I was chatting to Jimmy (our exercise coach and sports therapist here at Movement Lifestyle) this week and he mentioned something that he’d been watching on breakfast news that day about a vegan diet.

He dropped the bombshell, “what do you think about a vegan diet?”

As you can imagine it’s not a quick answer but in a nutshell, I’m not a fan!

If there’s one deficiency I’ve seen more than any other in people I’ve worked with over the years it’s possibly Vitamin B12.

If you feel tired a lot of the time, you may not be absorbing B12, for example.

Typically vegans are low in the B Vitamins simply because, B Vits come primarily through animal based proteins, not plant foods.  For example, the best sources are, beef, eggs, fish and dairy (if you can digest it properly)

Vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function, blood cell function and energy production.  Not things that you want to be going without!

Now I said that many vegans are likely to be low in Vitamin B,  but as I also said it’s one of the vitamins that I’ve seen to be low in many people, meat eaters included.

So why might that happen if they eat meat?

In short hydrochloric acid deficiency.  The acid that is produced by the stomach to help break down foods and unlock the nutrients for further digestion, further along the digestive system.

Stress and chronic dehydration can be common causes of low hydrochloric acid.  So remedying these aspects is essential for optimal health.

How do you know if you are Vitamin B deficient?

The way I like to look for imbalances in the body and particularly Vitamin B deficiency is by looking at the tongue.  The tongue is a wonderful window into the health your your digestive system as a whole.

If you roll your tongue over by pressing the tip into the back of the teeth in the lower jaw, you’ll get a good insight into the health of your digestive system.

If there are cracks that appear then you’re almost certainly not absorbing your B Vitamins adequately.  These cracks could be short horizontal cracks or quite long horizontal cracks going across the surface of your tongue.

Again, if tiredness is a factor for you, then you are almost certainly not absorbing your B Vitamins too.

Now stick your tongue out and look at the back 2/3 of your tongue.  If you see a white film over the tongue then you likely have an imbalance in the bacteria of the digestive system.  This is going to affect optimal digestive function too.

What should you do now?

Step 1 – Make sure you drink sufficient filtered water each day (body weight in kg multiplied by 0.0333) Example – 100kg man needs 3 litres per day.

Step 2 – Add a pinch of Celtic sea salt to each litre that you drink.

Step 3 – Eat your meals in a relaxing environment (not at your desk or running between meetings)

Step 4 – Take Swedish bitters before eating.  I like this one – http://bit.ly/2zhUAt6

Step 5 – Chew your food until liquified.

Step 6 – While these steps are all helping optimise digestive function over the longer term, consider a Vitamin B supplement.  (especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan)

Step 7 – Reduce your starchy carbohydrate intake and replace it with dark green leafy vegetables.

Wishing you improved digestion!