When starting a plant-based diet, you should be aware of the vitamins and nutrients that you will no longer bereceiving from your four-legged friends. Two of these are Protein and vitamin B12, which are key components of the human body. Protein is an easy one to work around. All plant-based foods contain some amount of protein. However, B12 is a little trickier. [For information on getting protein on a vegan diet click here.]
|B12 supplement, Nutritional Yeast, Fortified Soy Milk|
Lucky for us, B12 supplements and foods fortified with B12 have been created to assist us in maintaining our B12 levels. Soy products, breakfast cereals, and meat alternatives typically include B12. You can also find B12 supplements on the shelves at almost any grocery store, pharmacy, Walmart, or dollar store. Supposedly, there are some great deals online as well. Other options are Soy and Almond milk that have been fortified with B12. I prefer Almond milk, and always check to make sure that it contains B12. Usually one cup contains half of your daily recommended amount.
A friend of mine (and long-distance runner) recently introduced me to a new water additive called zipfizz. He has been adding it to coconut water, as a means of hydration while running. Zipfizz claims to be the healthy alternative to energy and sports drinks. Not only is it tasty, but it contains Vitamin B6, B12 (2,500 mcg), C, E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Chromium, and Potassium. That’s a lot of kick from a little tube of powder! You can hydrate and maintain your B12 levels at the same time. I’m not being paid to mention it, but I believe that it could be beneficial to readers.
Don’t forget the importance of B12 in your new diet. It is not something to be taken lightly. I know from experience that going without enough can be dangerous (and scary). You will begin to feel weak, lacking the energy to carry out even the most basic daily tasks. I have read that the effects of a long term deficiency can be irreversible. Stay on top of it and be aware of warning signs. I normally eat B12 fortified foods along with a daily supplement. While it is important to get enough B12, side effects may occur from over-supplementing. The recommended adult daily dosage is 4.0 – 6.0 mcg. For those just starting out on a plant-based diet, I would recommend monitoring your intake. Once you become grounded in your new way of life, it will become second nature.