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"Death by Veganism" NYT opinion piece - Page 2

post #21 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
the sad thing is that veganism is a fad. look at all the celebrities who are vegan selling their agenda to kids and adults alike. 'be animal cruelty free just like me!' big grins. most vegans (all vegans i have ever met IRL) are far from eating an adequate diet. they went in eating Big Macs every day and once they decided to be kind to the animals the went on to become junk food vegans. potato chips and coke are vegan. so when someone says they are vegan and raising vegan children i often wonder what type of vegan they really are. it's difficult being vegan in this world. when you're vegan you need to eat more and more often of whole foods. we should really be doing this anyway but for vegans especially. but we are conditioned to eat this and that at this time and this time only and don't eat more greens then this etc etc.
great on PETA for trying to help the animals but the sad truth is they are doing more harm then good. they are pushing their own propaganda making junk food, half butted vegans who turn out to be wildly unhealthy which, in turn, makes people untrusting of a vegan diet.

just FYI- i was vegan and a very happy vegan. i do prefer being "flexitarian" eating meat twice a year. i also believe in Yogurt so i'm no longer technically veg*n and definitely not vegan. but the diet can be a good one if done right. it does take work to change our preconceptions though.
Wow, I have never heard a more ridiculous and uneducated argument against veganism. Your words are especially troubling in light of the fact that you claim to have once been a vegan yourself. Veganism is far from a fad - it has been around for quite a while. I have not found veganism to be difficult - I can eat at any restaurant, even steakhouses, and I shop in regular grocery stores. Your comment that most vegans are junk food vegans is particulary laughable. The following is a post from an online message board that sums up the issue nicely:

"Nina Planck should be ashamed that she used the neglect and eventual murder of a child to further her book sales. "I was once a vegan", she writes - as if she was led from the darkness.

Nina Plank is not a nutritionist, a doctor, or a dietician. Her expertise is in farmers' markets, local food, and writing. Once a congressional staffer and speechwriter, Nina knows the business of spin.

Could it be, that as the owner of "London Farmers' Markets", a $6 million annual business that makes much of it's money from the sales of whole milk, eggs, and meat, that Nina is protecting an income from a growing movement that focuses on plant-based foods?

One thing that Nina and many vegans do agree on is that Farmers' Markets and organic, local foods are incredibly important to support (at least as far as the fruits, veggies, and plants go). Factory farms and agribusiness are responsible for the worst in animal cruelty and Franken-foods.

The Shakur tragedy has nothing to do with veganism, per se. This is a case of horrible neglect. Any parent knows that soymilk and apple juice are not suitable as replacements for infant formula or mother's milk. And if they don’t, every box of soymilk says "this is not infant formula" on it in some form.

Nina’s unprofessional assessment that “You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants” Is simply incorrect. As a filmmaker and documentarian who has worked on a documentary about vegan parenting, I have seen the healthy, robust vegan children first-hand.

Many doctors, dieticians and nutritionists disagree with Nina, including the American Dietetic Association. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), "well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence."

The key phrase is “well-planned” and every parent should have a “well-planned” diet for their child, as should adolescents and adults.

Plenty of cases of severe child abuse and nutritional neglect occur in non-vegan households, and likewise there are plenty of healthy, vegan children. In this case, the media and authorities are just looking for something to lay the blame on, and since Veganism is not mainstream, and has many health-myths attached to it, it is an easy target.

Nina’s complete misrepresentation and misunderstanding of Veganism is evident in her subscription to typical and antiquated myths about protein, calcium, vitamins A, D and B12, claiming that vegans are basically lucky to be surviving. There is a reason that nutritionists “used to speak of proteins as “first class” (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and “second class” (from plants)” that has nothing to do with hurting vegetarians’ feelings. It is simply incorrect and outdated.

Americans are protein obsessed, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a board-certified family physician specializing in disease reversal and prevention. In his book “Disease Proof your Child”, he says the mainstream media and advertisers who profit from the meat and dairy industries perpetuate the fallacy about our need for excessive amounts of protein.

According to Dr. Fuhrman, “Humans, like other primates, are designed to consume a diet predominating in natural plant foods with their symphony of essential phytochemicals. Fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, raw nuts and seeds should form the foundation of normal nutrition.” He explains that there is protein in almost everything edible. Look at the horse, the giraffe, the hippo, the Grey-Back Gorilla with nine-inch fangs – all vegetarians. How do they get so huge and strong? Certainly not by eating a steak or fish-filet!

According to Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D., “It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day.”
(http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm)

The myth that fish are the only source of ‘complete’ amino acids is also totally false, according to Dr. Mangels.

Just because you avoid animal products, however, does not automatically mean you’re healthy. If you include seaweed, nutritional yeast (tastes like cheese!), fortified soymilk, green leafy veggies (kale, collards, spinach) and other fresh fruits and veggies as well as healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds in your diet, you have nothing to worry about.

I addition to being healthy, veganism can be the greenest lifestyle for those concerned with their ecological or carbon footprint. In a groundbreaking 2006 report, the United Nations (U.N.) said that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization official Henning Steinfeld reported that the meat industry is “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.”

Veganism can be one of the healthiest diets. Vegetarian and vegan athletes are everywhere. From Hank Aaron (pro baseball player), to Steve Berra (pro skateboarder), to Andreas Cahling (champion bodybuilder), to Debbie Lawrence (5k record holder), to Martina Navratilova (champion tennis player), to Robert Parnish (pro basketball player), these athletes show that the stereotype of vegetarians and vegans being weak and frail is total nonsense."
post #22 of 275
Quote:
Wow, I have never heard a more ridiculous and uneducated argument against veganism.
Amy- i got past your first sentence and had to stop and ask if you actually read what i posted. i was defedning veganism. i wholeheartdly believe veaginsm can be healthy when done right. that is the key like anything else when done right. please go back and read my post! i am far from saying veganism is a fad for everyone and therefore should be dismissed. what i am saying is that it is becoming popular and people aren't really looking at it but instead diving into a vegan diet without any real education and harming themselves. this is from real life observations i have had of friends and their friends who are vegans for the fad. needless to say most of them are no longer vegan.
post #23 of 275
and i was also stating that the vegans i have come across IRL short of DH and i, oh yes and i forgot to add my MW, are junk food vegans. not saying all vegans everywhere are. they're not looking at health but rather if it has animal products in it. so they go out and grab a coke and that's what they have for breakfast. no lie. they are out there. i have heard stuff like this IRL and in boards. at least on the boards they got flamed until there was nothing left.
post #24 of 275
Yes, I read your post in its entirety. I understood that you think that veganism, "when done right," is a healthy diet. But this comment in particular was troubling:
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
great on PETA for trying to help the animals but the sad truth is they are doing more harm then good. they are pushing their own propaganda making junk food, half butted vegans who turn out to be wildly unhealthy which, in turn, makes people untrusting of a vegan diet.
You seem to be using your personal experiences with vegans you know and your personal opinions of PETA to color all vegans. This is irresponsible. I would venture to say that most vegans are not, as you put it, "half-butted." Rather, they are thoughtful people who are doing what they (and countless nutritionist and doctors) believe is best for their health, as well as the health of animals and the planet.
post #25 of 275
There's a good response to this Op-Ed by John McDougall, MD:
http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007other/nytimes.html
post #26 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyLaz View Post
Yes, I read your post in its entirety. I understood that you think that veganism, "when done right," is a healthy diet. But this comment in particular was troubling:

You seem to be using your personal experiences with vegans you know and your personal opinions of PETA to color all vegans. This is irresponsible. I would venture to say that most vegans are not, as you put it, "half-butted." Rather, they are thoughtful people who are doing what they (and countless nutritionist and doctors) believe is best for their health, as well as the health of animals and the planet.
yes, which i have stated several times that this is all my personal IRL observances. not once have i said or even implied that *all* vegans are like this. as a matter of fact i have said that vegans who are like this are giving the majority of vegans a bad name. what i am trying to convey is the "fad" vegans who are not taking care of themselves are making veganism as a whole look irresponsible and coloring it for non vegans and vegans alike. 'oh i knew a vegan once. all she could eat was rice and beans and she got really unhealthy so she had to eat meat to regain her health' how often have i heard something like that? : the truth is some are focusing far too much on AR and leaving themselves in the dirt. you can have both. i just wish that organizations like PETA, who put themselves out there far more than any other, would be a bit more... wise in their marketing and stress the importance of health. they haven't. this is very upsetting to me. it has consequences for the entire vegan community- those with the common sense and those without. someone could know 10 healthy vegans but as soon as that one who had no idea what proper nutrition comes along and says her veganism made her ill it discredits veganism to that someone with 10 other healthy happy vegan friends. veganism is already on thin ice because it's so 'off' to our meat and potato society.

you're taking what i'm saying as blanketed for all vegans which is far from what i'm trying to convey. what i am saying is there are "fad" vegans and vegans and "fad" vegans, although in the minority, are the news makers because they embody what society wants to believe about veganism. they are doing far more harm then good for veganism as a whole.
post #27 of 275
Really, this article is ridiculous. The baby died of starvation not veganism.

And, for those of you who think that a vegan diet is unhealthy for children, I think that most vegan babies aren't actually. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that most vegans would breastfeed their babies/toddlers/preschoolers/kindergartners/etc. This assures that the 'vegan' child is getting many of these animal proteins that the author is so concerned about.
post #28 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma2emerson View Post
Really, this article is ridiculous. The baby died of starvation not veganism.

And, for those of you who think that a vegan diet is unhealthy for children, I think that most vegan babies aren't actually. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that most vegans would breastfeed their babies/toddlers/preschoolers/kindergartners/etc. This assures that the 'vegan' child is getting many of these animal proteins that the author is so concerned about.
Yeah, uh, cows milk is produced by vegan moms ! I think that if a mom, for whatever reason, stops breastfeeding before the age of 2 or 3, she needs to be sure that the child is getting adequate amounts of saturated fat- milk, butter and yogurt being the easiest source, but not the only one. Babies who are not breastfed need an adequate substitute.


FWIW, I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I eat exclusively vegan 2-3 days a week, and limit my animal products to one meal a day on the days I do eat them (Though not usually a single serving in the meal), almost always organic/free range. My daughter does eat eggs, cheese, yogurt and milk almost every day.

I think that both Weston A. Price and PETA are seriously deluded, though it amuses me to see them using the same arguments against factory-monoculture-agribusiness to support opposite positions. Sustainable agriculture that will feed dense populations requires some animal waste as fertilizer, chickens and geese are great pest control, and bees are very efficient pollinators, but the planet can't support the kind of daily consumtion of animal products that it could when we had smaller numbers.
post #29 of 275
I think it is important to examine what we are feeding our kids, vegan or not. I can't say the typical fast food fed child is better of than the typical vegan, both are probably lacking a whole lot when it comes to essential, body building nutrients. The problems with vegan diets is that some nutrients are harder to assimilate from veggies and it is unrealistic to expect kids to eat the variety of foods necessary to get all the nutrients that are required. And then try to avoid soy (like PROCESSED soy milk) and it becomes that much harder.

Real nutrients come from real (as in non-processed) foods. Artificial nutrient are not the same. Processed foods are junk foods and not ideal for anyone, especially developing children.

I learned these things the hard way. I was veggie for over half my life, vegan for 10 years of that time. I raised my eldest vegan for the first several years of his life and started out my 2nd and 3 children vegetarian. I really believed in it, I supported PETA (before their campaigns got completely off the wall.....). I had pages of proper menu plans with lists of well-balanced meals on my wall with neat little checklists to be SURE they were getting well balanced meals. It didn't work. Maybe it *can* work, but for all the hours and efforts I put into it, it didn't. And because I believed it should (just like all the scores of books, websites, etc claim it should) I felt so much guilt when all my efforts produced the problems we had with nutrient deficiency. I couldn't admit our shortcomings for far too long and the kids suffered. Finally I had to make the changes we needed to be healthy as a family. It was the hardest choice I have had to make.

The problems we had specifically were mostly allergy related in combination with my eldest being on the spectrum and having sensory issues with most food. Interestingly, the more I researched how diet could help him the more I realized so many of the little health issues we were all having were nutritional deficiency related. I now see how we had negatively affected our children with our choice to raise them vegan. It took almost a year of special diet restrictions and concentrated efforts to get them back on track.

I believe it is no coincidence that my oldest has the most health problems, followed by my middle child. DD was primarily breastfed when we made the change back to (organic, ethically raised) meat and dairy, but even her health increased as mine did (likely because of what she was receiving through my breastmilk). And this pregnancy has clearly been my easiest, healthiest of the 4.

I wish that this hasn't been our experience. Perhaps others have had a different path. Perhaps our needs are just different than other families because we sure didn't suffer from a lack of knowledge or effort on my part! But it is what it is. And were we any worse off than the families we know who are raising their kids on hotdogs and mac'n'cheese? Hard to say. Neither contain the stuff kids need for optimal development.

Either way, it is ridiculous that the media is so quick to crucify one diet while showing ads for the other.
post #30 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloKitty View Post
There's a good response to this Op-Ed by John McDougall, MD:
http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007other/nytimes.html
Thank you so much for finding and posting this - it should clear up alot of issues for those who decide to read it!
post #31 of 275
The thing is that people are going to write/say whatever they want about this issue-I doubt if anyones mind is changed because of it. What really gets my goat is the lack of balanced nutritional info available out there. It seems like there is an agenda behind everything (or at least something to sell). Therefore many of us have done our own search for answers (thru most likely trial and error) to see what works for us each individually.

I think beyond the food issue at hand is really a bigger/sadder issue, which is why does it seem like this couple was so isolated? Did they have any family/friends near? Did anyone come visit them or the baby? To me it just seems so tragic that they had such a lack of community.
post #32 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikki98 View Post
I think beyond the food issue at hand is really a bigger/sadder issue, which is why does it seem like this couple was so isolated? Did they have any family/friends near? Did anyone come visit them or the baby? To me it just seems so tragic that they had such a lack of community.
oh my gosh you are so right and i am so ashamed to admit i never even thought about it.
post #33 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
oh my gosh you are so right and i am so ashamed to admit i never even thought about it.
Yeah, me too. Was there no one they trusted who said anything about how thin the baby was and suggested they find out why?
post #34 of 275
My mom and I were just talking about this issue today (their isolation). I don't know the details of the case or trial, but it seems really sad that they go from the isolation they obviously had to being separated for the rest of their lives and left to think about the circumstances surrounding their baby's death.

Amanda
post #35 of 275
The baby's grandmother (father's mother) testified that she begged them to take him to a doctor b/c he was losing weight, but they said no b/c they were afraid of hospital germs and wanted to raise the child without medical interference. The first time he was ever seen by a doctor was after he was already dead.
post #36 of 275
I am driven nuts with comments like "the vegans I know". I am so sick of hearing about what you (collective here) see and how you can spot a vegan kid because they look so sickly and thin and frail and short! OMG how narrow minded and frankly wrong all of you are. I know not all vegan kids or adults eat the best meals but I have yet to meet a sickly looking vegan kid and my community is quite large and consists of vegan families, lots of them.

And the "I would never post this on the Veg*n forum". That statment should tell you something about the intent of your post from the begining.

[/QUOTE]I can't say the typical fast food fed child is better of than the typical vegan, both are probably lacking a whole lot when it comes to essential, body building nutrients. The problems with vegan diets is that some nutrients are harder to assimilate from veggies and it is unrealistic to expect kids to eat the variety of foods necessary to get all the nutrients that are required. And then try to avoid soy (like PROCESSED soy milk) and it becomes that much harder. [QUOTE]

Typical vegan children get a heck of a lot more nutrients than you seem to understand. Please remember that animals eat plants to get their nutrition it doesn't magically appear in their bodies. the only thing that vegan's need supplemented is B12. It's actually NOT harder to get a vegan child to eat a variety of food, most vegan kids eat an eclectic mix of foods from all different sources. My son and our vegan friends and cohorts eat most of these things in a given week. What do your meat eating kids eat from this list and how many times will they eat it in a week?

avocados
Nori
amond butter, sunflower butter, peanut butter, hazelnut butter, hemp seed butter
broccoli- raw and cooked
almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, sunflowers, sesame seeds etc.
lettuce, scallions, cauliflower, red pepper, green pepper, carrots, mushrooms, kale - raw and cooked, dandelion greens, swiss chard, bok choy, green beans, corn, tomatoes
bananas, oranges, strawberries, mangos, grapes, kiwi, apples
flax oil, olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil,
ginger
nutrional yeast
pasta, whole wheat, quinoa, and white
rice, brown, white, and wild
lentils brown red french
granola
soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk
water
barley, quinoa, amaranth, etc.
lara bars
sunshine burgers
tofu
tempeh
seitan
beans, beans, beans - any kind any time any where

while "most" omni kids I know are eating macaroni and cheese with chicken nuggets for almost every meal the vegan kids I know are eating lentil soup or butternut squash ravioli with kale or beans and rice or avocado with flax oil and almond butter whole wheat toast or stuffed mushrooms. Please get a nutrition book and compare the nutrients in these foods to that of meat or dairy and then tell me that a vegan diet is lacking in essential body building nutrients. And this list isn't a-typical go to any vegan parenting board and the majority of parents will tell you they eat like that list pretty regularly and so do their kids and it is the odd person out that doesn't eat a healthy diet.

Planks article is silly and sad and so incredibly disilusioned and wrong. I actually feel sorry for her when I read it.
post #37 of 275
Quote:
Typical vegan children get a heck of a lot more nutrients than you seem to understand. Please remember that animals eat plants to get their nutrition it doesn't magically appear in their bodies. the only thing that vegan's need supplemented is B12. It's actually NOT harder to get a vegan child to eat a variety of food, most vegan kids eat an eclectic mix of foods from all different sources. My son and our vegan friends and cohorts eat most of these things in a given week. What do your meat eating kids eat from this list and how many times will they eat it in a week?
Er, I WAS a vegan for a long time. A well educated on nutrition one at that. And my kids were eating all those things and more (except the fake milks and we avoid nuts due to allergy, another problem of eating difficult to digest protein sources......). Yet they STILL suffered nutritionally. There is a lot more to nutrition than most vegan books will tell you. Fat soluble nutrients, how important it is to have certain vitamins and minerals together to actually assimilate them easily, etc. It isn't about the face value of how much of a particular vitamin or mineral is in a grain or veggie, it is about how much of it your body can actually utilize. THAT is the important difference that most vegan based nutritionists don't take into account. If you don't have the ability to use the nutrients in the food you eat than it isn't doing you much good. Animal foods are much easier for the human body to assimilate. Why? Because we don't have the same digestive system as herbivorous animals. Because we need things like proper fats for our bodies to run efficiently. Avacados and coconut oil can only do so much.


I don't say this as a pro-meat eater, but as a reluctant one. Vegetarianism is better for the environment and it is better for the animals with whom we share this earth. I DO say this as a former vegan (I was a veg. longer than I ever was a meat eater) who saw the consequences in my children. They are more important to me than any ideal.

And I am not bashing whole foods by any extent. We don't eat processed foods 99.9% of the time. We eat real, freshly ground grains, free range/pasture raised meat products, fresh fruits and veggies, and very little dairy because we can't get raw. We avoid food that comes in boxes whenever possible.

It is about REAL food that the body can actually use. Chicken nuggets (or chik'n nuggets for that matter) and mac and cheese (dairy or not) wouldn't qualify. That is the difference. Nutrients that the body is using vs. nutrients the body cannot fully absorb.
post #38 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgnmama2keller View Post
while "most" omni kids I know are eating macaroni and cheese with chicken nuggets for almost every meal the vegan kids I know are eating lentil soup or butternut squash ravioli with kale or beans and rice or avocado with flax oil and almond butter whole wheat toast or stuffed mushrooms. Please get a nutrition book and compare the nutrients in these foods to that of meat or dairy and then tell me that a vegan diet is lacking in essential body building nutrients. And this list isn't a-typical go to any vegan parenting board and the majority of parents will tell you they eat like that list pretty regularly and so do their kids and it is the odd person out that doesn't eat a healthy diet.
Come on, if you're going to bash people for saying "most vegan kids..." don't go repeating nonsense about "most omni kids". If you want to know what we had for tea Monday (last night was Shavuot so we had blintzes, not very healthy ), it was grilled marinated chicken breasts, boiled Jersey Royal potatoes, and fresh steamed asparagus. That's the sort of food I ate growing up and the same kind my kids will eat. Never had a chicken nugget at home in my life. (Though my mother regarded chicken schnitzel as an acceptable dinner. Home-made though. She's far from granola, either--just believed kids had to eat decent food.)

It is hard to raise small kids on a vegan diet, I think, because of their need for nutrient dense foods. There are foods like that available to vegans but there's less choice. If your kid is allergic to nuts, or is picky about pulses (dat's me, it's a textural thing) your meal planning is exponentially more difficult than it would be if you were feeding them a broader based diet. Any laziness in planning shows up much more quickly in a vegan diet than it would in an omnivorous one.
post #39 of 275
From Today's New York Times:

Published: May 23, 2007

To the Editor:

Re “Death by Veganism,” by Nina Planck (Op-Ed, May 21):

I am a nutritionist who testified as an expert witness for the prosecution in the criminal trial of the parents of Crown Shakur. As the lead prosecutor in this case told the jury, this poor infant was not killed by a vegan diet. He was starved to death by parents who did not give him breast milk, soy-based infant formula or enough food of any kind.

Well-planned vegan diets are healthful for pregnant mothers and their infants, as well as for older children, according to a large body of scientific research. Contrary to Ms. Planck’s assertions, there are healthy plant-based sources of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA; calcium can be absorbed about as readily from soy milk as from cow’s milk; and soy does not inhibit growth.

Studies have found that vegan children are within the normal ranges for weight and height, and I personally know vegan mothers and vegan children who are healthier than many of their omnivorous peers.

Amy Joy Lanou

Washington, May 21, 2007

The writer is senior nutrition scientist, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
post #40 of 275
I've been part of the vegan/veg/marco community for years. I've lived in Brookline MA, home of American Macrobiotics, and in southern CA, I worked in a private school where the children had a vegetarian cook prepare two snacks and one lunch daily. We didn't give the children any dairy, either. Not all of the children were vegan, or even vegetarian at home, but the children at the school were only feed 100% organic veg/vegan food. It was one of the biggest selling points of the school.

One thing I don't want is for people to tell me I don't know what I saw first hand. Most of the children were absolutely thriving and healthy. But many were small. Being small doesn't equal unhealthy, imo. And it may be that we grow unnatually tall children on heavy dairy/meat diets. You can find studies which go either way, and I think as long as you take care, kids will thrive.

There are few natural cultures (and I can't think of one) who are 100% vegan. Most tradtional vegetarian cultures give their children some form of animal products, such as eggs and/or milk. I think veganism for full grown adults is fabulous. I think 100% veganism for children is a little more complex and takes a bit more doing. I am not against it, its just more challenging to make sure they get everything their growing bodies need.
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