Read this article, then we'll talk:
"WHEN Crown Shakur died of starvation, he was 6 weeks old and weighed 3.5 pounds. His vegan parents, who fed him mainly soy milk and apple juice, were convicted in Atlanta recently of murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty.
This particular calamity — at least the third such conviction of vegan parents in four years — may be largely due to ignorance. But it should prompt frank discussion about nutrition.
I was once a vegan. But well before I became pregnant, I concluded that a vegan pregnancy was irresponsible. You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants.
Indigenous cuisines offer clues about what humans, naturally omnivorous, need to survive, reproduce and grow: traditional vegetarian diets, as in India, invariably include dairy and eggs for complete protein, essential fats and vitamins. There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.
Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies. Nutritionists used to speak of proteins as “first class” (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and “second class” (from plants), but today this is considered denigrating to vegetarians.
The fact remains, though, that humans prefer animal proteins and fats to cereals and tubers, because they contain all the essential amino acids needed for life in the right ratio. This is not true of plant proteins, which are inferior in quantity and quality — even soy.
A vegan diet may lack vitamin B12, found only in animal foods; usable vitamins A and D, found in meat, fish, eggs and butter; and necessary minerals like calcium and zinc. When babies are deprived of all these nutrients, they will suffer from retarded growth, rickets and nerve damage.
Responsible vegan parents know that breast milk is ideal. It contains many necessary components, including cholesterol (which babies use to make nerve cells) and countless immune and growth factors. When breastfeeding isn’t possible, soy milk and fruit juice, even in seemingly sufficient quantities, are not safe substitutes for a quality infant formula.
Yet even a breast-fed baby is at risk. Studies show that vegan breast milk lacks enough docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish. It is difficult to overstate the importance of DHA, vital as it is for eye and brain development.
A vegan diet is equally dangerous for weaned babies and toddlers, who need plenty of protein and calcium. Too often, vegans turn to soy, which actually inhibits growth and reduces absorption of protein and minerals. That’s why health officials in Britain, Canada and other countries express caution about soy for babies. (Not here, though — perhaps because our farm policy is so soy-friendly.)
Historically, diet honored tradition: we ate the foods that our mothers, and their mothers, ate. Now, your neighbor or sibling may be a meat-eater or vegetarian, may ferment his foods or eat them raw. This fragmentation of the American menu reflects admirable diversity and tolerance, but food is more important than fashion. Though it’s not politically correct to say so, all diets are not created equal.
An adult who was well-nourished in utero and in infancy may choose to get by on a vegan diet, but babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil. Children fed only plants will not get the precious things they need to live and grow."
Written by Nina Planck
From the New York Times Website
Article found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
What do you think? Here's my opinion;
First of all, this lunatic has absolutely no background in nutrition, in my opinion. If she did, she would know that a vegan diet, when properly prescribed, can offer the same nutrients as a meat-based diet. Secondly, this is proof of what I have been saying all along. People need to become more aware. This is a prime example of people that were completely ignorant to their nutritional needs. I don't know what this person is basing their claims from, but what I do know is, scientifically, a vegan diet CAN provide the SAME, if not BETTER, sources of nutrients as a meat-based diet. This "opinion" article makes me extremely worried as to where the public is being provided their information and makes it even more apparent that anyone considering a vegan diet, or any diet, especially during pregnancy, NEEDS TO SEE A NUTRITION PROFESSIONAL THAT IS FAMILIAR WITH THE DIETARY REQUIREMENTS OF A VEGAN. You wouldn't take prescription medicines without consulting a doctor, would you? Food is no different, you must be completely sure that you are putting the proper nutrients into your body in order to sustain a healthy life. Bottom line, if you don't know EXACTLY what you are doing, either see a nutrition professional, or check out some reliable books and online sources for free information.
Becoming Vegan- book (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED- see Amazon panel to the right)- everything you NEED to know!
Vegetarian Resource Group- online www.vrg.org - tons of articles by certified nutrition professionals for free.
American Dietetic Association- online www.eatright.org- a few, but detailed articles by dietitians, mostly free.