I’ve been eating a vegetarian diet for about 8 years now. I originally stopped eating meat (yes that includes fish and chicken!), eggs, and dairy after I learned about the inhumane treatment of animals. These books were hugely influential on my decision:
I ate a vegan diet for several years and then added back in cheese, eggs, and fish. I added these foods into my diet because I thought that I needed them.
Well, I am now making the transition back to a vegan diet. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons:
- I don’t believe that eating animal flesh, secretions, or reproductive products, contributes to making me a healthier person. I no longer believe that I “need” them.
- I do not want to participate in the needless torture and slaughter of billions of animals.
OUCH! Harsh, huh? Let me begin to explain. This will take several posts so bear with me
First, you can get everything you need from a balanced and thoughtful vegan diet. Usually the nutrients that people worry about the most are b12, iron, protein, and calcium. Let’s focus on B12 first.
Needed for cell division and blood formation, we actually don’t need very much B12. However a deficiency of B12 can cause nerve damage and anemia, so it’s important to make sure you have adequate amounts of B12 in your diet.
B12 does not occur naturally in plants or animals (although it did occur in plants at one time). Farm animals contain B12 because they eat plants contaminated with the microorganisms that produce B12. Since vegans do not eat animals, we need to get our B12 elsewhere.
Some good vegan sources of B12 include:
- B12 vitamin supplements. Look for a sublingual Methylcobalamin form of B12.
- Red Star nutritional yeast, which also happens to impart a yummy cheesy flavor that works great in tofu, “cheeze” sauce, popcorn, bread dough, salads, soups, gravy, stews, etc.
- Fortified cereals – Nature’s Path Optimum Power, which I love, Corn Flakes, Special K, Kashi Heart to Heart (may contain honey).
- Fortified soy milk
What are your thoughts about eating a vegan diet? What are your concerns about it?