Hey, y'all, just a reminder that I'm not a doctor and not trying to diagnose or treat ya!
A lot of people ask me about what (if any) supplements I take and why. It's a fair question, and I want to first address the misconception that this is based on- that a vegan diet is not healthy. So, first and foremost, the American Dietetic Association says it so well, let's hand it to them:
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
Now that the preconceived notion that vegans are inherently prone to deficiency is out of the way, let me just say that I DO take supplements. I take some supplements for my mental health (like St. John's Wort), but that's not really relevant here. I also take a very inexpensive one a day vegan mutlivitamin. I have lots of friends who are part of MLM companies and promote their own vitamins, and so I see a lot of bashing of the vitamins we get in the store, but I'm happy with mine, I have no deficiencies, and when I run out, I notice a difference in my overall health/energy, so I do believe that my multivitamin is doing something beneficial for me (full disclosure; I'm also a trained hypnotist and recognize the power of the mind is potent, so there's a chance that my results are based on a purely placebo effect- I'm okay with taking that risk).
This Deva Vegan Multivitamin is the one I take. Like I said, it's inexpensive and effective for me. It's very high in B12, which is basically the one nutrient not found naturally occurring in a vegan diet, and it doesn't upset my stomach (I tend to be sensitive to medications/pills, so this is big for me).
This is an affiliate link, so while I'm not trying to sign you up for my MLM, there are tiny monetary gains if you click through here and decide to buy. I appreciate it.
B12 and Vitamin D
In addition to a multivitamin, I also do a spray B12 a couple times a week, and I have a spray Vitamin D for when I don't spend time out doors (normally, I walk about an hour outside daily, and I live close enough to the equator, and my arms are uncovered, so I don't worry about vitamin D). On days that the weather is poor or I cover my arms, I try to remember to do a spray of D to fill in the gaps. I lived in Alaska for several years, and vitamin D deficiency sucks, so I'm not interested in going back down that rabbit hole. These two sprays are a bit more spendy than my super inexpensive multi, but they last much longer because I don't need them much. As a side note, neither of these say they NEED refrigeration, but I have had a mold issue with the B12, so I keep them in the refrigerator. Like I said, they last a long time, so this just ensures that longevity.
But what about the CHILDREN?!?!?!
That's right, I have children too! My kids get a simple vegan kids multivitamin too, plus I do both sprays listed above with them. They also play outside daily, so I follow the same general rule on D and do a spray about once a week of the B12 for them. Neither of them have ever had any issues with deficiencies and I started them both on this multivitamin around age 2.
What about Iron?
One of the most common nutrients I'm asked about by friends wanting to explore a vegan diet is iron. I wish I had a better answer. It seems that some people just really struggle to absorb iron. I was very low in iron just after the birth of my second child, so I know how hard it can be on the body to go through that, but other than that short period of time when my body was just readjusting to being human, I've never had a problem with it. For me, when I was going through that, I tried several supplements and my numbers just wouldn't budge. I went to a holistic doctor and took the super expensive fancy naturopathic iron supplements, I increased iron-rich foods in my diet, and still I just couldn't get my levels up.
What finally did it was going to an herbalist and taking an iron-rich tincture made from nettles. It was amazing, and after a couple weeks my blood tests came back normal finally. So, I totally swear by a nettle tincture if you are low. For maintaining, you can get nettle tea and steap it overnight nice and strong and drink it throughout the day, or take a tincture daily. I personally don't take anything extra regularly and maintain normal levels, but everyone has different needs. The other supplements I can say I've heard good things about, but can't attest to efficacy or endorse them personally. If you have a local trusted herbalist, go to them, otherwise, I really like the company Wish Garden Herbs and their products. I don't have an affiliate link for them, just really like their products, and they have an "Herbal Iron" that's similar to what I took.
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
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