12 percent of the Millennial generation is vegan, with a whopping 70% of people across the globe reducing their intake of animal-derived foods or eliminating it entirely. Animal rights are a big factor in this change, though many people also see a meat-and-dairy-free diet as an opportunity for better health. Many agree that the raw version of the vegan diet is the most natural and healthy option, abundant in nutrition. This is certainly true when the diet is followed correctly. But it’s easy to accidentally overlook an important component, whether you’re new to the raw diet, or a seasoned pro. To ensure vitality, it helps to round things out with special attention to certain vitamins.
One of the vitamins that can dip a little low with a raw vegan diet is the sunshine vitamin aka vitamin D. If you’re fair-skinned, it’s easy to spend a few extra minutes in the sun to get necessary levels of it, but individuals with darker complexions or those that simply need to avoid sun exposure are more likely to need an edible source. Mushrooms are a good source of D-vitamins, but if the idea of eating a fungus doesn’t settle well with you, you may need to look into a dietary supplement. Vitamin D supplements, when properly dosed with organic ingredients, are extremely efficient in boosting those levels, which are necessary for bone health, energy levels, and mental well-being. Seasonal depression and lethargy is caused by reduced sunlight during winter months that result in lower vitamin D, so this time frame may need some extra attention.
Another vitamin that is tasked with maintaining your energy and warding off listlessness is B12. People tend to think that an iron deficiency is common problem among raw vegans due to the lack of animal protein, and that’s what causes feelings of tiredness or lethargy, but this actually isn’t the case. There are plenty of plant based raw foods that offer iron as one of their many benefits. This isn’t the case with vitamin B12, however; this essential vitamin isn’t found in plants, so supplementing with a quality vitamin or B12 injection might be a good idea. B vitamin levels can be easily checked with a simple blood test; mention it to your doctor, so it can be monitored from time to time. Knowing your levels is important for the obvious reasons, but it also helps with knowing how efficient your supplement is. Sublingual options are great for easy use and absorption, plus they’re available in delicious varieties. Yep, that means kids will be more than happy to gobble one up! B vitamins have also been found to be important for bone health, so for growing bodies, getting enough of it is even more essential.
Speaking of bone health, vitamin K is a lesser-known nutrient responsible for a healthy skeletal system. Typically this vitamin is found in animal-based foods as well, but thankfully there are other options. Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, are a good way to get in vitamin K. A fermented food called natto, made of soybeans, has the highest amount of vitamin K available in plant-based foods. If you’re feeding a picky eater (or you are one yourself), getting plenty of dark, leafy-greens and cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis can also support your necessary intake of vitamin K on a plant-based diet. This vitamin is fat-soluble, so to absorb enough of it, be sure to couple it with something that contains a healthy fat, like avocado or cold-pressed coconut oil (which makes for an excellent salad dressing for those leafy greens by the way).
One of the many great things about living in this time period is how we have evolved to be able to supplement our nutrition. Eating animal products is no longer necessary for everyone when paired with the right diet and vitamin supplements when needed, making the raw vegan diet not only sustainable, but also perfect for the planet, our animal friends, and our health.