Vegan kids MUST have supplementsPublished 7.11.2016
Apparently there has been an outbreak of poor parenting in Italy, and in this reporting the parents happen to be vegan. I've written about veganism previously, To be clear, it's possible to be vegan and a good parent and raise healthy vegan kids, but the Washington Post article caused a the bit of a rant that follows.
However, healthy veganism requires supplementation and fortification of foods. THAT is the FACT. Vegans who deny or downplay that fact are harming their so-called movement more than they realize. A vegan diet can be healthy for adults and children, but ONLY with supplementation. We are not gorillas, and we do NOT get our B12 from our gut or from dirty food.
I’ve written about that MYTH before, but I’m shouting it again because that MYTH— that all you need is a good variety of plants and you’re fine IS NOT TRUE!. It’s especially not true of children and babies who haven’t a lifetime’s worth of nutrients gained from an omnivorous diet (most adult vegans made that choice after leaving home) stored in their bodies. Eventually, deficits show up in adult vegans who refuse to supplement— but those deficits exist at the start for kids.
Vegans have the reputation of being obnoxious and militant in their beliefs. For whatever reason, there is a segment of the vegans who believe that supplementation is not necessary. They are WRONG. There is no ancestral community that doesn’t eat animal products in some amount. Why? Because animal sources provide B12 where plants cannot.
Calcium deficit was the cause of some of the health issues— in a couple of the cases I didn’t understand why the mother wasn’t breastfeeding— then it’s not an issue, or is less of one. There are vegan formulas that have all the nutrients needed.
The issue isn’t vegansim, it’s poor parenting. But the vegan community can’t avoid the fact that there are vegans who do say that pills and processed (fortified foods) are unnecessary. And people who buy into that lie are harming themselves and their children. And I’m going to go ahead and call out vegan doctors Garth Davis and John McDougall— BOTH of whom have muddied the waters when it comes to supplements. Sure, Davis takes B12 orally and a few other things himself— BUT doesn’t say that those are required for ALL vegans. And he should. Because the bottom line is that most people don’t eat the variety of foods required to stay well as a vegan, and if you don’t supplements are the way to do.
I’m no fan of supplements, as I’ve noted previously. However, for vegans, and especially kids, they are essential. I know I've written this before, but this is one area that Dr. Greger at Nutritionfacts.org gets 100% correct. Vegans need to supplement, or eat fortified foods, to be healthy, period. No qualifiers added.
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