Hi, I'm from Melbourne, Australia. I've been flirting with going vegan for a while. Very hard to do with an Asian background as they love their meat & my parents think it isn't healthy going without it. I'm also a new mum with a happy 7mth old boy who I love to bits. I feel I am ready to take the step and go vegan for my health and for my son. I have been reading that you can't get vitamin B12 from a vegan/vegetarian diet. I wanted to know how do you make sure you get all the vitamins our body requires with a vegan diet? Also how to ensure my child does as well.
I get mine from Nutritional Yeast, Spirulina and other sea veggies but don't otherwise supplement. I've had my B12 tested a couple times and has always come back more that fine. It is one of those that accumulates. I do know Vegan's that have tested deficient but also know many more meat eaters that have tested deficient so I don't think it is a Vegan only issue and sometimes gets a bad rap. I would do like you are, continue to research and find what is best for you. There are supplements if you need them, but it is a very individual thing. And if ever in doubt, see about getting your blood checked for b12.
Hi Mei! I'm from Sydney! I've been vego since I was 13 (I'm now 37) and went vegan about 7 years ago. I have to say that I did experience a severe drop in my B12 levels a couple of years back but that was after I had a baby (breastfed) and had 2 major surgeries in the space of 3 years. I had all the classic symptoms of a B12 deficiency but once I focused more on my diet and made sure I incorporated stuff like Vegmom mentioned I was fine. I also use a daily B12 spray to keep things in check (this is the one I use http://www.bioceuticals.com.au/product/preview/B12-Liquid/ as prescribed by my GP who knows I'm vegan and happily supports it). I also agree with Vegmom in that vegans and non-vegans are all candidates for deficiencies and it all comes down to knowing what your body needs.
As for bub, my daughter (2.3 years old) is vegetarian for the moment, but the bulk of her meals are vegan. She has Bellamy's Organics follow on formula (2 x 200ml bottles a day) and organic yoghurt (a few times a week), and the weekly Freddo Frog she gets off my dad when she visits (not ideal but I haven't the heart to stop him - yet!)) but that's about it. I'll be weaning her onto nut milk soon. She won't eat eggs in any form, occasionally eats cheese and hates straight up cows milk. She pretty much has the same food as my hubby and I (though he is not vegan or vego, but eats what I eat at home with no qualms at all).
Meal examples: Breakfast: cacao powder, kale, banana, chia seeds, flaxseed, almond/soy/rice milk (fortified with B12) smoothie OR mango, banana, baby spinach, chia seeds, flaxseeds, spirulina and water/nut milk, with nut butter on toast, occasiona lly apple cinnamon pancakes (from Peas and Thank You). Snacks: fresh or dried fruit, vegetable sticks and hummus, crackers, homemade banana/carrot bread, pine nuts, sunflower seeds. Lunch: baked beans, risotto, wholegrain pasta (nearly always home made and using nutritional yeast), avocado on toast with sundried tomatoes, or left over dinner. Dinner: Homemade pizza (using nutritional yeast for 'cheese'), 'meat' substitute (e.g.,Frys schnitzel cut in half, vege sausage (fortified with B12), grilled tofu) with vegetables, vege burger, Indian curry with rice and poppadums (she LOVES poppadums!), sushi (usually avocado cucumber) and tempura veges.
This is not an ideal diet by any stretch. I am working towards feeding her (and my my hubby and myself!) less bread and less processed food, but for now this is a rough idea of her daily diet. I try to make most things from scratch when I can (I work full time and am studying Psyc part time at uni) and buy organic when I can (if I can't I use an organic vege wash). I also use organic, cruelty free, no nasties products (bottom butter, body wash, sunscreen, etc). She is incredibly active (it's exhausting actually!) and very bright so it would appear her diet is so far more than adequate. She still gets colds and the odd stomach bug (she goes to day care 1 day a week where bugs seem to be rampant!) but seems to get over stuff at the same rate (sometimes quicker) as other kids. You're a little way off these kind of meals for your little one yet, but thought I'd give you an snapshot of one kids meal! Arm yourself with information and I'm sure you and your bub will thrive!
Thanks so much for your replies, it has been really helpful. I guess if I have soy milk and cereals that have been fortified with Vitamin B12 as well as nutrirional yeast or spirulina; have a range of grains, fruits, vege and legumes I should be getting everything I need. I just need to take the leap and go for it!
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