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Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, Vitamin B12 Deficiency

How can I compensate for risk of B12 deficiency in my vegetarian diet?

After a trip to India I decided to become lacto-ovo-vegetarian and everything seems fine so far.

I've read your vegetarian reports and found them very useful in creating a new balanced nutritious vegetarian diet. I'm also having fun trying new vegetarian foods.

The problem is, I'm yeast intolerant so I can't eat any breads and I seem at greater risk of B12 vitamin deficiency long term.

How can I compensate for that in my vegetarian diet? I should add that I'm very active - I run 30/40 miles per week. - T. C.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice:

Dear T. C.,

I'm glad that the free reports have been useful - that's encouraging to hear.

As far as B12 vitamin deficiency and vegetarian diet is concerned, if you're an lacto-ovo vegetarian, eating egg and/or dairy once a day, or at least several times a week, you may be getting enough B12 in your diet.

Unless there's poor absorption, or an especially high demand, we usually need very minute amounts of Vitamin B12 in our diets. Foods fortified with B12, or the occasional sublingual methylcobalamin B12 supplement should work as a backup. Please see the SV Article on Vitamin B12

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I also don't tolerate yeast well, so I eat flat breads, like tortillas or chapatis, sprouted whole grain usually, with various fillings, like hummus and pesto, egg, cheese, refried beans, tofu, almond butter and honey. Anything you have with yeasted bread works just as well with a tortilla.

Sometimes I eat things made with baking powder, like muffins or scones. But I mostly eat whole cooked grains, like oatmeal,amaranth, rice, barley, quinoa.

As a runner, you especially need high quality whole grains and refined grains too in your vegetarian diet, for the good carbs, vitamins and minerals. Sprouted grains are also good if you have time.

Please be sure that your calorie intake, including from fats, is up to the demands on your body.

Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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