THE GREAT VITAMIN DEBATE

by Miss Bliss

Do you take vitamins?  I rarely – if ever – take vitamins. When I do, they often give me a stomach ache, and as I  become healthier, I listen to my body. If a food or supplement makes me feel sick, that tells me I should not eat it.

When you become vegetarian, everyone asks the same questions, “How do you get protein?” and “Are you taking enough vitamins and supplements?”  It is hard for many Americans to believe that one can stay healthy eating fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts alone.   When I tell them I get my protein from veggies and nuts and the occasional egg, and never take vitamins, they look at me like I am crazy.  “What about the B-vitamins?  Vegetarians have to take B-vitamins!”

SHOULD VEGETARIANS TAKE VITAMINS?

A couple of years ago, I started going to a wonderful chiropractor in New York’s West Village. In the early 1980s, he participated in a longitudinal study researching the effects of vitamins on the body. After five years of medical doctors, researchers, and holistic practitioners studying patients and recording data, he said the only vitamin that the body absorbed in pill-form was Vitamin C. “Vitamins,” he told me, “are best absorbed into the bloodstream and the body when they come from whole, unprocessed food.”

Many friends I know swear by vitamins and say they give them more energy and make them more immune to colds and flus.  Many medical doctors say that it is always a good idea for adults 40 and over to at least take a multivitamin daily.

For my birthday, my man gave me a copy of Michael Pollan’s new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.  Pollan argues that prevailingly scientific research has not improved our health, but made us fat and diseased.  For decades, scientists have supported “nutritionism”; the theory that health does not come from whole food, but the individual nutrients within food.   It is not the orange that is good for you, but the vitamin C within the orange.  In “nutritionism,” then, vitamin C can be removed from the orange, be made into a pill, and be considered equally as “nutritious.”  But what if there is something else within the orange that helps humans to absorb the natural vitamin C?

IF I CAN’T GET VITAMINS FROM PILLS, WHAT SHOULD I BE EATING?

1. “Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.” From interviewing numerous nutritionists, Mr. Pollan says that the best place to get Vitamin C and many other nutrients necessary for vibrant health, is to eat leaves. Obviously, when he says “leaves”, he means salad: lettuce, spinich, kale, mustard greens, chard, mixed greens, etc. One thing scientists do agree on, he says, one can never eat too many greens.

2. Where do I get vitamin B12? Vegetarians need to be concerned about Vitamin B12 because the only natural source for it is in meat or bacteria. However, Mr. Pollan points out, humans need only a very small amount of B12  and vegetarians may get enough from eating fermented produce or fermented teas, like Kombucha. The Vegetarian Society disagrees with this statement and argues that  “the only reliable unfortified sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy products and eggs.”  They recommend that vegans eat food fortified with B12. One egg a week will supply a vegetarian with enough B12 to not need to take supplements.

3.  Juicing! If you missed my blog, Drink Your Vegetables, I recommend checking it out.  Juicing fresh, organic vegetables is a great way to inject pure vitamins and minerals directly into your bloodstream.

DO YOU TAKE VITAMINS?

Once again, many people have many different opinions about what vitamins you should take when.  I would like to hear from you, darling readers.  What vitamins are you taking?  Do you feel better than when you aren’t taking vitamins?   Let me know!

XOXOXOXOXOXO
BLISS WARRIOR

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy March 31, 2008 at 7:33 pm

It isn’t a vitamin, per se, but I do take glucosamine. I did some pretty serious damage to my knee a few years ago, and that supplement reduced my pain and seems to have had a long-term effect on my overall “leg health.” I am not sure it is necessary for everyone, but if you have a knee injury it’s worth a look. I have a few friends who also think it’s helped keep back/spine injuries from worsening.

For vegans, I am not sure there’s a viable source, as it is derived from shellfish shells.

Reply

OXOXOXOXO Lovely March 31, 2008 at 7:34 pm

I agree with you Bliss. I have been a vegetarian/raw foodist for about 5 years now and I am also very adamant about getting all of the vitamins and minerals that I need from the foods and liquids that I consume. Deficiency comes over time, and it is all about prevention. If you do it now, it won’t come back to haunt you in the later years. It takes time and effort to figure all of this out, but here are a few that I have added to my daily regiment…

Brewers Yeast: A natural source of ALL B vitamins, and is also an excellent source of Protein, including all essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, plus alot of others that I won’t mention. I LOVE Lewis Labs Brewers Yeast made from sugar beets. I take 2 heaping tablespoons a day, I put it in my smoothies in the morning time or on top of my popcorn or in my salad. Brewers Yeast is unrelated to Candida Albicans, the yeast infection organism.

Unsulphered BlackStrap Molasses: Good source of calcium, iron B-complex, trace minerals and rich in potassium. I put 1-2 tablespoons in water with a lemon (lemon is needed for absorption) and drink it down.

RAW apple cider vinegar- For the ultimate cleaning. ACV is a natural antibacterial, anti viral, anti microbial and anti fungal. Helps detox the body. Works with digestion. Good for arthritis. Is highly alkaline. Helps PMS and UTI and regulates menstruation. etc etc etc. This is my medicine if I even feel like I get a tickle in my throat. And you know what? I haven’t been sick all winter. AT ALL! Not even a cough. 1 cap full straight or dilluted in water. It has to be RAW.

Just one more thing: In an orange, you get the vitamin C, BUT what comes with it is the white little outside has a ton of Riboflavin, which is needed for vitamin C absorbtion. Isn’t mother nature clever?

I am glad you listen to what your body needs Bliss. Our bodies are self-healing, self-repairing and self-cleaning. Everything we need for our bodies comes from nature and not from some pill or jar, unless it is raw coconut butter. The more we get back to nature and a more Wholistic Way of looking at life, the less disease we will have.

Since I have changed my lifestyle, I have lost weight, my physical body has changed so much, I have more energy but most of all I feel cleaner and lighter and brighter. Just the other day I saw my 85 year old great aunt. When I walked up the stairs she said “My you haven’t aged a bit!” Awesome, I am on the right track after all.

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Michael's Minion March 31, 2008 at 7:35 pm

I was a vegan for years and took SuperNutrition vitamins which were developed with the “vitamins from whole foods are best” theoryin mind. They are better absorbed and from a more natural source than traditional vitamins. I noticed a I had more energy when I took them regularly. I think these vitamins help when used in conjunction with a balanced diet. Vegan, Vegetarian or Omnivore, the key is balance!

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Amy O March 31, 2008 at 8:05 pm

I agree that food is ideal. For those who don’t always eat well, there are high quality organic whole food supplements like New Chapter. I like to supplement with trace minerals because minerals aren’t in most of our food the way they once were. I live in Hawaii so even the virgin soil that hasn’t been depleted tends to be low in nutrients. I believe dietary supplementation is beneficial only when using products that are top quality from start to finish. On the other hand, consuming cheap supplements like calcium carbonate can actually do a lot of damage.

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miss girl April 3, 2008 at 11:03 am

Haha… I take Flintstones with Iron (you know, the ones for 8 year olds) because they’re DELICIOUS, and I know myself well enough to know that I probably won’t take something on a daily basis unless it’s at least a little bit enjoyable (or birth control.) I don’t particularly care for swallowing big-ass pills, you know? My diet isn’t too bad in general, but I don’t eat a lot of iron and if I stop taking the vitamins, i do start to feel tired and sluggish and my blood pressure seems to drop (it’s low anyway, so I get dizzy and groggy.)

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Erin the Skating Traveler April 3, 2008 at 4:52 pm

I have iron-deficient anemia, so I have no choice but to supplement. Pills make me sick, but I found a liquid supplement from a company called Eniva that I just love. Actually, I take a combination of three supplements, and haven’t felt this good for years.

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