Sunday, 12 June 2011

Stanley Green: Protein Wisdom

The Protein Man was a familiar sight on Oxford Street for many years, armed with his billboard which read:

'Less Lust, By Less Protein: Meat Fish Bird; Egg Cheese; Peas Beans; Nuts. And Sitting. Protein Wisdom.'

Beginning his mission in 1968 Stanley Green would parade up and down the street explaining his theory on the link between protein intake, inactivity and lust to passers-by and selling booklets that explained his ideas.
Green's theory was that a diet that was dominated by protein would fuel the human sex drive to unbearable levels and that large periods of inactivity would only mean that the body would store up this energy without any outlet.
Most people would take this to mean that sexual abstinence would be the problem and allow the lustful desires to grow but when it came to 'inactivity' Stanley had zero tolerance.
He was opposed to the very idea of sitting.
He believed that 'those who do not have to work with their limbs and are inclined to sit about are storing up their protein for passion.'
To be fair he practised what he preached. He would march up and down Oxford Street for hours at a time and cycled a 24 mile round journey each day from his house in Northolt to undertake his duties.
He used public transport when he qualified for free travel as a pensioner but he had been making the journey for twelve years at that point.
Green had developed his ideas while on active service in the Navy during the Second World War. He was shocked by how openly his fellow servicemen discussed sex.
He felt it was due to the dominance of protein in their diet and began to adjust his own nutritional intake accordingly.
Stanley stopped eating meat, peas, beans, nuts and dairy products and began to eat only porridge, home made bread, steamed vegetables and pulses and a pound of apples a day.
His booklet was entitled 'Eight Passion Proteins' and was first produced in 1973 at a price of ten pence. it went through 52 different editions and by 1993 he had sold 87,000 copies.
Green produced the booklets at home on his own printing press. His approach to typeography and layout was eccentric at best, meaning that the booklets would often change typeface or typesize halfway through a sentence or even a word.
Stanley also wrote a novel called 'Behind the Veil: More Than Just a Tale' which has been described as a 'colourful account of the dangers of protein and the possibility of redemption.'
It was never published.
Similarly the manuscript for 'Eight Passion Proteins' was rejected by Oxford University Press in 1971 but through a campaign of letter writing Stanley ensured that copies were delivered to the Prince of Wales, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the editor of the Times, the Director-General of the BBC and Pope Paul VI.
Five different British Prime Ministers also received complimentary copies.
Green was determined to get his theory out as widely as possible and was driven by the idea that the world would be improved as a consequence of embracing his ideas.
As well as suppressing lust he felt that his diet would make for 'better, kinder and happier people.' and he seemed genuinely concerned about the welfare of those around him. As he told the Sunday Times:

'Passion can be a great torment...'

He would finish each day with a prayer before bed which he described as:

'Quite a good prayer, unselfish too.'

Stanley Green died on December 4th 1993.
His billboard and booklets went to the Museum of London where they remain on display warning us of the dangers of cheese, beans and sitting...

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