By guest blogger, Lynn Davis
The nutrient that vegetarians must be watchful for is B12, which is made only by bacteria in the guts of animals. Including our own, luckily, so nature has given us a boost right off the bat, unless we kill off those good bacteria in our gut by feeding them wrong—those good bacteria are not meat eaters. In other words, becoming vegetarian helps your body produce more B12.
Even with the increased B12 however, a deficiency is possible in a totally herbivorous diet. Many vegetarians turn to occasional meat sources to fill this need—eggs or fish even a couple of times a week, some use supplements, but the most common source for many is brewer’s yeast. Because yeasts are found in the animal kingdom, they produce B12, and little of the sweet-nutty stuff sprinkled on salads or cereals add both a punch of taste and all the needed dietary B12.
“Lettuce is for rabbits,” my dad would say as he dug into meat-and-potatoes meals. He was dead before 60 from complications from bowel disease, just one of the myriad of diseases caused by the “traditional” American meal. Meat eating is also implicated in heart and artery problems as well as arthritis, and obesity is much easier to achieve. Maybe rabbits are healthier.
Bette Davis said, “Old age is not for sissies,” a clear and succinct observation that I think those who are old agree with. I’m now officially old and then some—by the time this is published I will have finished 68 circumnavigations of our sun, and I’ve spent almost 30 of those years as a vegetarian. I testify that the vegetarian life is also not for sissies. The challenges arise because our society has been resistant to inclusion in its thinking—but I see much evidence that our societal resistance is changing.
Lynn Davis: I was awarded a Masters in Teaching Writing by Humboldt State University in 1999, and I’m not sure if they made a mistake. Currently building a website for those needing a writing teacher/coach in order to find out.