Vitamins is such a hot topic and debate amongst the vegan and non-vegan community alike. Mostly the perceived lack of them in a vegan diet. I completely disagree with this as long as you eat well but I also think it’s important to supplement, whatever you eat. It is completely possible to be unhealthy and lacking in essential vitamins and nutrients on both a non-vegan and vegan diet. The age-old phrase, ‘you are what you eat’ still applies.
Due to modern farming methods (whether plant or animal-based) a lot of the nutritional benefits are stripped away from food. Especially in intensive farming, and let’s face it, most products now, unless you can afford totally local and totally organic (a massive luxury if you can), have been ‘intensively’ produced.
Therefore it makes sense to have your back covered.
I have spent a long time searching for a vitamin tablet that ticks a few requirement areas shown below:
1. Were at minimum vegetarian
You may or may not be surprised to see how many vitamin products, especially those marketed at children, have gelatine or other animal products in them. Let’s be clear, gelatine is the crushed up and boiled down bones and connective tissues of animals. Ordinarily cows or pigs. But how is that ordinary? I find it increasingly unnerving to see that substance formed into the shape of human babies (Jelly babies), or sweet little Percy the pig, or even, or more specifically on the vitamin front, marketed using the Nation’s favourite Mr Men and Little Miss.
But that’s an aside. The main point being- most children’s gummy vitamins have gelatine or some sort of animal derivative in them.
Here’s an example list of children’s vitamins that contain these products (not exhaustive):
– HalibOrange – Mr Men & Little Miss (as pictured above) – Bovine Gelatine (aka cows)
– HalibOrange – Omega 3 & Multi- vitamins – gelatine, fish oil and carmine (crushed up beetles)
– HalibOrange – Calcium & Vitamin D – gelatine & Carmine
– Bassetts Vitamins – multi vitamin pastilles (the full age range) – Bovine Gelatine
– Alive! Children’s soft jell multi-vitamin – beeswax
– Holland & Barrett ‘Healthy Kids’ Multi-vitamins – Bovine Gelatine
– Bioglan ‘Smart Kids’ Vita Gummies Healthy Tummies – Bovine Gelatine
– Bioglan ‘Smart Kids’ Vita Gummies Healthy Eyes – Bovine Gelatine
This was what I found when going to Holland & Barrett or other health food stores. Most of the standard and cheaper products contained these items and only very few were vegetarian, let alone vegan.
2. Had everything we would need to supplement our diet (a plant-based diet)
Of course you can buy individual packets of vitamins to cover everything, but that is just not feasible in terms of cost and admin for a family. Imagine having to replace the different packets as they run out (not all of them have the same number of vitamins in each), it’s just a faff and one I am not willing to contend with.
To supplement a vegan diet, I ideally wanted:
To be clear, you could get all of these in abundance if you ate certain plant-based foods (I will do a separate post about this). But making sure you have got it all covered all the time is tough. The reason for these specific vitamins rather than a catch-all multi-vitamin is that we get many of the other ‘standard’ vitamins already in the foods and snacks we eat. I am just looking for those that are more difficult to get enough of every day.
3. Was suitable for children
You always want to just make sure that what ever vitamins you buy are actually suitable for your child and their age group.
I didn’t want to have to mess around with one set of vitamins for our daughter who is 9, and then another set of vitamins for us. That could mean buying 2-3 different boxes of vitamins (to cover everything) per person! I wanted one that we could all take. Simplicity really is the key for me. Organisation is one of my strong points, but I have enough to think about with different clubs, dances classes, work functions, bills, school etc, without having to coordinate this in addition.
4. That came in packaging that was at minimum recyclable if not biodegradable or compostable.
So this is where things really get tough. Even if you manage to find a multi-vitamin that covers most of the requirements and is vegan (and there are a few that I discovered), the packaging is a massive issue for me. If I’m going to buy multiple packs of these vitamins per month per person, I am not comfortable with them being packaged in heavy plastic. Plastic that is ‘not collected by all local authorities’ or not recyclable at all. That is such a huge waste and not one I want to contribute to if there is an easier choice.
So as it turns out, all of my requirements make quite a TALL order. What? I think my demands are reasonable. Why shouldn’t I have all that?!
After months of research, the closest to meeting all my criteria were ‘Vegums’. Which came up after quite a bit of trawling on the web.
It’s a tiny teddy bear gummy, strawberry flavour which is ideal for me and the kid. The recommended dosage is one for kids (over 3 years old) per day and two for adults. They contain everything a vegan needs to boost their existing diet (caveat – they have a new version coming out with plant-based omega 3 so this is the only thing we supplement separately).
Vegums also have a handy subscription option which gives you a 15% discount if you order monthly, meaning you never run out – they just keep showing up when you need them. Simply enter the amount of people taking them. For us it’s 2 adults and 1 child and then they calculate how many you need and the cost. When you subscribe you can also opt to not have the cardboard pot and just receive your deliveries in the cornstarch bags which is ideal.
I wouldn’t say they are cheap but as I see supplements as a necessity, I chose what I think is the best value for money. As outlined above, if I bought everything in separate vitamin tablets, not including the pain of trying to get a child to swallow 5 or 6 separate tablets, the cost would work out much higher per month. Plus the cost to the planet in terms of packaging would be quite large over our lifetimes.
I have definitely posted about Vegums before but I am such a big fan. It makes life so much easier and takes the pressure off in terms of making sure we all get what we need. Also, they are totally delicious so our daughter never wants to miss her daily allowance. It has become part of her routine and ours. Always reminding each other – ‘have you had your vegum today?’.
Disclaimer: this is not an ad. I am a regular customer of Vegums and buy them to ensure the health of my family.