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"Death by Veganism" NYT opinion piece - Page 3

post #41 of 275
UUMom, I think you're totally on target.

We are 95% veg (occasionally eat sustainable fish) and as parents, we often eat vegan--I'd say at least 3 days a week. DD, however, eats dairy and eggs fairly often. I don't think these are NECESSARY. What they are is an EASY, well-liked source of fats, protein, and calcium for a picky, growing toddler. I think it's very possible to raise a healthy vegan child, but I also think the child has to be a "good" eater and the parents have to work hard.

We're considering eliminating dairy and soy because of DD's reflux, and if we do, we may be looking at DD eating some fish or poultry. I don't want to do this--it goes against my desire to live veg--but if DD's best health requires it, I will. That's all that I hope all parents do: look at the child and the child's health, and adjust diet accordingly.
post #42 of 275
Grey back gorillas are not vegans or even vegetarian. They eat insects, caterpillars, and termites as well as plants and fruits. Also, some of the leaves they eat have a surpsingly hefty amount of protein.

Most animals who graze get a great amount of protein through insects, and their bodies utilize the protein in leaves and such in a different way than humans do. I don't think we can really compare our diets.

Further, gorillas nurse a good amount of time. As I said, I am not talking about adults, I am talking about human children who grow at such a rapid rate, and need to grow large brains-- and therefore do have different nutritional needs as compared to a full grown adult.
post #43 of 275
I want to add that I see people using veganism and vegetarianism interchangeably here. I don't see them as close to the same thing, esp when talking about children. A 100% vegetarian diet is not the same as a 100% vegan diet.
post #44 of 275
I just want to make a comment about large herbivorous animals like cows. While they do take in some animal foods directly by eating the insects and insect eggs on their grass (in a natural grazing system, that is) even though they apparently don't seek them out, they also get very large amounts of animal foods from the microbes in their own digestive system. By eating a plant-based diet very high in cellulose, what they're doing is essentially feeding their own colony of microbes in their multi-chambered digestive systems, and when the microbe has completed its life cycle by breaking down the cellulose to release the nutrients in the grass and reproducing, it dies and is digested in the intestines as high-protein animal food, giving its nutrients to the cow. Most herbivores I know of have a similar system of digestion, especially the larger ones. Humans do not have this ability. Comparing human nutritional requirements to those of large herbivores with very, very different digestive systems from ours is not a contructive argument, IMO, and it's deceiving to say cows grow so big on "low protein" plant diets. We can't get the same kind of nutrition from plant foods as herbivores do, because we don't have the same digestive ability or the same kind of microbial colonies.
post #45 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJP View Post
I just want to make a comment about large herbivorous animals like cows. While they do take in some animal foods directly by eating the insects and insect eggs on their grass (in a natural grazing system, that is) even though they apparently don't seek them out, they also get very large amounts of animal foods from the microbes in their own digestive system. By eating a plant-based diet very high in cellulose, what they're doing is essentially feeding their own colony of microbes in their multi-chambered digestive systems, and when the microbe has completed its life cycle by breaking down the cellulose to release the nutrients in the grass and reproducing, it dies and is digested in the intestines as high-protein animal food, giving its nutrients to the cow. Most herbivores I know of have a similar system of digestion, especially the larger ones. Humans do not have this ability. Comparing human nutritional requirements to those of large herbivores with very, very different digestive systems from ours is not a contructive argument, IMO, and it's deceiving to say cows grow so big on "low protein" plant diets. We can't get the same kind of nutrition from plant foods as herbivores do, because we don't have the same digestive ability or the same kind of microbial colonies.
Very cool!
post #46 of 275
http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/v..._children.html
Vegetarian Diets: Advantages for Children

Nutrition Panel: Patricia R. Bertron, R.D., Carol M. Coughlin, R.D., Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., F.A.D.A., Virginia Messina, M.P.H., R.D., Neal D. Barnard, M.D.

http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/vegetarian_kids.html
Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start
post #47 of 275
*
post #48 of 275

physicians committee for responsible medicine

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post #49 of 275
: Uh, so could we get a summary?
post #50 of 275
An argument could also be made against the quantity of soya one would be eating if those recommendations were followed...
post #51 of 275
Those studies aren't distinguishing between vegan and vegetarian. What those of us with very good, educated, widely varied, carefully balanced vegan diets who have seen problems in our children have discovered, is that there is a big difference between vegetarian and vegan when you're talking children's nutrition.

Think about it. Children are designed to include an animal product (breastmilk) as part of their diet for many years. Up until the age of 6 or 7 if you believe the evolutionary weaning arguments. In our society where children are weaned at the age of 2 or 3, we need to be getting them some kind of high-quality animal nutrition as a substitute.
post #52 of 275
I'm not vegan anymore. I was, for a long time, until it became apparent that I had something of a fatty acid deficiency so I started eating (very carefully chosen sustainable) fish. I was already eating a ton of freshly ground flax almost every day and taking primrose oil supplements, but apparently I have a problem converting the ALA into DHA blahblahblah. I have very little interest in eating in such a way that I would have to supplement my diet in order for it to be adequate... I take a daily multi, sure... but I see supplements as supplementary, rather than THE source of certain nutrients.

ANYWAY, that said... all three of my pregnancies took place while I was vegan. My kids are WAY off the charts. My first was 9 pounds and 23 inches long at birth. My third was 10lb and 23". My middle child was smaller at birth (born early due to an abrupted placenta) but caught up to her big bro very quickly. My seven year old is still vegan. He refuses to eat eggs and dairy doesn't agree with him. My daughters get some local eggs and raw milk, but very little. Collectively, we've had ONE ear infection (my daughter when she stuck something in her ear), and we rarely get sick otherwise. Their whole lives, I have gotten nothing but "OH s/he looks so much older!" The only thing visibly off about my son (the only strict vegan in the bunch) is he has some dark circles under his eyes, that I suspect are from allergies, but we haven't found what it is he is allergic to (there is also the whole heredity thing- i have them too).

We don't eat soy, except the occasional box of tofu, and some shoyu every now and then. We don't eat fake meat (which counts as junk in my book). We shop at the crappiest (and sadly the only one within an hour's drive) grocery store ever, and manage to eat well enough. I don't find it particularly hard, never really bothered about combining proteins and all that, we just eat a very wide variety of fresh whole foods.

BUT... I have known a LOT of junk food vegans in my day. The worst were teenage girls whose parents weren't all that supportive of their choice, so they ended up eating way too many bag of chips and a soda meals. Even beyond that, it is REAL EASY to be a junk food vegan. It's hard to stare down that package of brand new vegan wonder food that mimics something you had to give up when you went vegan... and not buy it. Think back to when Soy Delish came out and we could all stop pretending that Rice Dream tasted anything like ice cream. Or when Tofutti started making a vegan thing that tasted just like a Kit Kat. Or Luna bars. Or vegan M&M's. Or Tofurkey Keilbasa. I don't eat that stuff anymore because it makes me feel like crap-o-la and it's expensive... But when a new vegan friendly food comes out, it just seems sortof special in a way that non-vegans just can't appreciate.

My opinion basically goes something like... an unhealthy diet is an unhealthy diet, period. A junk food vegan and a junk food omni eat almost identically, only vegans will eat the cheapo store brand accidently vegan chemically flavored bag of chocolate chip cookies rather than the Chips Ahoy. It's not a completely out of this world thing to say that many vegans aren't in it for their health but because of their ethical beliefs.

Simply being vegan or simply being omni isn't enough to garuntee your health either way.

My kids: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/atlt
post #53 of 275
Quote:
Uh, so could we get a summary
Uh, no. read it yourself.

Quote:
Think about it. Children are designed to include an animal product (breastmilk) as part of their diet for many years. Up until the age of 6 or 7 if you believe the evolutionary weaning arguments. In our society where children are weaned at the age of 2 or 3, we need to be getting them some kind of high-quality animal nutrition as a substitute.
Breast Milk - the perfect HUMAN ANIMAL food is just that - a HUMAN animal product. It is made specifically for human babies by human mothers to give thier children exactly what they need when they need it. Cow's milk is made for baby cows to give them exactly what they need when they need it. Humans and cows are very different animals. So, while I agree that babies should breastfeed until they are ready to stop on their own and most ideally not until they are older (I think that most books whether veg or not do not give enough support to moms to breasfeed until much later than 2 or 3). But I don't agree with giving them milk from a non human animal which isn't nature's best desgin for our bodies. Sure you may think you are loading them with good fat, calcium, iron, etc but it isn't meant for your little girl or little boys bodies it is meant for a cow which is supposed to grow much faster and much fatter than our kids are ever meant to get. Yes breastfeed until they wean but then animals foods including dairy are not neccassary to have a healthy child. Some children may have allergies or sensitivities to particular food that vegans eat a lot of perhaps that is the case for "some" vegans struggling but the point is that a vegan diet is healthy - for pregnancy, infants, toddlers, kids, teens, adults, athletes, and older adults.

Quote:
An argument could also be made against the quantity of soya one would be eating if those recommendations were followed...
yes it could and yes it has already been made. there are many healthy and thriving vegans out there that don't consume soy.

Quote:
Come on, if you're going to bash people for saying "most vegan kids..." don't go repeating nonsense about "most omni kids".
Kinda sucks to read stuff like this and you felt a need to defend yourself because apparantly I was making generalizations that didn't fit your family. I wrote that on purpose but at least I made the effort to include " " which many people on this thread haven't had the decency to do. I got so ticked off at many of the posts on this thread because I (up to this point) go out of my way not to judge other people's lifestyles and yet I felt as I read this thread I felt so attacked from people who make blind judgements or whom seem to think that what they "see" and then conclude in their own heads must be accurate and they must know it all and can therefore speak about other people's lifestyle's. I guess I kinda blew my top because sometimes I hate not saying anything to let other's have their say. My first hand account's have been the complete opposite from other's. We eat vegan and our son is thriving. he is 2 and a half and almost 40 pounds and over 3 feet tall- we are not tall parents. he is smart and funny and cute and loves to eat and ask questions and play play play. We have lots of vegan friends and thier kids are thriving. We go to vegan meetups and meet other vegans with vegan kids and they are all healthy and well. So where are these unhealthy vegans that everyone sees all the time?

Just like with this horrible tragedy of the boy dying due to starvation there are and were other factors that we may never know about- media is good at covering those up or not thinking they are story worthy. Just because someone works at a school that serves veggie food but may not have all veggie kids in attendance they have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at home. And just because someone works in a vegan restaruant and "sees" sickly looking children and assumes they are vegan and must not be thriving has no idea what goes on at home. Just because someone used to be vegan and it didn't work for them and they "saw" a kid that looked pale or small has no idea what is going on at home. Excuse me if I sound bitter but I am. The whole topic of this thread was how sensationalism is being used to sell media and get people talking. But isn't that exactly what some people on this thread having been doing in their posts by saying things like- I've seen kids who are knocking on deaths door they are so small and so sickly looking and so unhealthy and their bodies can't possibly breakdown vegetable nutrients because their kids and all of this is because - wait for it-

they are VEGAN!

I hate generalizations because I have always taught that if you can find one person that doesn't fit that stereotype than it can't hold true. Not all Irish are drunks, not all white men can't dance, not all men are rapists, not all blondes are stupid, not all vegans are unhealthy.
post #54 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgnmama2keller View Post
Uh, no. read it yourself.



Breast Milk - the perfect HUMAN ANIMAL food is just that - a HUMAN animal product. It is made specifically for human babies by human mothers to give thier children exactly what they need when they need it. Cow's milk is made for baby cows to give them exactly what they need when they need it. Humans and cows are very different animals. So, while I agree that babies should breastfeed until they are ready to stop on their own and most ideally not until they are older (I think that most books whether veg or not do not give enough support to moms to breasfeed until much later than 2 or 3). But I don't agree with giving them milk from a non human animal which isn't nature's best desgin for our bodies. Sure you may think you are loading them with good fat, calcium, iron, etc but it isn't meant for your little girl or little boys bodies it is meant for a cow which is supposed to grow much faster and much fatter than our kids are ever meant to get. Yes breastfeed until they wean but then animals foods including dairy are not neccassary to have a healthy child. Some children may have allergies or sensitivities to particular food that vegans eat a lot of perhaps that is the case for "some" vegans struggling but the point is that a vegan diet is healthy - for pregnancy, infants, toddlers, kids, teens, adults, athletes, and older adults.



yes it could and yes it has already been made. there are many healthy and thriving vegans out there that don't consume soy.



Kinda sucks to read stuff like this and you felt a need to defend yourself because apparantly I was making generalizations that didn't fit your family. I wrote that on purpose but at least I made the effort to include " " which many people on this thread haven't had the decency to do. I got so ticked off at many of the posts on this thread because I (up to this point) go out of my way not to judge other people's lifestyles and yet I felt as I read this thread I felt so attacked from people who make blind judgements or whom seem to think that what they "see" and then conclude in their own heads must be accurate and they must know it all and can therefore speak about other people's lifestyle's. I guess I kinda blew my top because sometimes I hate not saying anything to let other's have their say. My first hand account's have been the complete opposite from other's. We eat vegan and our son is thriving. he is 2 and a half and almost 40 pounds and over 3 feet tall- we are not tall parents. he is smart and funny and cute and loves to eat and ask questions and play play play. We have lots of vegan friends and thier kids are thriving. We go to vegan meetups and meet other vegans with vegan kids and they are all healthy and well. So where are these unhealthy vegans that everyone sees all the time?

Just like with this horrible tragedy of the boy dying due to starvation there are and were other factors that we may never know about- media is good at covering those up or not thinking they are story worthy. Just because someone works at a school that serves veggie food but may not have all veggie kids in attendance they have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at home. And just because someone works in a vegan restaruant and "sees" sickly looking children and assumes they are vegan and must not be thriving has no idea what goes on at home. Just because someone used to be vegan and it didn't work for them and they "saw" a kid that looked pale or small has no idea what is going on at home. Excuse me if I sound bitter but I am. The whole topic of this thread was how sensationalism is being used to sell media and get people talking. But isn't that exactly what some people on this thread having been doing in their posts by saying things like- I've seen kids who are knocking on deaths door they are so small and so sickly looking and so unhealthy and their bodies can't possibly breakdown vegetable nutrients because their kids and all of this is because - wait for it-

they are VEGAN!

I hate generalizations because I have always taught that if you can find one person that doesn't fit that stereotype than it can hold true. Not all Irish are drunks, not all white men can't dance, not all men are rapists, not all blondes are stupid, not all vegans are unhealthy.


Get defensive much? This thread was really interesting and full of useful information with a healthy debate until you bombed it. Could we get it back on a nice track without being snippy?
post #55 of 275
vgnmama2keller - and I couldn't agree more.
post #56 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgnmama2keller View Post
Uh, no. read it yourself.
Usually people post only links to extremely long source materials. Or at minimum they edit so people don't have to scroll thru a page of things like:

Orange Juice

+

+

-

+

Nutritional yeast

=

Alfalfa.


But whatevs. To each their own. I won't be attempting to read it.
post #57 of 275
I think that the thing that makes these discussions so difficult is that many veg*ns follow the lifestyle for moral/ethical reasons first, and health reasons second. That adds a very different dimension to a discussion about eating, than, say if a Weston Price supporter was debating a person who supported the Atkins diet or a standard American diet.
In some ways, an analogy could be made to other ethical issues. If a person says that it's OK for a vegetarian to eat fish a few times a week, that might be analagous to someone saying that they oppose the death penalty except in the case of child molestors, or they believe in gentle discipline, but would spank a child who tried to run out into the street.
post #58 of 275
vgnmama2keller- I feel for you, I really do. It's hard to not take it personally when something so important to you is up for debate. I really doubt though, that anything anyone said is meant to be a stab at veganism or at vegans in general. Keep in mind that the mamas here (for the most part) are well aware of what a healthy vegan diet looks like. It doesn't really do your side of the argument justice when you get defensive and make your point by being rude to everyone that sees things differently. Most people are more likely to change their minds when you bring respect to the table along with your ideas.

Anyway, welcome to MDC.

Quote:
But I don't agree with giving them milk from a non human animal which isn't nature's best desgin for our bodies.
As far as I know, the only good that is technically "nature's best design" for the human body is breastmilk. Everything else involves some kind of waste product after we've managed to use what we need. The human body is an amazing thing, and whether or not non-cows should drink cow's milk doesn't change the fact that the human body can and does gain some nutrition from it. The same applies to just about anything humans can eat that doesn't immediately poison our bodies. The fact that we can use such a wide variety of food sources allows the human race to survive (and even thrive) in just about any environment. We are a highly adaptable species.
post #59 of 275
Yes breastfeed until they wean but then animals foods including dairy are not neccassary to have a healthy child.

My point is that this advice is just as inappropriate for a toddler as it would be for a newborn. If you cannot give breastmilk, you MUST give formula, even though it isn't vegan. Isn't that what started this entire debate, a couple who refused to do that? It's about making a substitution that supplies the same spectrum of bioavailable nutrients for a child's growing brain. If you, by choice or by circumstance, cannot fill your child's nutritional needs in the way s/he was designed for (with breastmilk), you owe it to your child to come up with a substitute that is nutritionally the closest. And animal milk is closer to mother's milk than plants.

If you cannot give breastmilk for the evolutionarily correct span of time children were designed for, you must give a substitute source of those nutrients. Cow's milk is not perfect, eggs are not perfect, fish is not perfect, only breastmilk is perfect. But they will meet the child's needs in a way that plants cannot. A vegan diet is as inappropriate for a 2 year old as it is for a 3 week old.
post #60 of 275
Quote:
Get defensive much? This thread was really interesting and full of useful information with a healthy debate until you bombed it. Could we get it back on a nice track without being snippy?
This is a typical response from people when vegans go to defend themselves. yes you're right I got very defensive, even offered that up in my post but no I usually don't get defensive like this where I felt ready to take the gloves off. Like I said in my post I blew my top but felt a need to add something like this to the conversation or I would have gone crazy.

Am I snippy because I called people on using generalizations or tried to stick up for what I believe to be true or tried to add scientific information to a thread where there was none? Are you using snippy in the same way that men call women names like B**** and C*** becasue they (the women) are standing up for themselves and men need to use name calling as a way to make themselves feel better and the other person feel inferior?

You're right I am dragging this on and you could have just said that. "Hey, let's get back on track here. I was enjoying the debate." But you had to buy into to it too. Kinda hard not to sometimes.....
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