Did you know the older, larger, and more mature a bean grows, the more protein it has? Mature roasted soybeans have the most protein, with 39.6 grams of protein per 100-gram serving.

How does Animal protein compare to plant-based protein?

Hundreds of scientific studies reveal there is quite a difference as to how the body responds to animal protein versus plant based protein. 

Many large animals eat only plants.

It is important to note, many large animals eat only plants for their nutritional needs and require no consumption of animal products to survive, stay strong and healthy. For example, cows weigh between 1000 and 1800 lbs., eat grass hay, alfalfa hay, grains and corn. The natural diet of the horse, who weighs between 900 and 1300 lbs., is pasture grass, hay and tender plants. These animals are both large and strong. Their plant-based diet provides all the nutrients they need to grow, repair damaged cells and maintain muscle mass. They don’t need to eat animal protein to provide amino acids. (As an interesting side note, their waste products can be utilized as fertilizer in the food garden.)

Pigs eat nearly everything.

Pigs, on the other hand dine on a wide array of animals and plants. Tiny mammals, snails, birds, insects, insect larvae, crayfish, reptiles, earthworms and amphibians. They occasionally consume young mammal livestock, such as rabbits and deer. Pigs also prey on livestock, such as sheep, goats and cows, including those that are frail due to sickness. Hogs sometimes scavenge and munch on the remains of animals killed earlier by others. Although not meat, hogs also eat animal dung.

The waste products from pigs are not safe to use as fertilizer in food gardens. Ask yourself why not? Think about this for a second and you’ll understand why. If pigs eat meat that has been dead for a while, it may have started to decompose and already contain deadly bacteria. The poop pigs eat, may also contain deadly bacteria. Therefore, the risk of contracting food borne bacteria from pig waste is not recommended as a fertilizer for food, as the bacteria may seep into the plant and transfer to any person eating the plant. 

Furthermore, the same deadly bacteria risk can transfer to humans who eat pig flesh.

The risky business of eating pig flesh.

An additional noteworthy topic regarding pork involves the risk on contracting trichinosis. Although only about 0.125% of all slaughtered pigs are infected, this still represents about 40 million potential meal exposures each year because of the huge production of domestic pork in this country.

Raw, or undercooked meat is the principal vehicle for Trichinella infection in humans. The larvae do not survive effective cooking, and properly cooked pork and other meats present a negligible risk of infection. However, the larvae may survive in raw cured meats and some Trichinella species larvae are not killed by freezing. Therefore lightly processed and frozen pork or wild game products may still carry the risk of infection.

Once consumed, the larvae can become worms and migrate from the intestines to the muscles. Symptoms are usually so mild that the diagnosis is missed, but can include stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, eyelid swelling, and fever. Muscle pain due to the inflammation caused by chemicals the worms secrete can appear as early as one to two days after ingestion of contaminated meat. Later symptoms appear within two to eight weeks, when the worms have migrated into the muscles. Breathing may be difficult if the diaphragm muscle is involved. The heart, brain, eyes, and lungs may be involved in more serious infections. Most symptoms disappear within three months, but vague muscle pains may last for longer periods of time. Severe infections may cause death.

The interaction of the Trichinella organism and its infected host is highly complex. The worm secretes a variety of chemicals that induce changes in the host cells. Some of these changes allow the worm to migrate from the gut to the muscles. Other chemicals cause the muscle cells to produce a capsule around the worm. Still others cause an inflammatory reaction in muscles.

According to the World Health Organization, the global prevalence of trichinosis is about 10 million infected individuals. Most of these are in the developing world where meat inspection and controls are absent and cooking practices are less standardized. In the United States, there has been an average of 12 cases per year. Despite a century of veterinary public health efforts to control and eradicate it, however, trichinosis has experienced a dramatic re-emergence worldwide over the past 10 to 20 years. 

Although animal flesh, eggs and milk are sources of protein which we frequently utilize, they carry many more risks than do plant-based sources. And ironically, many of the animals we consume for their protein are themselves herbivores.

 

(Part 4 continues the analysis of plant versus animal protein.)