Kristen Suzanne is an accomplished Raw food chef and former competitive bodybuilder. Through radio, television, books, classes, and her blog and email newsletter, Chef Kristen Suzanne helps people live life to the fullest with the healthiest cuisine in the world.

Kristen is based in Scottsdale, AZ, and offers the following services:

Author of Raw food recipe and lifestyle books

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If You See It Here, I've Used It Personally and I Recommend It

My Favorite Supplements

I'm often asked, "Is it necessary to take supplements if I'm on a balanced, organic raw food diet?" I used to assume not, based on the idea that a raw diet is the food that humans evolved to eat. Well, it turns out I was wrong... no matter how well you eat, it is ESSENTIAL to supplement!

Here's why:

Paleolithic humans foraged from hundreds of species of wild (unhybridized) plants that grew in rich soils that had never been farmed (let alone farmed with pesticides and herbicides). In modern society, the best you can hope to achieve is to eat all or mostly organically grown plants of maybe a few dozen varieties, most of which have been hybridized over generations to maximize appearance, size, and calories rather than nutrition, and farmed on the same land over and over. Even with the best organic farming practices, minerals don't just appear from nowhere... soil loses some of its punch with every crop unless some artificial or natural process replenishes the minerals (volcanos, glaciers, etc.). In short, even the best of modern food isn't anything like what our pre-agricultural forbears ate, and to get adequate levels of some nutrients, you'd have to eat more food than is humanly possible. Supplements are, quite literally, part of the cure for modernity.

But perhaps the main reason I supplement, in addition to those mentioned above, is that paleolithic humans did not evolve to maximize longevity, such as living into one's 90's. (Their life was so perilous that they rarely lived to be 40.) Over the years, many things break down in our bodies and don't work as efficiently as when we're young, and it's accurate to say that this process is "natural"... except that we've made it worse with an unavoidable daily attack from environmental toxins. And so here at least is one instance where I'm more than happy to deviate from nature's plan and use some nutritional science and technology to reach my goal of becoming a centenarian. In fact, I'm philosophically closer to being in the camp of Ray Kurzweilian (of "Singularity" and life extension fame)... he takes hundreds of pills a day. Actually, I only take between 0-25 pills a day (of up to 15 kinds) depending on what's going on. My husband does as well; a different set of supplements unique to his situation.

The following list of supplements might change over time if I find better sources. As of now, you'll find these on my countertop (in addtion to some food-source "supplements," like Brazil nuts for selenium). I'm constantly researching and experimenting, meaning I'm always trying new things that I'm not ready to recommend yet but I may in the future. So the following list will change from time to time. Subscribe to my blog to hear periodic updates. (I've also started listing my supplements on my food journals.)

Note: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to check with your physician or midwife before taking supplements.

Vitamin B12
Jarrow Methyl B-12 (5000mcg)

B12 is an extremely important supplement whether you're vegan or not, but especially important if you're vegan... probably the number one supplement all vegans should take, no matter what. And when I say it's important, I don't mean that in the "optimal health" sense... but rather, if you don't get enough, B12 deficiency can cause all kinds of serious health problems, including mental disorders.

Put one of these under your tongue and let it dissolve. I take one a day and get my B12 level checked once a year. My numbers always come back great.

Vitamin D
DEVA Vegan Vitamin D (D2) 2400 IU

Vitamin D has been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason... almost everybody who works indoors is seriously deficient (due to lack of time in the sun) but it's more important than people ever realized. According to the awesome book, The Vitamin D Solution (which I highly recommend), vitamin D2 is just as effective as the non-vegan vitamin D3 version. Here is the one I take.

DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid)
DEVA Vegan DHA (Algae) 200mg

DHA is also particularly important for vegans to supplement because we don't eat fish. There are many options for vegan DHA and I think most of them are good. Two popular brands are the Deva shown here and Omega Zen vegan DHA.

Wheat Grass Tablets
Pine's Wheat Grass 500mg

Wheat grass is very important, but I personally cannot stand the taste of it and it can even make some people nauseous. For this reason, or if you're traveling, I recommend these tablets.

Ortho Bone Vegan
A.O.R. Ortho Bone Vegan (300 VeggieCaps)

If you're looking for a great calcium supplement, consider taking Ortho Bone Vegan. I first learned about it in Shazzie's book, Evie's Kitchen: Raising an Ecstatic Child.

Prenatal Vitamins
Garden of Life Raw Prenatal

It's not easy finding a great vegan whole food prenatal. The closest I've found is Garden of Life's prenatal capsules, which aren't strictly vegan because the vitamin D comes from lanolin. However, this does fit within the Vegan Society's guidelines for being considered vegan.

New Chapter Organics' Perfect Prenatal Full Trimester Vitamin

Another popular prenatal is New Chapter prenatal (tablets), but this is not vegan either. Apparently it contains insect-secreted lac resin and vitamin D3 (also animal-derived). But, impressively, it also contains vitamin K2 (see below).

Vitamin K2
Dr. Mercola Vitamin K2

K2 is not always easy to get in your diet, so I make sure to supplement. The best one I've found is from Dr. Mercola. I buy multiple bottles for the better price and I have it on auto-ship to save a little extra money.

Planetary Herbals Haiku Organic Chlorella

Chlorella is great for helping the body detox and cleanse. I take this regularly.

Natural Calm Magnesium

This company is reputed as one of the best for magnesium. I took this a couple of times when I was pregnant and had headaches and hip pain.