Sunday, June 03, 2007

Vegans and Live-Food Vegans: To B12 or not B12?

Patients that I visit with who are live-food vegans or cooked food vegans often ask me if the should supplement B12 or would like to know why I object to them not supplementing. See the discussion below regarding some of the evidence about B12. Following this discussion are some advantages of eating live food, which I believe far outweigh the need to take a daily B12 supplement.

Are vegans and live-food vegans at risk for B12 Deficiency without supplementation?

Yes, according to Gabriel Cousens in Conscious Eating (revised edition).

He says, as many of us know, that methylmalonic acid is the best way to assess B12 status. For example, he found that some patients with "normal range" serum B12 (486 pg) still had an elevated MMA, indicating that the person was indeed B12 deficient.

He says:
Consistent research over the last decade has shown that vegans and live-food practitioners of all ages have a much higher risk of becoming B12 deficient. There are more than 15 studies on vegans that have substantiated this. The most dramatic was done by Dong and Scott on 83 subjects at a National Hygiene Society conference. 92% of non-supplementing primarily live-food vegans were B12 deficient. There are no studies that show that vegans do not get B12 deficient over time.


However, in the movie "Breakthrough", the story of a family that has been on live vegan food for many years, (and all the children from birth), they claim that none of their children were found to be B12 defiicient despite the fact that they did not supplement B12.

I would like to err on the safe side, so I do recommend a daily B12 supplement to vegan and live vegan patients.

Yes, one should supplement B12. However, here are some of the substantiated information regarding eating vegan or live vegan foods.

(Also from Gabriel Cousens, in his book Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine)

Compared to meat eaters who are 45-65 years old, lactovegetarians have 3X less heart attacks, Vegans have 10X less heart attacks.

Victoras Kulvinskas, in Survival in the 21st Century, estimates that up to 80% of nutrition destroyed when cooking food.

Most research concurs that 50% of the B-Vitamins are destroyed by cooking.

B1 and B12 losses have been recorded up to 96%, folic acid losses up to 97% and biotin losses up to 72%. Vitamin C losses are approximately 70-80%.

The Max Planck Institute for Nutritional Research in Germany found only 50% bioavailability in proteins that have been overcooked. The study found that cooking changes proteins in to substances that disrupt cellular function and speeed up the aging and disease process.

Research done at Stockholm Uiversity, in cooperation with Sweden's Natural Foods association, showed that the heating of carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes, rice and cereals, creates acrylamide, a probable human carcinogen. The researchers found that a bag of potato chips may contain up to 500 to times more acrylamide than allowed in the drinking water by the World Health Organization. French fries sold at McDonald's and Burger King in Sweden showed 100 times the level permitted by WHO in the drinking water. Acrylamde has been found to cause benign and malignant stomach tumors and to also cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous system. Acrylamde occurs in baked potatoes, French Fries, biscuits, and bread, as well as other high carbohydrate foods.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Cleansing Power of Watermelon

Last night at the 14-Day Renewal Cleanse, I mentioned the incredibly cleansing power of watermelon. One of the participants inquired as to why the watermelon has such a great ability to cleanse. In fact, you could do a 3-Day cleanse just eating watermelon. Juicng the rind, when your melon is organic, has value as well. I think a perfect addition to this is juicing wheatgrass or barley grass througout the day, drinking anywhere from 2-6 ounces.

Here is what Brigitte Mars says about watermelon in her book Rawsome. Brigitte is a wonderful herbalist and always has such a fresh take on nutrition of fruits, vegetables, weeds and other plants. I met her at the Raw Spirit Festival in 2006 and she is just delightful. She took a group of us on a spontaneous herb walk, and the doc (well, that's me) learned alot! Thanks Brigitte!

Watermelon is cold, sweet and refreshing and provides a safe reliable fluid in many desert regions of the world. Watermelon is considered a rejuvenating blood tonic and very alkalinizing. It is also antibacterial, antioxidant, anticoagulating, a digestive aid, diuretic, and laxative. It lubricates the intestines and has an affinity for the bladder, kidney, stomach and heart. Watermelon is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and silicon. It actually has half as much sugar as an apple, yet tastes sweeter, because it is mostly (92%) water. Watermelon contains the red pigment, lycopene which is proving to prevent cancer. It also contains glutathione, which guards against cataract formation. Watermelon helps lift the spirits from depression and has been used to improve halitosis, hangover, mouth sores, sore throat, and urethral pain. Watermelon makes an ideal food during a cleanse.

When the white spot that touches the ground, turns yellow or cream colored, it indicates ripeness. Avoid melons with a green or white belly. Select a melon heavy for its size. When the melon is thumped, it should have a dull, hollow sound. If the skin is scraped with one's nail and it comes off easily, the melon is ripe. Smell for a sweet fragrance. Best to enjoy watermelon alone, but try it with other melons in a fruit salad or juice it. Enjoy a cool watermelon sorbet.

Watermelon rind contains chlorophyll and can be eaten (close to the skin) or run through a juicer for building the blood and strengthening the glands. In some parts of South America, watermelon rind is applied to the temples and forehead to cool a headache. Watermelon pulp is used topically to treat heat rash and burns. The black watermelon seeds are a traditional remedy for strengthening the kidneys. The seeds, juice and pink flesh can all be juiced together. They contain curcurbocitrin which dilates the capillaries. Look for watermelons with seeds and eat them! I promise, a melon won't grow in your belly.


I recommend that your watermelons have SEEDS and that they are organic. Enjoy!