All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fasting from Bread: My 15 Day Milestone

Fasting from Bread: My 15 Day Milestone

My fast from bread continues.  Last time I posted was at the 10 day mark, without bread, trying to follow the guidelines of the 80-10-10 diet proposed by Douglas Graham.  Graham, if you recall, says that humans are mostly like bonobos who evolved eating fruits and leafy green veggies.

Graham is the author of "The 80-10-10 Diet", and has several YouTube videos online, including this one, where he explains the diet, and this one where he details some of the reasons why people fail to thrive on his raw diet, where 80% of one's daily caloric intake should come from carbs.

At the last blog entry, I tallied my total intake for the day and discovered that I was substantially low on calories, and still not close to the 10% fat goal.  I was still losing weight, even though I wasn't hungry, and I was eating fruit enough to satisfy me.  But obviously it wasn't enough carbs.  I did realize that I wasn't truly following Graham's guidelines: I was juicing leafy greens, I was eating too much avocado, I was continuing to do a total fast twice a week, I was drinking hot herbal tea, extra water, etc.  But if you listen to some Graham tapes, he will blend up smoothies and salad dressings with nuts and seeds and avocados.  So is he himself really getting to 10% fat on a raw diet?  

In today's blog entry, I'm going to talk about something new that I've learned while fasting from bread on this raw diet.  As close to bonobos as we might be genetically, we are not bonobos with blenders.  Our diet is different.  We are different.

To recap: for this month, I have been fasting from bread, and existing on a mostly raw, whole food vegan diet (no grains, no eggs, no dairy, no alcohol, no processed foods) in an effort to get my fat intake down to 10%.  This is a record of some of my thoughts as I go on toward the 30-day goal of eating without bread.  Fair warning: I talk about what I learn, how I feel, and about the consistency of my stool, and other nasty stuff.

Day 12 Thursday
I've carted a lot of fruit to work today, and by the end of my shift, I'm starting to get tired of fruit.  The only veg I've brought has been some green juice, and an entire Romaine heart.  Plus, during the 12 1/2 hours I was at work today, I've had two rather large BMs that were somewhat loose.  Now that is new to me, usually they are formed, even with this amount of fruit.  It suggests to me that I am now overhydrating, that I might not require as much herbal tea (I always bring a thermosfull with me to work, because it is so dry here). But that wasn't my first thought: my first thought is, I'm not assimilating all that I'm eating.  This is the first day when I've seriously considered stopping this diet, because it doesn't seem like I'm absorbing the food I ingest.  I've had some terrible bread cravings today, too.  And cheese.  I long for cheese.  Perhaps I crave fat.  I'm starting to wonder whether the Weston Price Foundation people are right, that there is nothing wrong with a high fat diet, and the reason I crave avocados is because my body needs the fat.  Am wondering if the reason people gravitate toward a diet that is not 80-10-10, but rather 42/16/42 (the average for most North Americans, whether or not they are vegans, as reported on p. 75 of Graham's book) is because that is what is most natural for them.  I'm trying to talk myself into stopping this diet, that it might be dangerous for me.  But then, I think that perhaps it will take some time in the beginning for my micro-villae in the GI tract to rebuild themselves to be able to adsorb the amount of fruit and veg that I'm eating.  What if my several years of eating harsh Grain Bran has hurt my innards to the point where they can't catch this amount of fruit and veg that passes by?  I must still be in the stage of detox, so warned of by those who have attempted this diet before me.  I aim to continue this at least until 30 days.  That's the most immediate goal, and I'm almost half-way there.  I've only got this far because I've tried smaller goals: the first goal was to do it for 3 days, then the next goal was to do it for 7 days, then 10 days.  Now the goal is 30.  Still not sure whether I can do it for a full year.  I find the amount of food I am eating to be quite expensive.  I'm starting to look for discount fruit -- the fruit that is considered over-ripe, and that is 50% off in the store, because I know I'm going to eat it all in one day anyway.  And it takes a long, long time to masticate my green veg; if it were steamed, I could eat a whole lot, a whole lot faster.  Is it better to eat the kale, or drink the kale juice, or eat the kale whole but cooked, I wonder?  No wonder so many raw foodists use blenders and eat a lot of smoothies and cold soups.

Day 13 Friday
A fast day again for me.  Today while researching Dr. Joel Fuhrman's work on diets, I chanced to also learn of Dr. John McDougall's work in the US, on the west coast, for the first time.  McDougall believes that our natural diet as humans is starch-based (not starch exclusively, of course, but varied fruits and vegetables, with starch as the foundation).  

Fuhrman, author of "Eat to Live" has several videos online, but in my opinion (after watching several of them), I think his best video is probably "Steps to Good Health with High Nutrition Food"which can be found here in its complete form, or in smaller chunks elsewhere.

His main message seems to be to work on increasing the micronutrient density of your food, rather than worry about getting enough of the macronutrients of carbs, proteins and fats.  If you concentrate on getting more whole fruits and vegetables in your diet (especially the ones with highest levels of micronutrients -- Kale is often touted as the highest in Fuhrman's scales), you cannot fail to get enough of the main nutrients.  In fact, many of our diseases come from an overabundance of calories -- i.e. too many carbs, proteins and fats -- and not enough of the micronutrients.

His message is good, but it just didn't resonate with me.  On the other hand...

McDougall, author of "The McDougall Program" has been around a long time (and has written many books), and apparently has been very influential, so it surprises me that I've never heard of him before.  In my opinion he has much more to say than Fuhrman.

An earlier video ("The role of meat in the human diet") had Dr. John McDougall speaking to a Christian group, where he claimed he was not a vegetarian.  "I refuse to become a vegetarian until vegetarians become healthy," he said. He put a slide up that referred to vegetarians, and their unhealthy practices:
  • No Fish/Chicken vegetarians
  • No Lacto/Ovo vegetarians - "they are full of fat and full of cholesterol"
  • No Dough-boys -"who live on sugar and white flour; and the wino dough boy vegetarians are drunks"
  • No Soy-boys - "they live on fake foods, like fake bacon, fake cheese, fake ice-cream, fake everything."
  • No Greasy Veggies
  • No Raw Foodies - "They live on nuts and seeds and fruit, in other words, fat and sugar"
McDougall concluded, "I eat turkey every other thanksgiving in protest of being called a vegetarian."  He is also cognizant of the lack of vitamin B12 in the diet of strict vegans, and advocates a supplement for people who use his diet for over 3 years (That is much more responsible than Douglas Graham, in my opinion, who merely suggests that vegans don't require as much in their bloodstream, it is still in the body cells -- an untested assumption at best.  Curiously, neither of these authors look at the possible production of B12 by our intestinal flora, in a symbiotic relationship.  Perhaps that is because the flora argument is going to be hit-or-miss, and studies have shown that strict vegans do have B12 deficiencies over time).

McDougall therefore promotes a whole food diet that is less restrictive than the 80-10-10 diet, one which is not afraid of cooking, and one which is based on starch.  He actually claims in one of the videos that the amount of fat in his diet is around 8% -- less than that of the 80-10-10!  He can say that because the starches have very little fat, and most fruits and vegetables are between 7 and 10.

The most significant video I've seen by McDougall (who is a far better speaker for his cause than Fuhrman, who is far better than Graham, BTW) is his talk on "The Diet Wars."  Highly recommended.

He certainly cuts through the crap being espoused by the Paleo dieters.  And he points out the one problem with the 80-10-10 diet, without mentioning it specifically: there isn't enough starch in a raw vegan diet like the one espoused by Graham (Graham says that humans being arthropod don't grub in the dirt for roots like pigs.  So potatoes, sweet potatoes, jerusalem artichokes and other roots with starch are pretty much out of his diet.  Furthermore, starches are usually cooked (or in the case of Poi, beaten and mashed, ie. processed) to eat.  You wouldn't and shouldn't eat potatoes or rice raw).  But as the studies McDougall quotes show us, humans are starchivores.  And the very earliest record -- long before the Paleolithic era -- shows that humans cooked their food.  Here is a list of links from that one talk for McDougall's various sources, which show that humans have been eating cooked starch since leaving the equatorial forests where they evolved with their primate cousins on fruits and leaves:

In short, from before recorded history, and since recorded history, humans have risen to the heights of civilization only through the use of a major starch staple in their diet.

In this more recent talk, McDougall is now more conciliatory toward other plant-based diet promoters and authors.  In a very telling series of photographs, he shows the effects of high protein, high animal diets on the bodies of the authors of books who promote low carb diets, side-by-side photos of those who advocate more plant-based diets.  The message is clear:  "People who promote those low carb high protein diets are themselves fat and sick."  He holds out an olive branch to the vegetarians who have up till now argued amongst themselves over relatively small issues, like whether or not nuts are acceptable: 

"Its time to align ourselves.  The people who believe as I do in the healthfulness of a plant based diet, we have to stop fighting among ourselves; instead we have to fight those who are destroying the planet for us, and making us sick.  That's the diet wars.  The battle lines are drawn.  And we're going to win."

Equally powerful is McDougall's video on the Perils of Dairy.  Very powerful stuff.

See also the Starch Solution and why Salt is a scapegoat.  Here are a couple of interesting tidbits I took from this talk:

"You are not going to survive on fruits -- I know some of you have tried.  But you're really not going to survive on fruits.  Essentially what the tongue is looking for are those storage organs that are concentrated in these starch granules…and you like these things, I know you do, that's why you call them comfort foods."

From this video, here is what he has to say about what a starch based diet did to humans (based mostly on the research of Nathaniel Dominy, PhD from Dartmouth College ; see the reportage of "We are What They Ate" -- or a link to Dominy's original article -- or a link to a YouTube video interview with Dominy uploaded by John McDougall himself).  Here's McDougall, from his lecture:

"The human primate makes 8-11x more amylase in his saliva than does a chimpanzee or a great ape.  Why do we have all that amylase and all those genes to produce amylase?  Because that's really one of the things that makes us human.  That's one of the things that makes us human.  That's one of the things that happened to us that allowed us to evolve from lesser primates -- from great apes.   You see, if you're a lesser primate or a great ape, you live on fruit, that's primarily your diet.  And where does fruit grow all year long?  Near the equator -- and that means you can't leave the equator.  Because if you migrate north or south, you don't have a food supply, because in the fall and the winter, you've got nothing to eat, because there's no fruit in the fall or winter.  So what happened according to Dominy, is that the primate  evolved to increase its ability to digest starch through multiple copes of the amylase gene.  And what this allows the human primate to do was to tap into a food source -- storage organs -- that had never been tapped into before, at least by any primate.  And these storage organs you dug in the ground to find them.  Tubers.  And then, you harvested them off in terms of various plants and grains, and these grains would store through the fall and winter, in the next season.  And actually they'll store even longer than that.  So this opened up a whole new food supply for the human primate.  And this allows us to migrate from the equator, north and south, and eventually conquer the entire world.  We had to have a food source.  That food source was starch.  Another thing he talks about in there, is that this is the reason the human brain evolved -- to a brain that is, by the way, 3x the size of a chimpanzee brain…"

His report on salt in this video is no less astonishing.  I admire this man.

Day 14 Saturday
The 2-week mark, without bread, on my raw food fast.

Today I spent the better part of the day watching many YouTube videos of Dr. John McDougall telling his story about starch and the evils of animal foods, including dairy.  I found a lot of repetition (after watching a dozen full length talks), but the science behind his theory is sound, and it certainly lends a different take to what I've been doing, moving to a mostly fruitarian diet.  As I'm beginning to suspect, this mostly fruitarian diet is unsustainable for me in terms of cost and variety, where I live in the north.  On my trip to the grocery store today, I spent about $50 in mostly fruits (I still had some green veggies from two days ago, so I didn't need much more of those).  And I spent a substantial portion of my day eating them, knowing that, if I were to figure out how many calories it was (as I did on the 10th day), it would be (a) not enough calories from carbs, and (b) still too high in fat (I ate 5 guavas).

But I had the foresight, based on McDougall's videos, to buy a single root vegetable, a sweet potato.  This is starch.  And I was wondering if I could eat it raw.

Some sweet potato varieties I bought

I sliced it up, and bit into it.  It was great.  And as soon as I did, I realized what I'd been missing on this raw diet.

But that night I tossed and turned before sleep.  I realized I had been force-feeding myself fruit all day in an effort to get my carbohydrate level higher, and I had tried to eat low fat fruits (although I had 5 guavas left, and they had to be eaten or thrown away today, a couple were going bad); I checked my weight before bed, and had gained only half a pound.  I felt a little bloated.  I was gassy.

I began to wonder if McDougall wasn't right.  It was not the bread that had been so bad for me, but what I had put on it, or what I had been eating with it, that had caused my weight to creep up over the years.  The bread itself had been beneficial, or benign.  The starch was my base, and that was good.  What was not good was the butter on each slice, the margarine on it, or the earth balance (a coconut based vegan oil spread that we had recently discovered), or the olive oil that I would use to make paninis.  The problem was the nut butters that were made with extra oil, salt and sugar.  The problem was the cheese.  The problem was the egg sandwiches.  Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat.

As I said, the problem with bread may not be bread per se, but what you put on it.  But bread so lends itself to serving up extra fat.  Could it be that there are actually better starches to use, other than bread?  The whole grains: rice, barley, rye, even wheat, unmilled -- could they be better used in a dish, steamed or boiled and eaten without extra fat, rather than milled into a bread?  The root vegetables: potato and sweet potato, squash -- wouldn't it be better to eat these instead of bread?  They are cooked foods, yes.  But it would appear that they can be eaten without as much potential for abuse, because they do not seem to lend themselves to extra fats so handily as bread.  You can add fat -- nearly everybody on a western diet does -- but you do not have to, to make them palatable or edible.

It makes sense to me: starch is the way to go.

Day 15 Sunday
But I spent a sleepless night last night.  Clearly, the diet I was on was affecting me negatively.  Was it the raw starch I ate, in the form of the sweet potato, that caused me to be gassy and wakeful?  I ponder the reaction of my body to the foods I've been eating.  The fruits and vegetables have been good, but I often feel hungry by mid-morning or mid-afternoon.  The amount of fruit I have been eating is incredibly expensive.  And I am rapidly tiring of it.  The raw veggies, mostly leafy greens that I've been eating has been quite time consuming, masticating.  But the raw starch I ate, although my mouth seemed grateful, my digestive system had some trouble with it.  It occurs to me that I would never have any trouble with it, if I had eaten it cooked.  But for now, I continue to eat as raw as possible, a slave to the 30-day commitment.

And as I do, I continue to investigate John McDougall's message, because he intrigues me.  Far more than Fuhrman, far more than Graham.

John McDougall is spearheading the fight against the meat and dairy industry which is causing a holocaust against our children.  There is no other way to put this.  McDougall's anger against this injustice is palpable in his talks.  You have to admire the guy for taking on these huge consortiums who have an unlimited purse.  It is the quintessential David vs Goliath story for our age.

So impressed have I been with Dr. John McDougall's work, I signed up for his free newsletter, at his web page, because I want to stay tuned to his fight.  It will be interesting to watch and see what happens.

I seriously began to wonder how I can get my mother-in-law and my parents to visit his Santa Rosa clinic for 10 days.

I know the kind of resistance my mother-in-law would give to the idea.  Give up meat? Dairy? Cream in the coffee?  As much as she complains about her gout pain, her arthritic pain, her type 2 Diabetes, her chronic renal disease, and the terrible side effects and ineffectiveness of the medications her physicians prescribe, she is loathe to make these kind of dietary changes, a habit of 80 years.  My own parents have fewer health issues: my dad has had bowel cancer fixed by surgery, and a heart attack fixed for the moment by angioplasty and exercise, and my mom has osteoporosis and a bit of forgetfulness that we hope is not the beginning of something awful.  But I know they would both benefit from dietary changes like this.  I expected the cost to be so much more than what is reported on his web site.  

But I know that our 80 year old elders would balk at making this kind of change.

Expended fiber from juicing
Today I kept to the raw food challenge, and I continued to juice.  But once again I looked at the fiber that I was tossing out, either to the chickens or to the compost each day after juicing up a couple of glasses of green juice.  I wondered how much food value was left in there.  I decided to boil it, to make a soup of it -- not to eat it, because I was still doing the raw food thing, but just to see what happened.  I expected, to be honest, that I would end up tossing out the fiber, but perhaps keep the liquid, and after my 30 day challenge was up, I could use this as a non-salty soup stock. 

I kept it covered and on a low boil in the kitchen, and from upstairs I could smell it cooking, and even though all that juice had been removed, it still smelled appetizing.  I have nothing against cooked foods in principle.  As Dr. McDougall says somewhere, the enzymes that are destroyed in the food by cooking were in the plant to help the plant grow, not to help us digest them.  We make our own amylase, and we make a lot of it.  We make it to digest starch.

Do all starches form acid in the stomach?
One of my thoughts today: Graham says that starches are acid-forming.  He is, of course, thinking of bread and pasta, the processed foods of grains.  But does he also mean potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava -- the staple starches of millions of people around the globe?  I wonder now what John McDougall would say about that analysis.  I begin reading "The Starch Solution" in earnest, to find an answer.  None yet.

But from the earlier chapters, here are a couple of paragraphs that spoke to me:
"A widely held myth holds that the sugars in starches are readily converted into fat, which is then stored visibly in our abdomen, hips, and buttocks.  If you read the published research, you will see that there is no disagreement about this whatsoever among scientists -- and that they say that this is incorrect.  After eating, we break down the complex carbohydrates in starchy foods into simple sugars.  These sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream, where they are transported to trillions of cells throughout the body for energy.  If you eat more carbohydrate than your body needs, you'll store up to 2 pounds of it invisibly in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen.  If you eat more carbohydrate than you can use (as your daily energy) and store (as glycogen), you'll burn the remainder off as body heat and through physical movement other than sports, such as walking to work, typing, yard work, and fidgeting.  Turning sugars into fats is a process called de novo lipogenesis.  Pigs and cows use this process to convert carbohydrates from grains and grasses into calorie-dense fats."

I had a gut ache today, for the first time ever on this fast.  Was that due to the raw starch I ate yesterday?  Another thing that happened: my stool fell apart.  Was that due to the different texture in fiber in my gut?  I was incredibly gassy, as if all my flora were suddenly reproducing and having a party.  Was this all from one raw sweet potato?

I feel no extra energy so far on this raw diet, in fact, I feel lethargic.  I feel no extra brain power, in fact, I feel stupid, taken, duped -- as if I've been sold a bill of goods.

Day 16, Monday (Another fast day)
I actually look forward to these fast days, when I don't have to consume mass quantities of fruit.  The salads I don't mind, but the vast amount of fruit has been daunting.  

Since I'm fasting today, thank goodness I don't have to eat all this raw food
I've pretty much decided I will not continue with this fast beyond 30 days.  In fact, I may even cut it shorter than that, because one should always stop an experiment if one determines it is not ethical or it has been demonstrated to be harmful to any of the participants.

Durian: not for everybody

Yesterday I visited the grocery store again.  I took my family to the new Asian supermarket that had gone up near them and I introduced them to the durian fruit, which none of them had ever heard about.  Fortunately we found one that was ripe but didn't stink too badly.  My sister hated it, and refused to try more than the tiniest bit, but my mom and dad ate it with curiosity and seemed to enjoy the experience.  I spent another $50 on fruit and veg, mostly so there will be food in the house for when my wife comes home from her trip.  If we are both eating fruit and veg raw, this is going to be very expensive indeed.

My stomach still feels a bit off.  The lower abdomen is a bit tender.  I had a couple of BMs late last night, and since then the gut has improved somewhat.  Is that chunk of raw tuber I ate a couple of days ago now out of my system?

Today I'm looking up some of McDougall's sources for the links, and posting this blog; while Googling for references I found this article: Cordain comments on new evidence of Early Human Grain Consumption.

Cordain is author of "The Paleo Diet."  What I find most interesting is not so much that Cordain found it necessary to respond to the new evidence quickly, but that so many people are making profound dietary changes based on what they believe their extremely remote ancestors ate.  In other words, this ancient data matters to them: were ancient proto-humans grain eaters, or hunters?  For some reason, your next meal depends upon it.  Incidentally, Cordain poo-poos Mercader's archaeological evidence as inconclusive, but he does not in this reply address the genetic markers that Dominy used as clues.  This scholarly debate is being fought over the plates of the western world, as each of us tries to justify what we want to eat based on what we suppose a skeleton from the distant past might have eaten.  Weird.

Notes to Myself
  • McDougall's slide on vegetarians really hit home to me.  When I first became a vegetarian, as I reported in this blog several times, I was a vegan for a year but found it very difficult.  Furthermore, it caused me to experience some disturbing skin problems for the first time in my life.  I assumed that my diet was deficient in some nutrient, and reintroduced eggs and dairy, and have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian ever since.  I admitted before that I didn't know what I was doing on that vegan diet.  At one time or another, I have tried each of his named vegetarian diets (except for the wine dough-boys diet, I have never had a problem with alcohol, so far).  I have never really tried to eat a low fat diet before this.  I can see after just half a month that I will not be able to do it on fruits and vegetables alone.  I must have starch -- and as McDougall shows, this is what the human diet should be.  I may continue past 30 days on a bread fast, but I will reintroduce starch into my diet, and that starch will be cooked, not raw.  Raw starch -- like the sweet potato I ate raw during these few days of this blog entry -- causes me no end of abdominal discomfort.
  • The thing about "diets" is, you can certainly find one, out there in the marketplace, to justify your current bad habits or desires.  I have to be cautious that, if I choose McDougall's starchivore diet, that I am not simply justifying my bread craving.  I like the idea of choosing a starch that is not bread, so that I can continue my fast from bread beyond 30 days -- to be certain, before I ever return to bread, that I am not just letting my bread addiction make my food decisions for me.
  • I don't have a blender.  For someone on a raw food diet, this is just not going to work.  Raw Foodists must have a workhorse blender, like a vitamix.  Everybody says so.


  1. Overall, great post. I am trying to figure out whether I have I tolerances or other sensitivities that are causing a chronic b12 deficiency and attendant symptoms, and find your experience helpful.

    Re: your comments on our evolutionary forebear ears, it's not weird at all to want to know what they ate, and why. There is significant evidence that the rise of agriculture is implicated in the nutritional and other diet-related issues that modern civilized humans face. Eg,

    1. Thanks for your reply. I'm aware of the article you cite. This was actually the article where I first encountered the idea of exorphins, and why I named my blog 'exorphin junkie.' In the several years that I've been making and eating bread, and studying how to make it as healthy as possible for myself, I've also been thinking and researching this question of whether western agriculture (specifically grain) was a nutritional benefit to the human race. There is no doubt whatsoever that it has been a cultural benefit, and civilization and science and all higher thought would not have appeared without it. But nutritionally: what was it about agriculture that changed the record of our bones? Cordain and others have supposed that it is because we gave up eating as much meat, and started eating more starches, especially grains.

      The proof is lacking. It could even be that the reverse is true. Dominy's work shows that we are starch eaters, always were, even before and through the paleolithic. In the next blog entry, I discuss the work of Wrangham, who has begun to work out the implications of human social evolution when we learned how to cook using fire. The order could have been fire first, tubors second, tools third, brain increase fourth, language fifth, hunting sixth. Meat wasn't the primary reason why our brains grew. As McDougall points out somewhere, the brain's primary fuel is glucose, and we need a lot of it and we get more from starch, zero from meat. Dominy and researchers of hunter-gatherer tribes suggest that meat was only eaten rarely, because it wasn't dependable. At least -- it wasn't dependable until humans domesticated animals, and that only happened when we had stable agriculture. A little (wild) meat doesn't apparently hurt humans. Constant (domestic) meat like what we consider normal in a western diet will kill us (via cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, arthritis...) Occasional meat like what a hunter-gatherer might be able to get might give evolving humans enough B12. In times of less meat, B12 may be secured in the body. Graham actually suggests somewhere in his talks or books that we don't find as much B12 in the bloodstream of a vegan as in a meat eater because it is retained in the cells of the body (thus it isn't in the bloodstream). McDougall repeatedly points out that neither plants nor animals make B12 -- it is made by bacteria. But animals get it from bacteria, and we get it from their stores. McDougall suggests that our modern insistence on over-cleaning our food has lessened the amount of B12 producing bacteria we eat, compared to our distant ancestors, from which we evolved. McDougall also points out that we have flora in our body that produce B12 (but he also says somewhere that it exists in our lower intestines, so absorption from it is unlikely, since most of our digestion occurs in the small intestines). Clearly, I do not know the final answer to this B12 mystery, and I have yet to find the answers in good science. The more we know the less we know. Our questions appear exponentially, our answers rarely.

      It is possible that something you are eating is causing a chronic B12 deficiency. The eons have juggled our genes to the point where anything is possible. I work with a person who has a similar chronic B12 deficiency despite eating meat regularly; whether it is due to a food tolerance or sensitivity has yet to be determined. I'd be interested in how you would propose to find out. I would wager it is a metabolism quirk: it would seem that she can't metabolize B12 through the GI tract for some reason, and needs intermittent injections.