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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The Irresistible Smoothie

For most of us, diet is an evolving thing. It certainly has been for me.

In my early twenties, inspired by the books of Paavo Airola, I stopped eating red meat and began frequenting the health food shop in the city in which I lived. Over the next several years cravings for chicken and fish dropped away. I was suddenly the only vegetarian in my circle of family and friends. For a few years I started the day with smoothies of yogurt, banana, wheat germ and vanilla. Then, when I shifted away from the area in which I grew up and experienced cleaner air, began eating organically grown food and dropped dairy from the menu, the hay fever and eczema of my youth disappeared. It was only then that I realised I had probably always been lactose intolerant.

Breakfasts in the Netherlands consisted of fresh organic fruit eaten with organic rolled oats, raisins and nuts, soaked in water overnight. When we arrived to stay in New Zealand’s subtropical Far North my diet took another leap into new territory. There is an incredible abundance and variety of fruits locally grown and available year round in our area. Now, inspired by the writings of people such as Norman Walker, Morris Krok, Viktoras Kulvinskas, Dr. O.L.M. Abramowski, Hippocrates Institute founder Anne Wigmore and Arnold Ehret (The Mucusless Free Diet) and by the personal living examples of our new friends Babaji in Kerikeri and Michael Miller, then of Te Ngaere Bay, I leapt enthusiastically into a pure raw fruit diet. Unfortunately, my previously perfect teeth had great difficulty standing up to the excess of fruit sugars they were now exposed to and I soon added raw vegetables back to my meals.

In the 14 years since that big shift to raw food I have not stopped experimenting. I do now eat some cooked food from time to time, such as blended pumpkin soup in winter. But the one common denominator throughout those years has been a smoothie for breakfast.

I rarely wake up hungry. I start the day with water (from one to four glasses), followed later by barley green powder dissolved in either water or freshly squeezed citrus juice (from local organic oranges, mandarins or grapefruits). The smoothie is consumed anytime between mid-morning and midday, depending on my appetite and the work circumstances at the time. Here’s the base:

½ – 1 cup filtered water

1 tsp dried dandelion root granules (optional)

¼ tsp dried or fresh ginger

½ tsp kelp powder or granules

½ cup frozen berries or other fresh fruit

¼ cup soaked nuts and/or seeds

1 tsp barley grass or wheat grass powder

1/4 tsp aniseed or fennel seed

1 tsp bee pollen

½ large avocado or 1 small avocado (optional)

4-6 ladies’ finger bananas (peeled, of course)

½ tsp dried liquorice root powder (optional)

¼ – ½ teaspoon dried stevia leaf

1 cm fresh aloe vera (leaf and gel)

The quantity of water is a matter of taste. I like a liquid consistency. You may wish to use less water for a thicker blend.

For me, bananas are the base of every smoothie. Several varieties grow vigorously in the Far North. To produce large bunches they need only a sunny, sheltered location and all the organic mulch you can give them.

Feijoas

The combinations of fruits and amendments that are added to bananas are only limited by one’s imagination. Oranges or mandarins, whole or juiced (I juice them when they are loaded with seeds) with carob powder makes a delicious smoothie. You can substitute cocoa powder for carob powder if you have a craving for chocolate. I also love pears or feijoas in a smoothie. They are both in season as I write this. I had a feijoa smoothie late this morning. And, of course, fresh is nearly always best. Any berries in season are great. Strawberry guavas grow like weeds around here and make a potent, mineral-rich and slightly crunchy blend (the numerous hard seeds are only partially pulverized by the blender). Most years I freeze guavas and dark purple plums for later use.

I soak seeds overnight. This begins the sprouting process and changes the molecular structure and flavour of the seed and turns the dormant seed into the beginning of a growing plant, more easily digested than the raw seed or nut and potent with life force. I rinse the seeds several times (until the water runs clear) in the morning just before adding them to the blender. I use one or any combination of the following: almonds, sesame seeds, flax or linseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts or cashews.

For extra zing try adding ginseng (the great Asian rejuvenating root) or maca (a South American root with similar properties – go easy with this one) and for assistance to the heart add one seed pod of cardamom. The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner; the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume. Today it is a basis for medicinal preparations for indigestion and flatulence, to prevent and treat throat troubles, for congestion of the lungs and for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Today, I sweeten my smoothies with dried stevia leaf (you can grow it yourself), but other potential sweeteners are soaked raisins, dates or dried figs, dried sugar cane juice or honey. Stevia is recommended for anyone with diabetes or diabetic tendencies as it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels like other sweeteners, no matter how organic of origin.

I only use avocado at breakfast when I feel the need for a more sustaining blend, especially when engaged in heavy physical work or exercise.

I eat the smoothie topped with sprouted lentils and with bee pollen. It was bee pollen that eventually cured my lifelong hay fever and I rarely go longer than a week or two without eating pollen today. I use lentil sprouts because I like their flavour and because they are the most bullet proof of all the seeds to sprout in our present environment. While living in New Mexico and in Arizona, alfalfa seeds were the sprouts of choice and they grew easily. Here, with our high humidity, alfalfa sprouts tend to rot. Mung beans do well but I can only eat so many of them. And wheat is great but the organic seeds I’m able to obtain sprout extremely erratically.

I tend to include a little barley or wheat grass powder but you can experiment with other fresh greens such as peppermint leaves.

I used to include fresh coconut flesh and milk in smoothies but all the coconuts available here are imported and I wonder if they are treated with a fungicide when ships arrive in New Zealand. They are often less than fresh in the shops.

I use liquorice root from time to time. It is a potent medicine and should thus be treated with care. It has been used extensively in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years, in approximately half of their formulas, enhancing the action of the herbs it works with. Ginger is a strong tasting root, to be used with moderation. Like liquorice, it is a digestive aid.

I believe it is safe to say that if you started your day as I’ve described above constipation would be a thing of the past. The ingredients I’ve given are only guidelines. You can freely experiment to find what works best for you. Make sure you truly enjoy your creations. Eating should be an act of great pleasure and gratitude. It is more healthful that way.

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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

 

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