Vitamin B12 is an important part of our daily diet to maintain our health; it works together with folate in the synthesis of red blood cells and DNA. It is also needed in the production of a sheath that forms around the nerves and conducts nerve impulses, so it is essential we get enough, as this sheath is what is protecting the nerves. A deficiency can lead to anaemia, lethargy, weakness and memory loss.
Us vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk from a B12 deficiency and therefore it is important to know where we can find it. Here there are two differences of opinions that I have found, some research suggests that there is no B12 in anything other than animal products, as plants don’t need it so they don’t store it. Other sources say that B12 can be found in such things as Soya products such as Soya milk and silken tofu, split dhal, lentils, almonds, beetroot and wheat flour.
It is also said that fermented foods contain a rich source of this essential vitamin, in cheeses such as feta, Swiss and parmesan, in full fat and low fat yogurt and in the batters used to make idly and dosa.
There are many reasons to be vegetarian and indeed vegan these days when it is difficult now to trust what is even in our milk. Eating meat can negatively affect us to a genetic level one reason for producing cancers. Excess proteins found in meat can affect the kidney greatly and build up cholesterol and fatty acids, which block up the artery walls causing heart problems. A non-vegetarians mind is internally faster and they are more prone to insomnia than us vegetarians. Meats can create intoxication soon after being consumed and evoke hunter like qualities in a human being with a fighting mentality and where acts of cruelty become natural and a peaceful state of mind is lost. We could go on and on about the reasons why to be vegetarian and I am by no means judging anybody’s choice, but just to have a more peaceful, harmonious and gentle mind is good enough reason for me.
But we do need to have this B12 for our health so it is very important to include some of the above foods in your daily diet.
I tried this recipe for the first time the other day from the Sivananda home practice companion and loved it, so here it is for you to try and top up your B12!
350gm silken tofu
Large bunch of organic fresh herbs such as basil, mint and parsley
1 tblspn of extra virgin olive oil
1 tblspn of sesame seeds or tahini
Freshly ground black pepper and rock salt to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste
Place all the ingredients in the blender with 3 tblspn of filtered water and process until smooth and creamy, add more water if necessary.
Enjoy your tofu pesto with a lovely spinach salad with some flax seeds hmmmmm yum!
See you all on the mat,
Mangala / Nicky