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Hi there


First off, I should say, that I am considering veganism for both health and ethical and moral considerations. I first turned vegetarian at age 15, and kept it going for six years, until my health was slowly decimated. At the time I had no clue what was causing my constant illnesses, and was persuaded by both family members and medical professionals to go back to eating meat. That was nine years ago. I've struggled with guilt and revulsion when eating meat ever since. Fast forward to January of this year, I had my second surgery, which effectively cured me of my congenital illness in combination with daily treatment, leaving me (almost) free of health issues, illness, depression etc.

I am now in the process of beginning to live again, and rediscovering myself after those many long years, having survived a 30 year (from birth) congenital life-threatening illness.

I've also had a great love and respect for all things living, and have never been comfortable with the slaughter of animals. Had I lived thousands of years ago I just can't imagine I would be running around killing things, except in self defense. Obviously cows, pigs, and chickens pose no threat to us. Yet I've relied on other people to slaughter them for me, and attempted to contain, or swallow, my guilt. It's done me no good. Physically or mentally.

Now that my health and some of my strength have returned, and I am in the care of more competent medical consultants - myself included - I am seriously considering a switch to veganism. My illness has ravaged most of my body. Before January 4th 2011, I had not had R.E.M sleep for 30 years - my entire life. My hormones and biochemistry have been completely upset. Constant depression has had me consuming mostly milk chocolate, and I expect some 1/3 to 1/2 of all my calories have come from it. The net result is that I am also morbidly obese, weighing in at over 500 pounds, or well over 200 kilograms.

I've been reading page up and page down in the past few days about veganism, and feel a primal urge to return to more "natural ways", in the effort of finding a cure both for my conscience as well as my weight. My major concerns are nutritional deficiencies.

As far as I am able to determine, the only essential vitamin, mineral or substance required by the human body that is not available through the plant kingdom... is B12. Which is a fairly odd thing. Does not the fact that B12 has to be supplemented for vegans rock the foundation of the idea that human being are herbivores?
 

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B12 is produced by bacteria which used to be found in abundance in the soil. I believe the bacteria within ourselves produce B12 in the intestines but it's so far down, it isn't absorbed and instead comes out in our feces. From what I've read, we've decimated the soil, and our produce is often washed which would remove the natural B12 found in the soil. Please correct me if I've explained this theory incorrectly. Personally, I get my B12 from fortified foods such as non-dairy milks (soy, almond), cereals, and nutritional yeast and despite the fact that I've been tested with excellent B12 levels, I'm considering taking a supplement every once in a while just to be safe.

Another thing to look out for is vitamin D which primarily is produced in the body due to sunlight. If you don't get enough sun (which is most of us: vegan, vegetarian or meat eater), there are also vegan foods fortified with D2 as well as supplements. Watch out for D3 as it's not vegan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Seem to have managed to delete my own reply before posting it, so apologies if this appears twice.

Hi Rhys, thanks for your reply. I did a bit of googling around this, and if correct, it does indeed explain things. Since homo sapien obviously could not have evolved as a herbivore if it required a vitamin that came only from meat (as animals were not domesticated for milk and eggs much later). Apparently the bacteria is present in the fescies of most mammals, which is how we ended up with it in the topstoil to begin with. It's just that we have so severly disturbed the natural balance, and which is why it now shows up mostly in grazing animals.

Vitamin D is another concern of mine. I actually have Vit D deficiency already (25 <50-150)... being Norwegian and spending most of my time indoors. Apparently Vit D also does not store for long in the body, and we need huge amounts of it. I might just buy a UV lamp, to be honest lol. Here in Norway, we also don't have the wide variety in veggie products that seem to exist elsewhere. At least not that I've found. I've thus no idea what nutritional yeast is, for example
I do take a multivitamin, but I've no idea what the sources are. I suppose I should start looking for vegan multivitamin supplements, to be on the safe side, and have occasional blood tests to make sure I'm on track. My health is shoddy enough as it is


Thanks again!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runinho View Post

As far as I am able to determine, the only essential vitamin, mineral or substance required by the human body that is not available through the plant kingdom... is B12. Which is a fairly odd thing. Does not the fact that B12 has to be supplemented for vegans rock the foundation of the idea that human being are herbivores?
No, not really.

Firstly, B12 is available through eating animal flesh but that is not the only source. Rhys is correct. B12 comes from a bacteria and was potentially available to humans through the consumption of unwashed, uncooked plant sources. In the past, it was safer to eat these foods than it is nowadays, in large part because industrial animal agriculture has contaminated the water and soil used to grow fruits and veggies. That's not to say anyone should eat unwashed uncooked plants in order to obtain B12 "the natural way." DO NOT EAT UNWASHED PLANTS. It's not safe anymore.

Moreover, some scientists theorize that people who have been vegan from birth develop the ability to better absorb the minor amounts of B12 consumed through plant sources. This seems to be true for some other nutrients - chidren raised with a diet limited in a particular nutrient sometimes develop the capacity to absorb that nutrient more efficiently than people raised on a diet with that nutrient in abundance. Again, don't test this theory out. Just supplement vegan children's food with B12.

But more to the point: veganism is about our choice to refrain from harming animals, the environment, and public health by rejecting animal agriculture and the destructive monster that it has become. There is nothing "natural" about what humans currently do to animals in order to turn them from living, loving, feeling beings to chunks of flesh for human consumption. It is a violent, destructive process that harms virtually everyone along the line from farm workers to consumers and all the innocent bystanders.

Here is some advice about obtaining B12 (and other nutrients) as a vegan: http://veganhealth.org/articles/dailyrecs
 

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Velkommen til Veggieboards! Kjekt med flere norske her :) I'm glad to hear your health is improving. Elaine explained it well w.r.t. B12.
 
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