For vegans and vegetarians, sometimes grocery shopping can feel like a never-ending obstacle course. Products that you thought had to be vegan-friendly frequently incorporate animal products that you would never expect. If you didn't read the labels, who would have guessed that marshmallows, some wines and beers, processed sugar, and vitamins all have animal products in them?
Finding vitamins and supplements that fit a vegan lifestyle is doubly essential for strict vegans. This is because, due to the limitations of the vegan diet, strict vegans and vegetarians need to take certain supplements to get all of the body’s necessary vitamins such as iron, Vitamin D, Zinc, and B12. The brief guide below will give you, or the vegan in your life, an outline on how to select supplements to match a vegan lifestyle.
Do your homework
Before you find supplements and vitamins that are themselves vegan, it is crucial first to determine which supplements are needed.
Even if you have been vegetarian or vegan for a few years, it never hurts to reassess your diet as, no matter how well-balanced a vegan diet is, you will need additional supplements. Vegan diets tend to be naturally low in the following vitamins, acids, and minerals:
Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids
This is not a comprehensive list, but these supplements are some of the most common for vegans to lack in their diet, and they are all necessary for a healthy lifestyle and well-rounded diet. A deficiency in any of these vitamins or minerals can have serious consequences.
Make natural choices
Before you select supplements, you should do an audit of your current diet for a few weeks and identify the gap areas. While supplements are useful for boosting vitamin and mineral levels, it is also important to naturally incorporate into your diet foods that are high in those vitamins. Foods like nuts, avocados, quinoa, kale, and broccoli are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fats that are often elusive in the vegan diet. Do some research after auditing your diet and identify the foods that you can add to your diet to create more balance.
Read the labels
When you are purchasing supplements and vitamins, take time to read over the labels or find a retailer that is dedicated to providing strictly vegan supplements. Some countries label their vegetarian and vegan products prominently, but many do not. This means it is up to you to ensure that the product is suitable. The tricky thing is that many vitamin capsules are made using gelatine, which is derived typically from animal products, and some vitamins are sourced from animal products themselves. However, there are many brands and retailers which do sell supplements and vitamins that are entirely vegan. The time you take to source your vegan supplements carefully will be worth it, once you have found a retailer or brand you can trust.
Interested in learning more about veganism and the importance of vitamins like B12? Check out our latest blog posts.