The Rich Roll Podcast – Kathy Freston is the Queen of Clean Protein

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Intro
Kathy’s new book – Clean Protein
  • Canvases all the major issues: most notably the environmental and health concerns of animal protein (it has vegan recipes too!)
  • Protein is a national obsession
  • What is clean protein?
    • You have to consider what comes along with the protein – things like cholesterol, saturated fat, drug residues, pathogens (E.coli and Salmonella)
    • You also have to consider what the raising/processing of the protein does to land and water, how does it alter climate change?
    • Just like we’re moving more towards clean energy …. “If we want to sustain our life on earth, we have to pivot away from the way we are producing protein now”
  • Did anything surprise Kathy when writing this book?
    • She didn’t realize how big of an issue protein was and just how much animal protein we are consuming/the massive fallout from it
    • This makes it all the more important to talk about and address it
    • The book is a tool for activism – if someone doubts the fact that don’t need a ton of protein, give them this
what really is protein?
  • An assemblage of 20 amino acids, 9 of which are the essential amino acids our bodies cannot synthesize on their own, forcing us to get them from food
  • Complete Protein – having all 20 amino acids
    • Beans, grains, vegetables cover them
    • “If you eat a diverse diet over the course of a day, a few days, even a week, you’re getting all the amino acids you need”
    • People are concerned they won’t get complete protein, and it’s a myth, you don’t have to worry about it
  • There’s a myth that animal protein is a superior protein because it’s complete, and protein derived from plants (vegetable protein) is inferior because it’s incomplete
  • The recommended daily intake of protein is 0.8g/kg of body weight – for Rich this is around 75g of protein a day
    • The World  Health Organization estimates it as a lower number
    • “You really don’t need as much protein as you think you need” – Kathy recommends around 48 grams per day for woman, and 52-54 grams for men
    • If you’re pregnant, you might need more
    • Many people have concerns over raising their children on a vegan/plant-based diet for fear that they won’t get enough protein to grow, but it’s just not true
  • Plant protein is healthier for the land, water, and you
The Paradigm has to shift
  • The way we’re raising our kids now, kids are more overwight/obese than ever – kids are getting type 2 diabetes at a very young age
  • “Do we want to keep raising our kids the way they’ve historically been raised? So they get addicted to this fatty/rich taste of dairy and meat.”
  • 1 out of every 3 people dies of heart disease
  • By 2050, it’s estimated that 30% of Americans will be pre-diabetic
  • Check out the documentary Cowspiracy – it will show you what really goes into generating the foods we are obsessed with
  • “We need a new way forward, and the way forward is right in front of our faces – it’s eating plant-based”
  • Kathy is a fan of meat alternatives like veggies burgers/sauage
    • They’re far cleaner than the animal based burgers
    • Veggie burgers don’t have cholesterol, very little saturated fat, no drug residues, and it didn’t cause environmental havoc to make
  • “Perfection is the enemy of the good” – Victor Hugo
    • It’s very hard to eat healthy in many parts of the country, it’s a lot easier in big cities
      • These smaller remote areas only have fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Wendys
    • “We have to look for the better, and not hold out for perfection” – Eat clean when you can, a little is better than nothing
Alternative sources of protein
  • Where did the myth come from that plants don’t have protein?
    • It’s vested interest
    • In order to sell a product (animal protein/food), they have to sell this story
    • Bodybuilding culture also led to the idea we need all this protein
  • The reason you see ads such as one from Pizza Hut showing cheese in the crust, or one from Taco Bell for a burrito with extra cheese..
    • There are government dollars that are funneled towards these ad agencies/corporations to market dairy food products
  • “There’s a lot of shotty science out there, and there’s also a lot of half right science, and that’s the most confusing – when there’s a kernel of truth, but the rest of it is wanky”
    • The government can fund studies designed to show what they want to show
    • This confuses the consumer
  • Where does Kathy get her protein?
    • Lots of beans, lentils (1 cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein – 1 egg has 6 grams of protein)
    • Hummus as a snack
    • Lentil soups, black bean burgers
  • Rich – “We need to shift the discussion away from protein and on to fiber. People are not protein deficient, they’re eating too much protein.”
    • 90% of Americans do not get enough fiber
    • Fiber is a miracle component of food – it acts like a scrub brush going through the body cleaning out the gunk and toxicity, keeps you feeling full, and  balances blood glucose levels
  • Plants have fiber and no cholesterol, animal protein has zero fiber and lots of cholesterol/saturated fat
  • If you can afford organic, buy it
    • Stay away from the Dirty Dozen – the environmental working groups annual list of plant foods that you should stay away from, if grown conventionally
      • Strawberries are the worst – don’t eat them if they’re not organic
Wellness/well-being is not a singular sector of the pie
  • Individual health is part of it, but you also have to consider how the way you eat affects the climate (land, water, trees)
  • Look at your diet and determine not only how it affects you, but also what it does for the environment
  • The United Nations determined livestock causes 18% of all global warming gases, in addition to land degradation
    • This means it causes more problems for the climate than ALL the transportation sources put together (trucks, cars, planes)
  • Look for a diet that’s good for your body, and good to the animals/the climate – consider the whole picture
  • “We have to shift demand, and that begins with our own personal choices” – Rich
The difficulty of sticking to a plant-based diet
  • The social structures make it difficult for people to eat a plant-based or any other healthy diet
  • Kathy recommends getting a supporting community around you
  • Do the best you can – but don’t be the person at a restaurant hounding a waiter about whether or not there’s eggs in the bread
  • At social events, Kathy might bring some Beyond Meat or Gardein and just pop it in the oven
clean meat
  • Memphis Meats  – Kathy hasn’t tried it, but she definitely would – “It’s not healthy, but it’s clean”
  • Clean meat is lab grown meat
  • “When clean meat gets up to speed, there won’t be a need for animals, and that’s going to be a game changer”
    • In the future, perhaps we’ll look back and see how barbaric it was that we raised/tortured animals for food
  • If you want to get grossed out, google factory farmed meat –  warning: slightly graphic
Type A Personalities and fun
  • Check out the documentary,  Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond – a doc. about Jim Carey during the course of making The Man on the Moon
    • Watching this has made Rich realize how he has at times, undervalues the things that are the most important
    • Having fun is a challenge for Type A people, it’s a challenge to set work aside and take a break
    • “Ideas come during the daydreaming, when you’re not looking for them” 
final thoughts
  • Don’t make it hard on yourself, start small
    • Try a plant-based pizza if you’re used to eating a pizza with meat
    • Try a veggie burrito
    • Try drinking more smoothies
  • “Don’t worry about doing things perfectly. Lean into it, get started, crowd out the old stuff with cleaner versions of the proteins, and you’ll find your way”

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