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I've been vegetarian for over 2 years and recently been thinking about cutting out all animal products from my diet for a number of reasons but I am extremely interested, above all, to stay very healthy! So a great balanced vegan diet is what I am looking for.
So far everything is looking great! But then comes along the Vitamin called B12
Oh, I know about this vitamin, I used to eat loads of eggs to make sure I don't get a lack of that one! But I've given up on eggs recently... so now what? I do a bit of digging and I'm hitting a brick wall.
Here is my problem.
I am a great believer in NATURE. I think that we are created in a way that doesn't need us to modify foods or kill animals to live. I think everything we need to live healthily is available with NO need to modify other foods to give us what we need. So why does every vegan site recommend vitamin B12 "fortified" foods!??
I had to look up fortified to make sure I am getting this 100% right [Fortified - To reinforce by adding material]
"Adding" now that's a big issue for me. There may be no down side to "adding" B12 to my food but my issue is why do we need to add it there!? Obviously nature didn't decide that we need to add B12 to corn flakes!
I can't begin to tell you how much I am against modified foods, I don't give a damn about any research showing benefits or down-sides. I want my food as nature intends, end of story, no if's or but's.
So that's my dilemma... It seems a vegan CAN'T get enough B12 without some tricks first, so is it really a diet of "nature"?
My second dilemma is I don't want to go back to vegetarian but my health is important to me so it seems I will have to get some of this "fortified" food.
*disclaimer* I am a vegan noob, please forgive any idiot statements from me, I am just trying to learn how to do this the right way. Thanks
*UPDATE* A lot of people have started to post on this topic recently so here's a quick update from things that have changed/found out in the 10 months that have gone.
As a lot of you have recently been posting, B12 is not something that Vegans actually need worry about, it turns out that the recommended amount is grossly exaggerated and simply eating fortified cereals a few times a week will satisfy your B12 requirements BUT if you feel more comfortable taking supplements then keep taking them, there is no harm in that. And please don't misunderstand me, B12 is important to everyone's bodies, so don't brush it aside and forget about it. Remain active in ALL of your nutritional intakes.
As for the nature side of the vit B12 subject, lots and lots of people have said here and I agree with them that it still can be found naturally in the ground on our fruit and veg but these days the use of chemicals and environmental pollutions make getting your B12 this way a little risky if you don't know exactly how they have been grown.
And lastly, the sanitation of our daily lives and foods have also played a big part in the demise of naturally consumed B12. As well as the fact that our organism was not intended to eat cooked food, which kills B12 many times and reduces our chance of getting enough B12 naturally.
The good thing about this thread is that there is A LOT of great info gathered here in one place so if anyone does want to learn for themselves about B12 then the good people of VegFriend have stepped up and posted some great info and links so thanks to everyone for contributing! And a very big thanks for helping me get to where I am now... Fully Vegan and Fully Happy with it.
Much love to you all. A happy ending
Hey thanks for the reply and I have some good news. I posted this question about 10 months ago and have become fully vegan in that time so I think I can answer some of your concerns about B12. It turns out we need very little B12, just by being vegetarian it is nothing you need to worry about, you get enough for sure. It's all a myth of sorts.
Sure we need B12 but the amounts that doctors recommended are not even close to the truth. They over exaggerated it because the truth is, at the time they came up with these numbers, didn't really understand what sort of levels we really need and they still don't! But we do know now, that it is very small. Like I said, in your vegetarian diet you will be getting enough.
Even vegans need not worry. Like others have suggested, organic unwashed fruits and veg is a good way if you can verify it's from a safe place without chemicals. But I think most people eat cereals at least 3 times a week and cereals fortified with B12 contain plenty enough to keep any vegan healthy. And many other foods too fortified with B12. Vegans eating a balanced diet don't even need supplements! But there is no harm in taking them if you want to be on the safe side.
In short B12 is just another one of them scare stories to put people off going vegan. Well, I'm happy to say it didn't scare this vegan away! :D
Marmite (and other yeast extracts) have natural vitamin B12 in there, I hated the stuff but when I got worried about the B1e B12 thing years ago I force fed myself with it for a week on toast and now I'm addicted to it, you can also add it to stews etc and it gives a great flavour. There was some research around years ago suggesting that many people actually produce B12 themselves regardless of diet and the lifetime amount you need is ridiculously small it seems. The odd bit of fortified food slips into my diet too I must admit but not too much. I reckon that the above gives me all the B12 I need and possibly more, all the best
hi Wayne. i would like to tell you my personal story about b12 so that you would know more, looks like that is your goal. but i dont want to expose it here..so i sent you a request.
Awesome for investigating and going vegan! I was going to add (before I saw your addition) that despite the lack of natural B12 in our current world, the animal cruelty of producing dairy and eggs is a great reason to be vegan. I know farm fresh eggs are available at some farmer's markets, which I don't think is cruel, but I don't know of ways to attain cruelty free dairy, maybe there are some, but if there aren't, it's worth giving it up if you look into the treatment of dairy cows. Horrific stuff.
I applaud you :)
even meat eaters are sometime b-12 def.. when they get so clogged up they cannot up take the b-12
I'm glad you posted this message. I've been thinking exactly the same. I would love to start a vegan diet, but I also believe in nature and I don't want to be dependent on science to get everything my body needs.