This story just came out on the blogosphere about vegan parents and malnutrition in their babies:
Apparently, this 11-month old baby died from severe malnutrition, including it A and B12 deficiencies.
It makes me wonder, is veganism worth the risk, especially for kids and/or mothers?
You are lobbing a giant softball over the plate!
Of course veganism is harmful to babies and mothers. And to many adults, too, although apparently not all.
Even the most conscientious vegan faces some health risks. Feeding a baby only vegan foods (even if you include breast milk) is criminal.
EDIT: In the interest of being intellectually honest: I don't deny that veganism may work for some adults and even some mothers/kids. I see some vegan moms insisting that their kids are "perfectly healthy." Well, I'm not sure about that, since my definition of "healthy" seems to be different from theirs (what about allergies, other auto-immune conditions, height/weight, muscle tone, etc.). But anyway, my argument is not that veganism is a death sentence or will automatically lead to sick babies, but as a matter of principle I think that even conscientious and responsible vegans are putting their babies at risk on a strict vegan diet. Not cool.
It's also sad for vegans who try to make their animals vegan too--especially cats, who are obligate carnivores.
I overheard a conversation in my health food store about a vegan woman who took her cat to the vet because it was having trouble walking--her vet said it was severe vitamin A deficiency, and to start feeding the cat liver.
She came to the health food store looking for an alternative to the liver, and the clerk said there wasn't one, but they had organic liver. She bought it, and left.
I would've arrested her for animal cruelty! Of course, I would also arrest people who feed their cats grain- and produce-filled cat foods, because cats can't digest beta carotene or grains. But then, we'd quickly run out of jail cells!
They eat MEAT-live with it. Cook for them if you have to--it's better than any crap at the grocery store! Better yet, cook enough meat to feed YOU and IT--that's the cheapest way.
If you're going to cook for it, at least get a personalized diet from a vet to use as a recipe--there's some individualized health care for you. Believe me, feeding your cat CORRECTLY can save tons on vet bills each year, starting with dental visits.
Just as OUR eating correctly can save money at the doctor, THEIR eating correctly saves at the vet.
Don't these women realize that children have a higher environmental impact than eating a factory farmed steak every day? A childfree person doing that has probably the same environmental impact as a vegan who choses to breed. And more and more nutrients are being discovered that are important. Sure, your baby probably won't die, but the odds are that they will not develop optimally. You can supplement these nutrients that vegan diets don't provide well or at all like
and these are the KNOWN ones. the last two are being explored by scientists as we speak. And sometimes supplements don't absorb as well as foods. IMHO it's selfish to have children while strict vegan, but at least supplement if you do. Remember, the animals would eat your baby if given the choice :P
Most vegans just pass off stories like this to people who don't know what they're doing. But a vitamin A and B12 deficiency is clearly caused by lack of animal foods so it's annoying to me that they stand by that claim.
Buying B12, Zinc, Vitamin A, CLA, carnitine, carnosene, choline, creatine, DHA, large amounts of alpha-lipoic acid, K2 various gelatinous amino acid, and other supplements because I am too full of my own bs to eat some steak and eggs does not entail an optimal diet. And that is just what I am aware of. What makes people think that optimal human health doesn't depend on other constituents of animal products? It sure seems like I get a lot out of grassfed meat, free-range eggs and wild fish. We evolved so as to need either animal food or tons of supplements to have anything resembling optimal health.
As far as I am concerned, there is no excuse for short-changing a kiddo until he is old enough to make decisions for himself. That goes for omnivore parents too, and not all bad parents are vegans, but all vegans are bad parents if they force their preferences upon their kids.
Just thought I'd post a vegan perspective on this tragedy (From SFoodie's The Week in Vegan):
In France, some crazies starved their 11-month-old baby to death because they only fed breast milk. This is just a horrendously sad story and to make it even worse, these motherfuckers are vegan. Great. They also didn't bathe their baby and treated her bronchitis with poultices of cabbage, mustard oil, and camphor. So this is less of a vegan thing, and more of a FUCKING CRAZY thing. Repeat after me: NOTHING to do with veganism, everything to do with crazy. Also, you know what's cute? Adorable fat vegan babies! Of which there are a lot!
I tend to agree with him. I actually know a couple of vegans who have very healthy (and pretty pudgy) babies and don't do crazy stuff. They know the limitations and possible perils of their chosen lifestyle and take precautions. The ones I know do it as an ethic practice and not because they think it's the healthiest diet in the world. I can respect that. I'd hate to see my chosen lifestyle damned because some crazy who only ate raw meat and never bathed and lived in a hut caused the death of his child from exposure or some crazy raw meat disease. There is living by principle in a thoughtful and responsible way and there is just plain crazy.
A purely vegan diet requires supplements. Bad stuff happens if you don't handle it properly.
That said, all diets are bad if you a subset of foods lacking in any particular nutrient you need. Vegan is unique in that B12 is impossible to obtain, and A can be a bit difficult (not really for an adult though). Paleo can be similarly criticized in terms of a diet devoid of calcium and similar (ie only eating muscle meat w/ no fruits or veggies - yes that is not precisely paleo, but someone not understanding the diet could go wrong in that direction).
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