Monday, December 29, 2008
Where's the B-12?
Earlier this year, my 9th year of being a vegetarian, my doctor discovered that I was vitamin B-12 deficient. As a result of this deficiency, my feet (and sometimes hands) tingled constantly. So my doctor recommended that I take a daily B-12 supplement of 1000mcg plus a daily multi-vitamin. A month later, the tingling had nearly stopped and I now only feel it occasionally.
Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in animal products, though dairy contains significantly smaller amounts than meat. B-12 is needed for cell division and proper functioning of the nervous system (this is my tingle problem). You can read more about it here.
Duh! How could I have neglected to do my research?! The truth is, I never planned to be a vegetarian and I just began to embrace it recently. Somewhere between 16 and 17, I unknowingly cut out meat. First, it was beef - due to looking at a McDonald's hamburger. Then, I started to feel sick when I smelled chicken cooking. And eventually, I wasn't interested anymore and didn't miss meat. And so I became a vegetarian by default. I spent a lot of time being apologetic for my diet, and feeling guilty. Some of my family thought it was a phase that they hoped I would outgrow. My grandfather (a Baptist preacher) tried to convince me that it was unnatural and against the Bible. Holy Cow! And I was always told 'just pick out the meat.'
But in the last few years, I figured out how to cook vegetarian meals instead of just eating sides. And living in New York made it so easy for me to fit in. I no longer was told that I had to choose a restaurant where there would be something for me to eat. I could eat anywhere! It was nice that people didn't feel uncomfortable around me and it became a non-issue. And then I moved here.
I ran out of my B-12 supply and haven't been able to find any. The pharmacists are incredibly confused by my request and the closest thing they found was a B-complex vitamin - 30 days supply for 70 pesos. wtf?! I found a defense-complex vitamin at a dietica for around 23 pesos but with a minuscule percentage of my doctor recommended dosage. And so, my tingly feet and I will have to write home to Mom and ask her to send my special vegetarian vitamins for the freakshow that I am.
Of course, I could just eat a lot of eggs and dairy. According to this Wiki article, 10 eggs would provide a daily amount. yummers. I feel a lot of omelets coming on. Please let me know if you have any suggestions (or egg recipes)!
(image from bviae.com)