Hello, I've just began a new Vegan diet (about 3 months now), but I am perfectly aware of the fact that I may not be getting enough nutrients especially since I'm a college student and we don't have a vegetarian station, so I literally end up eating a salad, potatoes, brown rice and tofu everyday. Can you recommend a good multivitamin (I'm a girl so I know I need extra iron), it's just hard to choose a good one.@beholdthereal-deactivated201208
Hi there :) I’m not sure where you’re from but I’m situated in Australia so my recommendations might not be of any use. I also don’t personally take a multivitamin at the moment.
So if anyone who reads this has some suggestions for a multivitamin (and if you can let me know where you’re located so I can update this post), then please respond!
First and foremost, I’m not a health professional and can only relay what I’ve learnt via my own journey - so please double check anything you’re not certain of!
Your most important one (well they’re all important but it’s the one I’ve had most issues with) and the one you’re most likely to become deficient in, as you know, will be iron (and B12). You can always keep an eye on your levels with blood tests and there are good vegan iron supplements out there - Deva does one that has both iron and B12 in it. Just make sure you don’t supplement with iron without your doctor’s support, you can make yourself sick/ get iron toxicity.
One of the key things to remember with multivitamins is to not get ones with gelatin capsules (as gelatin isn’t vegan) and to avoid D3 as most D3 sources is cholecalciferol which is sourced from sheep’s wool.
Vitamin D2, (ergocalciferol) is usually sourced from mushrooms & yeast. It’s not known whether D2 is as effective but for now it’s the best bet if you can’t get into the sun for 15 minutes or so a day. Black and asian people tend to need up to ten times longer to get the same amount of D3. Vitamin D levels can also get tested by blood too, if it’s something that might be an issue for you.
Supplementary Vitamin D, if ever required is probably best taken in a form something like this.
Finally, try and boost your diet with a bit of variety. I’m not a fan of multivitamins so I’m probably the worst person to ask about them! but I feel that if you can afford to get multivitamin tablets, then maybe you can afford to get a few extra veggies a week to help get those nutrients. I’m not familiar with your eating situation - whether you’re able to take snacks or prepared lunches to college but if that isn’t possible, then perhaps aim for a super nutritious breakfast and dinner instead.
I know your funds are limited but there’s probably some foods that will help you get what you need that are within budget. Things like spinach, or baby spinach leaves or kale in your salads. Add things like black, navy, lima, pinto or navy beans to your rice dishes. Lentils too! Quinoa is also a good source of iron, phosphorous and calcium and you can eat that instead of rice dishes for some extra nutrients. Buy beans and grains in bulk if you can spare the cash up front, you’ll save money in the long run.
Eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as you can - they retain the most nutrients (cooking destroys some and your body digests it differently to raw foods) but be aware you have to eat more of them to get the nutrients required. If you can get to farmer’s markets then you may be able to save some money there too. Eat fruit and veggies that are in season, it’s always cheaper. Maybe smoothies for breakfast too, if you can afford it. I’m not sure if bananas are cheap where you live but a banana based green smoothie would be a good start to your day and high in nutrients and calories for energy.
Also adding nutritional yeast to your food will boost your B12 intake. I’m not sure how much it costs where you live but you just need a tablespoon or two a day added to a meal so a bag lasts a little while.
Good sources of Omega 3’s are walnuts, linseed and soybeans. Fruits like apricots and figs are high in calcium (though can be pricey?) If you try and get a good variety in foods then every you should be getting a bit of every nutrient you need (like zinc is tofu, lentils, some beans etc).
Variety is key! Just swap that rice and those potatoes for other things occasionally and experiment. And please forgive me if I’ve suggested foods that aren’t affordable, as I said, I’m not sure where you live and how much things cost so I’m just throwing out some ideas.
If all else fails, I’m sure that someone will be able to recommend a great multivitamin and I’ll post their message! Sorry about the long response, I’ve got a terrible habit of not being able to keep things brief!
Best of luck and awesome work on making 3 months vegan! :)