I will confess that I did not start taking vitamins until after I went vegetarian. However, this is NOT because I doubted that I could get all of the necessary nutrients from a veggie diet – just a residual effect of becoming more aware of what I eat as it relates to my health.
Now back to the point of the post: if you’re not vegan, you might not have ever given a second thought about what is actually in your vitamins. Here’s a hint: if they don’t say they’re vegan (and sometimes even if they do) a lot of what is in them is probably sourced from animals in one way or another. Obviously, this makes it necessary for vegans to seek out vitamin supplements that are not only formulated for their specific dietary needs (extra B12, for example) but also actually sourced from vegan ingredients.
As you might expect, there aren’t a ton of options out there. That doesn’t mean that those that do exist aren’t awesome though! As you can see, I’ve found a few that I’m really happy with. I take a daily multivitamin from a groovy company called DEVA Nutrition. All of their products are made specifically for the dietary needs of vegans and vegetarians. All DEVA products are 100% vegan and certified by the Vegan Society – a key attribute.
The first “vegan” multivitamin I was taking, RAW ONE for Women, turned out not to be vegan. It seems the D3 in this is sourced from Lanolin, a waxy substance secreted by sheep. Funky - and not vegan. They’re supposed to be changing the packaging to say “Vegetarian” instead of “Vegan,” but as you can see, it’s still “Vegan” on their website. Not cool. This is why it’s a good idea to look for trusted logos from the Vegan Society or Vegan Action, whenever possible.
My only gripe about my multivitamin is that I can’t find it locally. Ordering online is not a big deal, just slightly less convenient than running out to Walgreen’s and grabbing a bottle whenever I need more. Don’t cry for me though. I’ll live.
In addition to my daily multivitamin, I also take a calcium supplement from Trader Joe’s. Yes! Trader Joe’s has vitamins – some of them vegan! Like everything at TJ’s, the vitamins are high-quality and low price. A 30-day supply of these is less than $3. I actually only take this once a day instead of twice, as recommended, because I get quite a bit of calcium from my diet. I also get more than enough protein, which explains the need for extra calcium (get the rundown here).
How do you know which vitamins at Trader Joe’s are vegan? Remember my post about vegan grocery shopping a while back? I mentioned that many of the vegan items at TJ’s are marked with a “V” on the label. If you take a gander at the photo up there, you can see the “V” in the lower left of the label. Easy as pie.
No matter how you eat, I think a well thought out supplement plan is probably a good idea. And even if you’re not vegan, what’s to stop your vitamins from it? Can’t hurt!