John: Alright! This is John Kohler with okraw.com.
Today we have another exciting episode for you. I got a friend here, Robert Cheeke on
and he’s known as a vegan bodybuilder, look at this guys, man, he’s rocked, I mean you
can compare mine to his. Alright, well he’s like at least twice my size. But I don’t work
out, he works out like all the time, but anyways so we’re going to talk about very important
stuff here that’s important to both of us. It’s protein!
Robert Cheeke: Protein! John: You know, animal protein, plant protein,
yes there’s a difference but we both believe that you can get too much protein on your
diet and in this video Robert’s going to explain three reasons why too much plant protein is
not good. Robert, before we get into talking about plant protein let’s talk about some
of the problems with animal protein especially for people that are into bodybuilding and
gaining muscle and all this kind stuff, like why is too much protein from animals not good?
What does the research say? Robert Cheeke: Great, well we know that more
is not better, a lot of protein, especially animal protein can have numerous adverse effects
on health from kidney problems to liver problems to damage of endothelial cells to plaque buildup
in arteries to obviously heart problems and restriction of blood flow, organ failure in
some cases, kidney stones, we’ve seen that it can increase risk of cancer, we know it’s
from the China study, high levels of animal protein can create cancer to grow and turn
on cancer growth and we can see this in controlled studies where you can decrease animal protein
consumption and slow down that growth. So it also just has a lot of baggage. Protein
has a lot of baggage with it, it comes from animal foods that are typical thousands of
calories per pound, I think meat’s a couple thousand calories per pound, it leads to a
lot of excess weight gain, a lot of processed food consumption, a lot of feeling tired and
lethargic and heavy and full and not really energized. Of course it has all kinds of environmental
implications as well. But just speaking just purely from a health standpoint, it has ability
to negatively impact organs, arteries, energy levels, body weight, bone density, overall
health and for the most part should be avoided at all costs.
John: Wow, yeah but I mean a lot of bodybuilders, Robert, like use a lot of protein and I know
you as a vegan bodybuilder you don’t do animal protein but I know back in the day you did
a lot of like plant based proteins. Did those extra proteins really help you to build some
of that muscle you got there? Like all your isolated soy or whatever kind of proteins
you had? Robert Cheeke: For a while I thought it did.
I’ve been a vegan since 1995, bodybuilding in some capacity on and off since about 2000
and at the time, yeah I was eating, drinking I guess, 6 protein drinks a day, 4 protein
drinks a day, sometimes 4 or 5 protein bars a day. I thought it was working, I got pretty
strong but I was also very bloated, I felt very heavy, very tired. I was up to 195 pounds,
when I became vegan I was only 120 pounds, a 15 year old kid. So I thought it worked
pretty well. But in 2012 when inspired by Forks over Knives
and Doctor T. Colin Campbell’s plant based nutrition course through the Center of Nutrition
studies and through just my own reasons, being inspired by Campbell, [00:03:28] (unclear)
and others, I decided to stop all sport supplementation. The only supplement these days is vitamin
B12 that I’ve used since 2012 and I’ve actually been up to 205 pounds, bigger than I ever
was and I retired from bodybuilding 6 years ago, as a competitive bodybuilder.
So I thought protein was doing me a huge favor, building muscle I was getting strong, 195
pounds, great and then years after no protein powder consumption, no sport supplementation
over 200 pounds and strong than I’ve ever been. So from just the performance aspect
I’m not sure that those isolated proteins, those powders, those supplements were really
that beneficial. John: Wow, so you’re actually stronger now
eating a whole foods, plant based diet than you were on those powders and why do you think
that is? Robert Cheeke: Well, I think at the end of
the day we have to look at the net gain return on investment nutritionally. So here I am,
I mean we could even just do the math, count the numbers how many calories am I consuming
from all these protein drinks and how many calories am I depriving myself from eating
healthier foods? What if I ate complex carbohydrates, whole
plant foods- fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, legumes, in a balanced capacity aiming
for the foods that provide the highest net gain nutrition, the highest amount in my own
estimation or what I learned from books that will provide the highest amount of antioxidants,
vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, nitrate oxide, to keep the blood flowing smooth which
is great for exercise and lifting weights. That’s what I think I should have been focusing
on back them. John: You were missing?
Robert Cheeke: I think I was missing because I was focusing on…
John: A lot of protein. Robert Cheeke: Tofu hot dogs, and that’s the
thing, and I want to be clear, I wasn’t just using a lot of supplement, I was focused on
high protein foods. John: Such as?
Robert Cheeke: Where now, oh I was eating tofu everything, soy everything, I mean I
ate 18 tofu hot dogs in a day one time. That’s a lot.
John: That’s a lot. Robert Cheeke: So I was eating just packaged,
processed isolated deli slices, hot dogs, tofu, tempeh, saytan, all of that stuff, as
much as I could. I thought more was better. There wasn’t room for a lot of fruits or vegetables.
In fact, in main stream bodybuilding they encourage you to not eat fruit, fruit will
make you fat, don’t eat fruit. I was like that’s my favorite food, I have to go without
it as a bodybuilder. So that’s what I did and these days, and I think this is important,
these days I don’t even seek out tofu, tempeh, these types of foods. Not only do I avoid
all sports supplements, protein powders and the like, these days I also do even seek out
high protein foods, not at all. I just, I’m fine.
John: Just eat stuff. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, I love all types of fruits
and I eat potatoes and yams and beans and lentils and rice and quinoa and leafy greens
and exotic fruits and common fruits, berries, mango, bananas, whatever. That’s what I eat
without any kind of emphasis and I’ve been bigger and stronger.
John: Bigger and stronger. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, bigger and stronger than
I’ve ever been, putting up as high as 330 pounds on decline barbell bench press, free
weight exercises, pressing 120 pound dumbbells in each hand.
John: Wow, that’s impressive. Robert Cheeke: I’m not that big of a guy,
I’m about 190 pounds as we’re sitting here today, I’ve been as high as 205 a couple months
ago. So, but I’ve been able to build all that, maintain all that, build strength all just
with real food. John: Wow, that’s awesome. So next I want
to talk about the three reasons why too much plant protein, because you guys know animal
proteins not good, but as I was amazed to discover that even plant protein could be
bad. So Robert why are three reasons why it’s too much plant protein not good for us.
Robert Cheeke: Yeah, so what I believe is that since Dr. Michael Greger from nutritionfacts.org
and how not to die and many other experts too suggest that we eat even as vegetarians,
we get 2 to 6 times more protein than we need. So right off the bat here is a nutrient that
everybody’s focused on, everyone’s focused on protein, something that we get an exorbitant
amount of. That’s already a kind of a cause for alarm.
So why do we need to eat more of something that everyone eats too much of and most people
that we know, just statistically most people we know are either overweight or have some
kind of diet related health issues that often times protein consumption, large protein consumption
is a culprit. So right off the bat most of us eat too much of it, so why would we want
to add a whole lot more. John: So that’s reason one.
Robert Cheeke: Yeah, reason number one. John: We already get too much.
Robert Cheeke: Yeah, we already get too much and I don’t think more is better. To support
that I kind of, number two I guess here is if more were better than a bunch of protein
would be great for our skin, our organs our energy levels, all these things. Turns out
that’s not the case. Excess protein can have adverse effects on, as I mentioned earlier,
kidney’s, liver, other organs, bone density, energy levels of course, it sucks a lot of
energy from us to have to have to digest and process heavy protein rich foods where a lot
of lighter foods, plant based foods are so much easier to digest and have a higher return
on investment as far as energy. So as I was saying if more were better than
that would be a great thing, just pile on the protein, take on more and more and more,
but that’s not the case and so that’s another alarming reason to avoid protein, even plant
protein because imagine consuming exorbitant of plant protein and how that has to be digested,
even if it doesn’t create the artery build up, the plaque buildup that animal protein
does, which I don’t know if it does. It still sucks a lot of energy from us and replaces
the calories that should be coming from some other foods, so that is another reason to
stay away from large amounts of plant protein, including supplementation and isolated nutrients.
John:So that’d be number three, reason number three if you’re eating all this extra protein
you’re not able to eat like other high carbohydrate foods to get your calories from right?
Robert Cheeke: Exactly, and that’s one of the things I think is most compelling and
because when we focus on high protein foods, we miss out on high complex carbohydrate foods
that contain all the micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, water, nitrite
oxide, all of that stuff that’s really, really great for us and as we know protein is the
least efficient source of energy. So people say oh I’m, became vegan or vegetarian,
I’m tired I didn’t, need more protein. That’s not going to give you energy, it might make
you feel heavy and full and some people miss that from eating really heavy animal based
foods, but you can get that same feeling from eating nutrient dense, calorie dense satiating
plant foods too. So that very important number three compelling reason is that when we eat
a high protein diet we just simply miss out on better nutrition that’s found elsewhere
and that I think can not be overstated, understated or overlooked because it does play such a
big role. John: Right, I think the same thing about
high fat foods for example, if you’re eating a lot of high fat foods and a lot of your
calories come from fat instead of high healthy carbohydrate foods. Same thing, you can be
eating a lot of high carbohydrate foods like white bread, white potatoes and all this stuff
and you’re missing the boat in my opinion because now a lot of your calories are coming
from high carbohydrate foods but they’re not high nutrient density foods.
That’s why I think Robert is performing better now, lifting more because our bodies are a
holistic system, we just don’t need protein, we need protein and carbohydrates and fats
and waters and antioxidants and phytochemicals and vitamins and trace minerals and all these
are in nature’s proportions and we eat nature’s whole foods, of course the fruits and the
vegetables are the best at those. So Robert, what some like three top foods
that you like to eat that are whole foods that are a good balance food, rich in protein,
carbohydrates, nutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals?
Robert Cheeke: Well the funny thing is I don’t even think about foods like that anymore,
I don’t think about like what’s a good high protein plant food because I’m not even focused
on it. I would say something like walnuts, great at Omega 3 essential fats, great in
protein, it’s calorically dense, but I don’t even think that way.
But off the top of my head I would say beans and other legumes seem to be a great example
because they are filling, they’re about 500 calories per pound on average, they’re very
satiating, they have a good amount of carbohydrates in them, a good amount of protein in them,
a good amount of fiber in them, they’re a whole food. So foods, legumes I think are
a pretty good idea for that. As I mentioned walnuts are fantastic. I like
vegetables like yams and potatoes and sweet potatoes, you know usually the darker the
color the better I think, as far as the best nutrition, but those again, they’re very filling
foods, very heavy, very satiating and could be the great centerpiece of a meal and without
having to emphasis tofu or something that’s got to be added to it. I think the potato
and have some salad with it, have some vegetables with it, is a great way to go. So, I mean
broccoli probably fits into that category really well too. That’s the thing, there’s
so many foods, why point out just a few, I think eating a balanced diet, eating the foods
that you like that are whole plant based foods is a good way to go.
John: What about fruits? Like fruits for like bodybuilding. Think that’s a really good idea
or not so good of an idea. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, well when I first got
into this 15 years ago as a vegan bodybuilder they said no fruit, don’t eat fruit but that’s
my favorite thing to eat period is fruit. So I eat a lot of bananas, mangos, blueberries,
which I actually find to be really filling, blueberries can be really filling have a big
meal of blueberries, I like raspberries, melons, citrus fruits. I mean really, I eat a lot.
This is probably compared to you, but one time I counted I had 19 different fruits at
home. It was just really cool, persimmon, guava, more exotic stuff than just apples,
oranges and bananas. So I think that is a really good way to go because you get great
calories with water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, just great nutrition and I think fruits can
be a great bodybuilding food, avocado, coconut, bananas, really popular bodybuilding foods.
John: Awesome, awesome. So there you go, you guys have it why too much protein, whether
it’s animal or plant protein is not good and that you guys should focus on a whole plant
based food diet, rich in fruits and vegetables also includes some of those beans and legumes
like Robert was saying. So Robert, do you have any last comments that you’d like to
share with my audience today about this topic? Robert Cheeke: Yeah, well one of the things
I think is really important too is when we project this idea that vegans and vegetarians
need lots of protein, number one it’s completely inaccurate as we know from Doctor Michael
Greger who’s one of the best in the business that even vegetarians get up to 6 times more
protein than we need. Our nutritional requirement is so low, what 5 to 10 percent of our calories.
So when we present this idea to people, to our friends, our family, athletes, to other
people, that I think this gives a bad impression of, it makes a plant based diet which is as
good as it gets really makes it look deficient, oh you must need lots of extra protein to
go with that. Imagine a mainstream audience watching a major
sporting event and one of the star athletes is projected to be a vegan person, people
go crazy. Oh this guy is not going to have enough energy, he’s not going to be as strong,
he’s not going to be as big or as fast and this is the idea that gets filled into millions
of television homes then people are worried then about their children becoming vegetarian
or vegan, they’ll be deficient, they’ll be weak and I’m someone who went from 120 pounds
to 205 pounds, of course over many years, but clearly it wasn’t an issue. When I was
my biggest and my best I know had focus on protein, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t
think about it, I didn’t stress about it, I didn’t prioritize it, it just, it came from
eating enough calories of real food. John: Yeah, I mean, that’s important to me
too, if we eat enough food we’re going to get enough protein and you shouldn’t even
worry about it and don’t try to get excess protein, like I think vegan protein powders
are a big shame, what are your thoughts on vegan protein powders man?
Robert Cheeke: Yeah, at the end of the day protein powders started over in the 60’s or
70’s as by product of the dairy industry, it turned out to be a very great way to make
money and so there we had it, whey protein, protein casing, all kinds of muscle milk type
products and that obviously led to the boom of plant based supplements as well and again
I still think it gives the wrong idea especially even labeled vegan protein, it means oh okay
a vegan person must be deficient. John: Right.
Robert Cheeke: That’s the impression that it gives and I think that can be problematic,
misleading and not really accurate. John: I totally agree, so yeah. We get enough
protein and oh here’s another question Robert, so when somebody asks you or somebody asks
one of my viewers like and like somebody’s talking one of my viewers who’s a vegan and
somebody asked him like you’re not getting enough protein as a vegan what should they
say to the person? What’s the best comeback you can come up with?
Robert Cheeke: So someone comes up and says you’re not getting enough protein, is that
right? John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Robert Cheeke: Tell me, tell me all about protein, what do you know about protein, tell
me how much we need, what are the great sources of it, tell me about your protein consumption.
I don’t know, I would just, I think it’s just this thing that people don’t know a lot about,
they just assume, oh we just must have a lot of it, so please enlighten me, tell me how
much I should have- 400 grams of milk protein a day, what is this. So I think people will
then realize that it’s a little bit of a silly question, maybe I shouldn’t be asking everyone
that, because they themselves… John: They themselves don’t know the answer.
Robert Cheeke: They themselves don’t know and they may not know the health risks involved.
So, I mean part of me, part of me wants to get a little bit defensive and say okay tell
me about your cholesterol levels and tell me about what’s your…
John: Look at your phytonutrients from. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, you sort of want to answer
back like that, but I mostly say oh please tell me how much you think I should be having
and then the conversation gets started and you can just have a dialogue about it and
realize that maybe the person just doesn’t know a whole lot about it and…
John: They’re just listening to those sport casters on TV.
Robert Cheeke: It could be an opportunity for them to learn something, to try something
new. I was in that boat too where for a long time I was telling my followers on veganbodybuilding.com
eat a lot of protein, drink these plant based protein drinks and be as competitive as all
the other bodybuilders out there but as a vegan and make a stand and all this. Then
I just learned, I just learned more, I just learned from people like Dr. Campbell and
Forks over Knives and many others that this was not something I needed to focus on and
perhaps my advice was probably detrimental and could be harmful and I have to…
John: Own up to it. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, that’s something that
I helped spark that movement of the plant based supplement movement, I worked that industry
for 10 years. It was working through that industry that I think led me to realize that
it’s unnecessary and a lot of it is sales and marketing at the end of the day.
John: Right, well I’m glad you’re here and actually sharing this with people because
this makes you more of an advocate that we actually don’t need it because you’ve gone
through it all, you changed your ways and you’re not into this dogmatic approach that
we must do it because that’s what everybody else does and you’re stepping outside the
box and encouraging a whole plant based food diet which is what I recommend also.
Robert Cheeke: One more thought, this just came to me. I’ve said this to a number of
people in conversation recently, so one of the biggest fears out there is to give up
the protein powder, even plant based athletes who really get it, they really realize that
we don’t need a lot of protein, but they still do their insurance one a day, just for insurance,
just to have it, just to be safe. One of the hardest things to do, is just for people it
seems to let that go. My question is what do you have to lose? Are you on the Olympic
team? Do you have a 7 figure salary? Do you have an entire nation cheering for your success
that you represent? What could happen? What you lose one pound, you lose two pounds, you
lose a tiny bit of muscle? That doesn’t need to happen, obviously I gained muscle. So but
I think that’s important, that what do you have to lose?
John: People are scared. Or there’s fear based mentality.
Robert Cheeke: We’re not all hardcore professional athletes on TV every day with millions of
fans and big contracts and lots of pressure and money and all this kind of stuff, we’re
most of us just exercise of it, and why do all this extra protein drinks that are unnecessary,
it’s extra money, it’s extra time, it’s preventing ourselves from getting better nutrition elsewhere.
There’s all these reasons that say just give it up, you know, just give it up. What do
you have to lose? Mostly, just to try it for yourself. I tried it in 2012 and I haven’t
gone back, so if I can do it after being the like vegan bodybuilding guy for a decade,
doing that in all the early days, 6 protein drinks a day, then I think anyone who just
does the protein drink casually can also give that up.
John: Alright, so Robert last question for you actually, is how much protein does a person
need whether they’re just a normal person doing their daily stuff like I know a lot
of you guys are, versus somebody like you that really works out hard and does all that
stuff, like what’s the protein need that you would recommend for people out there?
Robert Cheeke: I am a believer in consuming 10 to 15 percent of your calories. So it’s
going to be different because I burn more calories than a lot of other people.
John: Yeah. Robert Cheeke: Because of my gender, age,
height, weight and very importantly my activity level. So I’m just going to need more calories.
Therefore I’m going to have more, overall protein. So I’m not saying oh you’re really
active bump it up to 20 percent of your diet or 25 percent.
John: 15 percent should max out. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, yeah because you just
eat more calories. John: So how many calories are you eating
right now? Robert Cheeke: I eat about 3600 a day.
John: So 15 percent would be how many? Robert Cheeke: It’s, I haven’t even done the
math, I mean, divided by four whatever, but I don’t, because I don’t care about it. I
don’t worry about the number of grams. It may turn out to be like 100 grams or so which
seems like a lot but when I’m eating thousands of calories that are mostly fruit and legumes
and some grains and leafy greens then protein’s going to be a small amount of that.
John: Yeah, so mainly if you’re just eating plant foods, fruits, vegetables, some beans,
grains and you’re eating your calorie requirements, you’re going to get enough protein to do what
you need to do, right? Robert Cheeke: Absolutely, absolutely, and
all the extra benefits of all the micronutrients, the water, the fiber, all the great things
for overall health without the extra baggage of isolated nutrients and just excess calories
that often just go to waste. John: Awesome, awesome. Well thanks Robert
for being on the show today. Robert Cheeke: Thank you.
John: Now, if you guys want to learn more about how to gain muscle and loose fat on
a plant based diet Robert has an amazing book, so why don’t you tell them about your book
and how they can get that real quick. Robert Cheeke: Yeah, my latest book Shred
It actually came out a year and a half ago, but it’s inspired thousands of people, endorsed
by Dr. Campbell, Dr. Rusellton, Forks over Knives, Kathy Freston and numerous registered
dietitians, authors, athletes. I spent two and a half years working on it, it’s really
good and basically that’s, it was peer reviewed by 28 or 29 different experts and they’ve
endorsed the book. So Shred It is on veganbodybuilding.com it’s
also on a bunch of other stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and soon to be Amazon,
not yet, but soon to be on Amazon too. But right now veganbodybuilding.com and I think
just a great resource to help people understand how to burn fat and how to build muscle on
a whole food plant based diet. John: That’s what I encourage you guys to
eat, focus on the fruits and the vegetables the most, and that’s what I pretty much eat
myself and the more fruits and vegetables you guys get in the better and fill in with
beans and other high quality plant foods if you need to. So hope you guys enjoyed this
episode if you did hey please give me a thumbs up, to let me know, also be sure to click
that subscribe button right down below to be notified of my new and upcoming episodes
I have coming out every 5 to 7 days. Be sure to share this with someone who thinks
you need protein or thinks you’re getting enough protein. Be sure to check my past episodes,
I have over 450 videos now on this YouTube channel dedicated to teaching you guys to
eat a plant based fruit and vegetable strong diet to be healthy. So once again my name
is John Kohler with okraw.com. We’ll see you next time and until then remember keep eating
your fresh fruits and vegetables, they’re always this best.
Is Seaweed a Healthy or Harmful Superfood?? On A Raw Food Diet.
Alright! This is John Kohler with okraaw.com. Today we have another episode for you and
what we’re going to do today on this episode is have another one of my famous compilation
videos where I interview over a dozen of my friends, long term raw foodists, people