Discovering Your Ideal B12 Source
Published: (February, 2012)
One reader got annoyed, finding it offensive that I tie health achieved through the raw food lifestyle to beauty. She wrote: Being able to 'tell' whether another human being is 100% raw by their looks is insanity.
Raw foods did change me--and not only physically. Before I went raw, I would have been upset receiving such a negative remark. Now, however, I'm able to understand and respond to her lovingly.
The raw food lifestyle makes you deeply aware that you get what you send out. You'll begin to guard yourself against allowing any negative emotion to penetrate your heart, even when you disagree with a person, or find a remark unhealthy, or less than fully rational.
Some time ago, I was conversing with one yoga instructor who was quite unsympathetic to my hip limitations. I reported to him that his words hurt my feelings. I'll never forget what he said: No one can hurt your feelings unless you have a wound that somebody's words can rub. Heal your psychological wounds, and other people's words can never hurt. Would you be hurt if someone said you have purple hair (assuming you don't)? No, you would think it is silly, funny, whatever. But you'd never be upset, he said. That's for sure.
His implication: I can be hurt only if I, myself, consider a perceived insult to be true.
The truth of his lesson hit me like a brick, and I haven't been the same since. Words carry precisely the meaning we give them. Our reactions to words can tell a story about us.
Often, too, things we don't want to hear are the very ones we need to hear. Sometimes we resist the very information we need the most because it makes us uncomfortable.
You better believe that health and beauty after 40 are tightly linked. In my first book, Your Right to Beautiful, I emphasize that the inner and outer body are two sides of the same coin. You can be very healthy after 40 only if your internal organs are normal in form, color, and function, which is to say: youthful. And if your internal organs are getting healthier, you will, I contend, see yourself getting younger on the outside.
If you aren't seeing changes in your appearance, this may be a strong indication that something else must change to allow your body to correct problems you've inherited from a previous diet. Review your diet. Are you eating too much in the way of gourmet dishes? You may need to look into colonics, or go on a juice fast, or implement a wheatgrass regimen. Your cleansing likely hasn't gone deep enough. Read the testimonial from this lady. Maybe her case is like your own: Could Parasites Be Compromising Your Raw Food Success?
Let me present two different points of view. We can always learn from an opposite position. At least, we need to hear whatever comes our way, if for no other reason than to learn tolerance for other viewpoints.
Here is one email:
The supplements we can take are never as fully absorbed as when coming from their natural context--in natural raw food. Life is a holistic intelligence, a living interaction and combination between itself and our own Being at all levels.
....Kill an animal and you've killed a whole entity. Pick a fruit and the tree remains, little or no harm having been done, and perhaps a little good...And this way--this approach of the heart, this aim for harmlessness and respect for all life--is in my opinion positive energies on a vastly larger scale than dietetic concerns alone.
Here is another email that came several years ago:
Tonya, I really respect your opinion and enjoy your newsletters. But we do differ in our beliefs. I hope you can learn from me as I have learned from you. I believe some of us do need animal protein. After [I'd been] eating all raw and vegan for three years, the tissue protecting the nerves in my spine was wasting away, causing pain and muscle spasms in my neck. Eating raw egg yolks restored this tissue, eliminated the pain, and also eliminated the depression I had experienced for years.
Here's one more that came as a response to my February newsletter:
If Raw Food is "not for you," it's maybe because of a Vitamin D deficiency. Most vegans know already about B12, but not necessarily Vitamin D. ...So if you are a 100% raw foodist, you aren't getting enough. Believe me, I spent time in the sun without sunblock! Please tell your readers to get tested for Vitamin D deficiency.
Let me express a deep gratitude to everyone who shared his or her testimonials with me. All of them were written with the best intentions to help others, and that alone requires that we give them our utmost consideration.
Some people do find they're helped with B12 supplements or B12 injections. And some ask me why I don't offer B12 patches. But how could I offer them, since I'm not using them personally? However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't use them.
If supplements work for you, that's great. It's just not my way. It seems if you supplement with B12, then a strong case could be made for the need to supplement with Vitamin (hormone) D, then with hydrochloric acid, and then with cyanocobalamin B12, or should it be methylcobalamin? Too complicated for me. That brings us to the next question that I am asked: "Where do you get B12?"
Where Do I Get B12?
I completely embraced Victoria Boutenko's theory that organic foods are inseparable from insects. They insert their eggs into the flesh of fruits, vegetables, and greens, and these insects are good sources of B12 for humans. It made perfect sense to me. I took to heart Victoria's advice not to wash organic produce. For example, I didn't wash wheatgrass (bought from a reliable source) before making a juice. My idea of heaven was eating mulberries and other berries straight from the bush. I prefer not to dwell on how many bugs and other insects ended up in my digestive system..."Vegan" raw lifestyle was working for me.
But with each passing year the B12 topic was getting murkier and murkier. Warnings of possible B12 deficiencies were coming from everywhere. Just as the next person, I was affected by B12 and Vitamin D deficiency stories. The last thing I wanted was to compromise my newly achieved health. I searched for a solution.
When I visited my mother in Moldova in the summer of 2009, I saw that she'd started keeping hens. At the time, I was reading quite a bit about B12 deficiencies. I knew a raw egg to be an excellent source of B12 as well as Vitamin D, so I started to drink two eggs, straight from the shell, every day. And I liked them. (People who say that raw eggs are slimy never ate them really fresh.)
Later, I became interested in meditation. Some texts suggested that consuming animal protein blocks spiritual energy. So I stopped eating eggs for a long time.
Then, one of my readers sent me a link to an article by an 86 year-old female bodybuilder. Was I impressed! If she'd said she ate boiled eggs, I would have ignored it. I knew well that a body building diet with a lot of cooked protein is extremely unhealthy. But the lady mentioned she eats raw eggs.
About the same time, I came across information that beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in the yolk of the egg. Coincidentally, perhaps, we relocated to another area where one of Nick's relatives keeps hens, giving us again access to fresh eggs in exchange for our juice pulp. Homegrown eggs, please know, are many times more nutritious than store-bought.
All this synchronicity rekindled my interest in raw eggs. My octogenarian bodybuilder drinks three glasses of egg whites, but I went again with two whole eggs.
Then, several months later, I noticed that it's when I'm 100% raw vegan that my flexibility in yoga class is at its peak. Eggs disappear from my diet again.
Then, a week ago I met one elderly lady. She told me an interesting story of how at the age of twenty she cured herself from tuberculosis. How? Drinking a lot of raw eggs. By the way, the Russian internet is full of cure stories attributed to raw eggs.
Your head's spinning, perhaps, if you're the sort looking for precise advice. As you can see, I don't have all the answers, but I'm always searching.
The raw food lifestyle is a journey. Sometimes the road's straight, clear and paved. Sometimes it's a backwoods trail. Sometimes it takes backtracking. I go with the flow and don't have rigid views.
There is some research that eggs aren't good for us. (And you'll get no argument from me when it comes to a big plate of mama's scrambled eggs.) There is also a mountain of research to say that raw eggs are a storehouse of many nutrients the human body needs. More on raw eggs and the B12 issue read my book Raw Food and Hot Yoga.
I experiment on myself, try different variants and I believe this fluctuation helps me to stay very healthy on 100% raw. I use the same approach when it comes to everything else. I remember there was a time I overdid the greens theme. I couldn't so much as look at another green leaf. I developed an aversion to anything with greens in it. I decided to take a break from greens. Shakes made from coconut water, banana and a spoon of hemp seeds became a centerpiece in my diet for almost three months till my taste for greens came back, and I started to enjoy salads and green smoothies again.
Being 100% raw and not eating at night (Quantum Eating) have been constant themes in my life for some time now. I keep doing it because it works. You can be sure I'd change in a heartbeat, if something didn't feel right.
Trust your own judgment first and foremost. Read other people's testimonials because everyone's experience is precious and can help you to ease your own journey.
Whatever position we take--'pure' vegan versus eggs, supplements versus raw foods only, it's very important to remember that behind every opposite (sometimes edgy) opinion is another soul struggling to be good, to stay healthy, to find the way, and ultimately struggling to love.
Here is a beautiful quote I found:
"The person in front of you is the reflection of yourself... be kind to yourself."