The biggest worry for individuals transitioning to a vegan diet is getting enough B12. As we no longer eat the natural source of vitamin B12 which derives from animals and their by-products, vegans have to seek the vitamin from elsewhere. But let me assure you, the benefits of a whole-food, healthy vegan diet outweighs this con which can be easily solved with the following solutions.
Vegan Sources of B12: Supplements
The best way for a vegan to get their recommended daily amount of B12 is through the use of a daily or weekly supplement. In most health retailers and whole food stores you will find B12 tablets with different dosages to suit your habits. For adults, the recommended daily dose is somewhere between 50-100ug a day. Alternatively, you can take a 1000ug tablet twice a week which is the method I prefer. Take the tablet with your meal each day and enjoy the energy boost and reduction in fatigue.
Other Sources To Top Up Your B12 Levels
Fortified Dairy-Free Milks
As well as taking a supplement, incorporating B12 fortified foods into your diet is a great way to keep the vitamin topped up in your system. Most dairy-free milks such as soya, nut, hemp or rice will have vitamin B12 added. Enjoy your cereal or porridge each morning with your dairy-free milk or simply drink a glass or two throughout the day.
If you consume one cup of hemp milk, it will contribute for 25% of your daily B12 RDA.
Whether you love or hate the spread, Marmite is a good source of vitamin B12. Marmite is a by-product of beer-production called Yeast Extract. It’s salty and distinctive flavour divides the population into lovers or haters. You don’t have to just eat this on toast, add a spoonful or two into a soup, stew or sauce to reap the benefits but avoid the taste.
1 teaspoon of Marmite will contribute to 25% of your daily B12 RDA.
Nutritional yeast is a vegan’s best friend when it comes to making cheesy sauces. It has a nutty flavour and cheese-like smell and is an incredibly versatile ingredient. It tastes delicious sprinkled over a meat-free Bolognese, added to a stew, soup or curry for nutritional purposes or to create a show-stopping ‘cheesy’ sauce for your pasta.
3 tablespoons of fortified nutritional yeast will provide you with your B12 RDA.
These are the top sources of B12 that suit a vegan diet. As much as fortified foods and drinks will contribute towards your daily recommended allowance, I would strongly advise taking a B12 supplement alongside to ensure your body is as healthy as possible.