222: Clean Protein And Plant-Based Diets

Clean Protein And Plant-Based Diets

Clean protein is something more people are looking into, along with embracing plant-based diets. It's not much of a surprise anymore since a lot of studies have shown the benefit of eating a plant-based diet. To tell us more about clean protein, I have plant-based diet advocate and book author Kathy Freston as my guest today.   

Different Lifestyle  

You'd be surprised how Kathy Freston's diet choices are so different today compared to when she was growing up. Kathy Freston grew up in Georgia, and like any average kid, she loved BBQ ribs, pizza, and burgers.   

“It's funny how you keep evolving as a human being. And then the next right step kind of occurs to you. As I was writing the third book, I added in work, volunteerism, meditation and different aspects of wellness,” recalls Kathy Freston.  

Rising To The Challenge 

She also said that as she was researching and working on things, Kathy Freston realized she didn't have much awareness at all about food. She, in fact, felt like a hypocrite.  

“Because I was encouraging people to wake up and think about aspects of their life that could make them more conscious and more empowered yet I wasn't doing that in my eating,” said Kathy Freston.  

As a result, Kathy Freston challenged herself. She started looking at the repercussions of her food choices, what it did to her body, health, environment, and what its effects on animals.   

Rude Awakening  

Kathy Freston says she initially associated protein to animal protein. But because she wanted to know more about how it's produced, that started her journey.   

“I realized the protein I was consuming was harmful to my body. It was also contributing to a lot of environmental problems,” said Kathy Freston. “Included in the problems are soil degradation, cutting down rainforests, creating climate change gases, polluting water, using up a lot of water and animal cruelty  

Aside from that, Kathy Freston's father died at age 63 due to melanoma and diabetes—diseases which run in the family. Her male cousin, on the other hand, died from breast cancer. That started her drive and obsessed with preventing cancer and diabetes. Lastly, because she's entirely in love with her dog, the thought of animal slaughter likewise helped motivate Kathy Freston to change her lifestyle.   

“All of these things factor into me being a clean protein activist. It's a health issue, environmental issue, and ethical issue,” said Kathy Freston. “Little by little, I leaned towards becoming this person who no longer consumed animal protein.”  

The 12 Amino Acids Daily Requirement  

Contrary to what people think, it is possible to get your daily requirement of amino acids from a plant-based diet. Kathy Freston says delicious combinations include beans, rice, corn tortillas, salsa, avocados and salads.   

However, Kathy Freston says the most important thing to focus on is finding out what is in the protein you are eating. Some of the questions you can ask yourself are the following:  

  • How much cholesterol goes along with the protein?
  • Is the protein I'm consuming inflammatory in my body?
  • How many pathogens or antibiotics might be lurking within the tissue?
  • What kind of damage did the making of that protein do to our land and water? 
  • Does it add to climate change? 

Importance Of Fiber  

According to Kathy Freston, just because the food is full of protein, doesn't mean it's clean for the body or the planet. So rather than asking where we get our protein, Kathy Freston says we should be more conscious of where we get our fiber.   

“Fiber acts like a scrub brush. It pushes the gunk and the toxicity out of your body. It keeps your weight down and belly feeling full. It also slows down the release of glucose,” said Kathy Freston.  

So basically, if your protein doesn't have fiber in it, it's not cleaning your body. Proteins that are devoid of fiber are also loaded with fat and cholesterol.   

Benefits of Eating Clean Protein  

Clean protein tends to be plant-based, and the old proteins tend to come from animals. Kathy Freston says studies show the body works harder to digest meat and people who have a plant-based diet are happier and have a much stronger immune system.  

“I think it's been 13 years since I had the flu and the blood labs are doing good. Research shows that as we get into our 60s and 70s, people eating a plant-based diet are likely to have very favorable results,” Kathy Freston said.   

Kathy Freston's Typical Diet  

If you think a plant-based diet is monotonous, you're in for a real treat. Kathy Freston attests that experimenting with cooking for friends and family is the fun thing about having a plant-based diet.   

For those who want to try, here are Kathy Freston's typical daily food choices:  


  • Plant-based yogurt with chopped apple and walnuts
  • Oatmeal with almonds and soy milk
  • Smoothie with coconut water and all organic frozen broccoli, frozen pineapples, frozen strawberries, and protein powder. For plant-based protein powder, make sure it's plant-based and not whey.  

“Whey is not a grain. It's dairy. I like pea protein. It has a smooth taste, easy to digest and low on the glycemic index,” said Kathy Freston. “I also like it sweetened with Stevia. Some prefer soy or rice protein and some like hemp protein, which is okay.”  


  • Sauteed tofu over rice and salad  


  • Rice with beer beans, cream of broccoli soup
  • Arugula salad with pears, pistachios, sliced onions and tomatoes 

Food Myths  

Most people think that going on a plant-based diet means you'll go hungry most of the time. Some are even hesitant; thinking diets are restrictive.  On the contrary, Kathy Freston says a plant-based diet can be both filling and delicious.  

“I eat really rich hearty food. That's the fiber that stays in your system and fills your belly. It makes you feel satisfied,” assures Kathy Freston.  

I so much agree with Kathy Freston. Do try out this recipe of mine. I have made these recipes for some friends, and they love it!   

First, chop beets and saute. Add chopped cabbage, Turkish seasoning, and salt. Put the lid on and cook on low heat. Once done, serve immediately.   

Another recipe is cutting some beet greens, mix with two cans of chickpeas, a can coconut milk with curry, turmeric, black pepper, and garlic. Then let it simmer. Let the moisture sit until the sauce thickens. You can also make some quinoa pasta to eat with it. It's so good; even the kids kept going back for more!  

Other Sources Of Vegan Protein 

 Kathy Freston says she's a big fan of beans because they have fiber, iron, and antioxidants. Beans are also low on the glycemic index. Plus, they are gluten-free!  

“Multiple studies show that beans lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar and promote digestive regularity. They don't have all the saturated fats, cholesterol, toxins and other harmful ingredients. That's why I love beans,” said Kathy Freston.  

Speaking of vegan protein, I was skeptical at first. However, I changed my mind after interviewing raw vegan athlete Suzanne Mcgee on Episode 41. She has been vegan for years and professional tennis player. Most of her proteins are from pumpkin seeds, and it has not been a detriment to her health.  

“Seeds have more protein than nuts. They have more minerals, less saturated fats and high in most amino acids. Some are a good source of omega fatty acids like chia seeds and flax,” Kathy Freston said.  

Saving Money  

Kathy Freston says you'll be saving a lot of money when you embrace a plant-based diet. Whole grains and beans are cheap, yet they are full of fiber so you'll feel full and satisfied.   

According to her, these are the staples of the populations around the world. In Mexico and South America, they would eat rice and beans with tortillas and avocados. In China, there's tofu, vegetables, rice, small fish, or lentil, rice and vegetables in India. These populations are by no means wealthy, and yet they don't have the disease of the more affluent societies.   

“So the true cost of eating animal food is more than what you get at the grocery store. If you think about the annual cost of treating diseases in the U.S., it's a trillion dollars a year and healthcare,” said Kathy Freston. “Obesity-related healthcare will reach 350 billion by 2018. Heart disease will cost more than 500 billion dollars annually.”  

She adds, “Cancer and diabetes are traced to too much animal protein. And they cost nations a lot of tax money.”  

In effect, you become less productive. Apparently, Kathy Freston says it's a lot of government complexity because meat is subsidized.   

“They give breaks to animal agriculture companies by giving them cheap grains. And cheap grains make for cheap meat,” said Kathy Freston. “Cheap meat, eggs, and cheese are fed to our kids, so these artificially low prices hurt our health in the long term.”  

Smooth Transition  

It's not going to be easy but Kathy Freston assures changing to a plant-based diet is worth it.  Bottomline, it's all about knowing what you eat.  

For example, Kathy Freston says one egg roughly has 3 grams of protein. And that's not a ton of protein compared to one cup of lentils which has 18 grams proteins. Plus, the cholesterol from one egg is more than what you should get. That is why in the spirit of being ethical, it is right to give up eggs.  

Kathy Freston also says that part of the process is to keep moving forward. And be open to alternative food choices.   

“Beano is a good brand of digestive enzymes. It helps to digest beans and all the delicious plant-based foods. All the fiber going through your system gets the toxicity out of your body,” Kathy Freston said. 

What To Do When You Travel  

Kathy Freston says traveling is not a problem since more restaurants now have plant-based menus. Some even bring their food like seeds.  

She also suggests using the Happy Cow app for a list of good places to eat. Mexican food is always a safe choice.   

Clean Protein Recipes 

Kathy Freston has a great compilation of clean protein recipes in her Clean Protein book. There are recipes using black-eyed peas, stews, and even lentil waffles!  

There are also contributions from celebrity chefs like recipes for sloppy joes, tofu chorizo and spicy smashed lemon chickpeas which is Kathy Freston's favorite.  

Blue Zones  

Kathy Freston's boyfriend happens to be Dan Beuttner, the New York Times bestselling author of Blue Zones. Apparently, he discovered five places in the world—the Blue Zones, where the healthiest people live and have long lives.  

“He influences me all the time. The Blue Zones include Sardinia in Italy, Loma Linda in California, Okinawa in Japan and Costa Rica. A common thread is that they eat a largely plant-based diet,” said Kathy Freston.  

Kathy Freston' Books  

Kathy Freston has several books that are excellent references on eating healthy. Clean Protein addresses all the protein issues. The Lean, on the other hand, is her second favorite book which provides you with a 30-day meal plan. 

There's also the Book of Veganish, which is not a book about being vegan. Kathy Freston says it is a book about determining what kind of protein is suitable for you, for your values, for your health, and for the planet. So check it out! 


Kathy Freston believes that clean eating (and clean proteins, in particular!) is not only good for individual health and wellness but is also much better for the planet as a whole. She has become an activist and advocate for eating this way.   

She says it’s funny how you find your passion and then your passion leads you to your life’s purpose. Kathy Freston now writes books and does media appearances. She shares in whatever way she can so that other people also feel empowered to eat for their health and overall well-being.  

Get Connected With Kathy Freston:  

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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