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Supplements for Vegans

Introduction

Supplementing is essential to living a healthy and content life. It’s imperative that as vegans, we have regular blood tests to check that our diet contains enough nutrients.

 

Recently I had a rude awakening when I noticed that I was becoming very dizzy. After a trip to the A&E and a blood test, I became aware that I was very deficient in Vitamin B12. The whole experience inspired me to research the nutrients that vegans are likely to be deficient in. 

 

In this post we will go over of the top 7 recommended supplements for vegans, that we have discovered throughout our research.

 

We are not claiming to be medical professionals or dietitians but we intend for this post to be a starting point to help you understand the nutrients that are vital for your well being. This post will highlight the different supplements for vegans being recommended online. If you are concerned about your diet, reach out to a medical professional to see if you are deficient in any vital nutrient and how you can resolve the situation.

Vitamin b12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most commonly recommended supplements for vegans. Vitamin B12 is vital as it impacts bodily processes, protein metabolism, the formation of oxygen-transporting red blood cells and promotes a healthy nervous system. A lack of B12 can be detrimental to the nervous system and can affect fertility. It can also cause anaemia, bone and heart disease. You can obtain vitamin B12 by consuming more fortified foods like:

  • plant milks;
  • soy products;
  • breakfast cereals; and 
  • nutritional yeast.

[Healthline

If you are concerned with how much you are consuming as vegans are more at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, get advise from a healthcare professional on whether you are actually deficient and how you can improve your consumption [Mic the Vegan]. Some websites claim that B12 is a vital supplement for vegans, however, we recommend trying to fulfill the deficiency through diet. The body absorbs Vitamin B12 more efficiently in smaller amounts so it’s good to keep that in mind when supplementing [NoMeatAthlete].

Vitamin D

Vitamin D promotes immune functions, memory and muscle recovery. It also enhances the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate [Myvegan]. You can naturally intake vitamin D from direct sunlight in between 11 am to 3 pm in the afternoon [NoMeatAthlete].  Exposing yourself to direct sunlight for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your skin health and can cause skin cancers [Healthline]. Make sure to wear a good SPF. Even if you get great exposure to sun, you might not be absorbing sufficient amount of vitamin D. Due to the inconsistency of sun exposure and factors such as location, vitamin D might be crucial supplements for vegans. Alternatively you can try consuming:

  • foods fortified with Vitamin D; and 
  • Mushrooms 

 [Healthline]

Long chain Omega-3s

Omega-3s are essential for the functioning of your brain and your eyes. It’s essential for brain development  [Healthline]. It aids in neurodevelopment in infants and children and prevents Alzhiemer’s disease, cystic fibrosis and dementia [MedicalNewsToday]. Doctors often recommend Omega-3s is an important supplement for vegans who are pregnant as it plays a part in the development of the fetus. A lack of Omega-3s can increase the risk of inflammation, depression, breast-cancer, and attention deficit hyperactivity. You can increase your intake of Omega-3 by consuming more 

  • flax seeds;
  • rapeseed oil; 
  • chia seeds;
  • walnuts;
  • hemp seed; and 
  • soy beans.
Omega-3 alternative supplements for vegans include
  • flaxseed oil; and
  • algae oil. 

Another concern is the ‘long chain omega 3 fatty acids’ called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your body is able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA however the level of conversion is very low  [Healthline]. A deficiency in EPA and DHA can affect the function of the heart and blood pressure and can increase triglyceride levels [Whitney E. RD] [Myvegan]. Increased triglyceride levels can increase the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke [MedicalNewsToday]. By increasing your intake of ALA rich foods and decreasing your intake of corn oil, safflower, sunflower and sesame oils can maximise your EPA and DHA levels. 

 

Alternatively you can also take an algae oil or seaweed supplement [Healthline]. You may need to consume more than the recommended daily amount to ensure you are getting enough [NoMeatAthlete]. If you have a high risk of getting heart disease, cognitive impairment or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will probably be asked by your medical professional to supplement Omega-3  [Whitney E. RD].

Iodine

Iodine promotes the healthy function of your metabolism. Iodine will be a important supplement for vegans for who are pregnant and children as a lack of iodine can cause intellectual disabilities. Lack of iodine can also cause hypothyroidism which can cause low energy, dry skin, tingling in hands and feet, forgetfulness, depression and weight gain. You can increase your intake by consuming more: 

  • seaweed;
  • iodized salt; and 
  • foods fortified with iodine. 

You can also take an iodine supplement to reach your intake [Healthline].

Iron

Iron supplements for vegans may not be as important as lots of whole foods contain sufficient amounts of iron. Iron is important for making new DNA and red blood cells that carry oxygen through your bloodstream and for metabolism. A lack of iron can cause anemia, fatigue and decreased immune functions. You can increase your iron by eating more 

  • watercress;
  • broccoli; 
  • spring greens;
  • whole grains;
  • beans;
  • peas; 
  • dried fruits; 
  • nuts;
  • seeds; and
  • fortified foods . 

Combining iron-rich foods with foods that are high in vitamin C will help boost your iron absorption. It is only necessary to supplement if it is absolutely necessary because elevated iron levels can also be detrimental and can cause organ failure and convulsions [Healthline].

Calcium

Calcium promotes bone and teeth health, muscle functioning, nerve signalling and heart health. Lack of calcium increases the risk of bone fractures. You can increase your calcium levels by consuming more 

  • bok choy;
  • kale; 
  • mustard greens;
  • turnip greens;
  • watercress;
  • broccoli; 
  • chickpeas; 
  • calcium-set tofu; 
  • almonds; 
  • sesame seeds (or tahini); 
  • dried fruit; 
  • pulses; 
  • brown wholemeal bread; 
  • kidney beans; and
  • fortified milk and juice. 

increase your iron by eating more 

  • watercress;
  • broccoli; 
  • spring greens;
  • whole grains;
  • beans;
  • peas; 
  • dried fruits; 
  • nuts;
  • seeds; and
  • fortified foods . 

Combining iron-rich foods with foods that are high in vitamin C will help boost your iron absorption. It is only necessary to supplement if it is absolutely necessary because elevated iron levels can also be detrimental and can cause organ failure and convulsions [Healthline].

Zinc

Zinc helps with your metabolism, immune function and repairing of body cells [Healthline]. It also contributes towards normal carbohydrates metabolism and the maintenance of vision [Holland and Barrett]. A lack of zinc causes developmental problems, hair loss, diarrhea and delay wound healing. To increase your zinc levels, you can increase your intake of:

  • whole grains;
  • wheat germ; 
  • soya; 
  • tofu;
  • sprouted bread;
  • legumes; 
  • nuts; and 
  • seed. 

Fermented foods like tempeh and miso can increase your absorption of zinc. Alternatively you can take a supplement to make sure that you are meeting your recommended daily amount [Healthline]. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s vital that you take care of your health and assess any changes. Being deficient can have lasting and detrimental effects on your body in the long run. Work with a medical professional to understand how you can rectify any deficiencies and whether you will be requiring supplements. Every individual is different with different needs so it is important not to simply blanket supplements for yourself without a health professional assessing you.  

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A Quick Guide to Vegan Clothing

What do you mean Vegan Clothing?

Food is one of the biggest focuses in the vegan community but there is another aspect to this lifestyle that can be easily overlooked. Clothing and materials used for accessories can also be non-vegan. Trying to implement veganism within your clothing can be a confusing experience because unlike food items, clothing usually doesn’t have an accurate ingredient list for you to refer to. Vegan clothing is widely available and not uncommon, however, you do have to be mindful of specific materials. This post will go over the common non-vegan materials you are likely to find within your clothing and how you can avoid buying them.

Vegan Clothing: Leather

The very obvious animal material that is commonly known is leather. Leather can appear on belts, coats, shoes and even leather patches on jeans. Leather garments can be made from cows, alligators, pigs, sheep or deer. Leather is a symbol of quality; therefore, it will be reflected on the price and the labelling. It will explicitly have stickers stating its leather or it will have a stamp stating that the garment is leather upper which means its authentic leather. Cheap leather is made of synthetic leather and this will be reflected on labelling stating that the material is manmade. The labelling will help you easily differentiate between the two.

vegan clothing
vegan clothing

Vegan Clothing: Fur

Fur can be found on winter garments like jackets, coats and hats. It can appear as a large fabric or smaller trimmings and attachments. Fur is harder to differentiate as there are no legal regulations that require retail stores to explicitly label fur correctly. The UK has banned fur farms but retailers are allowed to import and sell fur. (HSI)

 

An investigation by the Humane Society International in 2018 revealed that retailers and independent stores had garments labelled as faux fur which contained real fur. Despite the EU regulation requiring clear labelling of products, retailers do not comply with this rule. This makes it impossible to figure out if a garment contains real fur. This is made harder by the prevalence of online retailers. 

 

Unlike leather, real fur can often be cheaper than synthetic making it more profitable for retailers to use real fur instead to gain a higher profit. Since it is cheaper, it will not be labelled clearly and will only contain information on what the fabrics are made of. This makes it harder to detect real fur.

 

A method to figure out if something is real fur is by looking at the base of the fur material. If it is real fur, the base will be leathery like skin. If it is faux, it will be attached to a woven fabric base. Another way is by looking at the tips of the ‘hairs’. If it is real, it will taper and if it is faux, it will be cut bluntly. You can, also, do a quick search on Google to see if the particular retailer has a history of mislabelling fur. This will be an effective way to distinguish online retailers too. 

 

It would be advisable not to trust online retailers like Amazon and eBay because a lot of their garments are imported from countries that have loose regulations on animal welfare and labelling on garments. Be vigilant and aware. (HSI), (BBC).

Vegan Clothing: Wool

When considering vegan clothing wool may be one material overlooked to most consumers. A common misconception with wool is that it’s simply a haircut for sheep but that’s far from the truth. Sheep are genetically modified to produce more wool. This greatly inhibits the quality of life for the sheep. This also means excessive shearing which can cause cuts on the sheepskin which can become infected and infested with fleas and flies. To prevent parasitic infections, mulesing is done on the sheep. (FashionUnited). Mulesing is “stripping off the skin around the breach and tail stumps” without anaesthesia. This places the sheep in immense pain and stress. (AnimalsAustralia).

 

It’s hard to tell what industrial practices retailers are using to manufacture their products so it is better to avoid wool. You can check the labels to find out if something is made of wool. Unlike fur, wool makes up the majority of most winter garments which means companies have to label this accordingly. Check the label and see if an alternative is used instead. For vegan clothing alternatives, materials like cotton, hemp, Tencel, acrylic are great replacements for wool. (PlantBasedNews). Check the labels before you place them in your basket.

vegan clothing
vegan clothing

Vegan Clothing:
Feather and Down

Feathers can be found in trimmings for garments, insulation or fill for jackets and winter coats. Feather, like wool, is plucked from animals like geese and ducks which cause pain and distress to the animal. (FashinIsta). 

 

Unlike fur and leather, birds shed their feathers naturally on a cyclical basis. For an industry that’s more concerned with profitability, waiting for birds to naturally shed is not the most efficient method of production. However, small companies are selling and using naturally moulted feathers to be used within their garments but they are hard to come by. Besides, it is unclear whether such companies actually use humane farming practices. 

 

Another consideration is the type of feathers being used. Ostrich feathers, for example, are widely used in fashion but ostriches don’t go through the natural moulting cycle so the feathers are obtained by plucking while they are alive or they are killed and plucked. 

 

So how can you avoid garments using feathers? Seek out alternatives that are used instead of feather. Alternatives such as cotton, polyester, Primaloft and Thinsulate are used more widely instead of feather for insulation in puffer jackets. Check the fill type or the insulation type to find out if the puffer jacket is filled with feathers or one of the man-made alternatives. Feather is also commonly present in duvets and pillows so check the labels to make sure that the fill type is not bird feathers.

Vegan Clothing: sILK

Silk can be found in clothing like dresses, pillowcases, hair scrunchies and underwear. (Britannica). The method of making silk is inherently not vegan as the production of silk requires the silk-producing larvae to be killed before it grows into a moth and escapes out of the cocoon it builds around itself. They are killed by boiling or being gassed by hot air. (Quartz). The industrial practices to produce silk is also cruel as they store female egg-producing moths and keep the male moths in a semi-frozen state till they are ready to mate.  (EcoWarriorPrincess). 


While there are questions of whether the animals can feel the pain, the act of requiring an animal to be killed for a material to be produced is in itself exploitative. The cocoon is what is used to produce the silk so letting the larvae growing into a moth and break out of the cocoon will mean that the cocoon will be destroyed in the process. 


Another argument is that if the silk is not mass produced as is instead ‘wild silk where the cocoons are obtained after the moth has left the cocoon, then this would be more ethical. While there is merit to this argument, it would be hard to trace whether the silk was actually wild-silk or if it was actually industrially produced. There are no legislations that require companies to state this explicitly and by no means is it investigated so it is better to avoid non-vegan silk altogether and opt for alternatives. (VeganFriendly).


Check your labels to make sure that the fabrics used within your garments are not silk. Usually, silk is more expensive, therefore, it will be mentioned within the label but be vigilant regardless. Seek out alternatives like lotus silk, cactus silk (BagOfEthics), peace silk or Ahimsa silk, man-made spider silk (Eluxemagazine), orange silk, Tencel, cupro, micro silk,(EcoWarriorPrincess), polyester, and soy silk (VeganFriendly).

vegan clothing

Welcome to Vegan and Broke

We are Vegan and Broke. It’s fantastic that you’ve landed on our website. We hope to bring you lots of great information for adapting into a vegan lifestyle. Veganism is challenging but with our website, we will help you find solutions for this journey to be easier and less confusing. 

 

We will be sharing our favourite vegan recipes that are simple to follow and will not require 100s of ingredients to make every single week. Our recipes will feature a whole array of global dishes. Our recipes will clearly state how much a particular dish will cost you and how much time it will take so you can decide accordingly. If you are learning how to cook, we will be posting plenty of beginners’ level recipes that will help you build your confidence.


Check out our reviews and blog section to find reviews and up-to-date information on veganism. We will be reviewing different locations within London so that you are never confused about where you can eat out next. Our alternatives will, also, assess different vegan products that are available and suggest our favourite ones.


We are so excited to have you on our website! We hope you enjoy your time here and if you have any suggestions for improvements, please let us know in the comments or email us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and join our group on Facebook!