Far from Nature

Dear Health Conscious Reader,

You know I believe that you should imitate our native ancestors and make a variety of protein the center of all your meals.

But it’s not ok to gobble down just any kind of protein. The type you eat is important, too. Or maybe I should say, the nature of the protein.

You see, protein is damaged by heat. You “denature” protein when you heat it for too long, or when you cook it in very high heat. The nature of the protein changes.

This is what happens when they process or “cure” meat. In fact, it’s how they sterilize medical supplies and instruments. They heat them to an extreme, which denatures proteins in any bacteria that may be there, destroying them.

Pre-cooked and pre-packaged meats like hot dogs, smoked meats, lunch meats, bacon and breakfast sausage, pepperoni and lox, and especially soy proteins, are all “cured” the same way.

They’ve had their proteins sterilized. Their nutritional value has been ruined. And they’re not what I would consider healthy. And when your body breaks down these cured proteins, a byproduct can combine with the nitrites used in meat processing to make nitrosamines.

There are over 300 different forms of nitrosamines, and over 90 percent are cancer-causing.

So when it comes to eating protein, I recommend following these two steps:

Step 1: Eat protein from a variety of natural sources. That can be anything from eating a raw egg every morning like my father would, to having a scoop of grass-fed whey protein from a pure and trusted source.

Besides having undenatured protein that will not form nitrosamines, they are the most bio-available kinds of protein. The least bio-available are vegetable proteins from beans, for example. But those are still better for you than protein from cured or processed meat.

Milk also has protein, but pasteurized milk protein is denatured. Whole, raw milk still has its proteins intact.

Stick with meat from grass fed animals like beef, buffalo and elk. Also, eat wild-caught fish, free-range chicken and turkey, and cage-free whole eggs. These are the purest forms of protein you can get, and have the most nutritional value.

  • I get my grass-fed beef from U.S. Wellness Meats, a group of family-owned organic farms that sell high-quality meat from animals raised in their natural environment.
  • Another good source is the Ted Slanker Ranch
  • For an alphabetical listing of pasture farms near you, visit Eat Wild and click on “shop for local” on the left hand side.

Step 2: Take the nutrients that fight nitrosamines: vitamins C and E. Scientists found vitamin C’s protective power by accident. Researchers were studying nitrosamine formation caused by a drug they were testing. When they went to use a new batch, no nitrosamines were formed. They found that the new batch had been made with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as a preservative, but the original batch had not. Vitamin E has a similar effect.1

Studies show vitamin C works by disarming free radicals before they can damage your DNA and stimulate tumor growth.

When you add vitamin E, you increased the protection of vitamin C. As it turns out vitamin E is a "synergistic" nutrient. It needs other antioxidants to work best. It’s prevention at its finest.

Besides fruit, other food sources of vitamin C are bright-colored peppers, and peppermint leaves. The spices thyme and parsley have a lot of vitamin C, too. You can add them to any soup, stew or salad.

The most important food sources for vitamin E are seeds, nuts and eggs. Dry roasted sunflower seeds and almonds are the natural sources with the most vitamin E.

I recommend 1,500 mg of vitamin C twice a day if you’re currently healthy, and 400 IU of vitamin E every day.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1 Scanlan, Richard A., Ph.D., "Nitrosamines and Cancer," Linus Pauling Inst. lpi.oregonstate.edu