Veganuary: Why supplementation shouldn’t be an afterthought | The Vegan Society

Veganuary: Why supplementation shouldn’t be an afterthought

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Veganuary is growing year after year.

In January 2021, more than 582,000 people from 209 countries pledged to go vegan for the month of January. Of this number, 40% planned to stay vegan at the end of their pledge.[1] This broke all previous records, and we expect Veganuary 2022 to break them again. With so many people trying and staying vegan this month, it’s important to get clued up about vegan nutrition and not let supplementation be an afterthought. 

About Veganuary 

If you don’t know, Veganuary is a non-profit organization that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond. Many companies launch new vegan products throughout the month, with January 2021 seeing more than 825 new vegan products and menu options hitting the market. Of these 825, we estimate that at least 644 were registered with the trusted Vegan Trademark. However, the number is likely a lot higher. For the Vegan Trademark, clients start working with us prior to January to have their products verified vegan when they launch in the new year, shown by the high increase in product registrations between October and December 2020 – a whopping 7288! With exciting new products launching, reliable nutritional resources and supportive Veganuary coaching emails to keep you on track, there is no better time to try vegan. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to sign up

If you are pledging to try vegan for the month, naturally, you will have many questions. Most of us are raised eating a diet that includes animal products, and so cutting these out can be as daunting as it is exciting. It’s important to get answers to any nutritional concerns and be aware of current recommendations around supplementation. You can find our guidance below.

Do I need to supplement?

The simple answer is yes – it is something that needs to be considered. Nutritional planning and supplementation are key components of a healthy vegan lifestyle, with a few nutrients deserving special attention. Supplementation often raises conflicting opinions, and unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there – but reliable supplementation is an important part of a healthy vegan transition, and we shouldn’t shy away from it! 

In 2005, we introduced our own affordable multivitamin VEG 1, which has been explicitly formulated for vegans, by vegans. VEG 1 is a once-daily chewable tablet, available in orange or blackcurrant flavours and provides a reliable source of vitamins B12, D3, iodine and selenium.

Six pots of VEG 1 stacked up with The Vegan Society and Veganuary logos

Why are these nutrients important? 

Vitamin B12 – While researching veganism, this is probably the nutrient that you have seen mentioned the most, and for a good reason. Vegans need to consider B12 because it is not produced by plants; it is manufactured by microorganisms. People who do not consume animal products need to obtain B12 from fortified foods or supplementation. B12 helps develop red blood cells and maintain a healthy nervous system. Check out our helpful nutrition resources to find out more.

Vitamin D – This sunshine vitamin is essential for everyone, regardless of dietary or lifestyle choices and is important for bone and muscle health. During the spring and summer, many people in the UK can get this ‘sunshine vitamin’ through skin exposure to sunlight for a short period in the middle of the day. However, vitamin D supplementation is recommended from October to March as a minimum and year-round for certain groups, including those who do not often expose their skin to sunlight and people with dark skin. For example, someone who has an African, African-Caribbean or South Asian background may not make enough vitamin D from sunlight and should consider taking a daily supplement containing at least 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.

Iodine – Most plants do not require this mineral for growth, so their contents vary and tend to be low. Iodine fortification of milk and yoghurt alternatives is becoming more common, but this is not standard practice. If you consume around 500ml of iodine-fortified plant milk daily, this can provide a good amount of iodine. Alternatively, a supplement containing potassium iodate or potassium iodide is a convenient and reliable option.

Selenium – Similar to iodine, most plants do not require selenium for their growth. They contain lower amounts when grown in soil with a lower selenium content, a common issue in some areas, including Europe. Supplementation is a reliable way of guaranteeing an adequate intake of this mineral.

When should I begin supplementing?

Nutritional planning including appropriate supplementation is key in supporting healthy vegan living. We recommend beginning supplementation right away, as it is the best way to get yourself into a routine and create healthy habits early on in your journey. As outlined above, supplementation can be a crucial source of multiple nutrients.

Remember that discussing the use of supplements with a member of your local healthcare team will help to ensure that they are suitable for you. 

Enjoy Veganuary and don’t neglect your nutrition by letting supplementation become an afterthought. 

Top Tips for creating habits 

For even the most experienced vegan, it can be challenging remembering to take your vitamins each day, and sometimes it will slip the mind. There are a few tips that we recommend for creating the habit as soon as possible.

  1. Keep your VEG 1 on show, for example, on your work desk, kitchen countertop or next to your toothbrush. 
  2. Take them with you on the go. That way, if you forget to take them at your usual time, they are to hand in your bag for when you remember. 
  3. Take VEG 1 with the same meal each day. Adding the task of supplementation onto something that is already an established part of your daily routine can help create the habit sooner.
  4. Set an electronic reminder such as an alarm or push notification on your smartphone, tablet or other digital devices. 

For more top tips, check out our 7 top tips for remembering to take your vitamins.

VEG 1 Veganuary Offer 

For those participating in Veganuary and wanting to invest in VEG 1, we are running a special offer that gives you a chance to win the ultimate vegan bundle worth over £50. The bundle includes our top picks for vegan chocolate, crisps, beauty products, and more. Everything included is registered with our award-winning Vegan Trademark, so you can trust that the products are certified against our high standards.

VEG 1 and Veganuary ultimate vegan bundle giveaway

To enter, all you must do is use code ‘VEGANUARY22’ at checkout on any purchase of VEG 1, and that’s all! You’ll be entered automatically. VEG 1 is plastic-free and affordably priced. You can pick up a 3-month supply for just £6.60 or a 6-month supply for £12.70 from our webshop, working out at roughly £2.20 per month! We like to keep our prices as low as possible so that you have more left over to spend on the stuff that matters – tasty vegan snacks. 

We will contact our winner by email after January 31st, so make sure you use an up-to-date email address to place your order and keep an eye on your inbox. Good luck! 

For more information about VEG 1, check out our FAQs.

Our resources

We congratulate anybody participating in Veganuary 2022 and hope you never look back. To support you along the way, we have tons of resources on our website, including nutrition information, recipes and our definition of veganism. Please have a browse whilst you’re with us to find out about our campaigns and broader work, and be sure to follow us on socials to keep up to date on all things vegan! 

Instagram – @theoriginalvegansociety and @vegantrademark
Facebook – The Vegan Society
Twitter – The Vegan Society and Vegan Trademark 
LinkedIn – The Vegan Society and Vegan Trademark

Sources

[1] Veganuary 2021: The Official Survey Results, https://veganuary.com/veganuary-2021-survey-results/
 

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