I am surprised to find many textbooks on biochemistry and nutrition still using phrases to describe vegetarian and vegan diets as lacking in ‘essential’ or ‘complete amino acids’; which are the building blocks of proteins.
As far back as 1994, Young published the information in the table below, but the majority of textbooks still use the word ‘incomplete’ to describe proteins from vegetable sources. This may be appropriate in some cases where dietary sources of protein are limited, but it is not so in most developed Western countries.
Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, none of the current recommendations for protein intake allows for, or considers, the environmental impact of meat consumption.
Plant Proteins in Human Nutrition—myths and realities
|Plant proteins are not complete;
they lack certain amino acids
|Most dietary combinations of proteins are complete; certain food proteins may be low in specific amino acids.|
|Plant proteins are lower in quality
than animal proteins.
|Protein quality depends not only on the source but also on the dietary mixture of plant proteins; plant proteins can be as high in quality as animal proteins.|
|Proteins from different plant foods
must be carefully mixed and eaten together in the same meal.
|Proteins do not have to been eaten at the same meal; the mixture over a day is important for nutritional value.|
|Animal procedures can provide good indices of the human nutritional
value of food proteins.
|Animal procedures may underestimate plant protein quality for humans and have overestimated human requirements|
|Plant proteins are difficult to digest.||Depending on the source and method of food preparation, plant proteins can be easy to digest.|
|People cannot meet protein needs with plant proteins alone.||Plant protein or animal protein can provide adequate protein for human needs.|
|Plant proteins are lacking in nutritional value because they are not balanced.||Plant proteins do not create a practical problem in terms of balance; possible imbalances are observed in amino acid supplementation.|
Table adapted from: Young VR, Pellett PL. Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994; 59(suppl):1203S–1212S.
The 2009 American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets says:
“Plant protein can meet requirements when a variety of plant foods is consumed and energy needs are met. Research indicates that an assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all essential amino acids’’.
If you go to the USDA Database Standard Reference 25 and look up the analysis of any one whole plant food, you will see that all the amino acids exist in the food.
Many people still believe they can only obtain ‘proper’ protein from animal sources and the repercussion of this on the environment, our health and animal welfare are extremely serious.
As Christians we have a duty of care for Gods world and all his creatures. Tear fund are just one of many organisations who are now campaigning to inform the public:
Meat is resource intensive. Producing it and getting it to us uses more land, water, fertiliser and fuel than most other types of food. Raising livestock causes 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Using crops that could feed people to feed animals instead pushes food prices beyond the reach of the poorest in some countries.’
Creation Care Team
Writing this piece in the aftermath of the US Election and its potentially surprising result, I am aware of a growing tide of uncertainty amongst many of us, and even fear as to what the future holds. We are facing uncertain times and that can be a worrying place to be.
BUT… as Christians we have an anchor to hold on to in the storm (Hebrews 6:19), we know the love of God that holds true in all circumstances, and right now we need to cling to that and be a shining light to our world more than ever.
I have been quite shocked at some of the aftermath of both the EU Referendum and last week’s US Election. Friends criticising and turning on each other, school kids bullying those who were once their friends, and hate crime dramatically increasing.
I read this from Kris Vallotton, an American Pastor this week:
Fear has a way of transforming nice, normal people into nasty, mean souls. Fear is a fiction author, writing stories to trouble the hearts of it’s victims. Fear turns discernment into suspicion and perverts the motives of men. Prisons are filled with good people who drunk from the fountain of fear and found their souls incarcerated in its clutches.
Strong stuff. And true – fear is not our friend, it distorts how we see things like a dark and twisted lens over our eyes. The truth is much harder to see when our vision is damaged. But you know what? The bible says that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18) – a biblical truth that we can cling to.
And at times like this we do need some absolute truths to keep us strong, we need to know that there is hope for our future. Many people around us will be questioning, looking for answers, trying to make sense of things they don’t understand, and this is truly an opportunity for us to be a visible witness to the unshakeable truth of who Jesus Christ is. Jesus gives us a hope and a firm foundation, even when all around us seems unstable
All of us right now have a choice as to what we cling to, and to how we live our lives. Whatever we feel, however we voted, we can disagree – in love, we can stand with the marginalised and hurting and we can also be a beacon of hope in the darkness.
It was a cool autumn evening, a group of people had gathered in the home of Deryk Carver, a brewer, in Black Lion Street in Brighthelmstone a fishing hamlet connected to the county town of Lewes by the Jugg’s way.
They had gathered as a small house group to study the Bible and read the English prayer book. This would seem to our eyes an innocuous gathering of citizens.
However the year was 1554 Mary Tudor was on the throne and married Phillip of Spain in that year.
She had restored the Catholic church and forbidden the reading of the bible in English in fact even owning a bible was punishable by burning. So when the Sheriff of Sussex’s men broke in they were caught red handed . Bound and taken to Newgate prison in London, he was interrogated many times by Edmund Bonner, bishop of London and eventually condemned to death. He was brought back to Lewes and a stake with a barrel attached was prepared outside the Starr inn. His bible was thrown in followed by Carver himself and faggots were piled around, before the fire was lit he addressed the crowd.
“Dear brethren and sisters, witness to you all that I am come to seal with my blood Christ’s Gospel, because I know that it is true. It hath been truly preached here in Lewes and in all parts of England but now it is not. Because I will not deny God’s Gospel and be obedient to man’s laws I am condemned to die!”
His dying prayer as the flames were upon him was, “O Lord my God, Thou hast written, he that will not forsake wife, children house, and all that ever he hath, and take up his cross and follow Thee, is not worthy of Thee. But Thou Lord knowest that I have forsaken all to come unto Thee! Lord, have mercy upon me, for unto Thee I commend my spirit and my soul doth rejoice in Thee”.
Carver threw his bible out into the crowd and it was not returned. There was a very old bible stained with blood said to be his, however this was a so called “breeches” bible. So called because of the verse in Genesis where it says that they sewed leaves to form breeches to cover their nakedness. It was first printed in Geneva in 1560 several years after Carver’s death.
Carvers bible would have been the work of William Tyndale and fellow translators Miles Coverdale and John Rogers who edited the texts after Tyndale was himself martyred by burning in 1536 .
Tyndale used the Greek version of the texts which had been compiled by Erasmus of Rotterdam who had edited a parallel compilation of the best Latin and Greek manuscripts which was far superior to the rather corrupted Latin Vulgate which was used at the time. He used the Hebrew bible and lexicon to translate portions of the Old Testament. Tyndale was concerned that there was a lack of biblical knowledge among both clergy and laity and swore to a fellow cleric, “if God spared him life, ere many years he would cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of Scripture than he did”
We owe Tyndale an enormous debt for his scholarship, determination, and sheer bravery which saw the bible translated into English.
In Lewes we commemorate the brave men and women who read and were transformed by his work. They came to a living faith in Jesus having read His words and story in their native English and were willing to follow Him even into the flames, remembering like Carver the words from Wycliffe’s bible :
Matthew 16:24-26Wycliffe Bible (WYC)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any man will come after me, deny he himself, and take his cross, and follow me;
25 for he that will make his life safe, shall lose it; and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.
26 For what profiteth it to a man [Soothly what profiteth to a man], if he win all the world, and suffer impairing of his soul? or what (ex)changing shall a man give for his soul?
We are desperate for praise, acceptance and encouragement. It is the desire to have these things that fuels the desire for celebrity, no matter the cost to personal life or emotional health.
For this reason, there’s even something about bidding for items on eBay that is deeply satisfying. Whether it’s the adrenaline rush when the final moments approach of trying to get the last bid in, or the achievement felt because a bargain has been bought, it’s exciting! Without a doubt, however, the best thing about it is the e-mail into the inbox that states ‘You have won!’ when the bid is successful. Never has it been so effortless to win!
Similarly, there’s something very pleasing about that moment when the self-checkout stalls in the supermarket and the supervisor comes over to help and presses the button that signals that he or she has given approval. Never has approval been so easy to come by! But why are these tiny triumphs rewarding at all when they are so insignificant? Is it because our sense of self-worth takes such a daily battering from the media which tells us how to dress and where to holiday and which car to drive and how much to weigh that any victory seems valuable?
Last Sunday, the sermon was controversially titled ‘Stop giving your life to Jesus’ and the message was very straightforward: life is full of dreams and disappointment; ambitions and anguish; goals and guilt, but our relationship with Jesus should not conform to this pattern. The Bible passage (John 19 v 19-30) describes the final moment when God himself died on the cross. His sacrifice was motivated entirely by love, it was eternal and ultimate, and there is nothing we can do to add to it or take away from it. Of course, it’s foolish to compare this to the e-mail declaring ‘You have won!’ or the checkout saying it approves. Equally, how can this compare to the acceptance of the general public on a reality TV show or even the approbation of a parent, friend or partner? It should go without saying that the unconditional love and acceptance of the God of the universe should fulfil all our needs.
The Christian journey can occasionally feel like hard work. While it is absolutely right that we should aim for intimacy in our relationship with Jesus, that we should pray and read our Bible, that we should show love to others, when we are weary and burdened and guilt-ridden anyway the demands of a Christian life can seem too much. And then we fall into the trap of forgetting the grace that Jesus offers – the salvation that comes without any demands from us in return. Sometimes we need reminding that when Jesus said “It is finished”, then it was completed once and for all. Our goodness and our holiness, while important in our walk with God and our witness to others, do not determine our salvation. That has already been achieved.
There on the cross, as described in the passage from John, Jesus died for our sins – paid the price for everything we do wrong for the rest of time, took our punishment willingly and intentionally.
That was what was finished as Jesus died. And, while this is the foundation for our faith, sometimes we just need reminding that it is that simple!
For further reading on Jesus’s sacrificial love on the cross try Isaiah 53, Romans 5:5 and 8:38, Ephesians 2:4 – 10.