I'm not a full-fledged vegan by any means, but I'm up for trying a delicious animal-free meal every now and then. But even when going vegan on occasion, I can see how careful you must be when planning what to eat, including thinking carefully about nutrition.
Of course, since vegetables are the stars in a vegan diet, there's no lack of options that are chock-full of vitamins — except for ones only found in animal products, like vitamin B12. And while vitamin B12 deficiency is rare, the nutrient is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system as well as healthy blood cells, so it's important to get enough in your diet. Most women need 2.4 mcg of the vitamin a day (a little more if you are pregnant or breastfeeding).
Since the best sources of B12 come from meat, fish, eggs, and chicken, long-time vegans may need to look to other sources to make sure their levels of B12 stay full. Besides taking a vitamin supplement, which vegan-friendly foods are high in B12? Find out after the break.
- It's not in tempeh. Contrary to what many people believe, fermented soy foods like tempeh and miso, as well as seaweed, are actually not good sources of vitamin B12, because the amount of the vitamin they do contain is inactive.
- Think fortified foods. Lots of vegan-friendly products have been fortified with added vitamins, including vitamin B12. A cup of Silk soy milk (the refrigerated kind) has half of your daily value of B12, and some common breakfast cereals (like Grape Nuts, which is fortified with 25 percent of the recommended daily value of B12) are vegan as well.
- Nutritional yeast. Specialized formulas of this cheesy-flavored powder have tons of vitamin B, including B12, and are especially made with vegans in mind. Sprinkle the yeast anywhere you would use cheese, like salads, soups, or pasta.