Monday, 19 May 2014

Can Enough B12 be Found in a Natural Vegan Diet?

Can Enough B12 be Found in a Vegan Diet ?

Vegetarianism is a big topic these days. People are more concerned about animal rights and the environment than ever before. The factory farming industry has become a monster that resembles little of the traditional farms many people still imagine their eggs come from. Recently I posted on a Google+ board in a discussion about whether milk and eggs were necessary. It's my opinion that,while I am not a complete vegetarian, people have access to the supplements and nutrition that eliminate the requirement for animals to be killed or used otherwise for our diet. Some people do not want to change and have a typical repertoire of knee jerk responses like "I'm the top of the food chain so it's natural", "Why would I have pointy canine teeth", or "we have to eat animals to get Vitamin B12."  This last one is an  interesting issue  and will be the primary focus of this post.

So lets start with the basics. Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy human life and is produced by neither plant nor animal. It is produced by bacteria that live in all animals including humans. For us however the bacteria reside a little further down in the colon than the vitamin can be absorbed in large amounts. Vitamin B12 is only required by humans in very small amounts, and is stored by the body for long periods of time. Thus it takes quite a while for the symptoms of B12 deficiency to show.

B12 is required for a multitude of roles in the body. These include converting carbohydrates into energy, maintaining a healthy nervous system including regulation of mood, good energy levels, cardiac health, protection against some types of cancers, digestion, and is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails. People who have vitamin B12 deficiency may develop anemia.

It is possible that some humans have been able to survive on a true vegan diet without the addition of B12 supplements. Many animal herbivores consume their own feces which is a source of B12 and it was found that extracting B12 from human feces and giving it to humans with B12 deficiency could ward off the symptoms of the condition. In India many vegetarians consume amounts of dairy sources of B12. Some Indian Vegans (who do not consume dairy or eggs of course) also do not have B12 deficiency. Scientists have theorized that insect larva and residues of insect fecal matter and dirt may contain enough B12. Not much is required as the Liver stores somewhere in the vicinity of a 2 year supply of B12.  In another case Iranian villagers who ate very how amounts of animal products were found to have normal levels of B12. It was theorized that it was due to the fact they were using human fecal matter as fertilizer and possibly because low protein levels allowed their own B12 producing bacteria to ascend high enough in the digestive tract for the vitamin to be absorbed.  It is interesting when some Indians mentioned here moved to the West they were found to be afflicted by B12 deficiency when eating the western diet of food that is cleaned of impurities like dirt and insect residues.  One last possibility in these cases is that the water supply in that part of India contained B12 producing bacteria.

The studies mentioned in the seems to have found that by and large the foods that were tested did not have enough B12 to counteract deficiencies. However they did find some interesting evidence that certain types of food may provide the required B12. A good example of this would be the Korean Centenarians who consumed little animal product but did eat Kimchi at every meal and had the proper B12 levels. Certain types of algae like Coccolithophorid algae did seem to produce results of higher B12 level in those who consumed them. In other cases Japanese vegan school children who consumed Seaweed in large amounts seem to have normal B12 levels. In addition some vegans who ate produce which may have had contamination from soil and manure were able to maintain normal B12 levels. These examples warrant further study. For the most part though it has been found that vegans who do not consume B12 fortified foods or supplements are at a much higher risk of B12 deficiency.  With all the inexpensive supplements, and B12 fortified products out there it is one of the easiest health problems to avoid though.  In fact research has shown that raw  fortified foods may be a better source than animal products as cooking may damage the vitamin levels.  Finally in the future studies have shown that plants injected with B12 retained the vitamin in significant amounts so this will be an option as well. There is no reason for anyone to be afflicted by B12 deficiencies but the end  results of these studies will still be interesting to see in the future. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

True Canadian Dog Encounters

Sometimes the most interesting experiences happen with animals when you least expect it. If you go out in the forest and be still for a while you will notice the things happening around you. Animals are amazingly sensitive to which humans are their friends. 

Here is a true Canadian Dog I met in a remote area outside of town  the other day. I was walking in the forest and I saw two dogs run by me. They ran by but didn't look directly at me. I didn't think they were going to meet but later on they came to find  me again and we made friends. I gave this one an organic apple and a banana. She ate the whole thing including the skin! After that we were all friends and the dogs had a nap under my vehicle.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Vegetarian Sweet and Spicy Curry Recipe

Sweet and Spicy Vegetarian Curry

Recently I made some comments on a Google+ post regarding whether it was necessary to eat eggs or milk. I personally feel that it is no longer necessary to consume those things considering  all the great and inexpensive  Vitamin B12 supplements out there. There is just too much cruelty in the factory farming industry so I try to reduce my association with it as much as possible. Here is site that details some of the benefits of lentils This spicy curry combines potatoes and lentils with some antioxidant rich vegetables. It also has potatoes and fibre from cabbage in it so it should be satisfying without being very high in calories. You can store the leftovers for nutritious and warming lunches throughout the week. It has minimal preparation involved so all there is to do after your curry starts to cook is to wait for your desired thickness in it. If you like, you can increase the amount of cayenne to a full tablespoon to make it really hot. The meal should be ready in an hour.

curry bowl 3


2 potatoes chopped in 1 inch cubes ,1 onion choppe,d 1 carrot sliced, 1/2 cup of red lentils, 1 cup shredded cabbage, 4 tablespoons of honey, 1 can of sweet green peas. Vegetable oil to fry onions.
You will also need a variety of spices including 1 tablespoon each of cumin, turmeric, mustard powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, celery seed, coriander, paprika, and parsley  (You can use a ready made curry powder too if you are short on time but I like to make it from scratch!) 1/2 tablespoon each of fenugreek, caraway, clove, cinnamon, cayenne. 1 teaspoon of rosemary, 2 curry leaves and a Bay leaf, Plain Yogurt


Begin by boiling 6 cups of salted water. Chop the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and put them in the boiling water. The skins have a lot nutrition in them. If possible use organic potatoes. After the potatoes have begun to soften up a little bit add the sliced carrots and lentils. Wait another 10 minutes and then fry 1 chopped  onion lightly in a frying pan. Add the onions into your pot along with the cabbage. Lower the heat to medium low. Prepare a curry paste by putting all the spices in a smaller bowl, mixing them up, then adding water gradually and stirring to make a paste. Put the paste in your pot and stir in along with the curry and bay leaves. Add in the four tablespoons of honey at this time also. Let the curry simmer for about 40 minutes reducing and thickening. Stir occasionally and add salt and pepper or additional honey to taste.  Add in the peas and some shredded greens of any time for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt to temper the spicy heat and garnish with some artful greens on top. A side of salad and some Naan bread will also accompany this very well. I hope you enjoy it. Many other vegetables can be added if desired later such as broccoli, green pepper, or chilies