Smorgasbord Health with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B12 combined with Vitamin E – Beef, Broccoli, Eggs, Bananas and Wholegrains

Welcome to the rewind of this series from 2019 where we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocolbalamin) is an essential water-soluble vitamin but unlike other water soluble vitamins that are normally excreted in urine very quickly, B12 accumulates and gets stored in the liver (around 80%), kidney and body tissues.

B12 is vital for the efficient working of every cell in the body especially those with a rapid turnover as it prevents cell degeneration. It functions as a methyl donor and works with folic acid in the manufacture of DNA and red blood cells and also is necessary to maintain the health of the insulating sheath (myelin sheath) that surrounds all nerve cells. It is involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for resetting our biological clock’s rhythm when we change to new time zones, and also helps us sleep.

The most common disease associated with B12 deficiency is pernicious anaemia, which is characterised by large, immature red blood cells. You can find out more about anaemia in a post Anaemia – Iron and B12 deficiency

Some other diseases and medical conditions associated with a lack of this vitamin are:

• allergies,
• Alzheimer’s disease,
• asthma,
• low blood pressure,
• multiple sclerosis,
• tinnitus
• low sperm counts.

How do we become deficient in B12?

We actually do not need a huge amount of the vitamin per day, around 2 micrograms or 2millionth of a gram. The problem is that it is not particularly well absorbed by the body so larger amounts are needed in the diet to supply the amount we need. Absorption of B12 requires the secretion from the cells lining the stomach of a glycoprotein, known as the intrinsic factor. The B12-intrinsic factor is then absorbed into the ileum (part of the small intestine) with calcium.

Meat sources of B12

Liver, Calf'S Liver, Raw, Offal, Eat, Blood, Calf

One of the issues regarding deficiencies is that many people have turned away from the richest sources of B12 because they believe either that they are harmful, fattening or will raise levels of cholesterol. Liver, kidneys and eggs have not enjoyed wonderful press over the last few years and many people have also reduced the amount of cheese they eat believing that it is fattening.

Plant sources of B12

Plant sources of B12 are virtually non-existent and many long term and dedicated vegetarians have been found to be deficient.

Over use of antacids, inflammation of the stomach lining (Helicobacter pylori infection) and pancreatic problems can also lead to deficiency as the secretion of the intrinsic factor is compromised. There is some evidence that women with breast cancer have lower levels of B12 and there are indications that women after menopause with very low levels were more likely to develop the disease. It is not clear if the deficiency is caused by the cancer in the body or the other way around.

Some drugs have inhibited the uptake of B12 such as those prescribed for diabetes and ulcers and there is a great deal of research into these interactions.

As we age our ability to process our foods becomes less effective with enzyme production reduced such as the secretion of the intrinsic factor necessary for B12 absorption. Added to the fact that many elderly people suffer from a lack of appetite and you have a higher risk of malnutrition.

The importance of Vitamin E rich foods in the absorption of B12

An interesting piece of research proposes that it is possible that Vitamin E may protect the process of absorption of B12 by preventing oxidative damage to cell membranes. If so a deficiency in this vitamin may well affect our B12 levels. (Which is why the recipes today also contain Vitamin E rich foods)

What food sources are there for Vitamin B12?

B12 is present in the following foods

  • beef
  • offal like liver and kidneys
  • eggs and dairy.
  • mackerel
  • shellfish such as clams and crabs
  • fortified cereals and tofu
  • Marmite
  • cottage, feta and mozzarella cheese.
  • It is better to drink a cold glass of milk than to eat yoghurt as the fermentation process destroys most of the B12 as does boiling milk.

There are very few sources, if any of B12 in plants, although some people do believe that eating fermented Soya products, sea weeds and algae will provide the vitamin. However analysis of these products shows that whilst some of them do contain B12 it is in the form of B12 analogues which are unable to be absorbed by the human body.

Eating foods containing Vitamin E may help the absorption process and the best sources for this are in

  • nuts such as the walnuts,
  • sunflower seeds,
  • whole grains,
  • eggs,
  • spinach,
  • apples,
  • bananas,
  • broccoli,
  • brown rice,
  • carrots,
  • onions
  • oily fish.

Most cereals and breads today are fortified with B12 as are yeast extracts (marmite) and vegetarian products.


Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are great sources of these two vitamins.

The vitamin B12 is not found in as many food sources as other vitamins however Vitamin E is said to aid the absorption of B12…

Starting today with a recipe for Beef and Broccoli …The beef is a very good source of the B12 vitamin and the addition of broccoli and onions is your source of the Vitamin E…

Beef and Broccoli stir fry.


• 500 gm of beef tenderloin
• 4 cups of broccoli florets
• 3 tbsp of Oyster sauce
• 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
• A 2 in piece of fresh ginger julienned
• 1 small brown onion cut into 6
• 2 spring( green) onions sliced
• I tbsp of soy sauce
• 1 tbsp of sesame seeds lightly toasted
• 2 tbsp of vegetable oil I used coconut oil
• 1 chilli finely slice( optional)

Let’s Cook

Slice the beef finely into 3 in strips put in a bowl and add the ginger, garlic and oyster sauce then massage the sauce into the meat…Yep, get those hands in there once done set to one side until you have prepared all your ingredients.

Add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan and heat to med to hot not smoking and add your beef stir fry until your beef is cooked to your liking then remove from the pan and set to one side.

Add 1 tbsp of oil and add the onions stirring until they start to soften but not colour and add the broccoli at this point I added a dash of hot water and cook for 2-3 mins, then add the beef back into the pan and if using add your spring onions and the soy sauce…Check your seasoning and adjust if required. Then sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds…

Serve with Brown Rice…

Now if you really don’t like brown rice then add a really good handful of chopped watercress to white rice and leave for about 10 mins before you serve the rice and the heat from the rice will wilt the watercress which is a very good source of Vitamin E. It is also a lovely addition to rice which everyone in this house loves.

My taste testers loved it…Lily didn’t like the white onions and wanted more of the green onions and her mum suggested the addition of a few mushrooms and of course a chilli or two so I am guessing that is how take two will pan out but it got the thumbs up from Aston who if anything contains beef or meat he will eat it…He is a growing lad after all and I have even managed to convert him to Brown Rice…

How about a nice old fashioned banana milkshake??

Just take a ripe banana and blitz it with ½ tbsp of honey until it is nice and creamy about 2 minutess and then add 1 cup of full cream milk and blitz for 2 mins…You now have a lovely fresh milkshake …Containing your B12 from the cold milk and your Vitamin E from the banana…

Quick and easy to do and delicious…

Beef and mushrooms with pasta.


• 250 kg beef mince…grass fed
• 2 tbsp diced onion
• 1-1/2 cups quartered fresh mushrooms
• 3/4 cup Burgundy wine or beef stock
• 1/2 cup fresh stock if using beef stock then water
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 cloves garlic crushed
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• 2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles (about 4 ounces) cooked as per packet instructions.
• 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Let’s Cook!

Add a good splash of olive oil to a pan and heat on a medium heat add the diced onions and cook stirring until they soften slightly add garlic, bay leaves and minced beef.

Cook stirring until the mince is browned and add wine or stock bring to a rolling boil and reduce the heat and cook for about 15 mins and then add the mushrooms. Add some water if required cook for a further 10 minutes and season and taste.

Cook your pasta as per the packet instructions and when cooked add the mince mixture to the pasta stir gently to combine and check the seasoning.

Serve with steamed vegetables or a side salad and add some grated parmesan or cheese of your choice… Enjoy!

We love smoked mackerel and it is a very good source of B12 and with apple, horseradish and either watercress or spinach it makes a lovely light healthy salad with some lovely whole grain bread with grass fed butter.

I get lovely fresh smoked mackerel from my local market and I love this salad so quick and easy…

All you need to do is wash and grate an apple, add some horseradish freshly grated if not a tsp or two depending on your taste from a jar will suffice. Take a couple of large handfuls of either spinach or watercress and toss the apple, horseradish and some good olive oil and then flake your smoked mackerel and add to the salad…Eat straight away…

Nothing is simpler to make or tastier as a light lunch…

I hope you have enjoyed these recipes if you have any questions please ask either Sally or myself will be happy to answer xx

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins such as B12 and Vitamin E in your diet.

Next time.. we turn our attention to Vitamin C.. I hope you will join us.

About your hosts…

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

39 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B12 combined with Vitamin E – Beef, Broccoli, Eggs, Bananas and Wholegrains

  1. You two are amazing. My hubby will not eat anything green and rarely accepts yellow. It’s a challenge coming up with nutritious meals, but I try. Thank you for the inspiration! 💗

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent information Sal. Who knew this little vitamin is in charge of so much of us. I love Carol’s recipes and I also love chicken livers and eat much of what’s on the list, so I think I’m good. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My mother had pernicious anaemia and I have B12 injections now. I’m on proton pump inhibitors for ulcers (not related to Helicobacter Pylori), don’t eat meat but I do have an egg every day and enjoy cheese, bananas, apples and walnuts. Thanks for clarifying the situation for me – I didn’t know about the role of Vitamin E and there are foodstuffs here that I love and can easily add in greater quantities. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B12 combined with Vitamin E – Beef, Broccoli, Eggs, Bananas and Wholegrains | Retired? No one told me!

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