But Where Do You Get Your Protein?

protein-cartoon[7]If there were a Buzzfeed list of “15 Things Vegans Totally Understand,”* the headaches caused by excessive eye-rolling in response to being asked, “But, where do you get your protein from?” would be topping that list.

The misconceptions about protein stem, in large part, from dietary information we are fed (pun!) by our governments and medical professions, namely, that you need to eat meat and dairy for protein and calcium. The argument that gets bandied about in favor of animal protein is that animal products are the only source of all essential amino acids. Even if the “only source of esssential amino acids” argument were actually true (it’s not), it’s still not a valid argument against a plant-based diet.

My own doctor had a minor conniption when I said I was vegan, and started rattling off buzzwords like, “essential amino acids,” and “protein deficiency.” When I wouldn’t budge, he sighed, and said, “Okay, well just make sure you get a mix of nuts and soy to get all the essential amino acids.” Really? REALLY? It is so tall an order to ask someone to eat two different food types, that it strikes you as easier to overhaul their entire eating practice to a less healthy one?

300_2668131

The other big concern medical professionals and family/friends alike have with veganism is that you just can’t possibly be getting enough protein (never mind the amino acid composition of said protein). Most people believe that all produce is completely bereft of any protein content. This wrong information is so pervasive that when I was in graduate school, a fellow graduate student from the Biology department sat across from me at lunch explaining to me that there was no protein in fruit. I nearly concussed myself from slamming my head into the table in front of me in disbelief of what I was hearing. This is a person who has a degree in biology, which is nearly impossible to achieve without stumbling across the concept of The Central Dogma of Biology, which is a fancy way of saying DNA gives RNA which in turn gives Protein. That’s the main thing that cells do. Everything else is downstream of protein production. The nucleus, the very control center of a cell? It’s a glorified a library of recipes to make proteins. In other words, if it has got cells, it has got protein.

central-dogma

Despite what you have been told, there is plenty of protein in fresh fruits and vegetables. Most plants contain about 5% of their calories in protein. That may not sound like much, but let’s compare that to breastmilk. Breastmilk is designed by nature to meet the needs of babies. During infancy, we have the fasted growth rate of any point of our lives, and thus have the single highest protein requirements of any point of our lives. That requirement? About 5% of your calories. At any other time in your life, regardless of your profession or exercise goals, you don’t need anywhere close to that amount. Even if you’re a bodybuilder, you are not doubling your weight in a 5-6 month period like a baby does.

WhereDoYouGetYourProtein

Despite the fact that 5% protein is the peak of our protein needs over the entire course of our lives, we are told that protein-rich foods should make up between 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories by entities such as the USDA. This misinformation is taken up by nutritionists and doctors alike, and filters down to the general public via their family doctor and campaigns such as MyPlate. It’s not that the people making these recommendations are bad scientists. It’s that they are bad people. The simple fact is that the USDA committee that makes these recommendations is a massive example of conflict interest. Year after year, these people have financial interests in the meat and dairy industry. It benefits them to ignore scientific fact, and to promote the consumption of excessive protein through meat and dairy. Sadly, when this misinformation is delivered year after year, it becomes accepted by the public as fact to the point that delivering a scientifically-based message of healthy living becomes almost impossible.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.42.45 PM

But what’s the harm? So what if we’re eating 35% of our calories in the form of protein when, as adults, we likely need 1-2%. Surely our bodies will simply take what the need and excrete or egest the remainder? Nope. It is well known that excess protein in the body comes with a host of health risks including back pain, osteoporosis, kidney stones and renal disease, heart disease and even cancer, especially when those proteins are derived from animal products (P.S. men, animal protein causes Low-T). Too much protein is as bad for you as smoking! And, oh yeah, and excess protein gets converted to fat in your body.

0

The easiest way of ensuring your body has enough protein, without consuming the excessive amounts that contribute to so-called “diseases of affluence,” is to replace all animal-derived products with plant-based, whole foods. And before you worry about not getting enough protein, ask yourself this: have you ever met someone diagnosed with protein deficiency? Have you heard of a friend of a friend being diagnosed with protein deficiency, or even having the symptoms of protein deficiency? I have heard of plenty of people having anemia from iron deficiency. Iron is something you should supplement, or at least monitor the levels of in your diet. B12 is another tricky thing to get solely from plant sources.

Not+having+enough+iron+in+your+body+causes+Anemia.+Please+_a8ca6668444fdfa6cb4041e2299b441b

But protein is something that never, ever needs to be supplemented. We get plenty of it, no matter what we eat, and no matter what we want our bodies to do. In closing, vegans get plenty of protein.

Additional Reading/Watching:

- Forks Over Knives

- More Than An Apple A Day: Preventing Our Most Common Diseases

- Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

- The Protein Myth by Amanda Woodvine, BSc Nutrition

- The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food

 

* added in proof.  

Where You At? Find a Local DDP Yoga Instructor!

I put together a map of all the Level 1 Trainee Instructors (and some of the certified ones too!)… Want to find a DDP Yoga class in your area? Check to see if there are any here! Click on the marker of the instructor in your area to see their contact info to set up a class! Check back often, new instructors are signing up every day!

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.32.28 AM

Your Mama’s Yoga Review!

Poses

Scorpion, one-legged bound Down Dog, Twisted Wrap & Burn, some seated spine thing….

 

Before DDP Yoga, I was a pathetic weakling. In particular, I had zero upper body strength. I tried a laundry list of programs, both yoga and non-yoga, to no avail. The major problem was that I never got any stronger. These workout systems certainly showed me what I could do one I gained some upper body strength, but didn’t offer a pathway to acquiring the strength to do it. The issues that arose were a high injury rate, a lack of modifications (or a huge gap between the modified and unmodified versions), or a complete lack of any real-strength building.

Now that I have done DDP Yoga, and achieved all manner of goals and feats, I wanted to revisit a few workouts and see how my experience compared.

1. Brian Kest’s Power YogaBryanKestsPowerYoga

I tried the first workout on this disk a few months before I started DDP Yoga and made it all the way to the first Down Dog pose. He held it  for – what at that time I thought was – such a long that I couldn’t take it. So back on the shelf it went. DDP speaks pretty highly of Brian Kest, so I decided to revisit the workout now that I have some killer upper body strength (thanks to DDP Yoga). This time I did the third and hardest of the 3 workouts, and this time, I made it from start to finish, opting for the most difficult of version each pose. I didn’t burn as many calories as I would have in a DDP Yoga workout, but I enjoyed it, and the instruction was almost straightforward. I’ll definitely be doing this one on rest days or after a run!

2. Baron Baptiste’s Power Yoga51MAS29KBXL._SY300_

I did this when I was in grad school. I remember cursing, sweating, falling over and not being able keep up. This time around it was a snore. In contrast to Brian Kest’s reasonably accessible instructions, this was the kind of nonsense that triggered my #HCS4L and I to make a parody of the stuff yoga teachers come out with. It is one of my great regrets in life that we didn’t consult Baron Baptiste’s library of yoga DVDs while coming up with the dialogue:

3. The Firm Power Yoga16113_THE_FIRM_Power_Yoga

This was the first yoga I ever tried. I dreaded the Plank to Chaturanga to Cobra flow in this workout, I just couldn’t do it. I tried it last week, and flowed through the entire thing with all the advanced options, and didn’t even get into my fat-burning zone. This is a nice, easy workout, and would be a good way to cool down after DDP Yoga if you’re working out at night (the heart rate blast of DBD can make it hard to get to sleep.

4. P90X Yoga-X tumblr_m95rke858U1qhl3z1

The original Yoga-X isn’t a bad program. I certainly have a lot of problems with P90X, but this isn’t one of them. It’s a nicely laid out workout, with a wide-variety of moves, and pretty good instruction. The issue I had with this workout (and the other yoga workouts in this review) is that no matter how many times I did it, I couldn’t lower to Chaturanga off my knees, do the push-ups, or any other advanced moves. In other words, it showcases your strength nicely, but does little to build it. I also found that some of the transitions into harder moves aren’t as fluid and accessible as they could be. For instance, getting to Warrior III, Tony Horton goes straight from Crescent Post to Warrior III, with very little instruction from how one makes it to the other. Consequently, in my early days of following this workout, I never made it to Warrior III. Revisiting it, I was able to take the instructions I learned in DDP Yoga, and apply them to this workout, and in doing so, got more out of it. Also, because of all the strength I built doing DDP Yoga, I was able to do the entire thing from start to finish, all advanced poses, and barely break a sweat. I will do this workout from time-to-time when I have little energy but lots of free time (it’s over ah hour-and-a-half long).

Bonus: P90x-3: Yoga and Isometrix

I’ve already ripped Yoga 3-X apart here, so I will limit this discussion to Isomterix. This workout is the complete opposite of the fluid Vinyasa style found in the original Yoga-X. In Isometrix, there are a dozen or so poses, and you get into one  at a time, hold them for 45 seconds and get out of them. More so that any of the other workouts, this is great for showcasing your new-found strength and flexibility, but does ZERO to improve it. I did get into my zone more so in this workout that the other non-DDP Yoga workouts, but I will also never do this again, because doing nothing but hold a selection of poses for 45 seconds at a time is tedious to say the least. Nonetheless, it was fun finding out that I could do One-legged Bound Down Dog and Side Plank with bound leg!

 

maxresdefault
Why would waste your time with those silly, non-DDP Yoga workouts?

Pain-free Physical Therapy.

On Friday, I was on the V-Down Podcast discussing my background with chronic knee pain.

In a nutshell, I spent over a decade with chronic knee pain. It got so bad that for the two years in the run up to starting DDP Yoga, I couldn’t walk up a flight of 3 steps without feeling like hunting knives were being driven through my kneecaps.

Right before discovering DDP Yoga, I went to a physical therapist for a month. After doing an assessment of my knees, she told me that it would take at least a year-and-a-half of biweekly therapy sessions before I could even consider running a mile. ONE MILE! And she wasn’t 100% sure that was a realistic goal. I stuck with it for about a month, but I couldn’t take it. Each session involved the PT digging into my IT bands for 30 minutes or so, which left me with dark bruises down my outer thigh. Then, the next session involved the therapist digging into my painful bruises for 30 minutes! For all my suffering, I saw ZERO improvement. So I quit!

In contrast, DDP Yoga was fun, sustainable and effective. In under 3 months, I ran a Warrior Dash. In under 9 months, I ran a Half-Marathon, and in just over a year I ran a Full Marathon. All with zero leg pain.

Yesterday, I went for a casual run. I wasn’t running any set distance; I was just planning to run as long as I felt like it. After getting turned around a couple of times, and spending about 3 miles completely lost in a weirdly laid-out neighborhood, I realized I had run 10 miles. I figured I had enough light to go for 13.1, so I did. Even better, I set a personal record for that distance!

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 11.18.20 AM

Coincidentally, we have just reached the date on which my physical therapist said I could possibly consider running ONE mile. And I am running 13.1. For fun. I have 2 upcoming half-marathons this year (I may sign up for more). My new goal is to get one done in under 2 hours. But for now, I am happy in the knowledge that I have gone from being lazy and injured to being the kind of person who runs 13.1 for fun!

c13c4f69dd14460cbf50fe7c213e0264

 

I see why the song “Fix You” was chosen for Arthur Boorman’s transformation video: