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Old 03-30-2011, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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... I am not.  I am not vegan and I am not breastfeeding.

 

But, these people were:  http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.35c2caa5efa0e183b7b38a2d0e2b7f40.71&show_article=1

 

I am not sure what to make of this. Any thoughts?

 

The person who introduced me to Nourishing Traditions and raw milk 6 years ago had found the info on Weston A. Price because her son had not formed enamel on his baby teeth. She learned it was because she was vegan during pregnancy and breastfeeding likely up to the time they discovered the enamel problem.

 

So, I meet people who are vegetarian and vegan. It seems quite popular here in Minneapolis. I'm going to run into a vegan pregnant lady soon.  When that happens, should I say something? What should I say?

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Old 03-30-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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I've been about 99% vegan for about 15 years (I drink milk in my coffee but that is about it).  I have a healthy 4.5 year old who was extended breastfed and is not nutritionally deficient.  If you mentioned this article to someone like me - a person with a healthy, balanced and well thought-out diet, I would say:  "Sounds to me like those people did not have a healthy, balanced, well-thought diet, despite the vegan label."  A vegan diet can be good or bad, just as an non-vegan or omnivore diet can be good or bad.  My opinion is that people barge into certain dietary lifestyles with their eyes wide shut.  You can eat in an informed way or you can adopt a label at your peril without carefully considering what choices you need to make to achieve maximum health.  

 

FWIW, I can't bring myself to take a lot of stock in the news site posted considering the editor's recent shannanigans in grossly editing a certain speech of a woman of color to cast her in a bad light (I won't mention any names but I found it terribly disturbing that a "journalist" felt he could get away with this).  


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Old 03-30-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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Something tells me there's more to the story. Critical thinking, it's such a nice skill to have.

 

You shouldn't say anything. It's none of your business.


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Old 03-30-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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It's like that time my mom told me that the reason her acquaintance's two children were both autistic was because she was vegetarian.

 

I'm sorry, but to assume that everyone who is vegan and breastfeeding/pregnant is going to have children without enamel and that you have to warn them is just absurd.  So don't say anything, other than a "hope you are taking care of yourself!  this is an important time for any mother." 

 

The only person I know born without enamel - the reason was because of her mother's antibiotic use while pregnant.  There's more to that story.

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Old 03-30-2011, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for posting and giving me food for thought. I guess my original post was unclear and not specific enough. Of course there are many ways to interpret a vegan diet.  I thought the fact that I was asking the question "Should I say anything?" was open enough to consider that the answer might include "No." I thought there was a little harshness in the responses here, considering my ultimate concern is that babies are being fed optimally or even adequately, and that perhaps there is a greater question about educating the general public about safe vegan practices/resources so that people don't jump into it willy nilly. I didn't draw a straight line between the story of the tooth enamel and any other vegan diet; it was more a FWIW, as in this is about how much I know about vegan diets. You could educate me without the smirk. I have respect for people who carefully choose their diet with some thought. And, I think I conduct these conversations in person with care and diplomacy. I enter food conversations with an attitude of mutual sharing of information.

 

What is a good guide to a vegan diet? Do you have a book you like? Is it comprehensive, or more of a cookbook? Which book/resource would tell you some of the more important notes about ensuring nutrients?

 

Is there a book/resource on vegan diet that addresses the questions of optimal levels of nutrients, sort of an answer to Nourishing Traditions? I'll apologize in advance if this questions is worded impolitely. I'm trying to tease out some information and not sure what questions to ask. You don't know what you don't know. As may have been the case with this vegan couple. How terrible to lose their baby and furthermore to be in their position.

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Old 03-31-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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Hi Rachelernst:

 

I'm sorry if I sounded harsh in my post.  It is just that I cringe when I see articles like that because it places a lot of emphasis on the vegan part and not on the stupidity part.  Veganism doesn't kill, stupidity and misinformation does.  I understand that these parents were also feeding this infant straight soy milk and apple juice - not a very smart thing to do, IMO - so there was a disconnect in what they were doing anyway.  I actually think that we have greater dietary issues in this country (US) than veganism.  People everywhere of all dietary ilk need to rethink the way they eat.  I don't think it is helpful to anyone to mention that a baby died and their parents were vegan and now they're sentenced to life in prison.  It is extremely unfortunate that the baby died, but the real issue here is ignorant neglect.

 

I do commend you for wanting to find out more.  You may want to post in the Vegetarian/Veganism forum here because you will get a lot of good references and advice from parents over there.  I personally didn't read any books on the subject - my dietary journey has been a very long one.  What might be excellent choices for some may not be excellent choices for others, so while you can strive to practice veganism overall, the journey can be a very subjective one. 


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Old 03-31-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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It says the baby was only being nursed at the time. However, in other related articles, it seems that the baby had had bronchitis and had been losing weight to boot, and the parents were advised to take the baby to the hospital and they didn't, treating it at home with cabbage poultices. Bronchitis turned into pneumonia, and since the baby was also deficient in vitamin A and D, the little one didn't have a chance. I think the parents were doing plenty of things wrong here, like neglect.


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Old 04-01-2011, 02:51 AM
 
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In terms of teeth not having enamel, I think that any sort of malnutrition could do that. And just because these folks were vegan or vegetarian DOES not mean that they are malnourished. When my first little one was born I was very young, and had been battling an eating issue for years. (about ten...) and then when it came time for her to have teeth, right, she didn't have the appropriate sort of enamel and the dentist insisted it was from breastfeeding at night. Luckily, I was sure that wasn't the case, and told him so. I didn't tell him about my own personal history, but it wasn't any of his business.

I have known many mamas who choose not to eat meat or dairy in pregnancy and lactation, and honestly the children are usually very healthy. As long as the mama really pays attention to what she's eating and making sure she's getting the fat, calcium, protein she needs, it isn't an issue. Seriously. Even mamas who eat a TF diet can have issues if they aren't eating the right things to sustain a couple of bodies. It just happens, and no judging what sort of diet is followed.

And yeah, it's always something that can be remedied. That's the best thing.

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Old 04-02-2011, 03:22 AM
 
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I am not a vegan and never have been, but I agree with pps that nutritional status has far more to do with the effort and research you put into your diet than the type of diet itself (not to mention that some people do better vegan, some paleo, some in between, etc.). I once followed the food blog of a vegan woman who had 5 kids and one on the way. She deleted it unfortunately but it was a great resource. They ate a lot of coconut fat, nuts, soaked legumes, green smoothies, and fruit, and they all looked radiantly healthy. And they managed without soy and gluten. Clearly the mom put a ton of effort into feeding her family and it really paid off.

 

I don't think there is any one "truth" in the world of nutrition, as much as people in every camp claim to know the One Best Way. There are certain nutrients a body needs, but there is a very great variety of diets that can provide those needs. It's just a matter of self-education and effort and finding out what makes you feel healthiest.

 

ETA: I wouldn't say anything to your vegan friend. I know as a pregnant woman who follows a non-standard diet (I eat animal fat in abundance, raw milk, and don't take a prenatal) that I've done a lot of research leading up to my eating choices and find it annoying and intrusive when someone presumes that just because I am pregnant they somehow have the right or responsibility to give me advice about my eating habits. Unless your friend looks noticeably worn down or very thin or something I would just let it be. She is also probably taking a prenatal as most women in the US do and that will make up for deficiencies that she might have if her diet is less than optimal. And after all, women give birth to healthy babies eating nothing but fast food, or even in famine conditions. So I wouldn't worry about her too much! :)


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Old 04-04-2011, 12:58 PM
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With talking to veg*ns, I try to be very respectful of their opinions even if I disagree. The truth is that a well-planned vegan diet can be healthy for some people. There are people who cannot convert ALA to DHA (such as children, though usually the mother can, so as long as they are breastfed until they can, perhaps it's OK?) and people who cannot convert beta carotene into Vitamin A who should not be vegan, but beyond that, there are ways to get the right nutrients as a vegan. In my opinion, it is easier as a vegetarian and even easier with vegetarian + fish to get the right nutrients, but if somebody wants to be vegan, there are good ways to do that.

 

When talking about nutrition, there are a lot of ways we could all improve our nutrition through foods that do not involve animals.  I would be very careful of coming across as critical, but you could share your love of ferments: water kefir, fermented fruits and vegetables, condiments, etc.  These provide Vitamin B12 and help make people more able to absorb other nutrients.  Seaweed provides iodine and other micronutrients.  Pumpkin seeds are a pretty good source of zinc.  Coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, and chia seeds are great fats for vegans, and add butter and ghee if they are only vegetarian, and couldn't we all eat more vegetables?  If the situation is right, talk about your own feelings about soy or how miso and tempeh are better than tofu and soy milk or if you have problems with gluten or grains or feel better when you keep your blood sugar in check.

 

I certainly wouldn't bring it up with her as an accusation about how her diet is going to hurt her baby, but if she is your friend, you can certainly share some of the things that you find interesting.  Don't make it about changing her, just about what you are learning and thinking about.  She can and will make the best decisions she can for her baby.  It's hard to be in a position where you're caught knowing something that could help somebody, but you know they wouldn't be receptive to the information.

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Old 04-07-2011, 09:52 AM
 
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I wouldn't say anything at all to a vegan mother-to-be.

I know one person who was born without enamel on their teeth: my aunt. And my grandmother has never been on a vegan or even a vegetarian diet. One can guess why things like that happen, but at the end of the day there can be quite a few factors playing in.

I read that article, and a few more on the same story, and quite a few things stood out for me. This story could have been spun so many different ways depending on which aspect of the family's lifestyle the press felt like demonizing:
Vegan Parent's Diet Responsibe for Baby's Death!
Entirely Breastfed One Year Old Starves to Death!
Alternative Medicine Result's in Baby's Death!

The parents had a very underweight child, a very ill one, and refused doctor care when their child was seriously ill. That screams neglect to me. I can't imagine having a sick, listless 12 lb 1 year old baby and NOT trying to figure out what was wrong. Every one of my vegan AND omni friends would have been to the dotor or naturopath yesterday to figure out how to help their baby, and those of us that I know that follow alternative medicine (myself included) know that there is a time and place for Western modern medicine, and this situation was it! I've known omnivore mamas with failure-to-thrive babies... this isn't a vegan monopoly.

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Old 04-08-2011, 05:56 PM
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I'm also in the "don't say anything" camp, except perhaps sharing ideas about foods you love that you know are nutrient-dense that a vegan could also enjoy.

 

As for tooth enamel, I and both of my children had defective enamel on baby teeth, but neither my mother nor I were vegan.  I know a lot of TF writers tend to blame diet for all tooth troubles, and I believe it is a factor, but frankly I think that's narrow-minded, it's only one factor among many and those problems aren't always easily solved just by eating a certain way.  My second child, who was born after I'd been eating fully TF for 4 years, had the same level of problems with his baby teeth as my first child (my diet wasn't bad then, but not really TF).

 

Neglect is another matter, and veganism does not equal neglect, much as some would like to make that association. 


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Old 04-17-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JMJ View Post

 

When talking about nutrition, there are a lot of ways we could all improve our nutrition through foods that do not involve animals.  I would be very careful of coming across as critical, but you could share your love of ferments: water kefir, fermented fruits and vegetables, condiments, etc.  These provide Vitamin B12 and help make people more able to absorb other nutrients.  

 

I was vegan for 3.5 years and I had researched it for a good long time before going that direction.  Fermented foods, as far as research indicates, does NOT supply vitamin B12.  They produce a B12 analogue that can actually inhibit the absorption of the B12 we need by binding to our receptors.
 

 


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Old 04-17-2011, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post


 

I was vegan for 3.5 years and I had researched it for a good long time before going that direction.  Fermented foods, as far as research indicates, does NOT supply vitamin B12.  They produce a B12 analogue that can actually inhibit the absorption of the B12 we need by binding to our receptors.
 

 

 

Interesting.  I'll have to look into this issue more.  Do you have any good sources?  Are all vegans deficient in B12, or is there another way to get B12 without animal products?  Why are fermented foods allowed to list B12 on the nutrition facts?  Can that be converted into the B12 that we need?

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Old 04-18-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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Which fermented foods list B12 on their Nutritional Information?  I know some ferments have animal products in them; many kimchees have shrimp paste.  Maybe that is what is registering the B12?  Tempeh has been touted as a good source of vegan B12, but that's only if it has a certain bacteria tagging along for the ride.  That never happens in the pristine culture of America, pun intended.

 

I just searched for "fermented foods B12 analogues" and ran across this article straight off.  I admit to only skimming it, but it looks like good information.

 

My personal experience is this:  When I was vegan I ate nutritional yeast nearly every day and took a liquid sublingual B12 supplement that provided over 16,000% of my daily needs.  Before I was vegan I was heavily lacto-ovo and before that I was omnivorous.  I turned vegan when my son was 7 months old.  He is now 3.5 and has a little sister that's 1 and they're both still nursing.  I was very low in my B12 levels and had to put eggs back in my diet.  I did everything right but still had things go wrong.

 

Sorry for the thread hijack, just trying to answer some questions put my way.


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Old 04-18-2011, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

Which fermented foods list B12 on their Nutritional Information?  I know some ferments have animal products in them; many kimchees have shrimp paste.  Maybe that is what is registering the B12?  Tempeh has been touted as a good source of vegan B12, but that's only if it has a certain bacteria tagging along for the ride.  That never happens in the pristine culture of America, pun intended.

 

I just searched for "fermented foods B12 analogues" and ran across this article straight off.  I admit to only skimming it, but it looks like good information.

 

My personal experience is this:  When I was vegan I ate nutritional yeast nearly every day and took a liquid sublingual B12 supplement that provided over 16,000% of my daily needs.  Before I was vegan I was heavily lacto-ovo and before that I was omnivorous.  I turned vegan when my son was 7 months old.  He is now 3.5 and has a little sister that's 1 and they're both still nursing.  I was very low in my B12 levels and had to put eggs back in my diet.  I did everything right but still had things go wrong.

 

Sorry for the thread hijack, just trying to answer some questions put my way.



GT Dave's Kombucha lists that one bottle contains 20% DV of B12.  That article seemed to address plant sources more than fermented foods and did note a study that showed breastfed vegan children of vegan mothers who had good B12 status.

 

 

Quote:
Genmai-Saishoku Paradox?

Suzuki (24) (1995, Japan) studied 6 vegan children eating a genmai-saishoku (GS) diet, which is based on high intakes of brown rice and contains plenty of sea vegetables, including 2-4 g of nori per day ("dried laver"); as well as hijiki, wakame, and kombu. The foods are organically grown and many are high in cobalt (buckwheat, adzuki beans, kidney beans, shiitake, hijiki). Serum B12 levels of the children are shown in Table 11:

Table 11. Results of Suzuki24.
age (yrs) years vegan serum B12
7.1 4.4 520
7.7 4.4 720
8.6A 8.6 480
8.8A 8.8 300
12.7 10 320
14.6 10 320
average   443 (± 164)
A - Exclusively breast-fed until 6 months old. Mothers had been vegan for 9.6 and 6.5 yrs prior to conception. Both mothers consumed 2 g of nori per day.

None of the many measurements between the vegans and 4 nonvegan controls were significantly different, including serum B12, MCV, and iron indicators. MMA and homocysteine levels were not measured. Some suggestions as to how the vegans got their B12 are:

  • From nori or the other seaweeds. The nori was most likely dried.
  • Small amounts of B12 from B12 uptake or contamination of plants grown in manure.
  • B12 from their mothers' stores.

These results are both interesting and perplexing. The serum B12 levels are easy to explain as possibly being inactive B12 analogues. But it is particularly impressive that the eight-year-olds were doing well given that their mothers had been vegan for some time, supposedly without B12-fortified foods or supplements. Unfortunately, many vegan children have not had the same positive results, and until more is known about the GS children's diets, this study should be considered an unsolved mystery.

If these children were my own, I would make sure they started to get at least a modest B12 supplement to ensure their continued good health.

 

I'm not saying that the vegan diet in and of itself is healthy.  It just seems like there might be a way for some people, perhaps through carefully obtained foods or because of a certain body type or gut bacteria, are able to get adequate B12 as vegans.

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:52 PM
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I wanted to add that hormonal contraception often makes women deficient in Vitamin B12, so I would have major concerns for any vegan mother using hormonal contraceptives.

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