In this latest chat, we speak with Peter Harwood of nutritional supplements and health brand, VITUS.
The business is truly a family affair with Peter and his family running the entire business operation, along with a great team of people.
Peter has long been extolling the virtues of the plant-based lifestyle and it seems that people are now waking up to the benefits and results.
Peter shares with us the origin story and how anyone can improve their health and wellbeing with the right nutrition and guidance.
Enjoy the chat.
How did VITUS start out, what’s the origin story?
Created by vegans for vegans, VITUS was launched in 2017 by the Harwood ‘vegan’ family with over 90 combined years of natural health industry experience.
My wife Mandy and I founded the VITUS ‘parent’ company Planet Health in 1996 to specialise in premium natural health brands. We then wanted to develop a vegan verified brand of pure wholefood nutrition that was superior to the synthetic vitamins and minerals that you commonly find on retail shelves. Mandy and I were vegetarian for 20 years before embracing a vegan diet and lifestyle 3 years ago. Our daughter Tess who is a designer based in Milan has also been vegetarian for most of her life and vegan for 3 years now. Tess created the logo and packaging design for VITUS and as Head of Creative at Planet Health continues to manage the identity of the brand. Our company General Manager and fellow Director is my brother Andrew who is also vegan (as is his family) and has been with our business since 1997.
Unable to find a 100% vegan brand that offered pure natural ingredients without fillers or additives, we discovered a gap in the market and decided to create a genuine vegan wholefood based nutrition range of products that was true to our ethics and philosophy. This includes environmentally conscious packaging with recyclable glass bottles and 100% compostable pouches.
Amazing, so just to confirm are all your products vegan?
Yes, every VITUS product is vegan as this is an absolute core value for our brand. Vegans often unknowingly take health supplements that contain animal ingredients or that have been tested on animals. We actually make sure that individual ingredients are not tested on animals.
What products from the VITUS range would you suggest for someone who believes they have a well-balanced diet already?
The healthiest diet is a plant based diet and we always promote this along with exercise and good lifestyle habits. We find however very few people manage to achieve all of their nutritional requirements.
We aim to provide that added nutritional boost, with products that provide your daily dose of essential nutrients. I personally have taken spirulina tablets for over 25 years for additional energy, as well as pure complete protein and its amazing nutrient profile. Spirulina is a natural source of bioavailable iron, contains over 65% protein, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, essential fatty acids, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Non GMO and free from gluten, fillers, preservatives, synthetic vitamins and additives, it’s nature’s own multi vitamin. As a fitness fanatic, I exercise daily and take our VITUS VEGAN PROTEIN which is a complete plant-based protein containing every amino acid without any of the usual flavours, sweeteners and additives that you often find in other products. It also tastes amazing!
For someone transitioning to veganism from vegetarian or carnivore diets, what supplement would you recommend and why?
Our VITUS VEGAN B12 powder contains over 100% of the recommended daily allowance for B12 and also Vitamin D, which can both sometimes be lacking as part of a vegan diet.
The meat industry will argue that you need their products for adequate B12 consumption, however, this isn’t true at all as you can find B12 in many plant food sources.
It’s important that everyone, not only vegans, get enough B12 and we help by providing a plant-based powder that offers over 100% of your recommended daily allowance per serve. With a neutral pleasant taste, it can be easily mixed in smoothies or added to meals.
The VITUS vegan starter kit, who is this for, and what’s important about each item in the kit?
This is ideal for anyone embarking on a vegan or plant-based lifestyle. It contains VITUS VEGAN B12, VITUS SPIRULINA, VITUS IRON + C, Jason Shon Bennett’s motivational best-selling book ‘My 20 Golden Rules’ plus a VITUS stainless steel shaker, ideal for making a VITUS based smoothie.
VITUS VEGAN B12 provides over 100% of your Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D allowances in a great tasting wholefood nutrient rich formula. You need B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body. B12 deficiency can lead to anaemia, making you feel weak and tired.
VITUS SPIRULINA is pure desert grown under the strictest conditions by the pioneers of this powerful superfood. Considered by many to be the number 1 super food that everyone should take, spirulina gives you a sustained energy and nutrient boost.
VITUS IRON + C helps guarantee that you are getting enough ‘plant-based’ iron and also contains natural Vitamin C (Acerola) to assist with absorption. Symptoms of iron deficiency can include tiredness, shortness of breath, paleness, and heart palpitations.
Jason Shon Bennet, author of ‘My 20 Golden Rules’, is an international plant-based researcher, speaker, and best-selling author who cured his own illnesses on a plant-based diet over 30 years ago.
The VITUS VEGAN STARTER KIT offers a $59.90 saving making it a great way to start your vegan lifestyle.
For someone who is happy to take supplements and not think about their diet, Is it ok stay on supplements every day for years?
Yes, absolutely. Our products are all wholefood sources of key nutrition from natural food sources, so you can’t have too much good food! There are no additives, fillers, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.
When is the best time of the day to take supplements? Does this matter?
Not really, however, we usually suggest mornings so that it just becomes a habit. Our products are ideal with breakfast or a morning smoothie and as they are food-sourced nutrients, they can be taken at any time.
Do you have to have food with all supplements? If so, what’s the best food to have if so?
As our pure whole food nutritional products are foods in themselves, they are naturally and easily absorbed by the body. Whilst most of our products are in a wholefood powder form which is best mixed into recipes and smoothies, we do offer spirulina in a convenient tablet form. We also pour our ocean sourced magnesium in a vegan capsule as a measured dose.
Great, so where can we buy Vitus?
Online at www.vitusonelife.com or at good health stores and selected pharmacies.
What other vegan brands (in any industry) inspire you?
I think Oatly do a great job with the marketing of their brand whilst increasing awareness for the vegan movement.
I also enjoy the content provided by Plant Based News on their website and social media.
So who should we interview next?
Mike Tyson if you could get him would be great! He has miraculously turned his life around by going vegan and is now rumoured to be visiting Australia for a boxing comeback.
Amazing, thank you so much for sharing your story, Peter! The VITUS story and brand are such a strong one and we love how passionate you and the team are.
To go and grab some of the VITUS range for yourself, check them our here.