A vegan diet is getting more popular among millennials; between 2014 and 2017 the number of vegans have increased in the US and the UK by 600% and 350% respectively. 'The economist' has also named 2019 “the year of the vegan”.
Not only among the public, but major nutrition associations such as the 'The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' in the US and the 'The British Dietetic Association' confirm that a well-planned vegan diet is suitable and beneficial in all life stages including childhood, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
A vegan diet can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease, hypertension). However, if not well balanced it can lead to major nutritional deficiencies especially in Vitamins B12 and Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals mainly Calcium, Iron, and Zinc.
Nutritional deficiencies could lead to severe health consequences:
- Vitamin B12: a deficiency may be hidden at first and the person can feel healthy. Early symptoms usually appear as fatigue, tingling of toes, poor cognition and digestion and failure to thrive in children. A long-term Vitamin B12 deficiency can even lead to permanent health damage such as dementia, blindness, deafness, stroke and poor bone health.
- Vitamin D: insufficient Vitamin D would primarily affect bone health; low levels lead to bone and back pain and bone loss. Vitamin D is also associated with a strong immune system and psychological health, so people deficient in Vitamin D are more prone to get sick or infected, catch the flu, feel tired or become depressed.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: low levels cause dry skin, poor hair quality, and brittle nails. It can also lead to insomnia, fatigue, poor concentration and joint pain. Severe omega-3 deficiencies can negatively affect the mental state (mood swings, depression, irritability).
- Calcium: Deficiencies affect primarily bone health causing bone fractures, osteoporosis in women and rickets in children. Low blood Calcium levels (hypocalcemia) can also lead to numbness of fingers, muscle cramps, lethargy, poor appetite and poor health rhythms. If not treated, Hypocalcemia could be very serious and lead to death.
- Zinc: Common symptoms of Zinc deficiencies are appetite loss, slower than expected growth and poor appetite. Low Zinc blood levels can also cause low sexual maturity, weight loss and lethargy.
- Iron: Low intake can lead to iron deficiency anemia, a common health condition worldwide. It appears as unusual fatigue and weakness, headaches, pale skin, dizziness, strange food cravings, irregular heartbeat, tongue swelling, cold hands and feet.
These nutrients are more concentrated in animal food sources, therefore it’s almost impossible to meet their daily requirements from a normal vegan diet. Nutritionists and healthcare professionals recommend food supplements and fortified foods to compensate for this shortage.
Food supplements appear to be the ultimate solution, but there are some drawbacks:
- Swallowing a supplement daily is not a pleasant experience; it causes many people to gag, choke, and even vomit.
- Food supplements can make you feel sick; they might cause nausea, intervene with other medications, and mega doses can lead to health side effects.
- Food supplements can be misleading, and some brands in the market are still unregulated.
- Often they are synthetic: most of the supplements in the market, especially the affordable ones are artificially made through a chemical process. Whether their absorption and usage in the body is like the natural sources is still unclear. And after all a “natural” label doesn’t guarantee a natural supplement; it still can be processed and refined in a laboratory setting.
- Vegan food supplements can be expensive, for some it can cost up to 84 US dollars a month. The more claims you see on the container, the more you should expect to pay.
For these reasons, we’ve made HappyBites for you. A real “homemade” food tailored to meet the major nutrition deficiencies in a vegan diet. HappyBites are completely made from natural sources “no synthetics, no chemicals”. HappyBites provide you with 100% of your daily needs in Vitamins B12, D, and Omega-3, as well as significant amounts of Zinc, Iron, and Calcium.
Being 100% vegan and gluten-free, HappyBites are suitable for everyone; including kids, pregnant and breastfeeding women; we are working on personalized versions so keep an eye out for that on our website.
HappyBites are not a medication, it’s a whole food to naturally replace your supplement; with average 120 Kcal per piece, loaded with fiber and nutrients, it’s a perfect breakfast or a to-go snack/ treat. It comes in a very cute re-usable sustainable packaging to maintain the good taste and texture.
HappyBites come in a monthly order of 30 pieces, one piece a day to provide you with all the nutrients you need (and keep the doctor away). You can order them on our website.
Many HappyBiters are already onboard and so far, are loving it. Follow our Instagram page to learn more about their experiences and nutritional information.
Let us know what types of supplements you take, what you dislike most about them and whether you're on board with a new way of taking supplements, that is all-natural and only filled with goodness!
- Happy News