Well – it’s now available though Covid-19 has delayed it. I’m talking about my latest book ‘5-a-day Plus One’, a cookbook containing recipes that are rich in vitamin B12.
It was originally scheduled for publication at the beginning of March and then re-scheduled for early April; but we all know what happened in mid-march and the printer went into lockdown and that meant that it wasn’t published until 10th November.
The book focuses on the success, around the world, of the campaign to get us all to eat more fruit and vegetables – the 5-a-day campaign, though in some countries it’s 7-a-day or even more. And the fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh; tinned, frozen, dried all count towards your five-a-day.
I started work on the book following a conversation with a family while I was on holiday in west Wales. During that conversation the mother asked her young daughter to explain what was meant by a ‘healthy diet’.
“Five-a-Day” was the response, which is, I suppose, to be expected considering that there has been so much publicity surrounding the campaign. The thought crossed my mind, however, that no matter how much fruit and vegetables a person eats he or she won’t get any of the essential Vitamin B12 and so that was what led to me searching out old recipes containing rich amounts of B12.
I was aided in my search for foods rich in B12 by a publication jointly produced by Public Health England, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Food Research; it’s McCance and Widdowson’s ‘The Composition of Foods’ which has been published and updated since the 1940’s. It lists almost all foods that we eat and gives the nutritional values for each one. I sifted through the tables listing the B12 content of foods, identified the ones which had the highest values of the vitamin and then searched out recipes containing those foods. It took a year but eventually I found suitable and quite easy-to-prepare recipes that are in the book.
Of course, the recipes will not be any use to ensuring that patients with Pernicious Anaemia will get an adequate intake of B12 but it does contain some recipes that were used to try to treat the disease although these date from before the time Vitamin B12 was identified and they I can find no data on whether the diets worked. Presumably they weren’t successful which is why injection were developed in the 1950’s.