This time of year there’s always a lot of talk about changing our diets for the better (healthier, cleaner, etc.) In particular, for both health and environmental reasons, more and more Americans are making the move toward a plant-based diet. There are some simple ways to make the change gradual: start by making one meal a day plant-based; try one new ingredient each week; or tweak one of your favorite meals to be vegan.
If you do end up eliminating animal products, remember: the more restrictive your diet is, the more challenging it can be to get all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Choose a nutrition-packed plant-based protein powder for your morning smoothie (one of our favorites is Sun Warrior), pad meals with lots of nuts, seeds and legumes, and consider these three supplements to ensure a smooth transition to plant-based living:
1. Algae plant-based Omega 3 by Iwi: Fish eat krill; krill eat algae. Vegans/vegetarians can skip the middleman(fish) and go straight to this source of vital omegas 3s (known to reduce risk of heart-related conditions and some cancers, to improve brain function and bone health, improve inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and much, much more). We like the Iwi product because it’s 100% vegan, non-GMO and grown sustainably on farms in the Southwestern U.S. using brackish water and solar power.
2. Iron and herb supplement Floradix: Iron is essential for hemoglobin formation and the effective circulation of oxygen throughout the body. Inadequate levels of iron in the blood can lead to exhaustion and irritability. Since your body absorbs heme iron (from meat, poultry, and fish) 2-3 three times more efficiently than non-heme iron from plants, vegetarian/vegans are at an increased risk of developing an iron deficiency. But don’t worry! Dark leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes are all rich in iron; pair them with vitamin-C-rich foods (bell peppers, berries, broccoli, etc.) to boost absorption. Or supplement with this iron and herbal supplement from Floravital. Vegetarian Floradix Herbal Iron Extracts have a rate of iron absorption at 25% (compared to the average absorption rate of iron tablets at 2-10%). It includes Vitamin C to help with absorption, and it’s not constipating, like most iron supplements.
3. Methyl B12 by Jarrow Formulas: Vitamin B12 is necessary to help red blood cells function effectively. The food sources with the highest B12 content are from animals: eggs, cheese, beef, lamb, and shellfish, to name a few. Youcanget B12 from sea vegetables like arame, kombu, nori and wakame, but these foods are not a regular part of most Western diets. Instead, vegetarians and vegans can augment their diets with a high-quality B12 supplement. Methylcobalamin (methyl b12) from Jarrow Formulas is more bioavailable than other forms of B12. One chewable lozenge a day can help maintain brain health, vitality, restful sleep, and a better mood. Available in tropical and cherry flavors.