The Protein Conundrum

By Jordan Miller; 

"Protein...protein...protein...gotta have that protein...". We have created an unfounded obsession over protein without any plausible explanation as to why. The word/concept has become so entrenched into many of our lives that it begins to infiltrate our subconscious. Most people who adhere to a plant based diet are often bombarded with the same questions - “Where do you get your protein” or “are you getting enough protein”? The basis for such questions is often linked or founded on the idea that meat or animal by-products are considered the primary, and sometimes the only sources of protein available to satisfy one’s protein needs. Nothing can be farther than the truth. Unfortunately, we have been convinced through expensive advertising campaigns and mainstream propaganda that this is so. By being over exposed to such rhetoric, complacency is bound to set in, creating with it, a large number of eager

Honestly, where is the logic? Whatever happened to listening to our bodies? Whatever happened to using sound reasoning? Why have we begun pre-occupying ourselves with figures and isolates so much? What ever happened to our fundamental way of thinking? We must re-acquaint ourselves to the cultural practices and humble traditions of the past if we wish to find the answers. In many cases, a holistic approach is often heeded.

In order to attain a proper understanding of protein, we must first define what it is, and second, we must identify its function. Simply put, protein, as defined by Wikipedia, states “Proteins (also known as polypeptides) are organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain and folded into a globular form.” As we can see, a protein is thus classified by the sum of its parts. These parts or “amino acids” should be considered then, the basis of our fundamental understanding of protein.

Proteins (amino acids) are necessary for the functioning of the body. They are needed for the maintenance and development or our muscles, skin, hair, and internal organs. It is certainly evident that our bodies would not function without these important nutrients. How much is really needed then? Dr. Thomas Lodi will provide further insight into this within the video embedded below.

The human body utilizes a total of 22 amino acids. Out of these 22 amino acids, 8 are essential. In other words, our bodies cannot produce them naturally. In this case, we must attain these amino acids through a proper diet.

Many people who consume a diet that is primarily meat based argue that meat is essential because it is a “complete protein” (in other words, all 8 essential amino acids are present). Granted, some meats, primarily those which have been raised on grass or natural food sources, do have this amino acid profile, however, most meats that are commercially raised on corn or animal by-products are certainly not worthy of being classified as a “complete protein”. You see, the protein found within the meat is a product of what the animal is eating. Grass, in this case, will provide the animal with the essential building blocks (amino acids) for manufacturing the protein. Consequently, the meat is as only as good as what the animal is consuming or what it is being fed.

Furthermore, what most people who consume a diet rich in meats and animal by-products fail to understand is that the process of cooking severely depletes both the macro-nutrient and micro-nutrient levels within the meat – nearly 50% of the protein is depleted and up to 80% of the micro-nutrients are destroyed. Essentially, most people consuming meat are eating “dead” food. In other words, they are not consuming a “complete protein” as previously concluded. In order for them to do so, they would have to eat meat raw (assuming, of course, the meat was grass fed). I think most of you would agree that this is not all that appealing. After all, we are designed to eat a diet primarily of plant based foods.

Click here to access Dr. Thomas Lodi’s video on protein above

As Dr. Thomas Lodi explains, our digestion system is one that is designed to break down and assimilate mostly plant matter. Our jaws move vertically and horizontally – much like herbivores in the animal kingdom. If we were designed to eat primarily meat, our bodies would have been created much differently – like a dog or a lion (suited with a shorter intestinal tract and the ability to only move our jaw vertically). The overarching concept here is to follow a diet that is synonymous with the way we have been designed.

Certainly, meat has its roots in many ancient cultures; however, its consumption is limited. When eaten, it is usually in small quantities. As we see with the Hunza people, they generally eat meat during times of celebration; however, there diet, for the most part, is plant based. As a result of this, they generally live beyond the age of 100, and in certain cases there have been reports where some have lived well beyond this age (145)! Another important point to stress among the Hunza’s is that disease of any kind is virtually unknown.

Essentially, we must exercise logic when experimenting with food. Proteins or amino acids -as they are better defined – are present in many of the foods we eat today. When consumed in their constituent parts –as present in most whole, plant based foods - our bodies have the ability to assimilate the amino acids much more efficiently. On the other hand, when one consumes meat, the digestive system struggles to assimilate the amino acids because it is taxed with having to break down the protein (the animal has created) in its constituent parts (amino acids). In other words, plant based sources of protein (vegetables, greens, legumes, nuts and seeds) are a far more superior option for satisfying our “protein requirements” since the amino acids present within these sources are much more bio-available.

Click here to access the same video above from Tim Van Orden on the protein myth

As Dr. Thomas Lodi noted, in order to satisfy our “protein needs” we only need to consume a daily diet which consists of approx. 3-5% protein. Therefore, a diet in fresh whole organic foods with very little meat and animal bi-products is encouraged.

True success is finding a balanced diet. Break yourself free of the rhetoric and let your instincts guide your reason.

Your question: Do you think it is necessary to regularly eat meat to acquire adequate protein intake? (Post your comments below)


About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.


  1. So many truths to this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Which Nuts are best unsoaked. I know the best is to soak nuts. Somtimes its good just have some, to not get big cravings. Or are seeds better.

  4. Thanks for your comment Goosebee. Naturally, we must always practice moderate consumption with any nuts or seeds. Generally speaking, you still can eat un-soaked nuts or seeds, however everyone has a particular threshold when it comes to their body's ability to breakdown phytic acid. I would say to limit your intake to a couple of handfuls of nuts or seeds per day (soaked or un-soaked; otherwise, always listen to your body. Have a beautiful day! Jordan & Kyla


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