This is a common question we get from our omnivore friends and relatives. Once one educates themselves on the protein amounts in vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains, the question becomes laughable. In one stalk of broccoli there is over 4 grams of protein. One cup of almonds has the same amount of protein (20 grams) as a T-bone steak, and almonds are high in fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), and so on.
So, are there any deficiencies to worry about with veganism? Yes, one vitamin missing in a whole foods plant-based diet is vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin. This vitamin is crucial for the nervous system and red blood cell production. Only bacteria can produce B-12, so unless you are eating very dirty veggies, a supplement is needed. It is very important for pregnant or nursing women following a vegetarian or vegan diet to take a B-12 supplement this will prevent the baby from having a B-12 deficiency.
Not all B-12 supplements are created equally. Vitamin B-12 supplements in pill form may be swallowed and skip the gastric acids found in saliva and the stomach. These acids are needed to breakdown the vitamin and allow it to be absorbed by the small intestine. With this in mind, taking antacids, such as Pepcid or Prilosec, may reduce the absorption of vitamin B-12. I prefer to take supplements in the most bioactive form, meaning the body doesn’t need to break it down or convert it to an active form. For cobalamin, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the most bioactive forms. Find this in a liquid form and you are in business! Now just make sure the product is vegan.
Raising Vegan Tip- The recommended amount of Vitamin B-12 is 2000-2500 mcg/week. Taking the B-12 supplement in the morning may give you a boost of energy.