“I’m sure I get enough B12; don’t think I need a supplement.” – Me, before reading books by Dr. Neal Barnard.
In his guide to plant-based eating, The Vegan Starter Kit: Everything You Need to Know About Plant-Based Eating, Dr. Neal Barnard stresses the importance of taking supplements like vitamin B12 or D.
He directs his attention towards vegans who resist supplements by insisting that Nature provides all the nutrition we need. “
True enough,” he responds. “But you don’t live in nature. You live in New Jersey.”
It’s Barnard’s tongue-in-cheek humor that makes The Vegan Starter Kit such an engaging read.
Of calcium, he writes:
“Well, cows don’t actually make calcium at all … When cows eat grass, calcium passes into their milk. You can get the calcium you need directly from plants too, hopefully not grass!”
With The Vegan Starter Kit, Dr. Barnard targets anyone new to plant-based eating. Its 176 pages contain a wealth of information on a host of topics, including:
the health benefits of a plant-based diet
common nutrition myths
eating vegan in every stage of life
eating vegan away from home
and supplementing a plant-based diet.
We started selling the book this past year at Fruitive and have had many customers appreciate his simple yet profound explanations of the plant-based lifestyle. Even as someone not new to veganism, I’m grateful for its many important reminders.
Back to the B12 issue! In Dr. Barnard’s words:
“There are really only two “rules”…1. Build your meals from plant-based foods, especially vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes… 2. Ensure complete nutrition with a supplement of vitamin B12.”
That’s all I needed to know. My family follows his rules by enjoying plant-based foods, taking B12 supplements, and consuming B12-fortified foods.