Living in small ‘troops’ of about 30 individuals in the mountains of Central Africa, mountain gorillas are on the IUCN Endangered Red List. Victims of human conflict, habitat loss and poaching, the total population is just a bit more than 600. An alpha male, or silverback, is responsible for moving his group around their home range, maintaining order, organising nesting and feeding. He can stand between 1.2m and 1.8m and weigh in at around 135-220kgs. He eats “roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp” (source National Geographic). Gorillas do not prey on other animals although lowland gorillas are known to eat termites (0.1% of total diet).
Admittedly a silverback probably spends a large part of his day eating to consume enough calories for his lifestyle, but the fact is that plant protein alone appears to be sufficient for maintaining his metabolic health and building his impressive physique. The UK’s daily recommended intake suggests 46g of protein for women and 53g for men is adequate, that’s about 10-15% of total calorie intake and for vegans this is super easy to find as protein is a factor in grains, pulses, legumes, soya products, seeds, and veggies. Yes, even a cup of spinach has 7g of protein.
So bang goes another myth: protein is vital for health but I don’t need as much of it as I thought and it doesn’t just come in animal shapes; animal protein has no supremacy over plant-based protein, and just eating a varied diet of unprocessed foods should be enough to keep me in tip-top gorilla health.
Interesting article here with facts, figures and research by nutritionist Amanda Woodvine for the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation
Image via Google Search.