Do you get enough protein?

This is a common question we get from our omnivore friends and relatives.  Once one educates themselves on the protein amounts in vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains, the question becomes laughable.  In one stalk of broccoli there is over 4 grams of protein.  One cup of almonds has the same amount of protein (20 grams) as a T-bone steak, and almonds are high in fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), and so on.

So, are there any deficiencies to worry about with veganism?  Yes, one vitamin missing in a whole foods plant-based diet is vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin.  This vitamin is crucial for the nervous system and red blood cell production.  Only bacteria can produce B-12, so unless you are eating very dirty veggies, a supplement is needed.  It is very important for pregnant or nursing women following a vegetarian or vegan diet to take a B-12 supplement this will prevent the baby from having a B-12 deficiency.

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Click on picture to purchase B-12 using an affiliate link

Not all B-12 supplements are created equally.  Vitamin B-12 supplements in pill form may be swallowed and skip the gastric acids found in saliva and the stomach.  These acids are needed to breakdown the vitamin and allow it to be absorbed by the small intestine.  With this in mind, taking antacids, such as Pepcid or Prilosec, may reduce the absorption of vitamin B-12.  I prefer to take supplements in the most bioactive form, meaning the body doesn’t need to break it down or convert it to an active form.  For cobalamin, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the most bioactive forms.  Find this in a liquid form and you are in business!  Now just make sure the product is vegan.

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Raising Vegan Tip-  The  recommended amount of Vitamin B-12 is 2000-2500 mcg/week.  Taking the B-12 supplement in the morning may give you a boost of energy.

 

Affiliate Link:
VeganSafe™ B-12 is a blend of the two most bioactive forms of vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient for normal energy levels and the cardiovascular system.


Prenatal Vitamins

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The prenatal vitamin that I took religiously prior, during, and after pregnancy.

Pregnant! Now, what? Prenatal vitamins! They are critical for providing the essential nutrients that our fast growing babies use from our bodies during pregnancy.  Our pediatrician once said that the mother’s body is altruistic and will allow the growing baby to take all the needed nutrients.  Therefore, we must replenish ourselves so we can continue to aid in the healthy development of our babies.

On the store shelves or online, there are hundreds of choices for prenatal vitamins.

The top 4 things I look for in a prenatal vitamin:

  1. Quality- I prefer plant-based vitamins
  2. Vitamins! Consult with your doctor or health expert for your personal needs
  3. Once a day dosing- with morning sickness, you do not want to have to swallow 3 pills a day
  4. Vegan- of course!

Some people may not be aware that animal by-products can be found in our supplements and vitamins as gelatin.  If the vitamin is in a capsule or chewable form, then it is likely made with gelatin.  Gelatin is a protein used to hold substances together and can act as a glue.  It can be found in a long list of items, from marshmallows to photo paper.  Where does gelatin come from?  Sadly, bones.  To avoid bones in your vitamins look for the  or “Vegan” declared on the bottle/package.  When in doubt scan the ingredients and don’t forget to read the inactive ingredients!

Click this affiliate link to purchase Rainbow Light – Prenatal One Multivitamin, 90 Count, Folic Acid, Probiotic, Iron

Side note regarding inactive ingredients, Brand name medications and generic medications do not have to have the same inactive ingredients.  And yes, inactive ingredients have the potential to cause unwanted side effects.  The active ingredients can also vary to some extent.  The FDA requires that blood concentrations of the brand and generic drug are within a 6% variance.  So, it is good to know what is in your medications and how well your body tolerates them.

Another buzz word to look for when shopping for supplements is carrageenan.  When shopping for my daughter’s pain relief OTC medication (teething time), I was horrified to find carrageenan as an inactive ingredient in various liquid acetaminophen formulas.  FYI, Infant Tylenol grape flavor is carrageenan-free (at least the last time I purchased it).  To learn more about this complicated substance, check out the dedicated post “Carrageenan”-coming soon!