Where do you get your protein from?? You’re not going to get enough iron? These are the questions that follow any vegan around. Whether you’re plant based, plant curious or just seeking out ways to optimize your health and wellness… there are lots of supplements to choose from. We see healthy eating and supplementing as the best preventive medicine out there. However, the supplement industry is massive and it can be confusing where to start and which brands to choose. Here is our guide to vegan supplements!
Why: Most people are B12 deficient. B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that has a major role in brain function and the health of your nervous system through the synthesis of myelin, and the formation of red blood cells. B12 traditionally came from the soil and we were able to get it through the dirt on vegetables… but we’re not often eating vegetables fresh from the soil and even if we are, the quality of soil is stripped down in many cases.
Top Pick: We love the Mega Food Vegan B12.
Why: Oh let the sun shine in! Back in the day… and by that I mean hundreds of years ago, we all spent a lot more time outdoors. Even if you live in sunny California, most people are still not getting the necessary amount of Vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium and promote healthy bone growth.
Top Pick: We are big fans of the Botanica Organic Vitamin D.
DHA and EPA
Why: There’s a lot of talk about fish oil for your omegas. Where do the fish get their omegas from? From algae! It’s always best to skip the middleman and go straight to the source. DHA and EPA, these essential fatty acids are omega-3 fats, which reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They also promote brain health and help counteract anxiety and depression. DHA and EPA are a top of our list of daily essentials.
Why: Zinc is a powerhouse. It is needed for proper function of the immune system. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. It’s also needed for the senses of smell and taste. Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are easy ways to get your zinc but if you need a little boost and most of us do, it’s not a bad idea to supplement.
Top Pick: There are a lot of options out there for good quality zinc but we like the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc.
Why: Iron is a mineral that's necessary for your health. All of your cells contain iron, but most of the iron in your body is found in your red blood cells. Your red blood cells transport oxygen from your lungs to the organs and tissues throughout your body. Iron helps with metabolizing proteins, producing hemoglobin and red blood cells. Legumes, grains, nuts and seeds and leafy greens are all good sources of iron.
Why: Find this overachiever in all those salty sea veggies like kelp, kombu and wakame. The body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate the body's metabolism. For those Mamas and Mama-to-be’s we need healthy thyroid hormones for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
Top Pick: Thyroid Strength by MegaFood is a great choice.
Why: We love us some bitters. Bitter foods are not a regular part of the western diet but they’re so necessary for so many reasons. Bitters help curb sugar cravings, soothe gas and bloating, stomach aches and nausea, relieve heartburn and aid in digestion. Leafy greens such as arugula and dandelion greens, cacao and bitter melon are a few bitter foods.
Top Pick: Urban Moonshine Original Digestive Bitters. This brand has some amazing products!
Why: You can get probiotics in fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha or kefir. Probiotics boost your digestions, heal inflammatory bowel issues, boosts your immune system… a healthy gut plays a major role in your mood, in your inflammation and recovery and what foods you crave. A strong probiotic game is the best place to start!
Top Pick: We like to regularly rotate our probiotics. Currently on our shelf; Ora Trust Your Gut and the Bio-K. We're hooked on the Bio-K Coconut which includes hemp and pea protein. Probiotics and protein in one…count the basket and one (if you’re not a basketball fan, that means it’s a winning combo).
Why: It’s all about the fibre. People like to focus on protein but really fibre is way more important. There are rarely (if ever) cases of protein deficiency but most people are deficient in fibre. Fibre helps the flow of things… but beyond that, fibre plays a huge role in muscle recovery and inflammation, managing a healthy body weight, controls blood sugar levels, while lowering cholesterol. We could all focus a little more on our fibre.
Why: Magnesium helps keep things a moving, helps you relax and sleep and helps with sore muscles. A trifecta of good things from one supplement. Magnesium also helps with anxiety and nerves and with regulating levels of Calcium, Potassium and Sodium. Magnesium is an every night ritual where we come from.
Why: This is what everyone loves to talk about. Protein is the super star of the supplement world. This is the best advice we’ve heard when choosing a protein supplement: Keep it simple! So many protein powders are so jam packed with everything it’s hard to keep straight… let alone pronounce half of the ingredients. Protein builds and repair tissues. You also use protein to produce enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is a powerhouse building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Lentils, tofu, black beans, hemp seeds, spirulina, quinoa, brown rice, oats and green peas are all great sources of plant based protein.
Our Top Picks: The simplest of cleanest of all options out there. We’re all about the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 and Hemp Pro Fibre. We also love the Body Energy Club Clean Vegan and the Botanica Health Perfect Protein.
All in One
Why: Life is busy… it’s hard to manage schedules, let alone multiple supplements. Sometimes the best bet is a one stop shop option. Give us all the goods in one go. It’s the easiest way to fill in the gaps.
Top Picks: If you want it in a shake or smoothie, we really like the Progressive VegEssentials All in One. Silky smoothe flavour with all the nutrients you need. For multivitamins MegaFood is our top choice. We love their options for their Multi for Men, Multi for Women, Baby and Me and One Daily. MegaFood hands down makes the best multi vitamins out there.
Why: Ideally we get all the nutrients we need from a plant based, whole grain diet. However with the day to day stresses both internally from stress, lack of sleep or whatever it might be and externally from exposure to pollution and chemicals of all sorts, we could all use a little extra support.
Top Picks: Chia Seeds… easy to add to everything and high in essential fatty acids and packed with magnesium, iron, calcium and magnesium. We like the Prana brand. Avocados, full with healthy monounsaturated fats, are another easy go to. Moringa… fun to say and even more fun in smoothies is one of the best bang for your buck superfoods out there. Moringa is know as the “miracle tree” and the “world’s most nutritious plant species ever studied,” Moringa is an amazing source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, boasting high amounts of vitamin A, C and E as well as calcium, potassium and a good dose of protein. It’s basically a one ingredient multivitamin. We sell a really high grade Moringa at the Juice Truck. If you want a really great and fully comprehensive guide to superfoods, we’ve got a whole section on superfoods in our new book.
Why: Mushrooms are a miracle food. Whatever your need, there is a mushroom thats got your back. Lion’s Mane for brain and nervous system, Cordyceps for energy and performance, Reishi for stress and sleep, Chaga to boost your immune system. For an amazing guide we love the book Healing Mushrooms.
Top Pick: Four Sigmatic for all the mushrooms. These guys have got it figured out. We also really like what’s offered from Host Defence Mushrooms and the Shroom Tech supplements from Onnit. For more variety, check out Harmonic Arts. They have an unmatched selection and you can buy in bulk!
Why: Not just because adaptogens are one of the buzziest words of 2017. Adaptogens are your life preserver. As the name suggests adaptogens are able to fill in the blanks wherever you need them most. Stress and adrenal fatigue are where adaptogens fight above their weight class but it’s a good idea to have some adaptogens on deck for almost every situation. We lean on them most when stress is high or our amount of sleep is low.
Top Picks: Ashwagandha… our second favourite supplement to say over and over again to Moringa and our top choice for adaptogens. We sell a high grade Ashwagandha at The Juice Truck. Another favourite is the Fermented Ashwagandha Adaptogenic Tonic by Botanica Health.
Why: Minimize the pain and maximize those gains. What you do after any exercise, any big trip, any cold will play a big role in you’re recovery. There are many supplements that can help, but these ones are tried, tested and true and won’t break the bank. A strong recovery regiment will get you back in the gym quicker, back on the court faster and stronger, back to work healthier or back in your time zone with less confusion.
Top Picks: Turmeric Lattes are definitely having a moment and they key part Turmeric… is one of the top performers for recovery. The Botanica Health Turmeric Golden Milk is tasty and boasts extra benefits with Ashwagandha added to the mix. The Blume Turmeric Latte mix is amazing and so is the Harmonic Arts Golden Mylk Blend. The Fermented Turmeric Ginger tonic also from Botanica Health is another one we regularly go to. For ginger we like the New Chapter Ginger Force supplement.
Focus / Energy
Why: Let’s be honest here… if it weren’t for that cup of coffee every morning, we’d all be yawning our way through till lunch. There’s more and more research coming out on brain health and the energy sector is massive… so there’s lots to choose from. The challenge is finding something that doesn’t give you the jitters or leave you crashing back down to sleepville. Having more focus and energy will help allow you to better achieve and better perform the tasks at hand.
Top Picks: Pine Pollen. Yes the yellow pollen from pine trees. It works wonders. Our Juice Truck Pine Pollen is our top selling supplement. Maca...lots of options here but we like the Ecoideas brand. Shilajit is fun and effective. Give Purblack a try. Panax Ginseng is also amazing. Try the Prince of Peace brand. For focus, play around with some nootropics. They have some interesting offerings at Bulletproof. Bacopa and Rhodiola are other super foods that get the job done. There’s lots of tea options as well. We’re fans of Matcha...specifically from Matcha Ninja and from withinUs TruOrganic Matcha. The woke tea from Fleurs earns its name sake too!
Why: Everyone's favourite thing: sleep. We could all use more of it and many of us struggle with it. Falling asleep, staying asleep, working too much, binge watching netflix or scrolling instagram for way too long before bed...there’s a million ways to restlessly struggle with catching some zee’s. Shawn Stevenson and Ariana Huffington both have incredible books on sleep that are worth more than a nights sleep in insight. The benefits of sleep are endless: sleep benefits our heart, our weight, our mind, and much, much more. Sleep makes you feel better, but its value stretches far beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under dark circles under your eyes. Sleep is the single most important health habit.
Top Picks: The magnesium choices highlighted under digestion are an every night staple. Now Foods 5-HTP works magic. The Saje Sleep Well roller also works wonders. Chamomile tea does actually help with sleep as well. We like the Traditional Medicinals brand. We’ve recently tried CBD products with amazing results. The Fleurs Tea Doze offering is a great product. Great taste and sets you off for a nice relaxing night.
Best places to buy supplements: