Why You Need B12
If you're a newly inducted vegetarian, or vegan, there is a nutrient that you absolutely must supplement. So between arguing with friends and family over why you're doing this, (and you don't have to explain it, I understand) you must pledge to find a good B12 supplement and take it like birth control.
That's what I should have done after I finished my decree, like a presidential press conference really, that I was now no longer consuming animal products. Family members scoffed, strangers asked angry questions like hungry reporters, friends who were laughing and light-hearted one second got tense and defensive the next, "Is it even good for you?"
It's your own choice. And yes, it's definitely good for you to eat more plants than animals. It will always be this way, and though everybody is different, (I am a firm believer in unique diets for each person) the plants to animals ratio in your diet should be something crazy like 17:1 (this is not based on anything scientific and is purely an estimate I pulled out of my top hat (I don't have one, but would love to at least see one--when was the last time you saw one except for on a Lincoln impersonator--there needs to be one week a year when everyone in the United States dresses from the 19th century)).
I would dress like an Indian from the beginning of the 19th century. More later on this subject.
There are a few ways to make sure you're getting enough B12:
- Some nut milks are fortified with B12 (as are some cereals and soy products, if you're into the fortification thing [and is it not the same thing as supplementing?])
- If you're vegetarian, you get to have eggs and maybe milk if you're into that kind of thing
- Nutritional yeast, baby (more on this topic later)
- You're going to have to supplement: Click here to get ya some
We need B12 because a lack can cause:
- gut problems
Anywhere from 100-1000 mcg is enough. And it's something everyone should be thinking about. Vegans and vegetarians aren't the only ones who have deficiencies. Though they should definitely be on the lookout.
Is this proof that vegan or vegetarian diets are bad and not right? As unnatural as mermaid's breath? No.
Bacteria makes B12. When we eat animals, we get the B12 from the bacteria made in their digestive tracts. The animals have gotten this bacteria from the dirt where they have hopefully been grazing. Our soil is now too sanitized for bacteria, so we must get it elsewhere. But where industry has taken away, it has also given...in the form of supplementation.
It's okay. It is not a perfect world. Sometimes we have to make up for stuff gone awry out there.
As for being good, if you haven't been good, you'll make it up. You'll supplement for it. Like I said, it's not a perfect world. But B12 will help us get by in an imperfect world.