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.
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.
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?