Letter From Complement CEO
I’ve never been a fan of supplements. I believe we should get our nutrients from whole plants — veggies, fruits, legumes, and seeds. That’s why I give my 11 month old son Complement (rather than a “supplement”), because it has just what he needs, and nothing else. (And it’s third-party tested. But I’ll get to all that.)
First, let me explain our philosophy of complementing your plant-based diet:
We aim to get our nutrients from a diverse set of foods, as minimally processed as possible. But we also believe the evidence-based way to thrive on a plant-based diet, in the long run, ensures a consistent dose of B12, Omega 3’s DHA/EPA, and Vitamin D3. Those few nutrients aren’t found in a plant-based diet – because they come from bacteria, algae, and the sun, things that we don’t often consume enough of.
But they are, nonetheless, critically important to long-term vitality.
Four years ago, I didn’t know that. I had been enjoying my vegan journey for a few years at that point – having lost 30 pounds of excess weight and feeling abundant-natural energy (as opposed to the copious amounts of caffeine that I used to need).
But then I had a blood test and was diagnosed with “rheumatoid like inflammation”. It made some sense because I had physical symptoms, but they were minor so I wouldn’t have ever thought that I was “sick”.
The doctor’s suggested treatment plan was “stop being vegan” and “start a powerful pharmaceutical drug.” I didn’t intend to do either. My belief in the plant-based lifestyle was solid.
So I poured over the research and sought out the advice of the smartest people in nutrition science — a Ph. D / R.D., an M.D., and an ultra-athlete. It became abundantly clear that I had made the cardinal mistake: I didn’t complement my whole food plant-based diet with those key nutrients missing from plants.
I immediately added B12, Vitamin D3, and DHA/EPA (Omega3’s). Within a couple months, the blood markers of inflammation returned to normal. (And those physical symptoms started to clear up.)
"The doctor’s suggested treatment plan was “stop being vegan” and “start a powerful pharmaceutical drug.” I didn’t intend to do either."
Then the mission became clear: if the vegan movement is going to thrive in the long-run, then vegans need to thrive on this diet over time… and that means we need to spread this message about complementing a plant-based diet.
The Next Step
The next step was soliciting help from people far smarter than me. I started with Matt Frazier, an ultra-marathoner (that means he runs 100 miles at once) and published author. He agreed this was a no-brainer: supplementing with a multivitamin has all sorts of drawbacks; taking these three nutrients separately is inconvenient and expensive; and most supplements come with all sorts of unsavory fillers and binders, without the transparency that we would require for something our kids take daily.
We asked ourselves, if every vegan should have a daily dose of these life-saving compounds, why isn’t there an affordable, convenient way to do it? So we set out to create it ourselves, and since we were doing it for our families, we intended to do it better than anyone.
That’s been our motto from the start: FAMILY FIRST, SCIENCE BASED.
And it’s not just an empty ideal. It’s a daily practice. It’s the start and finish of every decision. We constantly ask, “What would I want for my family?” Because our families, including our young kids, take these Complement products (ages ranging from 11 months to 11 years).
That’s why we’ve decided to divert a substantial percentage of our profits to additional third-party lab testing and to organic certification whenever possible. We make those kind of choices every day – quality and safety over profit – driven by our unwavering commitment to giving our kids nothing but the best, to ensure they thrive on a plant-based diet.
My own vegan journey was almost cut short when I developed rheumatoid-like inflammation, although I had lost weight and had way more energy than before.
I realized, if the vegan movement is going to thrive in the long-run, then vegans need to thrive on this diet over time.
We believe the evidence-based way to thrive on a plant-based diet ensures a consistent dose of those few nutrients that aren’t found in a plant-based diet – because they come from bacteria, algae, and the sun, things that we don’t often consume enough of.
We offer that commitment to you, and any other vegan, because to flourish as a community, we each must enjoy lasting, vibrant health.
So I’m challenging the unspoken rule that we shouldn’t talk about the potential issues with a plant-based diet! As if acknowledging the pitfalls will somehow make them more real and undermines the progress of the vegan movement.
I think the opposite: If we don’t openly talk about what works, and what doesn’t, and how to optimize this diet for the long-haul, then we’re just going to do more damage to ourselves and our movement over time.
Ensure you’re getting the precise nutrients you need to thrive on a vegan diet... and nothing else.