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Minimal diet = deficiencies  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Also, somebody mentioned iodine. This is important. It looks like one must either eat sea plants and critters, or drink lots of milk and eat a lot of eggs and meat.

About the boring diet mentioned above; that is not just hypothesis, that actually happened to a group of researchers who tried it; they couldn't stand the "One Circle" diet.
 
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r ranson: my nutrition book says, that fermented soy products (like miso) are high in b12
 
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Tyler -

I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia about 15 years ago. That's the autoimmune disorder where the body produces antibodies to intrinsic factor, which is necessary for absorption of the B12 from food. So I've been dealing with this for a while. Experiencing the deficiency can really, really suck. I feel your pain. Did your doctor do any other investigations to determine why you had the deficiencies? Just diet, or...malabsorption due to...?

The good news is, it really is simple to bring your B12 levels back up to normal fairly quickly. Injections of cyanocobalamin seem to work well, no matter the cause of your deficiency. After that, an oral supplement is sufficient for most. (I'm currently experimenting, under medical supervision, with taking oral mega-doses to see if I can get enough B12 absorbed along the entire GI system. I get my oral B12 from the pharmacy, and it's just B12 mixed with starch to make a tablet. As far as I know, the B12 is from bacterial sources. Both cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin forms have worked for me.)

Re. B12 from fermented foods - like some of the other commentors, I have heard conflicting things. It can't hurt to increase your intake of fermented foods, but I wouldn't rely on it until you have built up your body stores of B12 again. That's a general principle I would recommend as someone who's experienced the effects of low B12 - treat this seriously, take a supplement, eat some natural forms of B12 in meat or clams, and then...think about your food system once your energy and mental state are rebounded. I agree that it's hard to raise a complete diet yourself - there must be some foraging and trading in the community.

Best of luck.

 
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Please know that fermenting vegetables is not a consistent or reliable source of B12. Some B12 is made through fermentation as mentioned but you are not going to be able to get enough that way unless you get really lucky and probably only eat fermented foods. Neither nutritional nor brewer's yeast is a good source of B12. They only contain a small fraction of the needed B12. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation about B12 in the vegan community.

There are other vitamins/minerals that are difficult or impossible to get on a vegan diet. Vitamin A can be hard depending on individual metabolism. You can get carotenes which can be converted to vitamin A in your body but some people are poor converters. Iron can be difficult; you can get iron from plant sources but you need to make a conscious effort to get iron-rich vegan foods. My favorites are molasses and yellow dock root which you can make into a yummy drink with some lemon juice.

You will have a lot more B12 in your eggs with your chickens eating bugs and green plants than the average grocery store egg. Consider getting more chickens so you have a consistent supply of eggs and getting into soldier fly production to feed them. That would be a relatively easy and cheap way of getting more B12 with a system you already have in place.

Have you considered rabbits? A friend of mine started raising rabbits a couple years ago and I have been amazed at how much meat production she is getting. She lives without a refrigerator as well and it is one of the perfect meats as you really don't have to preserve it as you can butcher as needed. She has dried some as well right on the bone for soups or knawing on like a cave woman. They are really cute, though, which can turn people off of eating them. She is also not doing the intensive cage raising, basically giving them a run where they can hang out and play together. She is growing most of their food (greens and grass) and they can forage some as well. It looks like there are 5.5 micrograms of B12 in 3oz of rabbit meat (according to Google).

There was a thread on eating insects. That would be another way of getting cheap, local B12 sources if you are willing to eat insects.

The natural B12 supplements are mostly made from a strain of brewer's yeast but they are growing it under controlled conditions, testing to get the actual amount of B12, and then concentrating it (not sure how) to get it into a capsule. My favorite is Innate but there are others as well. There are two forms: cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. I prefer the methyl type as that is the form our bodies use.

Another issue with B12 is that it is one of the hardest nutrients to absorb. You have to have stomach acid production which is required to attach intrinsic factor in the stomach. Without intrinsic factor, you cannot absorb it. Then you have to absorb the B12/intrinsic factor complex in the small intestines. If there are problems with any of those 3 parts, then you will not absorb it even if you have plenty in your diet.
 
master pollinator
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I really appreciate all the information folks are offering, it is helping me think about this. I have actually not been to the doc yet because of $$. This is a self-diagnosis based on symptoms. Could be other things besides deficiency, but those seem unlikely - diabetes has some similar symptoms but there's no diabetes in my family and I eat very little sugar. The symptoms I'm experiencing other than the weird feelings in extremities overlap symptoms of bipolar, so probably most of what I'm experiencing is that possibly made worse by deficiencies. A poor diet on top of an underlying problem seems like it could cause these worse symptoms. I'm trying to avoid more pharmaceuticals; I'd rather spend that money on food or seeds! My brain seems to be significantly less functional lately, very difficult to concentrate for more than a few minutes and almost impossible to make even the simplest decisions. Lots of very negative thoughts. If it doesn't clear up soon with a better diet, I may have to see the doc.

Rabbit looks unusually high in B12 for a land animal. Unfortunately, my household can't stand to even have it cooking in the house, and can barely choke it down at the table. So that's a no-go for us, but valuable information for others.

 
pollinator
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How about growing cray fish ?

David
 
gardener
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According to this article concerning B12 and the vegan diet, he cautions that the research shows that plant sources of B12 are just ineffective analogues. Saying:

And no plant food has been shown to improve vitamin B12 status in humans.

Deficiency may take years to become apparent. Supplements and fortified foods are the only reliable sources.
 
Glenn Ingram
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If you don't even know if you are B12 deficient, then you may be jumping the gun on this. To confirm, you have a few options: take a supplement of 1000mcg/day and see if symptoms improve or get a lab test. If you are B12 deficient enough to be getting the symptoms you are talking about, then you should be anemic as well. You can order your own labs at directlabs.com and get your blood drawn at a Labcorp. A CBC (complete blood count) which only costs $6-15 will tell you whether or not you are anemic (HCT, HGB, and/or RBC will be low and MCV may also be high with B12 deficiency). You can also test B12, sort of. There is a B12 test but it's not that good. You can also test methylmalonic acid, an indicator for B12 status. I don't know prices for those.

If your self/web-diagnosis gets you nowhere, then you will definitely want to see a doctor as there are a million and one things that can cause those symptoms: some mild and relatively easy to deal with and some scary and hard to deal with. Do some looking around for community clinics, low income clinics, etc. There are often low-cost options even in small towns but you usually have to look for them. People at homeless shelters, food banks, and hospitals usually know about them. Don't forget, you can also use government assistance (medicaid) if your income is low enough; might as well get something useful out of them.
 
pollinator
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Horticultural, pastoral, and hunter-gatherer societies did better as far as nutrition, at least as far as I can tell. Not only did they eat large animals, but more importantly, they ate lots of small ones; bugs, slugs, snails, grubs, worms, fish, shellfish, etc.



I think a huge hurdle is that a lot of us grew up not eating many of these things. And, I'm not just saying "ewwwww." It's hard to start eating things that you associate with danger, even irrationally. I was forced to eat bad fish as a child and still cannot enjoy fish, even if I consciously know that it has been well-prepared and has no fishy taste.

Heck, I grew up with parents who were not good cooks, so I had to learn to cook and eat on my own as an adult, and that has mainly been conventional foods.

I have planted a fair number of fruiting bushes that are still closer to being wild than cultivated: i.e. goumi, aronia, etc, in the hopes that I'll get some extra nutrition from them.
 
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Andrew Brock wrote: I do know of some vegans that don't take b12 at all and they don't have issues,



I don't. In my experience the ones who don't take supplements go kind of nuts (animal rights extremists, little old ladies giving their life savings to donkey sanctuaries etc.). I can't prove it's the B12 deficiency to blame, but they definitely have "issues"
 
pollinator
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There was a good bunch of posts on here recently about healing allergies--saying it's gut biology that's the main factor, not the foods or genetics.

What foods are you having allergic reactions or tests to?

Also if you can cleanse your air, and expose yourself to the air-pollinating pollens through a tincture (my housemate came up with this method), that may free up enough body strength to deal with the food allergens better.

Gilbert Fritz wrote:What is the supplement made of? And how does it get made? Where?

I'm working on this problem too. In my case, it is made worse by severe food allergies in the family. How can I grow all our food if we can't eat anything I can grow? How to get by without raising a cow? etc.

 
Gilbert Fritz
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If you don't even know if you are B12 deficient, then you may be jumping the gun on this . . .



This seems like good advice. Though the general topic of low B-12, low iodine, and (sometimes) low protein and low calories in home grown diets is still relevant.



 
pollinator
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Moreover, certain strains of LAB produce the complex vitamin cobalamin (or vitamin B12).


Because some soils are deficient in cobalt B-12 is not produced. My mother learned this from reading Rodale back in the 1950's so she obtained some cobalt chloride crystals which we added to the molasses water we gave the goats in the winter. This soon worked its way through the whole ecosystem of or farm and everything improved. We also had the advantage of eating from Puget Sound so were getting minerals from there.
The pink salts usually have cobalt in them so using them for your ferments may help with the B-12. Also using it in your food makes it available to your gut biome.
 
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There are so many things to actually consider here about B12. Why is this so important when the high doses of B12 are in foods such as dairy and meat? Is it because we are actually suppose to be eating meat and dairy? or is B12 a big push to create a scare so people do not become vegans? Personally I myself rather be a vegetarian then a vegan and currently eat meat a couple times a week. Just sharing some ideas maybe we should think about.

Then there is another thought, digestion. Many of us have issues we may not be aware of that do not allow our bodies to properly assimilate the nutrition we need. We could eat extreme amounts and still be lacking. The same is with a weak immune system.

Many of us are extremely low on magnesium which creates many other problems that can be looked upon as being deficient in other things. Same with low iodine.

Too much sugars can rob the body of certain nutrients as well. Also lower the immune system which can cause deficiencies.

One would be extremely surprised at how much chem trails actually affect us on how we utilize our food or affect our soils and nutrition in the foods we grow.

In other words many things today could mask the real issue that could be causing symptoms of a deficiency or show a deficiency in something.

Our soils NEED to be constantly enriched with products that are not only natural but the products themselves need to be nutritionally dense to give the foods we grow high amounts of nutrition.

I am on pure sand for growing. It has been 2 years experimenting with natural products to get my growing medium balanced to grow healthy produce. Even if we eat meat what are we feeding our animals? If it is not adequate for us what about them? So how much B12 or anything is really in their meat when we eat it? Same with eggs.

I am a homesteader learning to be self sufficient. I know for a fact the town I live in, the stores have the worst food ever, organic or otherwise. I either feed myself food I know will be nutritionally dense or I know I will be deficient in something. This year has been an amazing experience to realize how much I need of everything to have my plants grow well and healthy. It will be another couple years at least to get everything on my homestead balanced. Then and only then can I hope not to be deficient in something.

As one person mentioned go on a cleanse 1-2 times a year. Learn to eat fermented foods daily. Maybe instead of focusing just on B12 focus on your immune system, increase magnesium, balancing the soil you grow in. What foods are you eating that maybe you should not be eating? Not saying these things are not done already just mentioning in case they are not.

Anyway just some food for thought. Good luck Tyler.


 
gardener
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Corey Schmidt wrote:many sources say comfrey contains compounds that are toxic to the liver



My understanding about the question of toxic alkaloids in comfrey is that they are much more concentrated in the root than the leaf. That the one death attributed to consuming comfrey was a case of a very ill individual, very very ill, who was hoping the comfrey would help his body mend itself. It may not have been the comfrey that killed him, though he was consuming a huge amount of comfrey.

I do not know for certain about the toxicity of comfrey, just that it is a persistent belief, despite the many people who drink comfrey (leaf) tea on a regular basis without suffering any damage to their livers.

I have no idea about the comfrey vitamin B 12 connection.
 
master steward
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I really appreciate all the information folks are offering, it is helping me think about this. I have actually not been to the doc yet because of $$. This is a self-diagnosis based on symptoms. Could be other things besides deficiency, but those seem unlikely - diabetes has some similar symptoms but there's no diabetes in my family and I eat very little sugar. The symptoms I'm experiencing other than the weird feelings in extremities overlap symptoms of bipolar, so probably most of what I'm experiencing is that possibly made worse by deficiencies. A poor diet on top of an underlying problem seems like it could cause these worse symptoms. I'm trying to avoid more pharmaceuticals; I'd rather spend that money on food or seeds! My brain seems to be significantly less functional lately, very difficult to concentrate for more than a few minutes and almost impossible to make even the simplest decisions. Lots of very negative thoughts. If it doesn't clear up soon with a better diet, I may have to see the doc.

Rabbit looks unusually high in B12 for a land animal. Unfortunately, my household can't stand to even have it cooking in the house, and can barely choke it down at the table. So that's a no-go for us, but valuable information for others.



One way to sort of easily self-diagnose is to buy some liver or oysters. I find that when I eat liver (even just a few ounces of chicken liver), I feel better pretty much instantly--i.e. about 1-2 hours later. My mind is clearer; I have more energy; I don't feel so dizzy; my thoughts are less depressing, etc. Now, it could be the iron and not the B12, but I know that it helps. I know grass-fed and local is a real priority for you, but it might make sense to buy the conventional stuff just this once just to see if it helps. If it impacts you instantly like it does me, you'll know that you need some source of it in your diet.

When I don't eat steak or liver at least every other day, I really start to wane. It's why I still buy it, even though I know it's not as sustainable. I don't know how to reconcile my body's need for B12 and iron with living in more sustainable way. But, I'm not much use to anyone if I'm a vitamin-deficient muddle.

Oh! Another thing about vitamin b12 is that it does degrade with long cooking over 250 degrees F, according to Weston Price. So, lower tempurature cooking or searing and cooking a medium-rare steak is better. Here's the quote:

The vitamin B12 molecule is resistant to temperatures in excess of the boiling point, unless exposed to an alkaline medium. The molecule breaks down at 250o C. Thus B12 is destroyed on the surface of grilled meat, but not in the interior. Eight percent of B12 in liver is lost by boiling for five minutes.9 Thus gentle braising or cooking steaks to rare or medium-rare best preserves B12 in meat. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/vitamin-b12-vital-nutrient-for-good-health/



Here's another source about cooking methods and vitamin retention:

Vitamin losses do not only occur when cooking vegetables; meat is affected too. Ortigues-Marty et al. found significant vitamin B12 losses from various cuts of beef exposed to grilling, pan-frying, deep-frying, roasting, and braising. Roasting fared the best of these methods, likely because of the dry heat involved and therefore less opportunity for vitamin leaching into cooking water. With fish, Nishioka et al. found significant B12 losses for grilling, boiling, frying, and microwaving, but no losses from sous vide (vacuum-packed) cooking, and only small losses from steaming.

http://www.mindthesciencegap.org/2013/04/03/cookingmethodsdomatter/
 
David Livingston
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and there is always marmite https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmite

David
 
Tobias Ber
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if marmite (yeast) is so rich that like 20g will have the daily dose for many B-vitamins.... what about kvass? it s a self-produced beer from yeast, sugar, toasted bread, raisins etc.

here s the thread: http://www.permies.com/t/51723/fermentation/bread-kvass#435507

there will be more recipes online.


cobalt: i read the same, it s needed to form b12. i do not know how much is needed, but it could be helpfull to add that to ferments. unrefinded salt or sea salt should contain some of it, i do not know if it s enough.


i think, it s important that the gut-flora is able to work with the vitamins and to absorb it. ferments will help, as will eating fibre. fribre should be no problem in your diet when you re growing (parts of) your food yourself.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Pamela Smith wrote:
Then there is another thought, digestion. Many of us have issues we may not be aware of that do not allow our bodies to properly assimilate the nutrition we need. We could eat extreme amounts and still be lacking.



I don't think I could possibly be considered to be eating extreme amounts of nutrients. I'm sure we're lacking in most nutrients, but B12 seemed the most obvious because of a diet low in animal products. And what we did eat provided at most half of the minimum daily requirement. Half of the minimum a few times a week, for years. Our diet in recent months has been even worse because of trying to get by on stuff from the garden and what I call "pantry scrapins'."

We'll be getting some things from the store on Friday and see if I don't feel better in a few days. Even though I don't like taking pills, it will probably be a good idea to look for a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement for at least the short term.

Looking into this has really be revealing. I was completely uninformed about B12. I thought if you ate some animal products every now and then, like a couple eggs every other day, and a little milk, you would get sufficient B12. Apparently not. Apparently you either have to eat the right amount of the right animal products frequently, or take a supplement. Or have such a fabulously natural diet that you get B12 from microbes in the food (if that's even possible).

I don't see us changing our diet to eating more dead cows from the store. But we might eat more dead clams and fish from the store.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Did someone already mention what a good source of minerals "redmond's real salt" is? It's from an underground deposit of salt from an ancient sea, and it is made available to the consumer just as it comes from the earth-- except granulated. I've been eating it for years. Other ancient salt deposit is Himalayan pink salt, but it is transported all the way from Pakistan.

I have heard sea salt recommended as a source of minerals, but I suspect the salt from modern seas may not be as clean and pure as the ancient deposits.
 
Pamela Smith
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Pamela Smith wrote:
Then there is another thought, digestion. Many of us have issues we may not be aware of that do not allow our bodies to properly assimilate the nutrition we need. We could eat extreme amounts and still be lacking.



I don't think I could possibly be considered to be eating extreme amounts of nutrients. I'm sure we're lacking in most nutrients, but B12 seemed the most obvious because of a diet low in animal products. And what we did eat provided at most half of the minimum daily requirement. Half of the minimum a few times a week, for years. Our diet in recent months has been even worse because of trying to get by on stuff from the garden and what I call "pantry scrapins'."

We'll be getting some things from the store on Friday and see if I don't feel better in a few days. Even though I don't like taking pills, it will probably be a good idea to look for a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement for at least the short term.

Looking into this has really be revealing. I was completely uninformed about B12. I thought if you ate some animal products every now and then, like a couple eggs every other day, and a little milk, you would get sufficient B12. Apparently not. Apparently you either have to eat the right amount of the right animal products frequently, or take a supplement. Or have such a fabulously natural diet that you get B12 from microbes in the food (if that's even possible).

I don't see us changing our diet to eating more dead cows from the store. But we might eat more dead clams and fish from the store.




What I meant was even IF a person ate extreme amounts they would still not get enough do to the body not properly using it.

I am a huge supporter of buying local and not from the store. I really believe if possible one should buy from a local farmer. Then you can see how the animals are being raised and what they are being feed. Much of the store bought meats are from animals from feed lots, fed gmo feeds etc. Chicken eggs from actual free range/pasture range chickens have so much more nutrition in the eggs. I also feed mine organic fermented grains with no soy. This is what I was talking about in my first statement. Food from the store can not compare in nutrition to properly raised and fed local meats and veggies.

One more thing to look into. Clams, shrimp etc are bottom feeders. They actually store toxins in their bodies. These toxins do get transferred to us. Plus with all the stuff being dumped, spilled in the oceans I stay clear of those foods.

Interesting post about losing nutrition from meats cooked for a long period over 250. Thanks Nicole.
 
pollinator
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Someone else mentioned tracking in www.cronometer.com. It's really excellent! I am on a very low carb diet (low carb, high fat) and I've been amazed at how nutrient dense my foods are. My B12 in the attached pic is 354% of the RDA and it's all local/homegrown except for the duck eggs but I've since ordered ducks and I guess they'll be laying next spring. I hovered over the B12 box and a popup box shows the foods highest in b12

My lipid panel is stellar and I've lost 31 lbs in the last 18 months. The big problem is I took a food intolerance test and food I react to cow's milk and casein (and bacon!!!) which has become a huge chunk of my diet since switching to LCHF. I guess the good news is that since I don't milk my own cows I get to focus even more on my own homegrown/raised foods.
Vit-B12.png
[Thumbnail for Vit-B12.png]
 
Pamela Smith
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Cj Sloane wrote: The big problem is I took a food intolerance test and food I react to cow's milk and casein (and bacon!!!) which has become a huge chunk of my diet since switching to LCHF. I guess the good news is that since I don't milk my own cows I get to focus even more on my own homegrown/raised foods.



Dexter cows can give either A1 milk which is what most cows give or A2. They have found many people who can not have milk can drink the milk from a cow that is A2. Maybe there is a neighbour who has a dexter with A2 that milks and you can test that out.

Again, I mention about local meat. I know some friends that could not eat pork from the store but was able to eat pork from a local farmer do to the feed the pig was given. Not sure that works for your situation but thought I would put it out there.

Thanks for showing the chart. Something I think I will look into as well.
 
Cj Sloane
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In case you're wondering what I ate, here's a snapshot of that. If you're wondering what chicken eggs and duck eggs will do to your cholesterol, here are my stats BUT I eat very, very low carb. High carb and high fat is a disaster (the SAD diet). If your carbs are veggies, that's probably ok, tho. You might do OK high carb, low fat (aka veg/vegan) if you can get your nutrients in but our brains are 70% fat and we need cholesterol for normal hormone function. Older women in particular live much longer with higher total cholesterol numbers.

After 18 months on LCHF:
Total 266 (last year 312)
HDL >100 (last year 63)
LDL na (couldn't calculate due to high HDL) last year was 230
Trigs 54 (last year 95)
BP 110/74
BMI 22.3
79 FBG (last year was 93).

Plus 31 lbs lost.
Screen-Shot-2016-06-16-at-10.57.37-AM.png
[Thumbnail for Screen-Shot-2016-06-16-at-10.57.37-AM.png]
 
Cj Sloane
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Pamela Smith wrote:
Dexter cows can give either A1 milk which is what most cows give or A2. They have found many people who can not have milk can drink the milk from a cow that is A2. Maybe there is a neighbour who has a dexter with A2 that milks and you can test that out.



Unfortunately the test seems to indicate all casein is a problem. I have access to raw goats milk and would drink that if I could.

This is supposedly due to leaky gut which can be cured. I need to research this further.
 
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Just adding that for goose eggs, which often many will have instead of duck eggs:

"When it comes to chicken eggs the raw yellow has most of the vitamin B-12 with 1.95μg per 100g serving (33% DV), however, this equates to 0.33μg per yolk or just 6% of the DV. The eggs of other animals are higher with a goose egg providing 7.34μg (122% DV) of vitamin B-12 per 100g serving, and a duck egg providing 3.78μg (63% DV)." -- https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/Top-5-Natural-Vegetarian-sources-Vitamin-B12.php

I'll have to remember this as we have a pretty good cache of goose eggs each spring.

But just to resurrect a question regarding vegan in general: With all of the discussion regarding the current "vegan community", isn't there some historical precedent of long-time (i.e. over hundreds of years) vegan groups of people around the world and how they obtained complete nutrition?
 
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Combucha

vitamin B1 0.74 mg mL-1
vitamin B6 0.52 mg mL-1
vitamin B12 0.84 mg mL-1
vitamin C 1.51 mg mL-1

For comparison, milk contains:

vitamin B1 0.45 mg mL-1
vitamin B12 2.7 mg mL-1
vitamin C at about 1.8 mg mL-1

Duck eggs
3.8 mg B12 (63%)

There is also a huge difference between synthetic vitamins and bio available natural forms.

Carol depp does a pretty good job growing all her nutrients. To say it's not possible to grow everything you need is really not true. It's a modern mindset really. We're so domesticated.. In an age where the whole of human knowledge is at our finger tips, many are so dumb or simply do what they really learned in school; to follow directions and get answers from the authority.

No matter how careful we are it's easy to over look something like b vitamins. So, we learn and we share. I am so greatful to hear of someone who did make the effort to grow all their food. It's a rare thing. Keep plugging away at it. You will get it!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Pamela Smith wrote:
One more thing to look into. Clams, shrimp etc are bottom feeders. They actually store toxins in their bodies. These toxins do get transferred to us. Plus with all the stuff being dumped, spilled in the oceans I stay clear of those foods.



Animals higher up the food chain store more toxins in their bodies. Clams are one of the animals containing the least mercury.


https://www.nrdc.org/stories/smart-seafood-buying-guide?gclid=CNmFvuPxrM0CFYOBaQodsckHAg
 
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Dan alan wrote: To say it's not possible to grow everything you need is really not true.



I'm one of the people that doesn't believe it's possible in any real sense. I think a vegetarian diet has very real shortcomings. This can be debated to a ridiculous extreme, but it is clear in my mind that humans are not meant to be vegetarians, and trying to find a vegetarian answer to a problem caused by being a vegetarian seems like spinning your wheels. YMMV
 
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John Weiland wrote:

But just to resurrect a question regarding vegan in general: With all of the discussion regarding the current "vegan community", isn't there some historical precedent of long-time (i.e. over hundreds of years) vegan groups of people around the world and how they obtained complete nutrition?



It might be an assumption that they obtained complete nutrition. As I mentioned earlier, it's quite possible to limp along for hundreds or even thousands of years with chronic deficiencies as long as some offspring live to reproduce. There's evidence in the anthropological record that most or possibly all agricultural societies experience deficiencies when compared to hunter-gatherers.

http://discovermagazine.com/1987/may/02-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race

I think we have the opportunity as permaculturists to create diets which are as nutritious as the diet of hunter-gatherers. These might even be vegan diets, but they almost certainly won't be "traditional" diets.

 
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Todd Parr wrote:

Dan alan wrote: To say it's not possible to grow everything you need is really not true.



I'm one of the people that doesn't believe it's possible in any real sense.



I agree. I think it is implausible, or at best extremely difficult. I think it is an admirable goal, but one most of us will probably fall short of. If folks here on permies are growing everything they eat, I hope they will post about it more, preferably in this thread: http://www.permies.com/t/57054/permaculture-design/Producing-household-food-site

 
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Todd Parr wrote:

I'm one of the people that doesn't believe it's possible in any real sense. I think a vegetarian diet has very real shortcomings. This can be debated to a ridiculous extreme, but it is clear in my mind that humans are not meant to be vegetarians, and trying to find a vegetarian answer to a problem caused by being a vegetarian seems like spinning your wheels. YMMV



Lol. I understand. I think vegan is not a good idea. I am sure its possible, but the problem with science is that it's such a simplistic approach and live is interconnected and extremely complex. It like growing hydroponic veggies in 12 mineral salts, sure they grow, but the plants and the prersons eating them suffer a while host of problems and deficiencies. It's probably unfathomable to understand every interaction of mineral, vitiman, emzyne, protein and sugar as it interacts across a healthy multi species eco system. Assuming we could even find one..

My grand parents grew everything they needed. They were big, strong people who worked amazingly hard. They grew veggies, cows, chickens, as well as hunted and foraged. A meal might consist of 3 different veggies, homemade butter, baked chicken with a breaded(eggs) cow liver, and a wild blue berry pie and a glass of milk to wash it down. If that was not enoigh you coukd snack on wild bullnettle nuts. I can remember how flour was such a big deal because it was limited by how much they could grow. They both lived past 100.

Unfortunately my parents forsook the farm life for "easy city" life and failed to teach me a single useful thing. My grand dad was strong and working at 90, and my dad at 64 can barely get around.. I suspect most big farm foods don't contain the numbers given by the FDA for foods and almost no minerals.
 
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Peter Ingot wrote:

Andrew Brock wrote: I do know of some vegans that don't take b12 at all and they don't have issues,



I don't. In my experience the ones who don't take supplements go kind of nuts (animal rights extremists, little old ladies giving their life savings to donkey sanctuaries etc.). I can't prove it's the B12 deficiency to blame, but they definitely have "issues"



But the question is, did those issues result from being vegan, or did being vegan result from those issues? It seems logical to me that if one is already an animal rights extremist, becoming vegan would follow.
 
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Dan alan wrote:
My grand parents grew everything they needed..... as well as hunted and foraged.



Here I think is where folks might miss something. The grandparent grew everything they needed - but wait, actually they didn't - they also hunted and foraged! I think to have a complete varied diet like your grandparents had, we need to design permaculture systems which have the same richness and variety of foods including wild foods or wild food analogues - non- or- recently domesticated varieties of edible plants, and a larger variety of animals. I titled this thread "Minimal diet" on purpose - my household had gotten into the habit of eating a very limited variety of cheap foods from the store and what few things I was able to grow. Yes, we have saved a lot of money, but at a large true cost.

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
I think we have the opportunity as permaculturists to create diets which are as nutritious as the diet of hunter-gatherers.



This is what I'm working on. It feels like a hunter gatherer diet on some days, especially when I find a clutch of hidden eggs or gather mushrooms on my property, sometimes wild, sometimes inoculated several years prior. I don't feed my poultry from April - Nov and believe me, I had to "hunt" my Thanksgiving turkey, mainly because I couldn't catch it without the help of a 22.

My main goal to to grow high carb foods to feed to my livestock to let them take the insulin hit for me. Ideally these will be tree crops but annuals like pumpkins and squash will fill the gap till they come online.

I know some people like to eat lower on the trophic scale but the older people get the more carb intolerant they get. Plus, the further north you go (northern hemisphere) the more traditional societies rely on meat, the Inuit being the most extreme.
 
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A diet high on the food chain isn't plausible for us here, and I think this is probably true for most people - most people don't have a lot of land. Large animals are very inefficient at producing food compared to smaller animals, including fish, and plants. Personally I find it hard to justify production of large animals except from the standpoint of preference - in most cases there is a more efficient means of producing food for humans. Neil Layton has discussed this extensively in many threads.
 
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I titled this thread "Minimal diet" on purpose - my household had gotten into the habit of eating a very limited variety of cheap foods from the store and what few things I was able to grow. Yes, we have saved a lot of money, but at a large true cost.



My guess is that if you worry less about the specifics, i.e. B12 and prioritize replacing the cheap food with something a bit more nutritious, you'll get yourself 90% of the way there. Then worry about precision in nutrition. I am not saying don't worry about it at all, but tackle the obvious holes first and see how you feel after three months.

Do you need shopping and cooking suggestions about substitutes for what you are currently buying that is nutrition-poor? Making those big changes can be harder than trying to solve it with just a few forms of nutrient-rich foods.



 
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Tyler: You keep saying things along the lines of growing your food all by yourself... I think that's at the core of your food issues right now. I'd recommend that you become part of your local-food community. Humans are primates. Primates are most comfortable and healthy in troops/tribes/clans. I highly recommend that you become a member of the group of people in your area that are raising their own food. Or raising food for the farmer's market. Or giving food away at church. Or growing for the food pantry. Even if you have your own garden, you might consider getting a spot in the community garden, just to rub shoulders with your local food producers. No community garden? No farmer's market? You might start one... I'm trying to say, that I hope you won't be fatalistic about this. In every community, there are growers, fishers, hunters, gatherers, beekeepers, ranchers, milkers, etc. You don't have to produce all your own food, just tap into the network of people in your area that are already producing food. We'd be thrilled to feed you better food than it's possible to buy at the store.

As a farmer, I would love it if someone came up to me and said, "I am too poor to buy good food. I want to eat well. Would you put together a box of seconds for me each week?" I always try to keep a box of seconds on hand, for just that scenario. The food is perfectly edible, just has a bug in it, or a bite, or hail damage.

I don't raise any animals myself. However, I grow corn that feeds the chickens that lay the eggs that I eat. I raise tobacco that de-worms the goats that I eat. I'm not a fisherman. However I eat lots of local trout. I am not a hunter, but I eat lots of local game. I grow vegetables for the fisherman, and for the hunter. I trade honey with a trout farmer.

So to sum up. Tyler, I hope that you will make the effort to connect with your local food growers tribe. I'm posting a couple of photos below regarding the feelings of my local food tribe. I hope that you'll connect with a similar group of people in your area.

Here's the mantra from a member of my tribe.


And here's mine.
 
Todd Parr
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Dan alan wrote:
My grand parents grew everything they needed..... as well as hunted and foraged.



Here I think is where folks might miss something. The grandparent grew everything they needed - but wait, actually they didn't - they also hunted and foraged!



Exactly.

Joseph Lofthouse wrote: In every community, there are growers, fishers, hunters, gatherers, beekeepers, ranchers, milkers, etc. You don't have to produce all your own food, just tap into the network of people in your area that are already producing food.



I think that is the only real way to achieve real independence. It has to be done as a smaller, tight-knit community that cares about one another. You're lucky to have found one. I think they are few and far between.
 
Tyler Ludens
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That's really good advice, Joseph. Most people I know buy most of their food at the store. Some neighbors who hunt sometimes give us meat, but not lately. I know of only one farm in the area which actually grows food for people. There don't seem to be community gardens in the nearby communities. Some neighbors grow small amounts of vegetables and we share what we have extra.

Some of the things you advocate, such as starting a community garden or farmer's market, I am not capable of doing. I love the idea of community and sharing, but being a person so shy I can't even see being able to ask the neighbor if she has any extra deer meat, it fills me with terror. If she had some extra, I'm sure she would give it to us, but I can't ask. I'd have to be starving, I think.

 
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