Heather’s bi-weekly column on all things plant-based health related - Exclusively in the daily mirror.
Campaigner and food writer Heather Mills on animal vs plants, the protein myth, for a healthier happier you...
Ever since becoming a vegan, the number one question I get asked is where to get protein on a plant-based diet. It's important to get protein regularly as we don't store it for long enough in our bodies, but it doesn't have to come from an animal.
Professor Colin Campbell, who co-wrote the international bestseller ‘The China Study’, spent 30 years analysing why we have so much illness in the western world compared to that seen in the Far East. He concluded that it was all down to the excess meat and dairy we consume, which contributes to heart disease and high cholesterol among other diseases.
Many meat and dairy lovers would struggle with a healthy diet of nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and tofu. That's why I developed over 540 meat, dairy and fish alternatives to satisfy many palates in 24 countries, packing many of them with more protein than meat and dairy.
Life these days is crazily busy, so if we have to resort to a fast food diet we need to make it as healthy as possible with tasty alternatives to burgers and pizzas.
And the good news is you'll crave less and less of these as your body goes through the transition. I know this for a fact from when I donated Elm worth of foods to feed a healthier diet to poverty stricken families living in the Bronx. Over the years we saw huge improvements with Type 2 diabetes being reversed in three months. Also, Type 1 sufferers had to use less insulin on a healthy plant-based diet, minimising the risk of limb amputations in later years, it even reduced eczema and asthma amongst other ailments. With the Hunts Point Alliance for Children we created rooftop gardens so the kids could grow vegetables to eat alongside their Vbites Vegan Burgers, transitioning to 90% whole food products within one year. This was way back in 2006. Now, new meat alternatives can surpass many animal and fish-based proteins. Plant-based products are also more alkaline in the body whereas meat is more acidic. In my sports career I'd have vitamin B12 injections in my bootie, but if you don't want to look like a water sprinkler I'd recommend taking a daily vitamin B 12 capsule or liquid drops. Aside from this - and omega-3 from an algae-based source - there is very little else you will need on a plant-based diet. Unlike the multitude of vitamins so many carnivores are readily gobbling.