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If following a Vegetarian / Vegan diet, are supplements a MUST?!

July 17, 2013 3 min read

When it comes to taking / not taking supplements, people seem to possess an underlying fear of "lack." They feel they are missing something, they suspect "gaps" in their nutritional intake, and that therefore their best bet in preventing deficiency, is to ensure they "cover all their bases" … by taking supplements. But, how does this fear become so prevalent in the first place? My observation is that it arises NOT from feeling poorly, but because of what other people are telling them is "wrong," about their diet choice. For today's HDHT however, I want to present a slightly different way of looking at our diets, as well as the decision, regarding whether to take supplements, or not. The Vegetarian / Vegan diet is often regarded as being incomplete. People will say for example, that you simply can't meet all your nutritional needs by eating solely, "plant based foods" / eliminating animal products / proteins. On the other hand, those eating the Standard American diet and for example, consuming meat, processed foods, large amounts of caffeine / alcohol, etc, are rarely confronted for following a diet that is (not only potentially lacking essential nutrients), but which is absolutely, causing mineral / nutrient loss. Processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc, these all cause mineral loss / depletion. Not to mention that their innate acidity causes the body to pull / leech alkaline reserves from other places, like our bones, to neutralize the acid. Do you see the great irony here? Furthermore, many SAD diets don't include near as many fruits, vegetables, super-foods, etc, as a healthy, balanced Vegan approach generally does (if of course, this approach is done properly!). And, these foods, are surely the most vitamin and mineral rich foods on the planet! Instead of focusing on what MIGHT be missing in our diets, I think we need to shift our focus in an energetically-positive direction, and instead, focus on what we are adding into our meals that is of GREAT value / what we are eliminating that is of the most HARM. I grew up eating Lucky Charms in the am, and eating pizza pops at night. Both of these foods contained wheat / dairy, both of which, I am allergic to. I also often drank a Tim Horton's Ice Cappuccino's with a chocolate chip muffin on my school lunch breaks, and had Chinese take-out for dinner. Not joking! That said, I did eat meat. So, I guess I was eating a more balanced diet than my current Raw Vegan diet, right? HA! Impossible! We can often become paranoid when it comes to supplements, and what we COULD be missing. I get it, I've been there. Try though, to relax, take a deep breath, and instead of over-thinking, check in with how do you feel? Let this guide you in terms of what you might be missing / needing… If you don't feel VIBRANT, if you experience a constant state of fatigue, if you are having trouble concentrating, or if you're bonking during your workouts, well, perhaps you do NEED something. In this case, work with a nutritionist you trust (maybe that's ME, hehe), and figure out what could be added to your current regimen, to genuinely help you feel better / find balance (as opposed to guessing)! This might also help you ensure you are taking the best quality supplements / non-synthetic supplements (which are truly, a waste of money). NOTE: If you are VEGAN, the one "must" is generally a B12 supplement (however, did you know that many meat eaters are deficient in this vitamin too! Due to absorption issues / poor colon health!). Note also, that it is possible to get enough B12 through specific vegan foods (like Algaes for example). But just do your homework, that's all;) Last words…. Focus on adding as much AMAZING food as possible, into your diet! And, on eliminating the CRAP! By doing so, I promise you, you will automatically be miles and miles ahead, of where you were. You don't have to master it all right now. Just keep taking little steps:) With love, and gratitude for your listening … Teshia

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