m sure there are many of us out here, but you never hear the stories like this or the one Kevin shared when you’re immersed in the community and ideology…or if you do, they get “pooh poohed” or written off as some crazy exception.

    I’m all for raw food, and I do struggle with the fact that if I had to hunt and kill, I would not eat meat. I try make the best choices I can in terms of where I get these products.

    I agree with so many of the raw food and vegan ideals. I was pretty diligent, and it just didn’t work 100% in the long run for me. And it’s funny, looking back, I went to a good number of vegan/raw food seminars/conferences, and, for the most part, folks weren’t looking that great. I chose to look at the ones that did look healthy and to believe that would be me – usually the folks lecturing, not in the audience!

    Just one person’s story, but I thought worth putting out there.


  64. jasmine says:

    Okay, I am one of those that thought I was eating the healthiest raw food vegan diet for years but while some aspects of my health improved, other areas worsened. Fine tuning has been the key. It’s still is Very hard for my mind to believe what my body is telling me – that I feel a little better with small amounts of animal foods.

    Blood testing in the US has been very helpful (IN CANADA we just don’t have access to your variety of tests. I am wondering Kevin if Total Serum Protein and “BUN” numbers are enough to analyze protein levels? The first is supposed to tell us how much protein is in the blood and the second, how well we are utilizing it? Are you recommending to get a specific test or is it called “amino acid profile”? Do you recommend a specific lab?

    Thanks for putting yourself out there. Food for thought. Anyone who reads the Internet and a wide variety of sources knows anyone can say anything so why shoot the messenger – people have to think critically. Surely in this day and age people know they must ultimately think critically about what they read and accept responsibility for what they decide.

  65. Lauren says:


    In the US, you can get an “Amino Acid Profile” – that is what it is called – via Prices cheaper when you are a member, which isn’t too expensive. They also offer supplements, and a magazine that, along with some good articles, also serves to promote a lot of product. I use membership mostly for blood tests, but I am in the US.


  66. Noelle says:

    One of of the people above made the comment on some of the keys to a proper vegan diet and said “this works for most everyone”. I realize that he was only talking about one aspect of the vegan diet, but the truth is: There is NOTHING that “works for most everyone”. Nothing. I am a Nutrition Consultant and I can tell you that everybody’s biochemistry, environment, stress levels, etc. are very different. Many, many factors affect how your body utilizes food. Even the same person can react differently to the same foods at a different time in their life. Now, there are some things that DO NOT work for most everyone – processed food, excess sugar, etc. But I really stress that the blood tests are key. If you have insurance, get tested yearly. Tell your doc what you want. Most have no problem ordering it for you. (Get a new doc if they decline). And even more important: get in tune with your body – know what you need to run optimally. Your intuition is usually right. Great article Kevin!

  67. Mirella Matotek says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Glad you put this issue out there. Regarding your comments:

    “I don’t know why they do this, because they’re the experts – I’m just a renegade journalist.

    Maybe it’s because their edifices are too tall to see what’s really going on in the world on the other side.”

    Kevin, they are not stupid (which is what I use to think in my more innocent days). They know very well what weakens us. I think everyone should know about Agenda 21 – Depopulation by now. If not, get educated. When you know this, then everything makes sense. They know we are the stupid ones, the ones that easily discard the wisdom of their elders, their cultural foods and heritage in exchange for the dazzling shining modern ideas of strangers.

    As questioned before, “Why the debate?”. We have instrumentation, assays, and an under utilised scientific workforce that previous generations could have only dreamt about.

    Guard your health and fertility for the sake of generations to come. For god sake, do not rely on dogma. We can test saliva, blood, urine, faeces, tears – all non-invasive procedures. These are readily available and should be incorporated into any health regime. Not should – MUST, if we want to stay healthy. They whole game of staying healthy has become extremely complex. You simply can’t rely on your foods, especially when many of them, especially if you are not growing and raising your own, can not be trusted. Add toxins and pollution of every kind that surrounds us and it is easy to understand that the problem is overwhelming.

    How can these health gurus advocate raw vegan/vegetarian eating when very few people have digestive systems that can extract the minerals, amino acids and fatty acids required for health. Just recently, I saw a 16 year old girl that was showing beginnings of osteoporosis. Her doctor reassured the parents that the condition is mild and it was due to a rapid growth spurt. Reassuring to the parents but shocking for me. What happens if this girl becomes pregnant in her early 20’s. Yeah they know that osteoporosis is fast surpassing heart disease and cancer, but seem helpless in coming up with solutions. The same can be said for every other condition out there. Isn’t it about time we got smart and learn to think for ourselves and listen to our bodies. We were designed to be great, physically and intellectually, so stop listening to the gurus and tap into your intuition and listen hard and learn to trust yourself. Find a practitioner that will work with you in partnership – someone who is not themselves following an agenda or dogma. Do not agree to change diet or lifestyle unless it can be backed up with scientific validation. There is no justification for guessing what makes us healthy or trusting someone’s experience of advise.


  68. SS says:

    Kevin, I feel really compelled to respond to this post, because I think blood work is absolutely crucial – especially for vegans/vegetarians, and anyone wanting optimal health.

    Without it, we are flying blind.

    I was feeling sub-optimal recently (fatigued) so went and saw my GP – he ordered a blood test and found my iron levels (after 10+ years as a vegetarian) were totally depleted – even my bone marrow stores were depleted. So much so, that even with high dose supplementation it will take 6 months to get them back to normal (not optimal – just a normal functional level)

    This was a huge wake up call for me. I take spirulina, drink green juices and all that good stuff. And read everything I can get my hands on about healthy living. But the blood tests don’t lie. and this has forced me to re-look at my approach.

    Am lucky to have an awesome (and nutrionally) trained GP, so no we now what deficiencies we’re dealing with, have got a plan of attack to get me feeling good again.

    Kevin, thank you so much for highlighting this and all the great work you do! and also for your unflinching honesty. We are all only human and fumbling along this path as best we can 🙂 Love your work! SS

  69. Sib says:

    Everyone here, please read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price. There has never been, until now, any vegan, raw or otherwise, societies on this planet. Every indigenous group that has thrived for thousands of years, generation after generation, in perfectly good health, has consumed some animal products — whether it was meat, fat, organs, eggs, fish, seafood,or raw dairy. Study the photos in this book – see what a picture of real health is supposed to look like. Even mostly vegetarian societies ate some insects that were hidden on leaves, or they consumed some dairy products. Human beings are omnivores. If you’re planning to procreate someday, please supplement your diet with some animal protein of some sort (from a humane, naturally raised source. Nothing from CAFO raised animals; that’s a travesty on so many levels.) Your cells will thank you. Your digestive system, skin, muscles, organs, bones and emotions will thank you. Your DNA and children’s DNA will thank you. Food is not a blind philosophical or spiritual choice. Our spirits are housed in physical bodies that need certain macro- and micro-nutrients in their most wholistic, absorbable form in order for us to reach optimal health – hysically, emotionally and spiritually.

  70. Sib says:

    Our spirits are housed in physical bodies that need certain macro- and micro-nutrients in their most wholistic, absorbable form in order for us to reach optimal health – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

  71. Josephine says:

    More labs r starting to realize that drinking green tea within so many hours before drawing blood will remove proteins from the blood. Now some turn u down and make u come back and r instructed to NOT drink green tea before getting ur blood drawn….. So I’m just wondering if this all this research is taking this into consideration. …Just wondering

  72. Wendy says:


    One of the reasons I love to read Kevin’s posts is that he makes me think about why I am eating what I am eating. I believe that examining choices on a frequent basis is good for perspective. Eating animals is going to be a spiritual issue for some, and for others it will be related to health, taste, availability(locavores), etc. For 22 years I was a vegetarian, and 3 of those years a mostly raw vegan. At 45 years old, I started having ischemic strokes. Minis, but certainly awful. My cholesterol was 306, with lousy ratios. After a lot of soul-searching (I was married to the idea of the lion laying down with that innocent lamb), I decided to research the science, without a bias toward the belief systems I’d held for years. It was incredibly difficult. At the end of over 12 months of reading every study I could lay my hands on, I started eating animal products again. Mostly raw, to be sure, but it was a HUGE

  73. Wendy says:

    step that I wasn’t certain I could make. Emotionally, it almost ended early on in the experiment. But after 3 short weeks, my lipid profiles were ideal, and the strokes had disappeared. If a person is thriving on an all-plant diet, and they enjoy it, they should definitely party on. But if, as in my case, they are more likely to thrive on a combination diet that includes animal proteins, then it is up to that individual to determine the ranking of their own health as it may correlate to the health of the general population, and to choose accordingly. In my case, it was not without thought, but it also is not selfless.


  74. Chris says:

    Great article Kevin. I’ve been vegan for 9 years now, but haven’t had my protein(amino acid levles checked), so I can’t say for sure if I am deficient or not. That being said I have been somewhat suspect of the retoric of vegan health “experts” out there saying that it’s impossible to have a protein deficiency. It really does all come done to absorbability, which no one really looks at. People just look at how much protein is in food. Having said that, the protein requirements set in the US are much higher than necessary and more people have problems with protein excess than deficiency which is interesting. But, obviously protein is important even if we don’t need a lot. Like B12, so important, even if we only need small amounts. I have a great email response from a intructor at a holistic nutrition school I go to, send me an email and I can forward it to you regarding protein absorbability.

    Keep it up bro!

  75. jackie says:

    I think you’re right.

  76. Angel Cicero says:

    Well, I don’t have words to describe my thoughts on this post. It is really messed up! You body needs zero protein intake! Yes, that is right! zero! The only thing you body really needs is amino acids, and only essential amino acids. Protein is the middle man. When you don’t get enough amino acids, your body takes the protein you eat and breaks it down into amino acids to then use them to rebuilt tissues, and a whole lot of other stuff. But you don’t need protein! So where can we find pure amino acids instead of protein? Enzymes are amino acids!! Check it out! You eat plenty of enzymes, you get plenty of amino acids, not deficiency of anything. Your friend, even though she is vegan, she probably doesn’t eat enough raw foods, or alive foods, that’s the problem, when you cook stuff!

  77. Rebecca Cody says:

    Kevin, you can add me to your list of people who became too low in protein eating a raw vegan diet, and in a very short time. I started all raw about a year ago because of cancer. Then I went to Arizona for an alternative treatment which included a raw vegan diet. With a talented chef preparing my meals I enjoyed the food. I had lots of green juices and smoothies as well as delicious raw vegan lunches and dinners. I felt well. After a few weeks I returned home and continued the diet, though I really missed having that great chef prepare my meals! A few weeks later my protein levels were near the bottom of normal. Six months after going raw vegan my level dropped below the healthy range. In addition, I live in a cool climate and when I eat only raw vegan I’m cold all the time. Seriously, I was turning the heat up to 76! So I have added back a few cooked foods and occasional animal protein – mostly when I eat out. Tomorrow I get the results of another blood test, and I hope my protein level is back in range. During all these changes I felt well, and still do, so that wasn’t a good barometer of what was going on in my body.

    I’m a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and my training was based on Weston Price and Pottenger and many others. Sometimes I think the Weston A Price Foundation emphasizes protein too much, but, even though I don’t really like meat, I do see the need for many of us to eat some pastured animal protein. And for those who don’t, I think it’s hard to eat and absorb enough protein from green leaves. Nuts and seeds have protein, but not in great amounts.

    Leaky gut problems usually go hand in hand with antibiotics, chlorinated water and many other hazards of modern life. To heal a leaky gut requires getting off starchy foods and eating fermented foods and sugars, supplementing with probiotics, etc. I did get over allergies that way many years ago.

  78. Ira Edwards says:

    Before there were so many vegetarian utopians, people ate what they could get and what they knew they needed — and they didn’t get heart disease or diabetes. Liver, eggs, and animal fat are natural and vital foods. The fat-lacking green leaf diet is poorly absorbed. Why suffer so much for your ideal?
    Ira Edwards Author of HONEST NUTRITION.

  79. lynsi says:

    it’s amazing how you can tell us an absolute TRUTH, in a totally unbiased manner, thereby debunking a misleading myth & showing our need to be alert, aware, & investigative (rather than walking blind) regarding our own health…and how some people can ‘twist’ that into something to criticize!!
    its interesting that all those who criticize accuse you of saying, implying, or doing things that you have NOT said, implied, or did! they also seem to do the very things they erroneously accuse you of; ie: being biased, dictating, ‘should-ing’ on us, etc.
    i think most of us THANK YOU for continuing to share the truth, regardless of how unpopular it may be, of supporting us in discovering our own healthy path, and never telling us how we ALL should be eating.
    blessings! 🙂

  80. Selina says:

    You did not give us enough info on what she was eating before getting her bloodtest!

    Was she supplementing? How much protein did she eat and from what sources? How many calories did she eat per day??

    I find this article very unhelpful because of this gap of information. Just because she thought she was eating the healthiest diet on the planet doesn’t prove anything.

    I have been vegan for now over a year, and yes, protein has been on my mind. I also think we shouldn’t ignore the fact that it is fully possible to be deficient in protein.

    So far I haven’t had any problems (quite the opposite!), and now that I am working out more I have added more protein in my diet. Like hemp protein powder for example.

    Thank you though for bringing up this issue.

  81. MM says:

    As for getting protein from nuts and seeds; have you studied your stool closely after eating these? In many stool samples these remain undigested. The issue is not whether we eat animal protein, nuts, seeds or supplement. The issue is that when the digestive tract lining is damaged and you have inflammation you can supplement all you like, you will not absorb nutrients. As for juicing, how do you think you are going to get minerals into your cells? They need transport protein to usher them into the cell, it does not happen passively. I see practitioners recommending ridiculous amounts of supplements to restore levels and they just don’t seem to understand why levels don’t go up. This type of solution only perpetuates the problem of inflammation in the gut.

    As for whether we should be consuming animal protein, if we were to eat only plants, how would we detoxify pollutants, xenoestrogens, endogenous hormones and other bioproducts of metabolism if we are not getting taurine and glycine to usher these out.

    We could supplement these along with B12, zinc etc. which hands over the control of our health to someone whose motive is profit. Not for me, I am the only one responsible for my health and I don’t intend to hand that responsibility to others no matter what their qualifications are.

    One cow not only provides milk, cheese, ice-cream, butter for my family (3 generations), but for the whole neighborhood. She will eat the grass, so there is no need to use petrol, diesel to drive mowers, she will fertilise the soil providing a rich pasture to grow my vegetables and she will accept orphan calves that earn me money, she will even give me colostrum so there is no need for antibiotics. The permaculture concept has been around for more than 30 years. You don’t need acres, the backyard is enough. Instead of a cow, a goat would do. More than enough vegetables than one family can consume.

    How many forests have to be cleared to grow plants for feed?

    If you are raising your own animals, you would not be eating excessive meat because a lot of work goes into butchering and preparing sausages and hams. The same goes for other animal produce such as dairy and eggs. As vegetables and fruits are readily available, dependent on the season, (and there has been no drought or floods) these would be eaten in excess to the animal protein. This would provide a good ratio between animal:plant foods along with variation which is required to prevent allergies and inflammation.


  82. oreganol says:

    marc 3.45pm – I’m trying to disagree with you here, but have you taken a look at the people in the meat-eating community. I’ve looked and what I see is people riddled with cancer and heart disease, very poor muscle tone, very low strength, etc, etc.

    Rather than pick on an entire group you need to look at what works for individuals. Take a look at raw bodybuilding websites. These people look a lot better than many meat-eating body-builders that I’ve seen.

    In any case, I don’t see the ability to body build as being a reflection of being healthy. Most bodybuilders die at a younger age than the average for the population.

    I’m sure there are emaciated and unhealthy vegans around. But is that any worse than and obese over-weight non-vegan?

  83. oreganol says:

    marc 3.45pm – I meant to say I’m NOT trying to disagree with you here..

  84. Leila says:

    Hi Kevin, really interesting article. I love your revelations. I am interested that your friend is following a diet probably to improve her health. Why does she have possibly bad digestion when following a healthy diet?

    For me the primary reason for following a diet to improve my health is to improve my digestion. It seems to me that so many good things come from good digestion that this has to be a primary factor in deciding on what diet to follow.

  85. MM says:

    Marc, in response to your comment “people in the meat-eating community. I’ve looked and what I see is people riddled with cancer and heart disease, very poor muscle tone, very low strength, etc, etc”

    I am not from alternative health but know some university lecturers that have died from their so-called non-eating meat diets at a young age. Not good credentials for advocating such a lifestyle. Yet other factors might be at play, for example their penchant for supplementation rather than real foods. I have also witnessed many young women died from breast cancer from such diets. Girls in their twenties and thirties should not be dying from breast cancer.

    As for meat eaters getting cancer and heart disease. We need to differentiate whether they were eating grain-fed, hormone supplemented or grass-fed organic meat. You need to also ascertain whether the meat and fat was being digested sufficiently so that it was not left to ferment in the gut resulting in inflammation -> cancer. You can eat the best quality meat, but if it is left undigested it will lead to breeding pathogenic organisms feeding and producing a toxic brew that will be a precursor for cancer. The same goes for fat and for that matter carbohydrates and fibre. Therefore, it is not necessarily the food that is bad, but the individual’s digestive ability that is bad. The digestive system needs to be fixed, otherwise if we blame the food we will end up having to remove all foods which is the solution that is readily advocated rather than fixing the underlying cause.

    The question we need to ask is why are we having such rampant problems digesting our food.

    I study many people’s stools and the ones that worry me the most are the vegans and the vegetarians.

    I’m not saying that such a lifestyle is unable to nourish us and keep us healthy. Fermented foods such as miso and natto are excellent sources of amino acids, minerals, novel biomolecules and micro-organisms. If we were living in more pristine environments, no radiation fallout, EMF’s, pharmaceuticals, stress, xenobiotics etc., etc., then perhaps a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle would be adequate. Don’t forget plant produce loads of endogenous pesticides that when we eat them require detoxification – modified to be ushered out of the body. For example without sulfur proteins such as found in eggs and cheese, heavy metals build up in the body. Could the reason why we need heavy metal detoxes, colonic irrigation, coffee enemas etc be due to the fact that we are adopting dietary lifestyles that are out of syn with our environment?

  86. Michael says:

    Hi Kevin!

    Very good article!!
    I also aggree 100% with what lynsi (nr. 46)said.
    You are really honest and tell people one of the most important things that we can learn…to take responsibility for our actions. (and not following blindly a “leader”). I have met people how were very unhealthy and yet they told everybody how healthy they are.
    I think a good option for vegan education is dr. jack norris from
    He is more interessted in thriving with a vegan diet for reducing animal suffering than for super health. He knows very study out there about vegans and has tons of experience with how to become a succesfull vegan. Kevin, maybe you can interview him?

    blessings to you

  87. Angel says:

    Hey Kev,

    I really love how you are teaching me to be more or truly open-minded. I have a tendency to get sort of rigid and defensive to my current state, although always developing. You have really taught me a lot over the years 🙂 and I am truly grateful for all that it has given me!


  88. Sophree says:

    Ann wigmore notes in her book Recipies For A Longer Life:

    Protien is constructed of 22 building blocks of which eight have been foud essential… (they) must all be present together…If one of the eight is missing, then the remaining amino acids cannot be utilized and fail to provide what they were designed too…. (page 4).

    You have to get all eight in the same meal. This is the failure of many who choose to be veggie/vegan.

    Good Luck to all of you and the rainbow of your beliefs

  89. Pam Dix says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I was a high raw vegan for about 9 years and became deficient in protein, Vit D, B complex also. I have weak digestion also, so this article makes sense to me. I’m working through what I add back into my diet and what I don’t.

    We all have to make our own choices, and I appreciate you putting the information out there for us all to take our own next step!


  90. rachel says:

    Thanks for an interesting article that helps us think. However, I do agree with Mark and Selina in that we have no idea what this woman was consuming and what her health history was before the protien deficiency showed up.
    I do find that people using the “I eat really healthy” may have no clue what balancing their diet really means, or, what is actually really healthy. In addition, its not what we eat but WHAT WE ABSORB that matters.
    Many people can have a leaky gut or can even be allergic to what they consume a lot of so it is not absorbed.
    What needs to happen is to present blood tests of many different people consuming many different diets. You will find EACH GROUP of people has their excesses and not enoughs, whether vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleolithic, WAP and so on. In many ways sometimes what we are not consuming may be more important than what we are consuming.
    The WAP group stresses excess animal protien, therefore very high in fat. That may well work for some people. In contrast, a very healthy mostly raw vegan or vegetarian diet can also work well for others. What is clearly unhealthy is the typical American SAD diet relying on fast foods, oversalted foods and lacking raw foods and good nutrition. Personally I have been vegetarian, vegan, raw
    (combo)for 23 years. I have fine tuned my diet many times over the years such as eating only fermented soy (if any soy), making my own fermented foods, eliminating gluten, concentrating on green smoothies, limiting salt, having lots of salads, and so on. I think FAT in the diet is healthy and do not believe in a low fat diet, but make sure the fat is raw and healthy.
    namaste’, rachel

  91. Sueann says:

    Everyone’s diet is individual to them. The tastes are different and the nutrition needs are different. Testing for our own needs is important to understand where our bodies are at and make changes to satisfy those needs. I am not 100% raw because of my metabolic rate and high energy. I could not sustain myself on 100% raw and this was confirmed by a doctor as well and with Dr. Ritamarie. During the winter months I am less raw. I like my warmed soups plus some other items. During the summer however, I have a large garden and eat directly from it. And definitely on some days eat 100% raw, but on those days I am eating constantly. If I spend all day in the garden I have to eat all the time or I would loose too much weight. So I think it is important to know protein levels and the rest and to not assume just because you are eating high nutritious foods you are maintaining the levels you need. testing and adjusting is practical with all diets. Thank you for this article, it brings to light what we all need to remember.

    Also, as a side comment, I agree with what Kevin wrote in the beginning. They do have products to sell, most of which have been researched by them giving us much information and great knowledge, if I don’t have interest in the products right now, I just scroll down to the article. The products are there if you need them and they come from quality research anyone can trust.

  92. Harrel ORoark says:

    What do we have here. A vegan, low on protein. Oh yeah, what does she eat, how much does she weight. This is the tatics of Big Pharma, FDA, AMA, and other so called what dogs for our health. Scare the heck out of people. Then sell them something. You can get one person short of something on any diet. What a bunch of hogwash. Let’s see vegan gets rid of heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases but it will make you short on protien. SCARE, SCARE, lets buy some Whey, or some other protien supplement. Low in protien cause all the other defiencies, low in Vitamin B and vitamin D and othe defieiences. Now then I must eat meat which kind, whick kind of protien supplement. Has the narural food movement become a supplemtn pusher just as Big Pharma pushes its pills what a shame.

  93. Harrel ORoark says:

    should have been watch dogs also supplement misspelled anyway I think you will get my thought

  94. Andrew Chin says:

    Hello Angel,
    Your perspective sounds like the view espoused by Tim Van Orden. It’s an interesting perspective, but I don’t completely understand it.
    Yes, enzymes are proteins, composed of amino acids. And all enzymes are proteins, but not all proteins are enzymes. Enzymes are known as catalysts, but are the proteins actually involved in the building of lean tissue also enzymes? It seems these proteins might actually be non-enzymatic proteins.
    Also, Tim Van Orden seems to be saying that eating enzyme-rich foods will allow your body to build enough lean tissue. However, unless you are growing your own food, and picking and eating it right away, the food your are purchasing at your local health food store might actually be enzyme depleted. Supposedly, an hour after a head of cabbage is harvested, most of the enzymes are already gone. There needs to be more research in this area, obviously, but I think the enzymatic activity of most raw produce is questionable. The primary benefit of eating raw food seems to be the undenatured nutrients, biophotons, fiber, and the structured water.
    Lastly, about 60% of the population need varying amounts of concentrated protein. Some people don’t need concentrated protein at all, but many do. Tim Van Orden’s perspective seems to ignore biochemical individuality. Please check out the work of Gabriel Cousens, William Wolcott, and Roger Williams. There is a lot of scientific backing for metabolic typing.


  95. Tao Becker says:

    I agree with the general rationale of a very high raw MOSTLY plant based diet. I think blood testing is an excellent idea. It’s hard to rely on just feeling our way through diet because it’s clear that most people do not live a truly natural lifestyle in a truly natural wild pristine environment, eating wild plants from nature. If we lived that way it might be easier to just feel/intuit our way. It can be tricky to assure in our unnatural lifestyle and environment that we are getting all the nutrition that nature intended and then some to compensate for unnatural stresses.

    Raw vegan teachers often refer to frugivorous primates, as an example because human physiology is so close to theirs, and so they say a diet like theirs would be ideal for humans. They then proceed to emphasize a vegan diet as best. I just wanted to point out that even, Bonobos (close “relative” of humans, who live non-violently and do not “hunt” or eat “meat”), even they intentionally eat some insects, grubs, etc., even if it is a small amount, they seem to know they need it! Most animals eating plants in nature would get more insects, larvae, worms, etc. as a regular part of their diet incidentally.

    It seems clear that some animal based nutrition can be very valuable, even if in small amounts. I wonder if eating insects would be more acceptable in terms of humane spiritual ideals.

    I don’t feel like I have the instinct or inclination spiritually to kill & eat mammals, but in relation to instinct & spiritual inclinations, I don’t think I’d have any problem eating small amounts of insects & grubs for added nourishment. I understand that ants are an excellent source of B12. I would truly love to hear more dialog and info about this subject.

    To me this seems like a revelation, but why is there not more info about this out their? Is the idea of eating bugs & grubs really more repulsive than eating the carcass of a cow?

    Very Curious!

  96. Can these tests really mean anything since there is no “before raw vegan” analysis? Kind of a shot in the dark really, considering many, many individuals are deficient on B12… including meat eaters.

    Further, is protein not denatured in the cooking process?

  97. Marybeth says:

    I totally agree with you Kevin! You really nailed it on the head. I have come to similar conclusions when thinking about my own experiences. I was a vegan for several years and I would be so annoyed with people asking me how I got my protein. I really believed I knew far more about nutrition than they did and especially knew what was the best diet for my body and how get enough protein. I don’t think any of these assumptions were very accurate. I was having some major health problems and my integrative doctor ran some blood tests and it was found that I was very low in protein, low in B12 and other B vitamins, low in magnesium, and my HDL was low! My doctor explained to me that some people can thrive on a vegetarian diet but that I was not one of them. I have changed my diet to a balanced (but mostly veg) eco-conscious, low-grain, omnivorous diet and started supplementing with vitamins, and I feel great, and my blood tests have also reflected my rebounding health. I don’t eat meat every day, but I do now eat some eggs or fish once almost every other day. I have also taken steps to fix my hypothyroidism. People are noticing! My friends and family tell me that I look like I’m glowing brightly. I have so much more energy, and I have even had total strangers tell me I look healthy. I never got that during my vegan days… actually the opposite. People would ask me if I’m sick. Even though I have introduced some animal protein into my diet, I still eat high raw and blend up green smoothies several times a week, I eat tons of salads. I have also been lightening up on all the fruits! I used to eat entirely too much fruit, and it turns out that it wasn’t as healthy as I thought.. the sheer quantity was just too much. Fruit is good but not a whole bag of grapes in one sitting! Haha, opps! Well we all live and learn. Thanks for you sharing your own experiences so openly.

  98. Michael says:

    There seems to be a lack of awareness in comments about how we get our protein. We build our own protein by combining enzymes in our bodies and enzymes from food sources. Eating the finished product of another species because it’s “a closer composition to our flesh than vegan sources” makes no sense. That animal flesh has to be laboriously broken down into enzymes before it can be rebuilt into our protein. Cooked proteins, whether vegan or raw, have a much different structure than raw. Like hair strands melted by flame, there is no going back once the protein structure has been melted. Sure, there are still some enzymes to be found, but I would argue very few. Absorption is key as pointed out. It matters a great deal that your protein source be from a more open, living enzyme format and uncooked.

    I see many comments on muscle wasting. People often incorrectly assess their own muscle mass because they confuse fat and muscle. Eating a low fat vegan diet surely makes one slim and *look* less muscular, but it’s because of having less fat. Our muscles are sheathed in fat, and are marbled with fat. Loosing that doesn’t mean you are wasting away. You loose muscles by not using them, whether you live on green smoothies or steak. Exercise is the way to gain and maintain muscle. Mega-protein consuming bodybuilders only *think* the protein is helping, but the work is the key. It’s very likely that much of that protein they consume is being converted to energy that they lack because they aren’t getting enough carbs. The same holds true for vegans who are afraid of fruit or are otherwise under-eating calories. They think they need protein because they feel weak, but they probably just need more easily digested calories.

    That said, by all means check your protein, just keep in mind that the source and whether it’s cooked has a huge impact on its availability to you, and always distinguish protein fears from fact.

  99. Tim says:

    After doing blood tests myself I found I was low in protein even though I get between 90 and 100 grams of protein a day. It was discovered through testing I have low HCL production. So for me part of my low protein levels is caused by digestion problems or maybe all. On the other hand my B12 and other B Vitamins are way too high and I am trying to lower them. Yes they can be too high. For example my Labcorp result on Foliate is 19.9 and the functional range is 2.0 – 5.4. Being too high is causing some health issues. I eat Vegan and mostly (80-90%) raw daily. Before the tests I thought my low energy levels was because of low B Vitamins. Turned out that was not the problem. It is Adrenal and Thyroid problems. For over 20 years I hated the idea of doing blood tests or anything related to the medical field. After the last 1 and half years of doing tests (blood, hair, saliva) I have decided they are very helpful. Most people are low in Vitamin D from a lack of correct sunlight exposure.

  100. life is about balance and there are many factors to consider when our health is not up to par. There is not just 1 solution to every problem

  101. Andrew Chin says:

    Hello Michael,
    Thank you for your comments. They were very informative!
    I do have a couple questions/comments:
    1) Do you believe vegetarian sources of protein are more bioavailable? If so, why are whey protein and eggs at the top of the list for Biologic Value? Even Gabriel Cousens admits eggs are an excellent source of protein. That said, I do notice muscle meat is lower on the scale of Biologic Value, so I believe you are correct that it takes a bit of work for your body to break down the flesh into enzymes.
    2) It seems many plant sources of protein have trypsin inhibitors, which can block protein digestion in the GI tract. Unfermented soy is the big culprit, but all seeds (nuts, grains, legumes, the exception might be hemp) seem to have enzyme inhibitors in varying amounts. Soaking certainly helps, but it seems some people still have issues with digesting plant sources of protein and fat. For example, if an Eskimo or Inuit had to rely on hemp or rice protein for a protein source, I wonder how well they would absorb it, given that historically they have almost exclusively relied on animal sources of protein.


  102. Anne says:

    to Ryan and all those hell bent on Marketing the high fruit/greens and low fat diet I will say that I tried it and am still trying to recover from all the problems it has caused me.

    After being a raw vegan I thought that perhaps since I was exercising I should try the 80-10-10 and did it…yes I did it the way it was supposed to be done. I had tons of energy at first, nervous energy and physical energy but my liver started to feel tense and an ultrasound showed signs of non alcoholic fatty liver. My enzymes were elevated (my AST is still a little higher than normal), my magnesium was too low, my adrenals were depleted and I was urinating all the time and I I felt bloated most of the time from poor digestion.

    I’m currently avoiding fruit totally (apart from lemon, lime and unsweetened cranberries)until I recover and would caution anyone to eat fruit in moderation and err on the minimum side. I look a million times better and everyone comments on it, my liver enzymes have been steadily coming down and my magnesium is back where it should be.

    Thanks Kevin for your article

  103. @ Horace & Mark All I can see when I read your post is a kind of angry vegan styled writing. Greens and fruit, really? All you need, really? We have all been there at one time. You have to stop judging everyone and being so rigid.I would like to read a post from either one of you two to four years from now. Every once and a while a duplicate of these style posts pop up on a “controversial” entry from Kevin. Your NOT really reading and understanding, I don’t think you are able to fully calmly absorb, explore your thoughts right now because of your rigid vegan diets. It’s just where you are right now in this raw food journey and you both seem, just plain irritated, or should I say, agitated and angry.

  104. MM says:

    Hi Tim,

    Yes you can have high levels of B Vitamins, so it should be an eye opener for many people that are supplementing. It is the micro-organisms in our gut that should be producing vitamins, transmuting minerals and providing all manner of biomolecules.

    I see these high levels of B vitamins in overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. With high B vitamins in particularly folate and B12 in tandem with low HCL I suggest you get tested for Helicobacter Pylori. Helicobacter P. decreases HCL along with damage to the mucosal lining -> inflammation and malasorption. I would also rule out Klebsiella infection.

    Regardless of whether protein is from meat or plants you are not going to be able to replenish your protein needs.

    Supplementing HCL and enzymes helps. I prefer a more heavy duty approach than plant enzymes because you will need to take heaps of them and still difficult to eradicate HP without triple antibiotic treatment.

    I would suggest you add a stool test to your list of tests to be able to uncover the culprits.

    I suggest you stick to cooked foods not raw as these will be easier to digest. Raw will stress your digestive tract further as you will not be able to neutralise pathogenic bugs on them due to low acid and bile. Soups, broths – meat & bone. Vegetable broths, miso and kelp. Not the kind of eating regime favoured by our raw enthusiasts, but it works better than anything else out there. For people like you I know you just want to know what works not dogma.

    This is a great example where raw is not favourable. All the vegetable fibre feeds Klebsiella whose metabolic wastes feed Helicobacter Pylori. This eventually if not rectified destroys the gastric lining and you will become iodine deficient resulting in thyroid problems, cancer etc. Vitamin D deficient, mineral deficient and protein deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is not only caused by not getting enough sun, but also malabsorption is a huge factor not being discussed. The solution is not supplementation, we need to uncover the underlying cause. Usually we find it starts in the gut and the catalyst for such conditions is usually prescription medications, antibiotics, NSAID and stress all on its own and junk food (high carbs & sugars). This means fruit will be out. I would also stay clear of fermented foods until the bacterial overgrowth is under control. You don’t want to be adding more bugs until you have eradicated the bad bugs. It’s all a matter of keeping the right balance of micro-organisms and until you know which species you are dealing with, do not blindly add more as this will make matters worse.

  105. Natasha says:

    Thank you Kevin for this article and thank you all for sharing your views and experiences. I’m learning so much from this discussion! I agree with all who say it’s important to check your levels via testing. I also encourage anyone who has a deficiency to check to make sure their body is able to absorb nutrients from food. I know from personal experience that both vegans and non-vegans can have low protein, vitamin D and B12 due to lack of absorption. Namaste.

  106. Peggy says:

    After being on a raw vegan diet for several years I needed a small surgical procedure. I was very surprised when I could not get medical clearance because white blood cells were too low (neutropenia) as well as red blood cells (iron deficiency anemia) & I also had very low Vit D and Vit B12 levels. On the positive side cholestrol and glucose were very good as well as weight, blood pressure and heartt rate. i do not think protien/amino acids were checked but I would be curious

    So i agree that getting blood levels checked routinely is important no matter what your diet is. I think in my case two issues were involved.
    One I was not eating enough high quality raw food and second absorption issues prevented even the best nutrients from getting thru

  107. Antonio says:

    Disappointed and shameless as you often say. You do not offer any info. on your friend that is useful aside from repeating that she is vegan. Science doesn’t change, we have the information we need to make good choices but you chose to just focus on ‘vegans’. Here’s a news flash for you .. there are amino acid deficient meat eaters too !

    There are many reasons a person could not have amino acids show up in their blood tests. Even with meat eaters.

    So maybe if you want to really educate people about protein and not just get their attention, try digging deeper before making these statements. I assure you more respect.

  108. Tim says:

    Thanks for the ideas of things to check. I will mention them to my CN when we meet next week. I know my high levels of B Vitamins was caused in part at least by taking too many B vitamins. Way too many.

    I have seen my protein levels increase a little after taking HCL for 3 months. In fact I had to reduce the amount I was taking after a couple months. It will be at least another couple months before I have the panel done again. I have also seen my sed rate decrease from 45 to 1. It was my only inflammation maker that was high. The others were low normal. I know a lot of my HCL and other health problems were caused by not eating enough (1500-1700 calories of healthy food) for 18 months and over exercising (10-15 hours of cardo and 6 hours strength training per week). I got very low on a lot of nutrients. As I friend told me I am blessed to be alive based on how I was looking at the time.

    I have found after switching to Garden Of Life’s Omega-Zyme Enzyme blend I have had a lot better results digesting other foods. I am thinking it is because of the Bromelain, Papain, and Peptidase that was not in the Enzymes I was taking.

    I agree that malabsorption of the Vitamin D a person produces can be a factor in low D levels. Dr Mercola has a few articles and a couple videos that deal with that subject.

    Thanks again

  109. Rebecca Cody says:

    Just a brief comment on how cooking animal proteins damages them. In Weston Price’s studies of healthy native populations all over the world, one thing they had in common no matter where they lived – Africa, Alaska, Polynesia, etc. ALL of them ate animal protein and ALL of them ate some of it raw, whether it was raw milk and cheeses or raw meat and organs, or raw fish. You would have to be extremely careful of your sources to do that today, but I think it is telling that all these healthy groups (I think he studied 29 of them) ate some of their animal protein raw.

  110. MM says:

    Hey Tim,

    Sounds like you’re on track to regarding your health. The fact that you have reduced HCL is clearly a good sign that the gut lining is healing and your inflammatory markers have come right down. If B levels are still high, make sure that you rule out bacterial overgrowth in particular to the ones mentioned previously. As a researcher in this area, I know you can never be too vigilant.

    I can relate to the over exercising. As a former athlete and vegan. Training as a child and teenager and being a perfectionist along with Type A personality, I did irreparable damage to my corneas that required a corneal graft to regain sight. This experience lead me to be a researcher looking at the overlap between allergy, infection, autoimmunity and how the use of antibiotics and steroidal medications impact on microbial flora and the regulation of neuro-immuno-endocrine systems. I have fought long and hard trying to convince ophthalmologists and other researchers that nutrition and for that matter stress does matter. It has taken over 30 years to finally get some of them to agree with me. Perhaps times are changing because the public is becoming more educated via the internet. People can make a difference in changing the mindset; it is our only hope really.

    Progress is slow. Many support me privately, but professionally it is seen as a taboo, while others support me in their retirement, which speaks volumes. When it comes to their own health, it’s amazing how they become more open-minded. Though I have had to wait a bloody long time. The research community is only interested in listening to me if I advocate a vaccine, gene therapy or some other therapy that is patentable. Truly revealing how funding becomes easily available for such ventures.

    I run a wellness practice and have a hard time trying to educate clients, many of them vegan/vegetarian and like you over-exercising with stressful careers and lifestyles. What they eat simply can not support their lifestyles along with environmental toxins. If vegan/vegetarian lifestyles were beneficial, we would certainly see the results in our clients, but this is not what we are seeing. For example, I keep hearing that eating meat depletes our alkaline reserves resulting in osteoporosis. But why is it that I see osteoporosis in those people that are anti-red meat? Meat eaters seem to have strong bones. I have women in their 80’s that prune their own trees and are forever falling but never break bones. While the ones that believe that they eat healthy and you just can’t convince them that red meat is OK are crippled with osteoporosis.

    The science of nutrition is in its infancy and we have much to learn. Protein science and for that matter peptides is a fascinating area. I am sure you will be hearing more on the great research being done in this area. We are mammals and our bodies instantly recognises animal protein. Plant protein is incomplete therefore requires energy to break it down and refashion it into what is needed. This process uses up enzymes and mineral reserves which is also not discussed. From many of the comments there appears to be much confusion on protein, amino acids and enzymes. Hopefully we won’t need to wait 30 odd years to find out the truth like we had to with the fat is bad dogma. Too bloody long for most people as damage done can not be undone.

  111. Juraj says:

    Recently I’ve been to presentation and here is what I really remember, as I think it’s quite important:

    there are essential proteins
    there are essential fats
    there are no essential carbs

    You article reminded me of that.

    Btw I’m a big believer in psychosomatic – body and mind relation so if someone is tired and suffers from fatigue, it might be a result of not pursuing their dreams, doing what they don’t want to do and so on.


  112. Garth says:

    I’m a believer as Juraj stated in the last paragraph. Our emotions play a much larger role in our health than almost everyone is aware of. Following your dreams! I know this is the origin of all my so called ills….. from not doing what I really want. I can have all the tests done in the world, analyzed by the doctors of highest regard… but such tests only show but an infitesimal portion of my being. There is so much more …..there never can, nor will there ever be tests that can go beyond what it percieves in the physical… much more than the physical. I could go on forever trying to explain…… and I still could not even begin to.


  113. Gabriela says:

    You are right Kevin!

    We shouldn’t listen blindly, nor reject other points of view, because we aren’t always 100% right.

    Thank you!

  114. william d. morgan says:

    Use coconut oil to ensure enough daily calories. There are so many good sources of protein for raw vegs that nobody should be protein deficient. I combine bee pollen, chlorella, spirulina, hemp, and chia into my daily regimine. It’s easy to calculate your needs. Aim for about 60-75 gms/day to ensure an adaquate supply of essential amino acids. If you look and feel good, stick with it. If not, increase it until you do.

  115. Debbie Orol says:

    as a Holistic Health Coach I have strongly come to believe in the concept of bioindividuality. what is good for one may not be good for another. Some people need more protein than others and some may even NEED some animal protein.
    Debbie Orol CHHC

  116. Heidi says:

    I love your ongoing investigation, tk you! All your stages have been exactly the same as mine.

    I love Dr Mercola’s free nutritional typing test on his site to see what type you are: carb, mixed, protein. Very similar to Gabriel Cousins but not vegan.

    I think Functional + Integrative Medicine theory has lots to teach us.

    I have done low penetrance SNP testing and I now take specific supplements for my SNP’s. Metagenics is now designing specific supplements for certain SNP’s so combine nutrients are much easier to take and more relevant to my genetic make up.

    Going forward, we are going to move away from ‘what is good for us’ and towards ‘what is good me me’. Blood tests only show the manifestation of how our environment, incl diet, interacts with our genes. I now prefer to look at my genes and work up from there by turning my SNP’s on or off to avoid later wonky blood tests.

    I hit the low protein wall after 6 yrs of raw vegan. I had eaten lots of variety + greens til then were coming out my ears! I now eat organic egg whites, some fish and very little fruit. I feel energized, clear-headed, able to complete good exercise sessions, and thinner!

    I enjoyed my detox time on the strict raw vegan diet but my needs have changed.

    Interesting to read today that David Wolfe now acknowledges that we go thru stages. Maybe due to his interaction with fellow lectures teaching the Integrative Nutrition course??

  117. LIVEHEIDI says:

    I love your ongoing investigation, tk you! All your stages have been exactly the same as mine.

    I love Dr Mercola’s free nutritional typing test on his site to see what type you are: carb, mixed, protein. Very similar to Gabriel Cousins but not vegan.

    I think Functional + Integrative Medicine theory has lots to teach us.

    I have done low penetrance SNP testing and I now take specific supplements for my SNP’s. Metagenics is now designing specific supplements for certain SNP’s so combine nutrients are much easier to take and more relevant to my genetic make up.

    Going forward, we are going to move away from ‘what is good for us’ and towards ‘what is good me me’. Blood tests only show the manifestation of how our environment, incl diet, interacts with our genes. I now prefer to look at my genes and work up from there by turning my SNP’s on or off to avoid later wonky blood tests.

    I hit the low protein wall after 6 yrs of raw vegan. I had eaten lots of variety + greens til then were coming out my ears! I now eat organic egg whites, some fish, very little fruit, along with hemp, sprouted brown rice protein powder etc. I feel energized, clear-headed, able to complete good exercise sessions, and thinner!

    I enjoyed my detox time on the strict raw vegan diet but my needs have changed.

    Interesting to read today that David Wolfe now acknowledges that we go thru stages. Maybe due to his interaction with fellow lectures teaching the Integrative Nutrition course??

  118. What about live blood analysis over a blood test that is sent to a lab for results? I have learned alot about deficiencies in my blood looking at live blood analysis.

    I eat avocado, nuts, sprouts, for protein, pea soup, I take Vit D 2000ius a day, I also take Camu Camu for vit. C. I also have magnesium powder (CALM BRAND), I also eat fermented foods for digestion, kefir water for probiotics, green apples, organic apple juice with apple cider vinegar, celery, olives, vegan potato salad, asparagus grilled, beet and fennel salad, figs, and coconut water with aloe vera, I eat wild fresh salmon once a week and organic beef or lamb at menstral time. No not a vegan here, but I like to keep all things in balance. As organic and raw as possible with some fermented foods, and some enzymes from sprouts, some iron replenishment at that time of the month, and good fats with avocado and olives and wild salmon. I also drink spring water I get from the source myself. I eat berries of all kinds, sometimes a papaya, sometimes a mango.

    My Vit D levels were low, my B12 was low, my iron was low until I shifted my diet a little – I take Diatomaceous Earth to clean out my colon and intestines of parasites and boost myself with energy from the silica and other minerals in DE.

    I am in tune with what my body needs and have finally found balance in the foods I was eating.. before too much veggie and not enough fats, or protein, now I feel I have excellent energy, calm and peaceful spirit, no anxiety, no diarrhea, no pains in my body whatsoever, like a rebirth. I do highly recommend a liver cleanse .. I also take a tincture for liver cleanse and drink a liver cleanse / detox tea.. I also drink a unique ginger tea with logan fruit and red date.

    I think I have finally found balance and harmony in the body after YEARS of being out of balance, now the perfect balance for my body.. but using intuition along with other forms of checking like live blood analysis or doctor’s blood tests are beneficial when things go off kilter. I believe that PH in the body is important and to have all the trace minerals replenished is good thinking. I think we are lacking minerals as much as we are lacking protein. I found DE is amazing and himalayan salts really put minerals back into the body. Adding a boost of energy.

    What am I lacking? I am all ears.. but I feel I have not felt this fantastic in years and believe I have found balance. Great article and thanks for all that you share Kevin! Keep it coming. I am learning alot.. and it also takes being a bit of a lab experiment to find out what works best for your own body to be in balance. I know I need red meat at least once a month or my body gets out of whack. Just my two cents. I love Anne Maries’ skin care line… superb!

  119. […] Have you ever heard a vegan health expert tell anyone that they don’t need to worry about protein? LOL. (If you don’t get this semi-joke, read this here.) […]

  120. Ligia says:

    What makes the ability to break apart amino acids difficult for some? It’s just something your article made me question. Just curious. 🙂

  121. Heels Liz says:

    Vegatarians / vegans unhealthy? Sorry but where are they? They are certainly not those filling up doctors waitings rooms and hospital wards!

  122. Thanks for the great article, Kevin… I don’t have time to read all the comments, so i apologize if i repeat things you’ve already heard… i’ve been eating vegan for almost 3 years, and i had gotten the advice from a raw friend that it’s not protein you need to worry about, but rather it’s the healthy fats that you really need… and then i read the same advice in Cafe Gratitude’s Raw Book (that it’s the healthy fats you need, like olives, avocado, and macademia nuts, and not the protein)… but recently i had bloodwork done, and my white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelet counts are all low, and so i need to strengthen my bone marrow, and so my doctor said i need to focus on getting enough protein! Cuz guess what, protein helps make cells! And here i thought i didn’t need to worry about protein… so now i’m trying to focus on protein more, but honestly i don’t really want 50grams/day like he says i should have (for my body weight, 105)… i could go on, but you get the point… anyway, i like your spunk and your writing style is just splendid… i’ve written quite a few vegan-oriented blogs if you get the chance to check them out sometime… anyway, Cheers to everyone’s great health! Namaste, Teja Shankara in Ashland, Oregon

  123. James says:


    Not being funny or anything, genuinely want to know, why can’t a vegan get enough protein from eating quinoa and soybeans, tofu, tempeh and miso? These apparently have the same quality of protein as meat (ie. a full set of amino acids). If you can get the same protein quality as in meat then surely a protein deficiency could be equally as likely vegan or not? I am not an expert and am genuinely interested.


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