Danger of B12 deficiency re soybeans

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From Mothey Parsons, Almonds to Zoybeans (New York: Larchmont Books, 1973).

Soybeans equal meat, cheese or fish in protein content, and so should be included frequently on the vegetarian menu. They should NOT, however, be used as the sole source of protein, for they lack Vitamin B12, found in dairy products, and excesses in the diet may interfere with thyroid function (Carlton Fredericks). While it might be possible to maintain a nutritionally excellent "strict" vegetarian diet, it would certainly be difficult. One would have to have a diet--that is one without any type of animal product, rely daily on the proteins in soybeans, wheat germ, and nutritional yeast--somewhat monotonous fare.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 30, 1999


What about Amaranth? I remember reading in an old issue of "Organic Gardening" about it being a complete protien by itself. The entire plant is edible and it's supposedly pretty prolific. The OG article was recommending it to cope with famine in Africa. Has anyone here ever grown Amaranth? I'm thinking about trying it, but I'd like to know a little more about it from someone who has actually tried it themselves.

If the OG article is accurate, it may be a crop that those who want to garden in a limited space or who won't have access to other protien sources could consider.

-- Bob Brock (bbrock@i-america.net), May 30, 1999.

Hi, Old Git:

Two weeks ago I purchased some "Soynuts Whole R&S". The ingredients listing is as follows: "Soybeans, Paritally Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, and Salt". They taste awful. Can they be healthy? I remember having purchased some soybeans back in the 1980s from another health food store. They were OK. These current soybeans are worthless. The cost is $1.35 per pound.

This health food store also sells Banana Chips [Bananas, Coconut Oil, Banana Flavor, Turbinado Sugar]. Coconut oil is not healthy, is it? When presented with this question, a worker made it sound as if this was a healthy combination. Was she bonkers?

Your post prompted me to respond because yesterday after work, I stopped in at a health food store and bought over $20 worth of banana chips, dates and other dried fruits. The dates were refrigerated, but the dried fruits had sulfates added. Is this true health food?

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), May 30, 1999.


The only knowledge I have of amaranth is that the seeds are very small. After one collects the seed clusters, then they must be processed. This sounds very laborious to work with tiny grains.

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), May 30, 1999.

I planted Amarath when I lived in Wa. However, there are different types/kinds of it and I don't remember what I had. It was a very dark green turning to dark cranberry up at the top and the shucks around the grain were deep red to. It grew about 8 or 9 ft high and the grain heads were pretty much at the top. The grain heads were kind of like giant millet in apprearance. I used it in bread. It hardened like wheat. Don't think it has gluten in it and had to mix with wheat flour for yeast bread. The donkeys loved it and ate stalks and all. Sorta resembles field corn but was real dark green to red. Wish I could remember more about it. Raised quinoa (sp) one year too. Didn't like it and even the chickens wouldn't eat it.

Got wheat???


-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), May 30, 1999.

Amaranth - grew it last year, very easy to grow here in NC. Used pots for growing as our soil is almost impossible heavy clay. Don't have to use grain, can cook leaves as greens. Have those OG articles but they'll have to wait, eyelids starting to close! Amaranth grain may be a complete protein but it still may not have Vitamin B12. I take a B12 supplement every day.

Coconut oil isn't good. Neither is palm oil, other tropical oils. Heavy saturated fat, I think. Wish I could be more specific, cookbooks, nutrition books in storage pending sale of house.

Sulfates are bad because some people (like me) are allergic to them. They actually occur naturally in some foods, but are added to most wines, for instance, to shorten the maturing process. If sulfates are added to fresh fruits and veggies to make them stay fresh longer, a warning sign must be posted. You can buy unsulfured dried fruit from a "real" health-food store. I used to volunteer at the local co-op and they wouldn't dream of stocking sulfured dried fruit--or banana chips with coconut oil!

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 30, 1999.

We have been sold a myth about how much protein we need. Vegetarian food has plenty of protein. Too much protein is one of big causes of degenerative diseases. Millions of people in vegetarian cultures have lived very successfully on veg. diets for centuries. There is no need to eat "complete protein" foods. This myth was unfortunately spread by the first edition of DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET. By the time she wrote the second edition, Lappe apologized profusely, ut the damage seems irreversable. -Or very slowly reversable. Anyway, the body does not need all its amino acids in a given meal. Amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are stored in the body and when we need protein, the body "builds it" from these stores. B12 is not found in meat, dairy products, etcetera, actually. It is formed by microrganisims that live there. In countries with lower standards of sanitation then ours, it is also found in tempeh, etc. Healthy people have these microorganism in their intestinal tract and hence manufacture their own B12. I have been vegetarian since 1971, and test just fine for B12. (Note: HEALTHY vegetarians) It takes a number of years after one lacks a B12 source for a deficiency to occur, as enough B12 is stored in the liver to last for 3 to 6 years. So no worries about B12 from Y2K diet deficiencies, I hope! Meat-eaters actually require much more B12 for immunity and proper blood formation due to the highly acidic mucoid environment in their bodies created by eating large amounts of meat and dairy products. Anyhow, 2 mcg. a day is all that is needed. So if this a concern just stock up on some B12 tablets. The World Health Organization (whose research is not funded by nor subjsesct to the lobby approval of meat and dairy industries) finds that 5% of caloric intake should be protein. Mother's milk, on which babies grow rapidly and well, is 5%. The average American eats 4o% of calories as protein! This creates excess urea in the body, which leaches calcium from our bones. (True cause of osteoporosis.) Weakens all body functions. Grains range from 7-8% protein (rice and corn) to 18% (quinoa). You mentioned amaranth? 16%. It occurs to me that it is no accident that the cultures that lived on rice and corn (India, China, Japan, Mexico and South America...) ate simply and fared well by it. Soybeans are not easy to digest. Tofu is about 95% digestible. But soybeans are around 65% digestibe, if I recall correctly. And they do not combine well with grains (carbohydrates.) Hence the rap beans get for gas - the telltale synmptom that something is rotten and not in Denmark. Most beans change when you soak them and begin to let them sprout. Into Nature-ally "predigested" amino acids. But not soy beans. If you want to make tofu out of them that's good. But if you want to stock up on a bean to eat, I'd recommend mung beans. Absolutely wonderful nutrition. Sprout them and they are even better, and cook in five minutes.

-- Shivani Arjuna (Dsmallwrtr@aol.com), May 30, 1999.

This is just an indirect comment: Be sure and stock up on multi-vitamins, as well as vitamin C. But make sure that you check the expiration dates -- I've found tablets with an expiration date of late 2000 sitting right next to ones that expire in late 1999!

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), May 30, 1999.

Old Git:

You advice concurs with what I've read regarding coconut oil.

I thought you would have sold your house by now. It seems like it's been on the market for months. I have a neighbor who recently put up his house for sale. He will be getting married to a widow in late July. Both he and she are adamant DGIs, and there's no convincing them. I've tried to convince him, really, I have, but he mocks me continually. He's a brilliant cost accountant who doesn't have a clue. Anyway, he told me that this time of year, with so many houses up for sale, the expected sale is extended due to a surplus of availabilities. But your case sounds not good. Do you expect to sell your home at a loss if the stock market crashes and you feel the urgency of relocating as soon as possible where it's safer??

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), May 30, 1999.

Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I'll give it a try. Old Git, did you get your seeds locally or mail order? If you can help me find the seeds I'd appreciate it. I haven't been able to find any locally yet. We may be neighbors...

-- Bob Brock (bbrock@i-america.net), May 30, 1999.

Regarding Amaranth...the grains are 60+% protein (i dont think b12) and are very high in iron. Even though the grain clusters are at the top of the plant, the leaves are edible too. B12 is generally found in animal sources and I think eggs have it.

-- feller (feller@wanna.help), May 31, 1999.

My apologies for getting sidetracked from the thread. For more information regarding Soy/B-12/hyperthyroidism, I'd suggest the following link:


The page contains a number of links on the subject.

-- Bob Brock (bbrock@i-america.net), May 31, 1999.

Bob, think I got the seeds from Thompson & Morgan (they're on the Net somewhere). It was ornamental but edible. If I recall correctly, Seeds of Change has amaranth seeds. Maybe if you do a search on "amaranth NEAR seeds". . . Also check richters.com. We're in Durham.

Shivani, I'm a vegetarian diabetic on a reducing diet, married to a part-time vegetarian who hates most vegetables, except asparagus and (cooked) dried beans. Makes meal planning interesting! But I do take supplements because I have this quirky opinion that American farming soil is so depleted of vitamins and minerals, there's just not as much in the food as there used to be. I may be wrong but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I do eat a lot of soybean-derived foods, including tofu, but I think there'll be a problem obtaining tofu if TSHTF. Just for laughs, I stashed a package of dehydratd tofu I found at the whole foods megalomart. I mentioned soybeans because a lot of people are stashing TVP.

Dinosaur, we're in a booming area, can't figure out why we've had no sale. I think maybe people are waiting around for the prices to drop a bit. No really negative feedback from prospects, except things we can't change, like the layout. Major mistake was listing with a friend going through problems. . .! Bad, bad mistake! We have since signed up with a reputable company well-known for selling this particular part of town. If they can't sell it, it can't be sold!

No, can't take a loss. Did that in Norfolk six years ago when the bottom dropped out there due to defense cutbacks. Have only just now recovered. We went on the market just before Thanksgiving. If we don't sell by mid-June, we're off the market and will hunker down. We could be in a worse spot, but I'm still uneasy about being right here. If things go at all well re Y2K, we'll try again next year. We've just offered $2k closing costs, we'll see what that does.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), May 31, 1999.

Dear Old Git,

The whole foods store we shop at has Mori-Nu brand tofu packed for long shelf life. The expiration date on mine is 02-26-2000. It comes in four types. We like the extra firm and it is $1.00 per 12.3oz package. We plan to order a case later this summer. Thank you for all the information you provide. I love to read your posts even though I very rarely post myself.


-- Jalila (friend@fla.com), May 31, 1999.

I9d like to respond to several things folks have said in this thread. - Coconut oil and palm oil are extremely high in saturated fat. Not good. - Sulfates are definitely not health food. Many 3health food stores2 sell some pretty strange things - that bring in revenue but do not exactly support health. The consumer needs to educate him/herself and not rely on the average clerk in the average store. - Nuts are pretty difficult to digest. Especially roasted ones, as heated oils are very difficult for our livers to break down. Therefore tend to clog the liver. - Hydrogenated oils are extremely unhealthy. Oils are reacted at high temperatures under pressure with hydrogen gas in the presence of a metal catalyst, usually nickel, for 6-8 hours, saturating their double bonds with hydrogen. This is 3good2 because it can now not 3spoil2 and so it lasts a long time on the store9s shelf. But the body does not know what to do with these changed substances that are almost a form of plastic. Take a bit of hydrogenated margarine in the palm of your hand and feel it. Strange stuff. Margarine elevates cholesterol and promotes cancer, and damages the liver and gall bladder. (Yes, even if purchased in a health food store.) - The aseptically-packaged tofu referred to, that comes in little foil-lined boxes and does not need refrigeration, is a hyper-processed, lifeless product. Eaten regularly, such food produces mucoid deposits that lead to excess phlegm and lung infections. Compared to 3real2 tofu, the stuff is slimey. I tried it just to see what it was like, and do not intend to ever buy it again. If you want to eat tofu during y2k-induced outages, just make your own. We are going to. - Amaranth is 15-18% protein, but please understand that we do not NEED this much protein, folks. A neat thing about it is that it is unusually high in calcium, containing more calcium (and the calcium cofactors magnesium and silicon) than milk. Also high in the amino acid lysine, which most grains are not. Can be popped like popcorn. Thrives in poor soil and drought. But has an intense flavor that most people want to dilute by combining it with other grains. Try eating it before you decide to grow it.

-- Shivani Arjuna (Dsmallwrtr@aolj.com), May 31, 1999.

Amaranth grain is available from Bob's Red Mill in various size lots.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), June 01, 1999.

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