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Raising Healthy Vegan Children (Part 2)

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Supplements
My children take most or all of the above supplements on a daily basis. They pretty much mirror what my mother fed my sisters and I growing up. This supplement thing is a good habit I maintained from my youth.

I give my children vitamins not because I feel that they will become ill without them, but because I think a daily supplement in addition to their healthy diet is a good idea.

B12 deficiency in vegans/vegetarians has been debated back and forth for years. My mother did nothing to shore up our B12 reserves when we were vegetarian children and as a vegan mother of four I am certainly not deficient nor have I ever been. The same goes for my children. The B12 myth/debate is explained in great detail on this website.

However, I will add that as children Nutritional Yeast (nooch) was used as a daily seasoning, so I guess my mother did something although not deliberately. Lol!

UPDATE: The B12 issue is still up for debate. However one of my wonderful readers gave me a link to a vegan nutritionist rethinking her stance on the issue. http://www.theveganrd.com/2010/07/vitamin-b12-supplements-how-much-is-enough.html

She recommends visiting this website veganhealth.org for vegan nutritional info and supplemental dosage information. Here is the link for B12 dosages for vegans. http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/rec

The best thing about being vegan is the wealth of information that is available to us all and there are so many of us willing to help each other on this journey!

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These Lovites are the same brand and taste from my childhood. My children love to take these every day. These vitamins taste like candy. Vitamin C, check.

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Animal Parade, a vegetarian multivitamin. The older children take two of these every day and the toddlers 1 each. The Lovites and the Animal Parade are made by Nature’s Plus.

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I put Brewer’s Yeast on top of our salads, sprinkled on the toddlers food (they don’t notice), in peanut butter banana smoothie’s (a favorite around these parts) and I also make a mean gravy with it.

Brewer’s yeast contains all of the essential amino acids, 14 minerals, and 17 vitamins

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/health/diet-nutrition/articles/28790.aspx#ixzz10Jkza2mg

Nutritional yeast aka “nooch” is another inactive yeast. This yeast is very popular with many vegans because of the cheesy flavor it adds to recipes. We use it in the production of our vegan cheese and in so many of the dishes we create on a daily basis.

Read more: http://www.suite101.com/content/benefits-and-uses-of-nutritional-yeast-a71903

Kelp is sprinkled on our salads as a topping as well. Kelp is high in iron, calcium and potassium.

Vanilla Spirutein is used in my daily milk production. I make sesame seed milk every day for my daughter and Vanilla Spirutein protein powder is an essential ingredient.

EmergenC is a treat for the kids. It’s a fizzy drink mix they mix with water. They consume EmergenC about once a day when I have it on hand. There is no threat of scurvy at my house, lol.

OK, so that was the essential list of supplements. Feel free to ask questions.

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15 comments to Raising Healthy Vegan Children (Part 2)

  • mollyjade

    Virginia Messina, the only nutritionist quoted on that page about b12, has revised her b12 recommendations for vegans. What she currently recommends is here: http://www.theveganrd.com/2010/07/vitamin-b12-supplements-how-much-is-enough.html

  • Cecilia

    At what age did you start supplements for your children? 1, 2? Right now my son is 11 months old and consumes mostly breast milk. He like nibbling on other foods such as bananas, avocados, etc. but he still prefers to have mostly just milk. I don’t plan on weaning him any time soon (I may let him do it naturally if I can). I’m just curious as to what I can be doing to help him stay healthy. I was actually told by my doctor that I am deficient in B12 but he never said it was due to being vegan, it just happened to pop up in some blood work. I haven’t had a chance to go back and figure out what he’d like me to do about it but I already get quite a bit in my diet so I’m at a loss there.

  • laviyah

    Thank you, thank you! This is why I love the internet and blogging. The feedback is awesome. So, maybe the B12 thing is not a myth. Nutritionists are still debating. However, I do suggest finding a way to work the Brewer’s yeast into your daily diet. It is a great source for B12.

  • laviyah

    Cecilia,

    I start supplements at six months. Certainly not all of what you see above. The Brewer’s Yeast has a mild slightly nutty flavor and can be mixed into cereals for baby. If your son likes smoothies, the Brewer’s Yeast can be added to his (yours too) smoothie also. Fenugreek is an excellent supplement you and baby can take. It’s on the list of things for me to blog about. Anyway, you can buy Fenugreek tea from the health food store and start taking it now, you can also add some of the tea to cereal for your son. Fenugreek helps with milk production.

  • It is consensus by dietitians that vegans need to supplement with B12. Jack Norris is a qualified professional who has written extensively on the topic here.
    http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/

    It is very important that vegans supplement this!

    You’re in good shape anyway because that nooch you’re using is fortified and contains 400% of your RDA of B12.

  • laviyah

    Thanks Dave. I updated the post with the B12 info. I think the reason why the B12 issue has never come up with my children or I is the fact that we OD on nooch and Brewer’s Yeast, every single day.

  • Sofia

    This is a great discussion!
    Laviyah, do you take the same supplements as your children? It would be great to learn what adults take also!

  • Yeah, you get enough! :)

  • Thanks so much for the link to my website! I want to clarify just a couple of things. First, there is no debate about B12 in vegan diets. ALL reputable vegan nutritionists recommend supplementing with B12 (or using fortified foods). The research definitely supports this recommendation.

    Also, unless the yeast is grown on a B12-rich medium, it is not a good source of this nutrient. Brewer’s yeast rarely provides vitamin B12 and many brands of nutritional yeast don’t contain it either. Red Star brand Vegetarian Support Formula is one brand that does have it. Since the yeast in the photo above is labeled “Vegetarian Support Formula,” I would imagine it contains B12, too. But it’s important to always check labels to be certain!

  • laviyah

    Ginny,
    Thank you for coming by and stating the facts (as it pertains to vegans) about B12 for all of us. I will certainly pass this information on to others who have asked and will ask in the future. Hopefully, everyone’s questions regarding B12 have been answered. I certainly learned a lot and I truly have enjoyed this discussion.

  • laviyah

    Sofia,
    I take everything they take except for the chewable multivitamin. If anybody knows of a grownup vegan chewable multivitamin, I would be all over it. When I am pregnant, I take a vegan multivitamin. However, I have issues with swallowing pills, so I am not as diligent with the multivitamin when I am not pregnant or breastfeeding. The brand I take is Rainbow Light® Prenatal One™ Vegan Guard® Multivitamin. The reason why I chose this brand is because there is only one pill to swallow per day. Although I use the Spirutein vanilla flavor for the children, I switch it up a little bit and buy the Spirutein Chai flavor for my own smoothies. I eat the Lovites vitamin C and I enjoy them just as much as the children. The Brewer’s Yeast and Nutritional Yeast are an integral part of our daily diet, so anybody who eats our food is getting some nooch. :-)

  • Sofia

    Thank you Laviyah! That was really helpful – I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life, and love incorporating vegan food into my diet. I am also a fan of Nutritional Yeast – it is great on popcorn! I am really enjoying the Raising healthy Vegan Children series – you clearly have a lot of knowledge to impart!

  • Violet

    Your “cheese” looks SOOO yummy! Im finding I need less and less supplements and get everything I need from food. I used to take supplements until I learned most of whats on the market is synthetic (man made in a lab somewhere). I started taking herbs and jus didnt feel right calling them supplements since it just a plant aka food! Ive seen such an improvement in my health since I cut out the fake stuff and jus used food!!

  • Amanda

    Hi! I’m new to supplements beyond multivitamins. I’m assuming your children eat fruits daily. So, in addition to the multivitamin, why do you use vitamin C tablets and EmergenC in your healthy arsenal? Thanks for your feedback.

  • laviyah

    Hi Amanda,

    They do eat fruits daily, but the fruits and veggies our grandparents ate and what we as Americans have access to in 2012 is vastly different. The mineral content in the soil where our fruits and vegetables are grown (even organic produce) has been vastly depleted. When I find the article that had the scientific research on this, I will certainly post it. Anyway, I found that increasing the dosage of Vitamin C with my school age children, helped minimize illness (common cold, sore throat) throughout the year. This is what works for my children ( I wouldn’t use this as a blanket solution for all children). I hope this answers your questions.

    Peace & Blessings,
    Laviyah

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