The Page below is not my work it is taken directly from J. Morris Hicks blog and the full version can be got directly at
So if you don’t eat meat or dairy, where do you get your protein?
Most of us have been taught that we “need” to eat animal protein, for which there are many sources.
Why do I hear that question so much? It’s because an estimated 95% of the people in the western world truly believe that we humans actually “need” to include animal products in our diet in order to be healthy. But with people like Bill Clinton and Oprah eating mostly plants these days, that misconception is beginning to fade.
Because our “need” for animal protein has been drilled into our brains for our entire lives, it is no wonder that it is difficult to cast aside. This page was created to provide you with a “big picture” explanation of how we came to believe this myth about animal protein and to help you come to grips with how you’re going to live a healthy life without it.
My most recent post on this topic addressed the question, “How do you get enough protein from plants if you’re a highly-trained athlete?” Animal Protein—Professional athletes don’t need it either. (posted on 3-23-12).
So how do I answer the protein question in a social situation? Some courteous variation of the following:
This little guy, whose DNA is almost identical to ours, eats nothing but raw plants.
- “Actually, plants have a great deal of protein, in just the right quantities for humans. Did you know that, calorie for calorie, broccoli has more protein than sirloin?”
- “Like our closest relative in the wild, the gorilla or chimpanzee, I get my protein from whole plants.”
- “The same place the strongest animals in the world (elephants, giraffes, horses, etc.) get their’s — from whole plants.”
- “Virtually every plant has some protein in it, some more than others.”
- “Many cultures of people throughout the world live their entire lives without eating animal products — and their incidence of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease is near zero.”
- “We now know that our #1 killer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are both nearly 100% reversible with a 100% plant-based diet — completely free of meat and dairy.”Every species has its natural diet. The strongest animals in the world eat nothing but raw plants. We humans have drifted far, far away from our natural diet.
It is understandable if you’re still not convinced. That’s because one big question remains.
If all of the above is true, then why hasn’t my doctor told me about it? For that matter, why is my doctor still eating meat and dairy at every meal?
These are good questions, the answer to which took up an entire 100-page section of The China Study — it was entitled “Why haven’t I heard all of this before?” We also devoted a similar chapter to this topic in our book. But no matter how many books you may read, it’s likely going to take awhile before the general population fully believes that all they need to eat for optimal health is whole plants, in nature’s package. Hopefully, this Protein page will help you come to grips with this nutritional truth. We have tried our best to provide sane, non-judgmental answers to all of your questions.
What about Vitamin B12? Good question. Since this essential vitamin is not found in plant-based foods, I follow the simple advice of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and take a 2000 microgram sublingual supplement twice a week. Why didn’t Nature put some of this in plants? Our ancestors in the wild got theirs from the bacteria in the soil on their food, but today’s farming and sanitation methods have taken away that source. For more info, check out this blog that features a two-minute video by Dr. Michael Greger on B-12.
Horses, that’s right; they also eat only plants.
If you don’t already have one, you should get your own copy of The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell. In this “gold standard” book, he goes into great detail explaining with scientific proof why we not only do not “need” animal protein in our diets, but also why those animal foods are a large part of the problem with regards to our chronic diseases. As he explains, animal protein is associated with heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Here are a few earlier posts on the protein topic that you might find helpful:
Protein—There’s only one way not to get enough of it…(posted on 3-11-12) Virtually every whole plant food has at least some protein in it—some a lot more than others.
Where do you get your protein? Just another look at some answers to the question that I hear more than any others. It took a lot of “repetition” to learn the wrong information about protein, and it’s going to take a lot of “repetition” to set it aside for the scientifically proven truth.
Bill Clinton making a point about his “plant-based” diet to Wolf Blitzer on CNN. You can see this video on the Video tab of this website.
Where is Bill Clinton getting his protein these days? As you may know, back in the fall of 2010, our former president announced on CNN with Wolf Blitzer that he was now on a plant-based diet with “no meat and no dairy.” Not to lose weight, but to reverse heart disease. When a former president starts casting aside the nutritional “wisdom” of the USDA Food Pyramid in favor of a plant-based diet, it is time for you to start paying attention. You can see this 2-minute clip on the Video tab of this site.
Vitamin B-12, omega-3s; a few questions — Let me hear yours. Tony Gonzalez, all-pro tight end for the Atlanta Falcons is featured in this one. After reading The China Study a few years ago, he met with Dr. Campbell and shifted to a near 100% plant-based diet — and reportedly, he is now stronger than ever.
Michelle Obama…coming up short on healthy eating While Michelle is doing a lot of great things, she could be a much greater influence if she really understood what Bill Clinton now knows about a health-promoting plant-based diet.
“Academic freedom” in nutritional science…a scary story As you may know, medical doctors are not trained how to prevent or reverse disease in med school. They are taught how to treat symptoms, not causes; they are taught to diagnose, prescribe drugs, and conduct procedures. But, you would think that the nation’s elite schools of nutrition would be teaching the absolute best ways to promote our health with food. Unfortunately, not YET.
Humans “need” no animal products—EVER! (6-23-13). Many vegetarians continue to believe that they “need” to add some animal foods to their diets in order to make sure they get enough of all the essential nutrients. I do not believe that “any” animal products are necessary or desirable—and neither do my colleagues at the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. In our 4Leaf approach, we try to give people a little “wiggle room” in the interest of a broader acceptance of a “mostly whole plants” dietary regimen. We simply encourage everyone to derive the vast majority of their calories from whole plants.
Gotta love this cartoon. Do you think they are really worried that we’re not getting enough protein?
Protein 101. As you may know, protein is one of three macronutrients (with calories); the other two are fat and carbohydrate. Virtually all plants have some of all three — in just the right proportion for the human body. Animal foods only have protein and fat. If one eats a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, he or she will most assuredly get ALL of the three macronutrients that they need.
As all of the MD’s in our book will tell you, “The only way you will NOT get enough protein is if you don’t consume enough calories.” Judging from the ample waistlines in this country, that certainly doesn’t seem to be happening.
As for plant sources of protein, you might find the following chart helpful:
Another critical point is that the only animal protein we ever truly “need” is from our mother’s milk — which, by the way, only derives about 5% of it’s calories from protein. And this is during the time when our bodies are doubling in weight every few months. Now that we are adults, most Americans are getting over 10% of their calories from animal protein and Mother Nature is having her revenge by destroying our health.
What about fish? You’re probably thinking that you’ll want to continue eating fish so you can get those omega-3s. The problem is that along with those omega-3s, you’re also getting a whole lot of fat, cholesterol, pollutants—AND that animal protein that does your body no good. For more on this topic: FISH…the natural diet for humans? A “big picture” view
J. Morris Hicks enjoying the healthy “4-Leaf” lifestyle…on and off the water
Finally, Dr. Campbell says that the only protein problem in the western world is that people are getting far too much animal protein. What about too much plant protein? Science has shown that too much plant-based protein is not a problem; it’s also virtually impossible to get too much protein from plants.
If all this makes sense, you should kiss your protein worries goodbye, climb aboard the 4Leaf train, and eat all the whole plants you want – when you want.
The question most often heard by those of us who eat no meat
Gotta love this cartoon. Do you think they are really worried that we’re not getting enough protein? How about the kid with the drumstick and the bottle of milk.
The word protein is synonymous with meat in our western world, and it will probably be a very long time before the average person accepts the scientifically proven fact that animal protein in our diet is simply not “needed,” AND that it is downright harmful and arguably (according to the Webster definition) should be labeled “poison.”
“Hi, my name is Teri and I will be your server. Your choices of protein this evening are ribs, T-bone or salmon. Could I take your beverage order?”
In recent years, even after people have seen the light and have cut meat and dairy out of their diets, they still have this lingering fear (after many decades of brainwashing) that they’re not going to get enough protein from just the plants…maybe because people keep asking them the old protein question — every day. So, like Bill Clinton and others, they add a protein shake or eat some fish occasionally.
A friend who sells a high end line of personal products recently asked me to try her protein shakes. So I took them home, checked out the label, tasted one, then poured it down the drain after analyzing the contents. I wanted to be as courteous as possible with my feedback to her so I wrote her the following note:
Dear Mary, Thank you for giving me samples from your line of protein shakes. While they may help improve the health of a great many people, I have concluded that they are not right for me. As you know, I am committed to maximizing the percent of my calories from “whole plants” still in nature’s package. If I consumed your products on a regular basis, my percent of calories from whole plants would have to go down. Here is a summary of my thinking regarding protein shakes in general.
- First of all, I have no interest in increasing my consumption of protein any more than I want to increase my consumption of carbohydrates or fat, the other two macronutrients. Our body needs all three…and it gets just the right amount of each from our eating a variety of whole plants. Just like other herbivores in the wild, including the strongest animals in the world — elephants, horses, hippos, etc.
- Since your protein shakes are not whole plants, that means they’re not something that I would ever want to consume on a regular basis. For the 20% of my calories that are not whole plants (on our 4-Leaf Program);for me, those calories are already allocated to a combination of bread, pasta, cocktails, cookies and an occasional rich hors d’oeuvre in someone’s home.
- Both of the products you gave me have added sugars and added oils and I decided long ago to not consume ANY added sugars or oils on a regular basis — except for the occasional cookie “treat” that I mentioned above.
- The percent of calories from fat for both products is well over 20%. I strive to stay below 15%, Dr Esselstyn likes to see his heart-disease reversal patients get down to 10% of their calories from fat. The average American gets almost 40%.
- All protein shake products are based on the premise that we need more protein than we’re getting, especially if we have cut back on meat and dairy. This is simply not true. In The China Study, Dr. Campbell clearly showed that the ONLY problem with protein is that humans consume way too much of it….especially the protein from animals which promotes heart disease, cancer and many other health issues.
- Did you know that mother’s milk contains only 5% protein at the time when the fastest period of growth is taking place. Nowadays, most adults in this country are getting over 15% protein from animal foods and it’s literally killing us. The plant proteins, on the other hand, are not a problem, regardless of the quantity that we consume — according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell.Calorie for calorie, spinach and broccoli contain more protein than steak.
Although Bill Clinton credits Doctors Esselstyn, Ornish and Campbell with influencing him to shift to a near optimal diet so he could enable his body to “heal itself, ” he didn’t take their advice about protein. The lifetime of brainwashing on that topic apparently won out over those three prominent individuals that he credits with saving his life.
Still not convinced? Please visit our Protein Page which contains many more articles on this controversial topic.
If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com