The Low Down on B-12

Vegan B12 Chart

There has been an ongoing debate on whether or not you can get enough B12 on a vegan diet without supplementation. I set out to do a review of the literature on this topic and have come to the following conclusion for myself:

There is enough evidence that a vegan diet in today’s society is likely to lead to a B12 deficiency, that I choose to consume a B12 supplement on a regular, consistent basis.

Why is this such a hot topic?

Vitamin B For one, B12 is a complicated vitamin! I didn’t know how confusing a vitamin could be until the day I started researching this one! In simple terms, B12 is actually formed by a bacteria that is found mainly in soil, feces, and fecal contaminated water (I bet you didn’t think you would be reading about poop when you started this article!) We often contain the bacteria in our bodies, but it is generally found in the part of the intestine past the point where nutrients are absorbed into our bodies, so it is eliminated before doing us any good. Some animals, such as cows, have a digestive system that supports the bacteria to produce B12 within an area of the digestive tract that allow for adequate absorption. This is why eating them provides you (well, probably not YOU) the vitamin. Many animals also get this bacteria through the soil they consume along with their food. This is not the case however, if the soil being consumed does not contain adequate cobalt levels, as cobalt is necessary for B12 production.  When it comes to plants, in our modern times, extreme measures are taken to rid them of all bacteria which destroys dangerous bacteria, but simultaneously kills the good bacteria that would give us B12. Vegan or not, people can become B12 deficient for other reasons as well, particularly due to malabsorption from gastrointestinal issues, medications, and other vitamins and minerals that, at high enough levels, can block B12 absorption. If the pie chart from NutritionFacts.Org is even close to reality, there is a good chance the amount you are getting is insufficient.

What happens if you don’t meet your body’s B12 requirements?

You can often go many years without noticing the symptoms, or at least making the connection, often when it is too late to reverse the damage. A B12 deficiency could eventually cause nerve and blood vessel damage, which can possibly lead to some terrible health problems such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, birth defects, depression, and bone density issues. It is therefore important to know the signs and symptoms, and get tested if you are having any. A few of the early warning signs are listed below, and full a more comprehensive list, click HERE.

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Faulty digestion
  • No appetite
  • Nausea
  • Loss of menstruation

 

How to Get Enough B-12

In summary, with all the risk factors involved, I believe supplementing is the smart thing to do. There are 3 types of B12. There are several types of B12 and the research on which is “best” is mixed. The most common (and cheapest) type of B12 is cyanocobalamin, and most research seems to suggest that for most people (except this type is effective enough to meet our B12 needs. Then there is hydroxycobalamin, which is often considered a better option than cyanocobalamin, but is only found in an injectable form. More recently however, methylcobalamin seems to be getting hyped as superior to all others, so I am using this type currently (see bottom of page for product info). I think, at this point though, if you are not using anything, just start taking one of these it is a good start. Please note, that each specific type of B12 calls for a different recommended dosage. There are also different dose recommendations for treating a deficiency and simply maintaining proper amounts in the body.

B12 Supplement

The product I recently decided to use is Seeking Health Optimal Liposomal Active B12 with L-F-MTHF, as it contains the proper ratio of B12 and folate, another B vitamin of which is particularly important to consume the correct amount. I order through one of my affiliates, Live Superfoods, and if you decide to do the same, here is a link to receive a discount: 5% Off Your Order At Live Superfoods, single use

flax milk

There are also many vegan, B12-fortified foods available these days. The new flax milk I started using for examplecontains 25% RDA of B12. In my opinion though, relying on these foods to meet all your B12 requirements is unrealistic.

I hope this helps you in your search for true vegan health! Please feel free to address the topic further on our Sexy Fit Vegan Forum and for a more expansive, detailed, technical explanation about B12, I recommend the article on VeganHealth.Org.

In Health & Happiness,

Ella

Sexy Fit Vegan Menu Guidelines

Vegan Whole Foods

After years of research and experimentation, I want to share with you the guidelines I have created for myself, that allow me to be strong, lean, energetic, perform at my best, and simply feel good from the inside out!
I am realistic with my guide. For example, ideally, I would love to be 100% gluten free, but given I don’t have an intolerance, I eat things with gluten every now and then and don’t beat myself up about it.  I have also kept it as simple as possible. Personally, I don’t count calories. If I follow this guide, and EAT SLOWLY, stopping when I’m full or just before, I can give my body what it needs, not more, not less. This takes practice though. If you have been eating processed foods, your body is all out of whack and will need some time to get its bearings straight and for your mind to connect with your system in a way that gives you this luxury. So until that happens, it may be best to keep a food log and take the time to figure out how to create a diet that is nutrient dense, contains lots of variety, meets your protein and other caloric and nutrient needs.
food heart

MY BASIC GUIDE:

  1. 3-4 Meals (solid &/or blended) + 1 Fresh Green Juice/Day
  2. Eat tons of dark leafy greens & other veggies daily (make sure a portion of them are RAW)
  3. Primarily Gluten Free
  4. Primarily Organic (Organic whenever the option is available.)
  5. Low in Grains (Counting quinoa and buckwheat as  grain-like SEEDS. The more active you are, the more you may need whole grains to fuel you!)
  6. Variety of Raw Seeds & Nuts Daily in Moderation, soaked & sprouted when possible
  7. Soy in Moderation- ALWAYS ORGANIC (& non GMO)
  8. Legumes– Soak & Sprout When Possible
  9. A piece of fruit makes a great snack. Eat fruit on its own (not at the same time as other foods) when possible
  10. Smoothies and Protein Shakes are great ways to get lots of nutrients into your body. Kale & spinach can be added to them without changing their flavor! Hemp seeds and flax meal are also powerful super foods to add to shakes/smoothies. Raw vegan organic protein powders, can also be good if you are on the go (add water in a shaker bottle and you have a perfect snack.)
  11. Take a B-12 Supplement

pencil

      So wherever you are in your journey to a healthy, plant based diet, consider these guidelines when planning your meals for the day and week. If this is new for you, “winging it” will not work. Its going to take effort, but with your goal in front of you, your motivation within you, and your support system surrounding you, you CAN DO IT!!!!!

Robin Quiver Fights Off Cancer

Vegan Robin Quivers Fights Cancer

The Comedy Central Roast Of Joan Rivers - ArrivalsRobin, long time sidekick to Howard Stern, is back in the studio after taking a year off to fight endometrial cancer. She attributes the strength she possessed during her stent of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to her vegan diet.

In her book “The Vegucation of Robin,” Quivers wrote “My plant-based diet was helping my body heal. I couldn’t believe the difference I saw. I’d never had such a dramatic shift in my health – not when I was taking medication, not when I was wearing a neck brace, and certainly not when I was eating whatever I wanted. I no longer had to rearrange my entire life around being sick.”

It’s just so great to hear another story about the healing powers of a whole foods, plant based diet. Go Robin!!!

If you are interested in more details, see the articles from the following:
NY Daily News
Dr. Oz
Today Show via YouTube

Top 5 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

vegan-fitness-run-header

Here are some great exercises you can do at home, outside, or even in a hotel room without a single piece of equipment! Put them together to make a simple yet challenging exercise routine that works your entire body.

1. Air Squats

These are great for shaping and toning your legs and butt, plus they get your heart pumping!

An air squat is performed standing with your feet a bit wider than your hips. The goal is to do a full squat (your thighs should be just past parallel with the ground at the bottom of the exercise) with speed and power and without a pause between repetitions.

2. Burpies

My all time favorite (its a love-hate relationship)! From standing, fold forward and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back, landing in a plank position as you lower yourself to the floor (chest and hips must touch the ground). Push yourself back up as you spring your feet toward your hands, stand up and jump.

3. Mountain Climbers

Great for increasing core strength and flexibility, as well as getting your heart rate up and burning a bunch of calories!

From a plank, bring your right foot directly to the outside of your right hand so that your full foot is in contact with the floor. Using your core muscles (basically your trunk from shoulders to kneew) hop your right foot back to start position as you bring your left foot directly beside your left hand. Repeat.

4. Butterfly Sit-Ups

These work your abs from top to bottom with full range of motion while preventing your hips from doing any of the work.

Lying on your back, place the bottom of your feet together, allowing your knees to drop to the side. Touch the ground behind your head with your hands then quickly bring them forward, sitting all the way up and touching your feet.

5. Supermans

It is SUPER important that you do exercises to strengthen your lower back. Many people do abs and ignore their lower back leading to imbalances and back problems.

Lie on your stomach, legs straight and arms straight in front so that they form a “V” shape. Keeping your neck in neutral position, raise your arms, chest, and legs all together as high as you can then lower down slowly.