A few Saturdays ago I was driving into town to visit the weekly farmers market and to go to work for the half-day I have in the library each Saturday. I thought of the B12 question again. As a long time mostly raw food vegan, it is important to at least acknowledge that reasonable levels of B12 are not usually obtained from plant sources. I decided to ask the universe what I should do to ensure my vitamin B12 levels were adequate. Don’t worry, I was alone in the car, or so I thought. Almost immediately I received a clear inner message. This mental missive suggested I use the following affirmation: 

I receive all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients I require for optimal health from the food which I mindfully ingest.

Now, I find that a powerful antidote for any possible vitamin deficiencies. Thought is a remarkable tool when properly wielded. It reminds me of what Gentle World vegan community co-founder Light said to me a few years ago in response to a question I posed about vitamins. He stated that he expected to receive all the nutrients he would need from a vegan diet, so he didn’t supplement. He believes implicitly in the merits of a vegan lifestyle and figures that he will be supported in such a choice. It seems to work. He’s a vibrant, healthy man well up in his 70s and he’s been a vegan for over 40 years.

The original informative B12 post from 2009 is found at To Be Or Not To B12.  Another related post is:

Illness is a Call to Awaken

I’ve done two inspiring interviews with Light and Sun, the co-founders of Gentle World Community:

Sun and Light – Inspiring Vegans Around the World

The Future is Vegan

All of the above ties in beautifully with the book I’m reading at present called The Healing Code by Alexander Loyd and Ben Johnson. More on that in a future post.

In health,
John

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

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Good health is natural. As we bring our lives into harmony with nature and natural living we quite spontaneously attain optimum health. I wish you health and abundant happiness.

John

1. Consider increasing the percentage of raw foods in your diet. Raw foods, with their enzymes intact, are known to vitalize the organism. You’ll gain energy and enthusiasm on such a diet. A point to consider: If you have to cook something to make it palatable, is it really suitable for consumption.

2. Simultaneously reduce all artificial stimulants: white sugar, caffeine, table salt, alcohol and drugs.

3. Substitute catarrh-forming foods with the more cleansing juicy and raw fruits and vegetables.

4. Periodically rest your body by fasting. To enable one to fast with greater ease, for a few weeks prior to the fast live mostly on raw fruits. Dr. Norman Walker warns against long, extended fasts. A one day fast once a week is an excellent way to give your body the rest it needs. You could consider making this a technology-free day, spending as much time as possible in nature.

5. Start your day with a few glasses of rainwater (or distilled water) to cleanse toxins set loose by the body at night.

6. The only true way to overcome disorders is through cleansing rather than through the suppression of symptoms.

7. Breathe deeply. This oxygenates the blood, helps purify the cells and organs and produces a peaceful state of mind.

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Do any of us really know in advance the best course for our individual evolution of learning and understanding? Working with nature is a commitment to uncertainty. It’s a surrender to the vast mystery of existence, allowing the architects and builders of form to assist in one’s evolution.

Rather than choosing ‘I want’ one learns to accept what comes. Granted, there may be resistance to the new. This is simply a measure of unresolved negativity and fear. Fear of the unknown.

But how can there be growth without letting go of the known and allowing in the new? The salmon spawns upstream and its young flow with the current down watercourses they’ve never navigated before. To resist that flow would be to resist completely their reason for being.

The human desire for security is valid only if it doesn’t prevent our going with the flow of the stream of growth and evolution.

In a sense, my willingness to reconnect with nature represented my soul’s yearning to grow and fully utilize the human experience.

The fourth spring at Rainbow Buffalo I could get no spinach or lettuce to germinate, let alone grow. I can’t explain for certain the mechanics of this. Perhaps the seed was old and hence had a reduced rate of germination. The ‘why’ of the situation is less important than our response to it.

In the wild areas I’d mulched with hay on the fringes of the garden grew a profusion of edible weeds and it was to these weeds we turned for our spring and early summer salads in 1993. I like to think the denizens of nature had something to do with this because ever since that time a significant portion of Lucia’s and my daily salads have come from wild and semi-wild greens.

Lambs_Quarter_PlantThat spring, for the first time, we feasted on Fat Hen (Chenopodium album), which in my opinion is one of the tastiest lettuces available. This plant had been food for our European ancestors for centuries if not millennia and is one of nature’s richest sources of minerals, better than the spinach and cultivated lettuce it was replacing.. Its other common name is Lamb’s Quarter lettuce. This delicious plant was by no means our only salad green. We augmented it with purslane, another mineral-dense green, dandelions, two kinds of amaranth (which is especially delicious), juvenile Tumbleweed, dock and clover. We supplemented this wild supply with perennial and biennial greens from the garden such as sorrel, nasturtiums, borage,

Purslane

Purslane

Salad Burnett and lemon balm. Once the weather warmed sufficiently I planted a bed of buckwheat. Buckwheat is such a delicious plant.

Tumbleweeds are not indigenous to America. They came with the railroads, on burlap bags from Russia. Tumbleweeds won’t grow where other plants are already growing. They’re ‘primary growth,’ meaning they will be one of the first things to grow where the ground has been disturbed, plowed or scraped. It was a revelation for us in the spring of ’93 that baby Tumbleweeds were a nice edible addition to our salads.

Red Amaranth Leaves

Red Amaranth Leaves

It took a little longer to gather enough greens for a salad because most of the leaves were small. But it forced Lucia and me to make a daily connection with diverse areas in and around the garden. I see this as an important role for a gardener—making a conscious connection of love with the diverse species of the garden. And being thankful for everything being harvested.

We also benefited from the intense concentrations of minerals found in the wild and semi-wild plants we ate. It takes some time for the taste buds to adjust to salads made in this way. But once the adjustment has been made ordinary salads seem bland by comparison. Our ‘natural’ bodies sense and crave the goodness in these wild greens just as animals today will choose organic vegetables over commercially grown and genetically modified ones every time.

There’s a part of us that knows what is best. And we give that part an opportunity to speak once we eliminate enough processed and cooked foods from our diets. Our bodies then express natural cravings for natural foods rather than for the adulterated products masquerading as foods on the supermarket shelves today.

I see that fourth and last spring at Rainbow Buffalo as a watermark of sorts. It represented the time when we graduated from the processed and somewhat degraded diet of civilized man to the natural diet of our somewhat nomadic ancestors. It marked a step back to the days of gathering that came before cultivated crops and settlement of tribes.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

Over my years of teaching nutrition I have never tired of sharing the story Pottenger’s Cats. I feel it has important implications for our times. The following version is an excerpt from the book I am working on now:

Dr. Francis M. Pottenger Jr., like Weston Price before him, was alarmed at the increase in processed foods in the American diet and devised an experiment to study this trend. Also, like Price, he funded his own research. This is significant because it allowed him to set up the experiment as he liked and to interpret the findings in an impartial way. As I said earlier, this is rare in the largely industry-funded science of modern times.

He studied the adrenal glands of cats, setting up control groups fed 2/3 raw meat, 1/3 raw milk and cod liver oil and test groups fed 2/3 cooked meat, 1/3 pasteurized milk and cod liver oil.

The control group of cats remained the same throughout the duration of the study with each successive generation being equally healthy and birthing healthy offspring that lived to old age free of disease.

The test group of cats was another story. Miscarriages were common: 25% in the first generation and 70% in the second. The cats were irritable and experienced a high incidence of allergies, sickness and skeletal deformities. The first generation of offspring developed degenerative diseases such as arteriosclerosis, diabetes and cancer later in their lifespan.

The next generation developed these same diseases earlier in their lifespan, what we might call middle age.

The third generation cats experienced these debilitating conditions early in their lifespan or were born with them. The third generation kittens were so degenerate that none survived the sixth month of life and couldn’t reproduce. There was no fourth generation.

I find these results staggering and of great importance as they mirror the health issues of modern society. How often do young couples today find it difficult to conceive? How often is a young child diagnosed with cancer or heart disease today? In days gone by such diseases were almost unheard of in children.

Pottenger’s findings would indicate that each successive generation of humans fed on a diet high in fast foods and processed products inherits weakened genetic material from their parents and a greater likelihood of developing degenerative diseases earlier in life.

Having suffered from hay fever and eczema from early childhood, I was like a third generation cat in Pottenger’s experiment and I was determined to ‘right the wrong’ and turn around a trend that would only lead to increasing health concerns and dental issues for my children.

Pottenger found that he could reverse the health deterioration in the test cats but it took a full three generations to do so. I wondered if it would take that long in humans.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

Bee With Pollen

Bee With Pollen

 

I’ve been a mostly raw food vegan for the last 12 years and a vegetarian for about 23 years. I was recently blood-tested for B12 and found to be below the medically acceptable range of 160 to 600. My count was 129. My folate, calcium, potassium and other levels were all fine. I was only low in B12. I was experiencing no adverse symptoms. I am extremely healthy and full of energy.

I decided to have a B12 injection and I purchased a B12 supplement. I wrote the following letter to two friends who will remain anonymous. Both are long time vegans. The first is a raw foodie. Their answers follow.

‘I’d really appreciate your experience with B12 in the following possible areas that could help me in choosing how I want to approach this:

  1. What were your levels when you discovered you were low in B12?
  2. What have they become?
  3. Have you used injections and if so how frequently?
  4. Have you found the need to supplement? If so, how often and how much?
  5. What symptoms were you experiencing when you were found deficient?
  6. Did the symptoms disappear quickly? Have they ever returned?
  7. Do you think you’ll need to continue supplementing?
  8. Can you describe significant/meaningful experiences with this of anyone else you know?

 

I know this is a bit of big ask but your answers would be really appreciated.

I’m out to the garden soon. What a spectacularly beautiful day.’

Answer 1:

Dear John,

Ahhh…you can’t be suffering too much from a B12 deficiency, otherwise you wouldn’t have remembered that I had some experience in this realm!

Anyway…to answer your questions…

  • I don’t know how low my levels were back in 1994 when I was tested by a doctor in Devonport, NZ, but I do remember him saying he had never seen such low levels, and that he forbade me to leave the office until I had the first of three injections.  He then injected me with cyanocobalamin in the buttocks, and it was almost instantly like my life was a camera suddenly coming into focus.
  • I have no idea what my levels have become, as I have never been tested since.
  • I have not had any injections since then.  However, a few months back I was given a sample packet from Whole Foods of a new oral version of B12 that was supposed to be absorbed much better than cyanocobalamin.  The new version was made from methylcobalamin.  Out of curiosity, I took it for three days in a row, and each time I took it, I’d feel dizzy and sick within about 20 minutes.  After the third time, I woke up in the middle of night, feeling extremely dizzy and like I needed to throw up, so I started to walk to the bathroom.  The next thing I remember was passing out & collapsing against the glass shower door and onto the floor.  Well, I remembered that after I woke up from my unconsciousness.  Anyway, as you can imagine, I never took those pills again.
  • When I was found deficient back in 1994, I was experiencing mental vagueness.
  • The symptoms cleared up after the injection, and I’ve never felt mentally vague since then.
  • As far as taking B12 anymore, I’ve realized that I do much better on a fruit and vegetable diet (not just a fruit diet).  By eating vegetables from my own gardens and being very careful not to wash the produce, I feel I’m getting whatever microbes I need to make my own B12 (just like other animals do).  And, I guess I could go have my levels tested, but I have become so against the Western way of looking at the body, that I just don’t see the point.
  • I don’t have any knowledge of experiences with B12 with other people.

 

Answer 2:

Hi John,
 
When I was low, my level was 60. I was feeling something with my nerve sheaths, which they said was not reversable, but it was reversed and I feel absolutely fine now. I had a B12 injection when I found out. Since then, I always supplement, just a small amount like once or twice a week at the most. I was retested last week along with many other vitamins, nutrients, hormones, and I was perfect, not even near low on anything. I supplement with B12 sublinguals, and have for years now, so they are obviously working. Sublinguals is the best. B12 shots are possibly a waste (so I’ve been told) for further ones. They could be water soluable or something where a doctor told me to not do the shots, but sublinguals. We only (supposedly) need minute amounts of B12. I wouldn’t fret too much if you don’t feel anything with your nerves. Just supplement. I don’t usually supplement anything but B12. I get my Vitamin D from the sunshine on the skin making it. I’m fine with all other nutrients.

And here’s another bit of information I found at www.answers.yahoo.com  I’ve eaten bee pollen for many years. It was only after beginning with pollen that I put hay fever behind me after suffering from it my whole life. It hasn’t returned and I can put my nose in any flower today. It is a great pleasure. It would appear that there are trace quantities of B-12 in pollen but the following Q&A is insightful.

 

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081023102914AA6ZJEt

Is bee pollen a good source of vitamin b-12?

I’ve been vegan for 6 years (taking supplements like calcium and b-12, etc.) I decided to experiment and go raw vegan with no supplements, but am concerned about a b-12 deficiency. It’s made me think about becoming a bee-gan, i.e. vegan with the exception of bee pollen, if it’s a good, sustainable, natural source of b-12. Anyone have info on this? Thanks.

First: Props on being a vegan who understands the importance of B12. Too many of your brothers and sisters seem to think they can argue their way out of a necessary nutrient.

That’s not a side note: that’s part of the problem. Whatever your source of B12, make sure that it is from a proven source. Some vegen/vegetarian apologists have been selling products from plant sources containing B12 analogues. Simple tests seem to indicate B12 in their product, so they sell it. More careful analysis finds that pseudo B12, of no use to your body, was giving a false positive.

Long story short, B12 comes from animal sourced foods and supplements.

Bee pollen is a bit dicey. For starters, it’s going to vary a lot from one source to another. Given the vegans I know, I’d bet my eye teeth you’d be going with pollen from a single, raw source. I understand why, but this increases the variation problem. Larger, commercial producers would likely produce a more homogeneous pollen.

I’ve not found any reliable sources for nutritionals on B12. Honey seems to be a minor source (FW IW). If nothing else, you could try it, with regular blood tests to check your actual B12 level. Remember that B12 deficiency does not develop overnight, nor can you really reverse it overnight. The safest course of action would include a B12 supplement or a fortified food source.

If anyone else would like to share their viewpoint and/or experience with B12 I would really appreciate it.

 

In health,

John

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

In this, my second Voices From the North interview with Butterflies, we explore further her now more than 30 year adventure with veganism. She reads selected poems from her new book, Metamorphosis: Poems to Inspire Transformation.metamorphosis-book-cover The inspiring, thought-provoking rhyming poems reflect Butterflies’ deep reverence for nature, respect for animals and her perspective as a passionate vegan woman. There’s a beautiful photograph with every poem, many taken by Butterflies herself. There’s something here for everyone. For samples of poems and book ordering information visit her website at www.veganpoet.com.

 

She also speaks on a recent 25 question online vegan survey she conducted. After receiving 750 enthusiastic responses she shut the door, seeing she already had a daunting task to collate, interpret and report on the findings—by hand. Why by hand, you ask? Butterflies’ home in New Zealand is a refurbished and funky old caravan she calls Tranquillity. The trailer is just big enough to hold her bed, a small desk and a bit of storage space. There is no power or toilet, so she’s printed the survey results out. That way she can work at her desk or from her bed-sized rainbow-painted deck—when she’s not writing poetry.

 

Tranquillity is part of a several hundred acre property owned by Gentle World, the vegan community to which Butterflies belongs. The property, tucked in a river-bisected meadow surrounded by national forest, is aptly named Shangri La. Where else in the world can one still drink pure water straight from the stream?

 

A few preliminary findings from the survey indicate there are thriving groups of vegans nestled in pockets around the world. Some of these pockets are predictable—no one would be surprised to hear that California is home to many vegans, or London, the home of Donald Wilson, who first coined the term ‘vegan’ in 1944 (for more on the history of vegetarianism click here). But it seems Portland, Oregon, may come out on top today and there’s a strong group led by Dr. Gabriel Cousins in Arizona. New Zealand has significant clusters in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

 

Becoming a vegan is a personal and ethical decision. Survey results indicate a vast range of diets, from junk food vegans to raw foodies. Almost all respondents indicated they were healthier than ever on their vegan diets; and it was virtually unanimous amongst raw food vegans that they had vibrant health and bundles of energy.

 

For the complete one hour interview with plenty of poems read by Butterflies click below:

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Links:

Our earlier interview and blog:

https://insearchofsimplicity.com/2009/03/05/butterflies-and-the-vegan-lifestyle/

 

Recent interview with Gentle World co-founders Sun and Light:

https://insearchofsimplicity.com/2009/04/10/the-future-is-vegan/