I have been meal planning for well over four years, and it has saved my family loads of time and money. I started when my youngest was in nursery and we had to watch the pennies. There are no arguments at dinner time because everyone has been consulted, and I can even plan in a ‘Fend for your self-night’ where my family (all over the age of 13) can either get something from the freezer, cook for themselves or order take away. Essentially,
I’m on a bit of a vitamin trip at the moment, this is only because I have been changing up my vitamin supplements and I have been feeling the change.
I started researching Vitamin B12 about 2 years ago when I was studying nutrition. I was so shocked to see that most of us were vitamin B12 deficient and decided to try it out on my oldest daughter who had moaned that she had lethargy, shortness of breath and inability to concentrate amongst other B12 deficiency symptoms. Within days her mood had changed and within months, she was had lost many of the symptoms she had previously moaned about.
Then early this year my daughter once again started to moan about the symptoms that she had had. I asked her if she had stopped taking the vitamins I had suggested. She said that because she was feeling better, she had stopped taking them.
So I suggested that she started taking her vitamins again and guess what…she’s starting to feel better again. So why is vitamin B12 so important and where can we get it?
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin is a water-soluble vitamin used to help carry oxygen around the body. It helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA,
Deficiency signs include:
- Constantly feeling tired
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Joint pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Feeling dizzy
- Poor memory
- Inability to concentrate well
- Mood changes, which can include increased depression and anxiety.
- Having abnormal heart problems such as palpitations
- Poor dental health including bleeding gums and mouth sores.
- Digestive problems like nausea, diarrhoea and cramping.
- More serious deficiency can cause a form of anaemia called pernicious anaemia a serious condition that can cause memory loss, confusion and even long-term dementia.
Those most at risk?
Everyone can be B12 deficient, but those who are most at risk are
- Elderly people who tend to have impaired digestion
- Those who drink
- Those who are anaemic
- Those who have digestive disorders i.e. Celiac sufferers
There have also been studies on the effects of vitamin B12 on mental health. One study was delivered in a mental institute. The patients were given vitamin B12 every day for 3 months. At the end of the trial, 2 thirds of the patients were sent home. They had none of the symptoms they went in with. There are further studies that show the link between B12 and mental health and how it can help relieve many mental health issues.
Where can you get vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products including, meat, eggs and dairy products. However, if you are vegan, you will have to rely on fortified foods and B12 supplements to get the B12 that you need.
If you think you are vitamin B12 deficient, it is best that you visit your health practitioner/GP, Nutritionist, Naturopath or Dietitian for a diagnosis and to get your vitamin B12 shots. There are over the counter vitamins you can buy, however, just make sure that there are not any other underlying issues that you have.
I have been trying to write this blog for ages, I mean months, I mean 6 weeks. I planned I wrote, I re-wrote, I edited and scrapped and re-wrote again. But it is 6.30pm and I am sitting on my bed, tapping at a keyboard and the words are just flowing. It is time to write my piece.
At the time of writing, it is one week till Mothers day in the UK. I am lucky in this respect as my mother now lives in the Caribbean, and they celebrate Mothers Day the same time as the US…in May I think? So I have a couple of months till I start to panic. Note to self-schedule in a gift buying session for mu’s Mothers Day gift!
Even though I am not at panic stations…yet! my poor daughters are. I have been Plant based/ Vegan for nearly a year (yes I am a fledgeling Plant based/vegan), and my children have had nearly a year of thinking ‘What do I get for mum’s ….birthday …Christmas…’treat yo’ self-day’ present. So we had a little chat and below is the list of suggestions that we came up with.
Make mum a vegan breakfast
If you can open a tin of beans and put the contents in a saucepan and put that saucepan on the stove. Then open oven door put Bacofoil on an oven pan, put the oven pan in the oven and watch the time to make sure the food does not burn, you can make your mother a vegan breakfast. Vegan sausage like Linda MacCartheys Sausages and Frys burgers are amazing (yes I know you are supposed to fry the Frys family burgers but I put them in the oven same way and they still taste good!).
These taste sooooo good!
Tastes too good!!!
If you want to be a little more daring, add some fried mushrooms, fried tomato, fried onion and toast and your mum will be grinning from ear to ear!. If you are West India, switch it up with hard dough bread, fried dumplings or if you are being that little bit more adventurous cook some ackee and or callaloo. If you want to be a little bit continental, why not buy Croissants and or Pain Au Chocolate from Just Rol. They are ‘accidently vegan’, easy to stick in the oven and with a cup of coffee on Mother’s Day morning your mother will be swooning with the decadence of a continental brekkie.
Take her out to brunch/lunch or dinner!
If you are not the best cook in the world, or you simply can’t be bothered! Why not take your mum out to brunch/lunch/dinner. If you are not sure if the restaurant you choose serves vegan food, ring and ask. Most of the time, in my experience, chefs and cooks are really excited to try and cook something different and they will be more accommodating than you think. You could, however, go out to a Vegan restaurant. Look to see that Vegan restaurant options you have in your local area or try local chains that offer a vegan menu these include:
- Toby Carvery,
- JD Wetherspoon,
- Loungers, Zizzi,
- Carluccio’s, Bella Italia,
- ASK Italian,
- The Handmade Burger Company,
- Yo Sushi,
- Las Iguanas,
- The Real Greek,
- Pret A Manger
Create a Vegan home spa
If you and your mum like a night in with frills, how about a home spa? Buying cruelty-free products from Superdrug UK can make your mum not only feel special but she will also know you support her lifestyle further than the food she eats. Sites like Creature Kind UK list all the products that you could spoil you much deserving mother with. If you are adventurous, you could make your own products. Pinterest has a host of links to home spa recipes that use cruelty-free and natural ingredients that you could whip up in minutes with ingredients you could find in your kitchen cupboard (that is if you are the creative type).
A bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates fits the bill here. But is the chocolate dairy free? M&S do a wonderful dairy free chocolate box (I know, I have had their box twice and I have eaten each box within a day of getting them). I could not find an image or link for M&S’s dairy free choc’s, but I do have an image of my own, please excuse the quality, I was eager to eat the contents (lol).
Another gift that I thought was amazing was the Goodness box. Stuffed full of amazing snacks and goodie, I wolfed my Christmas goodness box down quicker than if you could say Santa Clause. There are a variety of goodies and at a price range to suit many. And if like me, your mother is not suspecting this gift, you may even make her shed a tear (not saying I did that, but my children may say something different).
So Mother’s Day may not be so bad for the children of a Vegan/plant-based mother.But what is most important is that you spend the time to recognise and respect the person who was there for you, gave you support and lifted you up when you thought you could not walk another step, made you laugh when you thought all happiness was gone. Loved you when you thought you were not lovable and was there no matter what. And remember, this person does not have to be your birth mother, but that person who took up that role for you when it was needed and beyond!
Have an amazing Mothers Day!!!
It’s after 8 pm on a Sunday evening, and I am terrified by the fact that I am starting my first blog! Not a microblog, but a proper grown-up blog.