The Protein Obsession

In 1973 I came across a book which changed my life, it was called Health Secrets from Europe.  By the time I finished reading it, I was convinced to become a total vegetarian,  Friends and family warned me that I was risking my health by not eating fish, meat or poultry. Well, I learned differently. In 8 years I was in the best condition of my life. In 1981 I did my first marathon. I ran 4 hours and 25 minutes non-stop; and for most of the run felt like I was flying.

At the time I did this marathon, I was 47 years old. I was in top condition, after eating a vegetarian diet and running for six solid months on Connecticut roads.  I was training six days a week. Three days working out in a gym and three days outside running. There is a lot of greenery in Connecticut and the air was very clean. Running on country roads provides one with lots of oxygen from the trees and bushes..

What was my diet like at that time? I was eating lots of raw salads, drinking carrot juice and eating an abundance of fruit. The only supplement I used was spirulina.    I put a heaping tablespoon of powder in a drink made with lemon juice and honey. I had been introduced to spirulina by a friend of my mother. I stayed at her home in Phoenix, during a cross country trip on my way to Connecticut. She gave me some Light Force Spirulina for my trip and I experienced incredible energy . When I got to Connecticut I purchased some spirulina, but it was not the same. I tried a few other brands, but I was disappointed. In January 1981 I came across an ad for Light Force Spirulina – and sent for it.  It was fairly expensive and I hesitated using it for about a month. Debating whether I should send it back. I was so disappointed with wasting money on several other brands and wondered, if it was just psychological…the energy I experienced when I first tried it.

In February 1981 I started using Light Force Spirulina on a regular basis and my energy went over the top.  I felt so good, I started running regularly;  and within six months I worked up to a  26 mile marathon. I joined Lightfoot Runner’s group in Norwalk, Ct.  On April 12th , after doing a 5-mile run, I heard a well known runner Kiki Sweigert give a talk. She said that it took her several years to work up to a 5 mile run at 22 years of age. It made me feel good to think that I did a 5 mile run at the age of 47, after training for 2 months, on a vegetarian diet.

In June 1981 I entered a competition in which nine Connecticut men and I (all of us were 46 years or older) challenged the 46 year old Norwalk Mayor to a two mile run.  The mayor said he’d been running six months.  After the race I heard the mayor say that he had been running for 12 years. I came in 47 seconds behind him,. I wore a tee-shirt which said Spirulina Mama and was written up in a number of Connecticut newspapers. I was the only woman in this event.  After the run, it was really funny, a few people wanted me to run for the Mayor of Norwalk!!! There were photos of me in the newspapers and comments were made on my level of fitness.

I continued using Light Force Spirulina for years, until another company took over. They jumped the price so high I started to think twice about using it. Then a miracle happened, my friend Jean won a trip to Maui.
She invited me to go along with her in May 1998. It was a fantastic experience. I had always wanted to go to Hawaii. While we were there, we went into a little health food store and  found they were selling spirulina powder, which was grown in Hawaii. I found out I could buy this spirulina from a company in Long Beach, CA. It was called Pure Planet (for an affordable price). I continued using spirulina for another ten years. After 27 years, I was guided to stop. I found another supplement, which I am being guided to use now. Spirulina was touted as having a great deal of B12, but I have an ultra high requirement. Now, I am using a B12 spray. This puts the B12 directly into the bloodstream through being absorbed under the tongue.

Hawaii was an experience. Jean and I took a helicopter trip over Maui . I was surprised to see that a great deal of the island was covered with hardened red lava. It was not the lush green tropical paradise I had envisioned.
 I never saw a pineapple plantation. I was told that their main crop was sugar cane. We did receive a nice breakfast buffet at the  Ambassador Suites Hotel, but we also wanted to buy some fruit. We went to local markets and were very disappointed in the quality and price of the fruit.. We expected better fruit. in Hawaii.

A truly memorable day was spent going out on a chartered boat with a group to snorkel.  We had an incredible experience – we found ourselves swimming right next to,  about a half dozen gigantic sea turtles. We were taken to an area where the water was so clear that you could look down more than a hundred feet and see a huge Manta Ray moving on the bottom below. It was truly a very exhilarating day enjoying nature close up. The fish that we saw while snorkeling,  were very colorful.

I digressed a bit from the topic of The Protein Obsession, but at 78 I have found that I am doing great without eating meat or poultry. I don’t worry about obtaining  protein.  I learned through personal experimentation. too much protein causes problems in the human body. Few people are getting too little. Every food has protein and if you eat enough food you will be getting more than enough protein. There is little chance of developing kwashiorkor in this country. You have seen photos of very skinny African children with extended bellies from lack of protein. In this country excess protein, fat and carbohydrates causes many to become obese…with extended bellies.

In 1961, when I started studying nutrition, Adele Davis was a top nutritional guru. She wrote a number of books on nutrition;  promoting a high protein diet. Her writings sounded glowing and I started following her
I put myself and my family on a high protein program. Within two years my son and I had to have our tonsils removed at the same time. I got very fat and lethargic; and had no energy. My daughter had a tiny stomach and didn’t eat much, but my son and I ate lots of protein and we had lots of of colds and sore throats. I learned first hand, about the end results of ingesting too much protein.

In 1973 I stopped all animal protein and felt much better.  However, in 1976 I went to Dr. Paavo Airola for a nutritional consultation.  He said that I needed more protein and advised me to start eating lots of dairy.
He said I needed more protein, because I would be nursing a baby in six weeks. Well, I paid him for his advice and within three months I had a large tumor in my vagina. I had to pay two other doctors for examinations; and both told me that I needed an operation. I was given no guarantees to live, if I didn’t have this tumor surgically removed. I told the second doctor that I was going home to pray and was told not to pray too long. Well, I prayed and a book came into my hands. It was called Raw Fruit and Vegetable Juices by Dr. N.W, Walker.
I felt this was the answer. In another 2-½ months the tumor was gone.  I learned about the perils of protein (and fat). Cheese is loaded with protein and fat.. It takes 8 -10 lbs of milk to make one pound of cheese. People have to get over their obsession with protein. There is protein in every food. People have been given all kinds of erroneous information regarding protein. By the way Dr. Airola died at 64 from a stroke. He was from Finland a country that promotes high protein dairy.  They have a great deal of heart disease in Finland.

This high protein myth has been created in order to manipulate humans, into purchasing lots of the food industry’s products, which increases their Bottom Line. What has this done for the average consumer?
It has created an obesity problem and lowered his/her health expectations. We are in 38th place in longevity. High protein usually comes along with high fat. For example a 2 oz egg has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. The same goes for cheese A one oz piece of cheese can contain 6- 9 grams of protein and 6 -9 grams of fat.. I used to eat 4-8 oz at a time This is 48-72 grams of protein and 48-72 grams of fat(depending on the type of cheese). Who eats just one food daily? It took a lifetime to find my protein limit was 26 grams. Our dietary standard says 56 grams. Many people are eating over 100 grams of protein daily. Is it any wonder that America is not a healthy country with its fixation on high protein.

How much protein do adults need? There is not a great difference in the amount, between a small adult and a large adult. Would you believe a 14 gram difference?The maximum amount: 21 to 35 grams of protein.
depending on  one’s size. The minimum amount: 15 to 25 grams. Protein is mainly used for growth and repair. How much more growth do you want to achieve? How much repair is going on in your body? In the fruit department, Bananas have more protein than most fruits…5.48 grams per lb. Some People could live on 3 lbs of bananas daily…they contain sufficient protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Babies only need five grams of protein daily. During the depression bananas were very inexpensive  – and my father fed me primarily on bananas, as a tiny baby. I thrived on bananas, which I still eat every single day.
One pound of bananas has enough protein for a baby’s daily diet. I have seen photographs of me as a baby and I was not skinny  I looked very healthy and I was rarely ill.

My obstetrician admitted in 1976 that  I knew more than he did about nutrition. Now, if a doctor has little nutritional knowledge how can he give you the answers you need? Poor nutrition causes health problems.
The major cause of health problems is the wrong foods. Logic should tell you doctors need to study the subject of nutrition, if they really want to help their patients. Doctors tell their patients to eat a lot of protein…and this information is not what their patients need.   This obsession with getting lots of protein has to cease.

Healthfully Yours,

Barbara Charis

P.S.  This Labor Day weekend::
September 1st – 3rd:  Cancer Control Convention   Sheraton Universal Hotel  Universal City,  CA
Lots of interesting Speakers and many booths.   World Choice Products is offering Moringa Powder & more.
Nikken: offers their PiMag Waterfall Water Ionzing System with unbeatable prices.

2 thoughts on “The Protein Obsession

  1. Lois Michaelson

    I received your “Seasons Greetings” article from a friend, and found it most interesting. I’m a 78 yr. old female searching for ways to live a healthier life thru foods, etc. Would like to know what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I started my own healthy diet a few months ago, and started losing too much weight. I have a lot more to learn.
    Thank you, Lois Michaelson

    1. Barbara Charis Post author

      Lois, I did send some information on my personal foods, but what is good for one; may not be good for another.. I wondered if you received it? Never thought I would be so busy at my age; or thought I would feel like a 20 year old at 82.


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