Where do you get your protein? And other absurd questions

This is part 2 of a guest post series by Marty The Health Guy. To read the first blog post: changing the discussion click here. Catch Marty The Health Guy on stage this Saturday, October 25 from 10:30-11:30 am at VegFest London. For more information on Marty's talk, click here.

Where do you get your protein? And other absurd questions
by Marty The Health Guy 

As a vegan or vegetarian, I’m sure at one point or another someone has felt the altruistic need to ask you, “Soooooo, where do you get your protein from?” Or maybe try and enlighten you with, “I believe that humans are meant to eat meat!” These and a long list of other questions and statements of ‘fact’ are intended to help you see the errors of your ways. But if you’re anything like me, these questions drive you crazy, not for the perceived anti-carnivore sentiments that all meat-eaters accuse vegetarians and vegans of, but because these questions and assertions are light on fact and heavy on their own personal validation. 

There are already many wonderful articles, blogs and research papers on the long, long list of plant-based protein choices to bother answering that one again (check out this awesome info-graphic from Brendan Brazier: http://myvega.com/vega-life/vega-blog/best-plant-based-protein-sources-infographic/).

So instead I want to quickly look at the lifespan and statistical health of individuals who choose a plant-based lifestyle and quickly smack-down the absurdity of the “I believe that humans are meant to eat meat!” assertion. We need to look no further than the residents of Okinawa, Japan who have the longest life expectancy of any Japanese, and likely the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world. After a 30-year study of more than 600 Okinawan centenarians, they discovered that their secret was simple: a low-calorie plant-based diet of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy. 

And in stark contrast, a Harvard study published April/2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine directly ties meat consumption to a shorter mortality. Looking for statistical links between meat consumption and cause of death a team of Harvard researchers scrutinized over 120,000 men and women and discovered that the people in the study who ate the most red meat tended to die younger, and more significantly died more-often from cardiovascular disease and cancer. These same people also tended to weigh more, exercise less, and were more prone to smoking and increased alcohol consumptions than those in the study who ate a more plant-based lifestyle. And even when the researchers compensated for the effects of unhealthy lifestyle, mortality and meat remained associated. The study concluded that each additional daily serving of red meat increased risk of death by 13%. The impact rose to 20% if the serving was processed, as in food items like hot dogs, bacon, and cold cuts. 

So this begs the question, why do seemingly reasonable people make such ridiculous statements? Well, in this particular case I say the answer lies in the question itself: “I believe that humans are meant to eat meat.”  Removing the oxymoronic contradiction of belief vs. fact, you need not dig too deeply to expose the self-serving agenda inherent in almost all these types of ‘arguments’, Simply put: People will believe anything that validates and justifies their personal behaviour.  

I want to eat meat, so therefore I will ‘believe’ that’s it’s right. I’ve often compared people’s personal belief about their food choices with a religious zealotry. I know that may sound extreme, but after owning and operating a very successful personal fitness and nutrition centre for over a decade, you’d be amazed how many people over the years tried to convince me (and themselves) that bacon was good for them!  

And this gets to the heart of my sermon on October 25 at 10:30am (shameless plug, I know) of why it’s so important that we all Change The Discussion & Start Examining The Truth About What Our Bodies Actually Need & Why A Plant-Based Diet Is Essential To Our Personal & Global Future. 

Like I’ve said before, it’s not my place to judge your choices – but if you’re going to hold those choices out as ‘fact’, when they’re really just self-serving agenda, than all bets are off!


Marty ‘The Health Guy’ Menard



Resources and links to studies references in blog:

Harvard Study: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2012/June/cutting-red-meat-for-a-longer-life

Okinawa Study: