When you’ve waded through all of the sillier questions from carnists, such as ‘where do you get your protein then?’, ‘how will we keep cow populations from taking over the planet?’ or ‘don’t you know that plants feel pain?’, you will inevitably come across someone who will bring up the B12 issue.
B12 is a consideration when going vegan but it is not the ‘one-up’ on us that carnists believe they have. It’s not the reason that means humans are meant to eat meat. And here’s why.
For a start, looking at America alone, 39% of them are B12 deficient. Do you think 39% of Americans are vegan? Hell no! Try 1%. So how is it that B12 deficiency can be called a vegan problem?
B12 doesn’t come from meat
Contrary to what people think. It really doesn’t. It’s a waste product of bacteria and it comes from dirt, and of course, us, given that it is something we supplement, not add. So, the B12 that exists in meat came from the soil they ate off of. It’s not made inside them. The thing is though, very few cattle in commercial farming ever get near the kind of soil they need to be able to ingest B12 so they actually get injected with it to cater for the deficiency. Ok, so, that does still mean that meat has the B12 we need right? Wrong. This crappy way of attempting to get B12 backfires quite monumentally when the heat applied to meat when cooking it destroys the B12 and any that did get through the cooking process is destroyed in our stomach acid when we have to digest the flesh.
To supplement, or not to supplement
This is a contentious issue in the vegan community. Here’s the way I see it. Take a frikken pill. It’s not a big deal to take a B12 pill to supplement the B12 that you’ll also be getting in any fortified vegan products such as plant milks and even some tofu. The thing is, no one has a perfect diet. Even when I ate animal products, I still took a multivitamin every single day. The same is likely of the carnists that come at you with the B12 argument. If they deny taking so much as one supplement source, they’re barefaced liars.
Weighing it up
Yeh, you can mess up and get B12 deficient on a crappy junky vegan diet but it’s actually kind of difficult to do and takes about 20-30 years, and if it happens, guess what…you increase your B12 and get better. It’s not exactly terminal. Heart attacks, strokes and cancer – those are the things to be more concerned about. There’s no pill to stop those happening if you’re gonna throw a load of animal flesh and secretions down your throat.
It should be noted however, that B12 deficiency can be serious but it won’t be because of a vegan diet. It’ll be down to an absorption issue such as a stomach disorder like Crohns disease or Celiac disease, which does require medical attention to control.
So don’t let the B12 issue be something that stops you in your tracks when you’re becoming vegan. It really is not the trump card that carnists think it is.