Friday, October 9, 2009

Vegetarian Vitamins: Truths and Myths

It's very common for vegetarian newbies to experience fatigue and loss of energy in the first few weeks. If that's your case, I have some words for you.

First of all, congrats on becoming a vegetarian! Now, if your fatigue just started, it could definitely be a lack of vegetarian vitamins. In theory, a well balanced diet will supply you with all the vitamins you need.

I myself am not a big vitamin taker. I try to eat a balanced diet, and unless tests shows deficiency I prefer not to take them. But it is a little difficult when you first become a vegetarian to figure out the right balance of foods to get all of your nutrients.

B vitamins give you energy. If you don't want to take a supplement, try to increase your intake of foods that contain B vitamins. Some people also have a problem with getting enough iron. You can take iron supplements, but if you don't want to do that, eat lots of things like spinach to increase your iron.

Here is a short list of vitamins you should try to incorporate in your diet and in which foods to find them:

Vitamin A
Yellow and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach,
carrots, watercress, peppers, apricots (dried) and lots of fruit!

Vitamin B
Green leafy vegetables,
yeast extract, currants, avocados, bananas, wheatgerm, wholegrains, mushrooms, peanuts,
brewers and breakfast cereals.

Vitamin C
Grapefruit, Broccoli, Blackcurrants, Cranberries, Peas (frozen or fresh-picked),
Parsley, Green Peppers, Green leafy vegetables,
Potatoes, Kiwi and Tomatoes.

Vitamin D
Plenty of safely absorbed sunshine!
Margarine, Fortified Cereal, Vegetable Oil, Rape Seed Oil,
Soy Milk
(Smaller amounts of vitamin D are found in green vegetables).

Vitamin E
Vegetable Oils, like Sunflower Oil and Olive Oil,
Nuts, Seeds (like Sunflower seeds),

Vitamin K
Olive Oil,
Seaweed, Kelp, Molasses, Green leafy vegetables

But if you're dead set on taking vegetarian vitamins, you should know that some are better than other. Some friends of mine can really tell a difference in their energy level if they skip their vitamin. I've asked around to get a list of their favorites supplements and here's what I got:
  • Rainbow Light
  • CoEnzyme CQ10
  • Emer-gen'c
  • New Chapter Organic Supplements
  • Vitamin B complex from GNC
  • Source of Life Multi

In my opinion it's always best to try and get all vitamins from your food. Have a look at this post about vegetarian fatigue. There are some foods that will help get a boost of energy naturally. Remember you should never auto-medicate! If you feel you may need vegetarian vitamins and supplements, make an appointment with your doctor and have him or her prescribe the appropriate vitamins for you.

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