Mar 12, 2009

To Be or Not to B12? Plus Kabocha Squash Soup

First- the soup. If you haven't tried Kabocha squash, it is a smallish greenish Japanese pumpkin, that has a great flavor- different than regular pumpkin (more subtle perhaps), and has a smooth potato-y texture and wonderful sweetness.

As you can see, it has an intense yellow-orange flesh and a pretty dark green, sometimes spotted with orange skin, which I leave on when cooking as it's completely edible and not tough at all.

The seeds looked so large and plump that I decided to try roasting them. But, the shells were just too tough to eat, and cracking them open yielded very little inside. Flavor was good though.

The soup is a simple puree of boiled onions, cooked red lentils, Kabocha (leaving a few chunks), and vegetable broth. Season as desired.

The Kabocha is great in stews, curries, and just roasted as you would any other squash.

...Now for the Question: To Be, or Not to B12?
(I know, terrible pun- but couldn't help myself!)

As many vegans already know, vitamin B12 is essential to health, but only available naturally in animal products and unwashed plants grown in soil that is rich with the microbes that produce B12. We used to get this vitamin by eating plants as well as animals, but due to the sterile and triple-washed methods of modern day, veggies and fruits found in stores no longer have any!

Now, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for B12 is only 1 - 3 micrograms, which is a VERY small amount! And, on top of that- excess amounts can be stored in the body for several years.

I personally HATE taking pills of any sort. I prefer to get my vitamins and nutrients through the foods I eat. That being said, I have found many common food items that are fortified with B12 (some I knew about, some I didn't). I thought this would be of interest to a lot of vegans and concerned non-vegans alike. So... here is a little list. If you know of any others, please feel free to comment and add!

(% = RDA in one serving)
  • Silk Soy Milk 50%
  • Organic Valley Soy Milk 50%
  • Wildwood Soy Milk 50%
  • Rice Dream Rice Milk 25%
  • Living Harvest Hemp Milk 20%
  • Vitasoy Soy Milk 15%
  • Barabara's Apple Cinnamon O's & Crispy Wheats Cereals 25%
  • Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal 100%
  • Nature's Path Optimum Power Cereal 100%
  • Post Grape Nuts, Raisin Bran, and Granolas 25%
  • Total Cereal 100%
  • Wheaties 50%
  • Cheerios 25%
  • Yves Tofu Dogs 10-20% (depending on size)
  • Yves Pepperoni 20%
  • Azumaya Tofu 30%
  • Soy Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt 30%
  • KAL Nutritional Yeast 130%
I noticed that not all brands of cereal and soy milk were fortified, although those were the most common. I read that tofu, tempeh, and seitan were usually fortified, but I only found one brand of tofu (at my market) that was.

So if you hate taking supplements, eat a bowl of fortified cereal! ;)


  1. That soup looks good! The only time I use Kabocha is in a veggie loaf I make. It's nice to see it used in another way.

  2. I ended up taking a 'sup anyway because I'm Vit. D-ficient. sucks, because I choke on it every morning: I'd rather choke on a bowl of cereal instead.