The Importance of Vitamin B12

Obtaining Vitamin B12 is often a concern of people eating a vegan or plant-based diet. Why eat foods with Vitamin B12? Our bodies need Vitamin B12 for the support and production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and to aid in the maintenance of brain function.


Vitamin B12 cannot be made by the body and must be taken in through foods or supplements. This essential water-soluble vitamin can primarily be found in animal products, as it is produced by bacteria located in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Additionally, Vitamin B12 can be found in fortified cereals, fortified plant-based milk, fortified nutritional yeast, meat substitutes, tempeh, vegan energy bars, vegan spreads, vegan yogurt, and vitamins or sublingual tablets.


Deficiency symptoms are blurred vision, depression, digestive issues, fatigue, fever, mood swing, nerve damage, pale skin, sore tongue/mouth ulcers, sweating, and weakness.


Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) in micrograms

0-6 months .4 mcg

7-12 months .5 mcg

1-3 years .9 mcg

4-8 years 1.2 mcg

9-13 years 1.8 mcg

14 years to adult 2.4 mcg

Pregnant women 2.6 mcg

Lactating women 2.8 mcg


It is important to notice that micrograms (mcg) is the unit of measurement not, milligrams (mg). The amount needed is very small but very important to maintain homeostasis.



Differences in 1 oz of Protein

Protein Grams per 1 ounce   Protein Grams per 1 ounce
All beans boiled     All Nuts Roasted  
Soybeans 3.5   Hemp 9
Lentils 2.6   Pumpkin Seeds 8.5
White Beans 2.8   Peanuts 6.9
Roman Beans 2.6   Almonds 6
Split Peas 2.4   Pistachios 6
Pinto Beans 2.6   Sunflower Seeds 5.5
Kidney Beans 2.5   Flax Seed 5.2
Black Beans 2.5   Seasame Seeds 4.8
Navy Beans 2.3   Chia Seeds 4.3
Lima Beans 2.3   Cashews 4.3
      Walnuts 4.3
Egg Boiled 3.6   Hazel Nuts 4.3
Egg Substitute 2.8   Brazil Nuts 4.1
Chicken breast no skin 8.8   Pine Nuts 3.9
Turkey breast no skin 8.5   Pecans 2.6
Filet 8   Macadamia Nuts 2.2
Ribeye 8.3   Dried Coconut 2
Sirloin 8.7      
Salmon 6.3   Quinoa 1.2
Haddock 6.9   Buckwheat 1
Tilapia 7.4   Tempeh 5.2
Parmesean 7.4   Tofu Firm 4.5
Mozerella-Whole Milk 10.9   Tofu Soft 1.9
Cheddar 6.3   Seitan 6
Cottage Cheese 2% 3.9   Green Peas 1.5
Nonfat Yogurt 1.2   Green Protein Powder 7.8
Greek Yogurt 3      
Milk-Whole 1      
Milk-2% 1      



Question – How much protein do I need to eat on plant-based diet?

1-1.1 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.

1 kg = 2.2 lbs


To determine lean muscle mass we must first determine what our body fat % is, this can be completed in numerous ways.

1) Visually search for body fat percentage. Enter, visual search of body fat percentage” in any search engine and select one of the numerous sites.

2) Waist to hip ratio measurements

3) Calipers

4) Bioelectric Impedance Analysis – Hand-held or scale

5) Computed tomography with an x-ray scanner

6) Hydrostatic weighing or Bod Pod


After determining body-fat % insert information into the formula –

Weight x body-fat % = Pounds of body fat


Ex. Body-fat is 20%

175 x .2 = 35 pounds of fat


Now that we know the pounds of fat we can determine how many pounds of lean muscle mass we have.

Bodyweight – Pounds of body-fat = Lean Body Mass

Ex. 175-35 = 140 lbs of lean body mass


Now we can determine how much protein by converting lbs to kilograms.

Lean Muscle Mass / 2.2 = kilograms

140/2.2 = 63.6 or 64 grams of protein




Sugar consumption is a common problem in our diets and is hidden in many foods. Yogurt, condiments, sauces, juices, flavored coffees, sports drinks, milk, soups, bread, and protein bars are a shortlist of foods where sugar is hidden. These hidden sources of sugar in addition to the foods with known sugars cause obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, dental problems, and cardiovascular disease.


According to Harvard Medical School, a 15-year study on added sugar and heart disease showed, “Participants consuming 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. The results were regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body mass index.”


The long term effects of sugar are mind-blowing, what about the short term effects? Short-term effects are lethargy, weight gain, depression, cavities, decreased energy, restless sleep, premature aging, acne, feeling bloated, inflamed joints, increased cholesterol, increased blood pressure, impotence, and cravings for sugar. These are not just short-term effects of eating sugar but indicators that we are eating too much sugar.


How much sugar should we consume in our diets? The American Heart Association recommends that women consume less than 100 calories of sugar and men less than 150 calories of sugar daily. To me, this is an odd statement; we’re all so different in size and activity level, how can you tag an exact amount of calories?


What can we do to cut back on sugar? The simple answer is to limit or eliminate foods with sugar in them. Read food labels, substitute nuts or fruit for cookies and sweets, reduce sweeteners in coffee and teas, choose sweeteners such as stevia in place of sugar, swap water with lemon or other fruit for sugary juices and sodas, cook/bake your own foods, and get educated on the different names of sugar.


With effort, we can improve the health of our body and reduce the numerous health issues that come along with eating excess amounts of sugar by becoming more aware of the dangers and becoming more knowledgable to where sugar is found.





Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners that are derived from fruits and vegetables. The molecular structure is similar to a combination of sugar and alcohol, although there is no ethanol (the ingredient in alcohol that gets people intoxicated).


Sugar alcohols are found in baked goods, candy, gum, ice cream, jams/jellies, Jello, and toothpaste. Health benefits include increased bone health, skin health, weight loss, and a positive prebiotic effect by feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Another major benefit of sugar alcohols is the lack of insulin response (not causing a sudden increase in blood sugar).


Diabetics eating foods with sugar alcohols rather than traditional sugar can manage insulin levels (in moderation). Another benefit consuming foods sweetened with sugar alcohol is bacteria in the mouth is often hindered and cease to develop, protecting against tooth decay (Xylitol the is best known for this, as a result, is added to gum and sugarless mints as a sweetener).


According to the Journal of Medicinal Principles and Practice in 2011, “a diet found substituting regular sugars with sugar alcohols was an effective tool in reducing tooth decay.” Too good to be true? There are side effects, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. These often are a result of overconsumption, although each person may have a different response if at all.


Common Sugar Alcohols

Erythritol - .2 calories per gram (60-70% sweetness as table sugar)

Hydrogenated Starch - 3 calories per gram (40-90% sweetness as table sugar; often blended with other sweeteners)

Isomalt - 2 calories per gram (45-65% sweetness as table sugar; often used in sugar-free candy)

Maltitol - 2.1 calories per gram (75-90% sweetness as table sugar)

Mannitol - 1.6 calories per gram (50-70% sweetness as table sugar; medical application)

Sorbitol - 2.6 calories per gram (60% sweetness as table sugar; medical application)

Xylitol - 2.4 calories per gram (same sweetness as table sugar; toxic to dogs)


Although not a cure-all, sugar alcohols are a great substitute for traditional sugars. When consumed in moderation side effects are minimal to none, with health benefits that will help with our overall well-being.





Diet Ketogenic Diet (Keto Diet) Paleolithic Diet (Paleo Diet) Mediterranean Diet  
Diet Structure High-fat focus, with moderate Moderate amount of protein, High carbohydrates, moderate proteins and  
  protein and low carbohydrates fats and carbohydrates fats  
Diet Macronutrient % Carbohydrate 5-10% Carbohydrate 22-40% Carbohydrate 45-65%  
  Protein 20-25% Protein 19-35% Protein 10-30%  
  Fat 65-75% Fat 28-58% Fat 20%  
  Higher fat % for medical usage Percentage varies by goal Percentage varies by goal  
  and use ex. muscle building ex. weight loss  
Benefits Weight loss Weight loss Weight loss  
  Reduces seizure frequency Balances blood glucose Reduces inflammation  
  Reduces inflammation Increased energy Increased energy  
  Helps with neurodegenerative Detoxifies Detoxifies  
  disorders Reduces inflammation Increased mental clarity  
  Reduced risk of disease Increased mental clarity Long-term heart health  
  Regulation of type 2 diabetes Decreased allergies Aids with depression and anxiety  
  Mental clarity Improved skin clarity Helps balance blood sugar  
  Increased energy Improved gut health Improved gut health  
  Improved skin clarity Reduced Risk of disease Reduced risk of disease  
  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome improvement Improved sleep Reduced cravings  
  Improved mitochondrial function Reduced cravings Improved vision  
  Improved gut health   Improved kidney function  
  Reduced cravings      
  Aids in regulating hormones      
Drawbacks Keto flu/adapting to process Possible lower energy with decreased carbs Possible weight gain with high % of carbs  
  Nutritional deficiencies if done incorrectly Decreased appetite Calcium deficiency  
  Restrictive Elevated LDL cholesterol Possible increase in alcohol consumption  
  May cause high cholesterol Diarrhea Challenging for those with celiac disease  
  Increased thirst Bad breath Challenging for those with gluten intolerance  
  Constipation Possible increase of heart disease    
  Possible development of kidney stones Calcium deficiency    
  Sleep problems Vitamin D deficiency    
  Bad breath when starting Carb/keto flu    
  Possible diarrhea when starting Difficult to follow    
  Leg cramps when starting      
  Difficult to follow      
Ease of use Can be challenging in social situations or No diary may be challenging Very easy, unless eating gluten-free  
  when not planned, will require planning      
Food Staples Meats, eggs, wild-caught fish/seafood, dairy, nuts Meats, eggs, wild-caught fish/seafood, nuts Fish/seafood, limited animal protein, whole  
  and seeds, healthy fats, greens/leafy greens, berries and seeds, healthy fats, any vegetables, any fruits grains, nuts, and seeds, legumes, dairy, any  
      vegetables, any fruits, healthy fats  
Gluten-Free Keto Diet is gluten-free by default Paleo Diet in it’s strictest form is gluten-free Can be with effort  
Types of Sweeteners Stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, xylitol, maltitol, inulin, Coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia, Honey, maple syrup, dates, raisins, natural  
  allulose molasses, monk fruit, dates, natural sweeteners sweeteners  
Alcohol Use Ideally not, but choose light liquor such as vodka, gin, Ideally not because paleo focuses on the absence One glass red wine nightly  
  whiskey, scotch, or tequila of processed foods and toxins and alcohol is both.    
    Red wine and hard cider are the best choices    
Not Ideal For Older adults requiring higher percentages of protein, People who eat dairy People with Celiac disease or gluten  
  people without a gallbladder   intolerance  




The biggest drawback to the ketogenic diet is the lack of studies to determine it’s long-term effects. A clean ketogenic diet has many similarities to the Mediterranean Diet (known to be heart-healthy) except for the percentage of carbohydrates and fats consumed. Both focus on natural, high-quality foods with the absence of sugar and processed foods.


Clean keto consists of foods that are high-quality, minimally processed, and with no artificial ingredients. Grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood, free-range eggs and fresh low-carb vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are examples. With the growing interest in the ketogenic diet, new foods are coming out that support the clean keto model. Check the ingredients to ensure that those foods support clean keto eating.


Dirty keto foods are processed, low-quality, and have artificial ingredients. Hot dogs, grain-fed ground beef, bacon, farm-raised seafood, many kinds of cheese (high in saturated fat), keto bars, snacks, and shakes are examples. Not all foods on the dirty keto list should not be avoided but enjoyed in moderation and not used as a staple food item. Read the ingredient list to determine if the food is worth putting in your body.




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