"Where do you get your B12?"
The more nutritionally-conscious raw diet skeptics have cleverly replaced the age-old "where do you get your protein?" question with this one. However, as always, I come prepared! While we only need a very small amount of B12 every day, it's vital that we get it so I welcome the question.
B12 helps your body convert carbs, fats, and proteins into energy. It helps maintain red and white blood cell health. Finally, it helps form necessary protection around your very important brain nerve cells.
Deficiency usually expresses itself in the form of anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, inexplicable weight loss, and more dramatic neurological changes like tingling of the extremities, maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, and memory loss. The thing about a B12 deficiency is that for some, it hits them suddenly, but for others it could take up to a period of as long as 20+ years to express (but then the consequences are pretty drastic).
However, there are a lot of myths about B12 and I'll be the first to dispel the biggest one: B12 does not come from meat or dairy. B12 comes from bacteria. We're so afraid of bacteria nowadays that few people are willing to admit that it's not your meat that contains and produces B12, it's the stuff that's living on it. Yes, to all your omnivores and carnivores out there: When you kill an animal for consumption, no matter how fresh it is or how you preserve your meat, things are happening to it and will continue to do so the minute that animal dies.
Given that fact, and pardon the image, but I'm quite content to say that I don't need carcass parasites to get my daily dose of B12. Because B12 is produced by healthy bacteria and fermentation, a (raw) vegan on a nutrition-conscious diet can easily get their necessary dose of the elusive vitamin when they explore their options.
Vegan Sources of B12 include:
all sea vegetables (especially spirulina and nori)
fermented nut cheese**
(and bee pollen, for non-vegans)
* for a rejuvelac how-to, check out Miss Mer's revolutionizing tutorial
**guess what? There's a video for that too!
That's quite the list, isn't it? And guess what? Most of those sources are either raw or living foods, so they're good in my books! To celebrate my love for B12, here's what I had today that was jam-packed with bacteria goodness:
1) Pre-breakfast: A glass of home-made Kombucha (oh yeah...)
2) Lunch: Sauerkraut and Kimchi from the amazing Green Door Restaurant
3) Snack: I snagged a tasted of the raw pizza I made this morning with rejuvelac, probiotic, AND nutrtional yeast nut cheese before Andrew nom-nomed the whole thing. It was awesome. This pizza had the usual pineapple, broccoli, and black olive toppings, but one half had crumbles of my leftover falafels, while the other half had crumbled sundried tomato-chipotle marinated tempeh (also a clever re-working of last night's leftovers). It really tasted like Italian sausage, and was AAAmazing.