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Do Elephants Eat Cows For Protein?
By far, the most common question I hear is:
“If I don’t eat meat or that much meat, where do I get my protein?” Sound familiar?
Let’s cut to the chase – the protein chase. I’m a simple kind of girl so I ask simple questions. I don’t do complications – complications confuse me and the last thing I need is more confusion. This is a scary thought.
Just for giggles and giggles, let’s have some fun with the protein and see if my common sense speaks to your common sense.
8 very simple questions about protein:
#1 Protein Trivia Question: “Do elephants eat hamburgers?”
As you know, protein is for growth, among many other things. Like muscle growth. Have you ever heard of an elephant, giraffe, monkey, cow or horse eating hamburgers, chicken, fish or even protein shakes to get enough protein to grow big muscles? No of course not.
If elephants can eat plant foods to get plenty of protein, so can we with our relatively small muscles and bodies.
#2 Common sense protein question: “Should elephants mix and match plant foods to get a ‘complete protein’?”
Oh yeah, right. I can see it now. An elephant that makes sure it eats just the right plant foods to get just the right combination of proteins. I do not think.
My brain says: If they don’t need to mix and match, neither do we.
#3 Protein Common Sense Question: “But aren’t we different from elephants?”
Good question. Yes, elephants are a bit different from us. No, as the kids say. But this is the point of common sense:
If a small variety of plant foods can provide the right amount and quality of protein necessary for the growth and maintenance of a large mammal like the elephant, then it is not logical that plant foods, and a much larger variety, can provide the humans with enough protein to grow and maintain our relatively small muscles, bones, tissues and organs?
My common sense says “Yes”. What does your common sense tell you?
#4 Common Sense Protein Question: “When in life do human beings need the most protein?”
OK, so you can’t wrap your brain around the fact that elephants and humans can be compared – that might be a big leap – elephants to humans. That’s fair enough. So I’ll tell you – let’s just talk about people – little people, as in babies.
Cute babies tell us the whole story of protein. Look for yourself.
Again, what is the purpose of protein?
You got it! Development. When do we grow up the most? From ages 0 to 2. Right?
What is the best food for children 0 to 2 years old? Mother’s milk.
How much protein do you think is in mom’s milk? 15%, 25% or 30% protein? Guess again.
This may knock your socks off, but human milk only contains 4.5% to 5% protein – that’s all.
If 4.5% to 5% protein is plenty of protein to meet the growing needs of babies, then that same amount of protein, and even less, is plenty for us grown-ups. We have stopped growing.
#5 Protein Trivia Question: “How much protein is in an orange?”
I am waiting. It comes with a shock factor. An orange has 8% protein. Wow! Isn’t it incredible? An orange with 8% protein?
Remember, fast-growing babies only need 4.5% to 5% protein. At 8% protein, oranges don’t just have enough protein, they actually have plenty of protein.
What about other plants?
Spinach: 49% protein
Romaine lettuce: 36% (imagine so much protein in that watery, green stuff!)
Pumpkin seeds: 17%
Brown rice: 8%
It seems to me that we get plenty of protein from eating plants.
We don’t “need” to eat animal protein, which also comes with lots of fat, cholesterol, extra calories, extra weight, extra disease, and extra heartache. In fact, we don’t even need to eat beans, tofu, or any other higher protein plant food to get enough protein.
Fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Interesting, don’t you think?
#6 Protein Common Sense Question: “But isn’t meat protein superior to plant protein?”
In a word, “No.” This is a complete myth that has been perpetuated for almost 100 years. No matter how much this confuses our brainwashed brains, meat protein is not superior to plant protein. The amino acids, or building blocks that make up protein, are exactly the same whether they come from a plant or an animal.
Protein is protein is protein is protein, regardless of the source. If we eat enough food (not a problem in the US), we get enough of the “right” protein – even if the food sources are just plants.
#7 Common sense protein question: “But don’t I need more protein for strength and energy?”
Okay, back to our friend the elephant. Where do elephants get their strength and energy? Not from eating cows or protein bars, that’s for sure. An elephant’s strength comes from plants – that’s all there is.
Our best source of energy doesn’t come from protein at all—it comes from carbohydrates found in whole, unprocessed plant foods like fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables capture the sun’s energy and then give it back to us generously.
The basic energy we have (or don’t have) today comes from the plant foods we ate (or didn’t eat) – yesterday. not the so-called energy protein bar or steak (or the dark, liquid concoction) we ate today.
#8 Protein Common Sense Question: “How much protein does the World Health Organization recommend?”
Nice thought. The WHO recommends, not exactly coincidentally, the same amount of protein found in human breast milk: 4.5% to 5% protein. Remember, oranges have 8% protein.
Is the protein fog starting to rise a bit? There are many real experts out there, much smarter than me, who agree:
Plants provide us with plenty of protein for superior health and fitness – it’s that simple. Bingo bango.
You can choose to eat beef, chicken, fish and protein shakes, but you don’t “have to”. Aren’t we lucky to have the gift of choice? What’s not so fortunate is that many of us forget that consequences follow choices — sometimes immediately and sometimes many years later.
Good choices beget good consequences. bad choices, especially bad choices day in and day out, have painful consequences.
It’s your body and your life. You have the incredible power to fuel your body and life or the power to deplete your body and life.
Will your next bite feed you or deplete you? It’s your choice.
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