As some of you read in one of my previous posts, I visited the doctor earlier this month for an issue I have been having, completely unrelated to diet. While I was there, I told my doctor that I became vegan since the last time I saw her. So she ordered some blood work to make sure I was getting all my nutrients, specifically B12.
Vitamin B-12 mostly comes from animal protein. It is also found in enriched cereals and non-dairy milks, among other things. I drink enriched, organic rice milk (delicious, by the way).
Along with the B-12 “dilemma” comes the mythic question, “So you’re vegan, where do you get your protein?” To that, I smack my forehead with my palm and shake my head in disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, this was exactly the same concern I had before I knew much about…food. There are all kinds of foods that have protein. A lot of people think that if it’s not animal protein, it’s not a protein-rich food. Well, I would kindly like to smack those people.
There’s beans, nuts, seeds, plants, root veggies, etc. that all have protein in them. There’s one thing that my friend’s mom told me right when I went vegan. She said, “How do you think cows get big and strong? It’s not by eating other cows! It’s the grass!” And to that I said, “Touché!”
Let’s cut to the chase.
Behold! My blood work results:
In a nut shell, all my blood work is perfectly normal and, in some cases, pristine!
My protein is actually higher than it was a year ago (before going vegan), and my vitamin B-12 is also higher! (Protein was 7.0 in Feb. 2013 and B-12 was 490 at the same time; 7.2 and 544 today, respectively).
I would also like to point out another item on this list, glucose. Now, I should qualify this part of the test. Blood glucose levels can fluctuate throughout the day. That’s why diabetics have to check their blood before and sometimes after meals to make sure they are either taking enough insulin or giving themselves enough other medication for the food they are eating. Like I have said before, diabetes runs rampant in my family and there’s a lot of discussion about all the sugar in the fruit I am eating. I can’t seem to convince some members of my family that the sugar in fruit is different from refined cane sugar. But, I digress.
What’s important to note is that for someone who has had endocrine problems, my glucose is perfectly normal! I did not expect this part of my test to be abnormal, but it’s still good to point out.
All these results is really encouraging for me and I hope it’s encouraging for all of you if you’re currently vegan or thinking about becoming vegan. Now, go make a smoothie!