Veganism is growing more and more popular each year due to the rise of various diseases that are more prevelent than ever. Diseases such as cancer, gastritis and heart disease are common concerns shared amongst most Americans. While some people make it clear that they aren't going vegan for health concerns, others are simply looking to preserve natural wildlife so that planet Earth doesn't run out of it's resources in subsequent generations to come.
To both, the end result is becoming a vegan. Is this healthy? More often than not, people lack the proper education of making the transition over to veganism and end up falling short of some vital nutrients that the body needs for survival. B12 is one to be concerned about. Vitamin B12 is required for tissue growth and repair and it also helps decrease inflammation in the body. Evidence also shows that B12 combined with fish oil may even reduce total serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both a concern in people, especially the obese.
For the most part, plant sources don’t contain adequate amounts of bioavailable B12. Often, the only reliable source for vegans is through supplementation. Moreover, while a vegan can supplement all day long, he or she must also be conscious of not turning to the products sold at "health food" stores that are loaded with soy or even the demon wheat. So, it is imperative that one reads the labels (as I mention in Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools) and look at the entire picture. It wouldn't be a good thing if you are looking to save the planet, yet find it ok to do it at your own expense. Read those labels for sodium, fat, added ingredients that act as preservatives, and stay away from high sugar and high glycemic foods (Tool #68 in Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools).
For now, I provide you with a list of some plant based foods you should look to include in your day. I cannot guarantee optimal bioavailability, but I can certainly say that it might be better than where you're at:
- Plant foods (purple and green algae)
- Purple Nori or Laver
- B12 injections
The absorption of B12 is variable. I didn't get into proper protein consumption in this post, but if you read Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools, you will learn about how much protein one needs in a day. This value is far more than most vegans can get in 3 days combined!
Jenn Zerling, MS, CPT
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