How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: The Case For Veganism, Part II (And A GIVEAWAY!)
Because we’ve been sold the idea that high animal protein diets are healthy, it’s difficult to allow ourselves to consider the fact that too much protein — specifically, too much animal protein — can actually harm our bodies. But mounting evidence (see resources below) indicates that meat and high-protein diets can hurt our bones; that these proteins are calcium leaching. That is, they literally draw calcium from our bones, which contributes to breaks, fractures, and osteoporosis.
In studies observing the eating habits and bone health of women who ate animal protein and women who ate vegan diets, vegan women were found to experience less bone loss than their meat-eating counterparts. It’s theorized that eating meat causes a temporary acidosis of the body, due to the sulfurous compounds in the protein. In order for the body to return itself to a balanced pH level, the body borrows calcium phosphate from our bones. This corrects the acidic state, but over time, weakens the bones and continues depleting them of their calcium stores. This theory may sound valid, but many meat-eaters worry about switching to plant-based diets for fear of not being able to acquire enough protein.
The fact is, people who do eat meat are actually taking in much more protein than they realize, many times. This is because they’re only taking into consideration the protein grams in the animal product they’re consuming. What they’re neglecting to realize is that the potatoes they’re eating with the meat, as well as the broccoli, lettuce, carrots, peppers, all contain protein! Take for example one cup of cooked peas (technically a legume): that’s about the serving size you’d eat with dinner, right? Well, that one-cup of peas contains approximately nine grams of protein! Nine grams!, (Though, if you’re anything like me, one cup is nothing and I’d eat the whole three cups that came in the bag). Or, how about some broccoli? — seven grams of protein in about two cups. What about raisins instead? — Five whole grams in one cup. Or how about our new favorite gluten-free, grain-free substitute — coconut?: 10 grams for 5 ounces. Oh and let’s not forget that’s before the rice (5 grams in one cup) and beans (15 grams in one cup), and cheese (11 grams per ounce of Parmesan), or god-forbid… soy! (68 grams for one cup!), that we’re eating with the chicken breast (35 grams for 4 oz.) or steak (42 grams for 6 oz.!) . That’s alotta exclamation points.
Those plant-based grams really add up, considering the recommended daily intake of protein for the average female ranges anywhere from 30 — 60 grams, depending on whom you speak with. The verdict is still out on one set number of grams of protein — no one can exactly agree; there are numerous methods that claim to properly calculate protein needs, based upon weight, caloric intake, age, sex, and so on.
Remember, these calculations are only if we’re eating “clean foodÃ¢â‚¬; meaning food that contains no additives — just natural and unprocessed food. Consider the thousands of processed foods that have added corn or soy. The protein total just keeps going up and up with each addition of that familiar grain or legume.
For the next week, I want to challenge you to total up the number of non-animal grams of protein you eat everyday, with the help of the Nutrition Data site. I think you’ll be surprised just how much protein you’re actually eating, even before you get to the meat and poultry. I’ll count mine each day as well and give you a re-cap next Sunday.
So maybe the real question isn’t how much protein we need each day, but instead, “is the protein I’m eating supplying my body with the essential amino acids that it cannot make on its own; And, “can a vegan or vegetarian diet supply these? Vegetable-based diets sometimes are said to not supply the “complete proteins; that animal products do, but perhaps there’s more to this story. L-tyrosine, another amino acid, is often said to be crucial in thyroid function. I’ll delve into amino acids (and how they relate to protein and thyroids) next week.
Oh, and before you leave to ponder all this, did I mention we’re running a giveaway contest this week? Well, yes, we are! — a healthy, nutritious giveaway! How exciting! Here’s what to do: in the comments section, list two topics you’d like to see discussed on “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s AssÃ¢â‚¬ and (very briefly) why those topics interest you. If you tell us, in your comment, that you linked this article on your Facebook, Twitter, Digg, or StumbleUpon you’ll get an extra entry! Also, if you email the article to five friends, you’ll get another entry! Maximize your chances to win, folks!
And just what exactly will you be entered to win????
Drum roll please…
A jar of organic coconut oil from our good friends at Nutiva! You’re familiar with Nutiva, right? They’re a fabulous organic natural foods company who makes the health of their consumers top priority. They’re producers of organic, non-GMO superfoods like hemp, flax, and coconut products. Nutiva’s coconut oil is unbleached, unfermented, unhydrogenated, unrefined, oh and the list goes on, so you can read more about it here.
We will pick a winner at random next Saturday night (the contest will close at midnight on Saturday) and will announce the winner via “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s AssÃ¢â‚¬ on Sunday.
(Note: please remember that coconut oil is thyroid-stimulating. Though it has redeeming, non-thyroid-related health properties that would benefit anyone, hypers should take caution and be aware.)
- Cornell University: “Eating less meat may help reduce osteoporosis risk, studies show”
- BBC News and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Meat ‘bad for bone health“
- The United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: “Boning Up on Osteoporosis“
Until Next Week,
Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com