This is page 3 of a 3-page Article. Please begin at Page 1 here, so you know what to feed vegan & vegetarian children for every essential nutrient.
I continue with Chapter 27 of Beyond Broccoli: Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work (#ad) © 2011 by Susan Schenck. Published by Awakenings Publications. All rights reserved. Reprinted with author’s permission.
To read the cites, please refer to Susan’s book Beyond Broccoli (#ad).
Note: I do NOT agree with Susan. I am convinced you CAN raise a child vegan but ONLY with in-depth knowledge. The best resource I know of is The VegHealth Mastery Program (#ad). It includes classes by vegan medical doctors and registered dietitians.
Chapter 27, part 2
Restrictive diets are not best for growing children, who need a very nutrient-dense diet for optimal health. Children cannot easily convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is needed for sight.
If you wanted to give a child some soup, what would be the surest way he would get it, by giving him an already made soup, or giving him the ingredients and hoping he could make it successfully? What if you gave him only part of the ingredients, or insufficient amounts of some of the ingredients? Could he make it then? What if the child were sick? Or an infant? Would he be able to make that soup?
Do you see that it is always more efficient to take the nutrient in its ready-made form instead of hoping your body can synthesize it?
While there are some children who grow up vegan and appear healthy, it is still a risk. There is no way we can determine whether they reached their highest health potential. Though this is true for everyone, we know we can increase the brain’s potential with brain food. For one thing, DHA is needed for the brain. B12 is also needed for the nervous system and is found in significant quantities only in animal foods.
Furthermore, as we have seen, some plant protein sources (grains and legumes) have the potential to stunt a child’s growth. Their phytates can bind with zinc, iron, and calcium if not removed by soaking/sprouting. Soy is one of the worst protein sources.
Obtaining sufficient zinc and iron can be hard for children, even when they eat beef. This is probably due to cooking, which makes the minerals less assimilable. To get enough on a plant diet can really be a challenge.
Mom’s Postnatal Diet Must Be Nutrient Dense
DHA is actually extracted from the mother’s brain when she is pregnant in order to form the baby’s brain. If she eats a diet rich in DHA, the amount could take four years to replace! If she is not consuming adequate amounts of fats rich in DHA, each of her offspring becomes progressively less intelligent, according to Dr. Sears, who bases this on animal studies. This forms the basis of the observation that the first born is often the most intelligent.
DHA is very important for preventing postpartum depression. Taking antidepressants for postpartum blues does not resolve the cause; replacing the mother’s DHA and/or other depleted nutrients is what the brain needs. Some years ago, actor Tom Cruise criticized actress Brooke Shields for using drugs for postpartum depression, to which she took offense. He was right. Drugs don’t get to the root of the problem. Nutrition does.
Women lose 3-5 percent of brain volume during the last trimester of pregnancy. That volume is likely to largely consist of essential fatty acids. Antidepressants don’t replace the essential brain fat. Taking fish or fish oil does.
But drug companies can’t patent fish oil. This is why the media, which depend on advertising revenue from drug companies, sided with Shields and made Cruise out to be a lunatic, citing his jumping for joy on Oprah as evidence that he was “crazy.” The media witchhunt impacted Cruise’s popularity, forcing him to publicly apologize for his comment in a later interview.
The mother’s diet should be rich in nutrients not only for her own recovery from pregnancy’s nutrient drain on the brain, but also for the quality of her breast milk. Vegan mother’s milk was found to be nearly the lowest in the world in DHA. Mothers in the US in general have low DHA in their milk, but European vegans had the lowest of all except for the milk of mothers in Sudan, a poor African country.
Studies show that vegan women often don’t have adequate B12 in their breast milks. This can be a huge problem and cause serious developmental regression in their infants, including smaller brains! Some vegan babies thrive, but others die. Why take the risk?
Other crucial nutrients often low in vegetarian or vegan mothers’ milk include vitamin D, taurine, and carnitine.
If you are breastfeeding and do not produce enough milk, simply adding animal products to your diet will increase milk production. That is a widely known fact in Chinese medicine. If you do not want to do that, then at least feed your baby raw goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is more akin to human milk than cow’s milk and is easier to digest.
On the other hand, if you feed your baby soy milk, you will be giving your baby the estrogen equivalent of five birth control pills a day. If the infant is a boy, the result can be so drastic that his testicles may not descend, and his sexual organs may not develop. Furthermore, the baby’s brain can be damaged by manganese overdose.
The child could have problems all his or her life from having been fed soy as a baby! She could develop breasts and menstrual cycles as early as age seven. He or she could have a damaged thyroid gland, reading disabilities, or various other complications.
If you feed the baby hemp seed, there will not likely be damage, but the amount of nutrients still won’t be enough. I once met a vegan woman feeding her newborn hemp seed milk because she couldn’t lactate enough. Hemp seed! She was feeding her baby hemp seed instead of milk! I guess that’s better than soy, but how will her baby get vitamin K2? How will she get vitamin A and DHA?
A growing baby needs a lot of vitamins A, K2, B12, as well as DHA and the minerals zinc, iron, and calcium. At least with milk from a cow or goat, the basic components of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are very similar to that found in human breast milk. The milks of mammals evolved to enable the same functions of building bone, muscle, and nervous system.
Vegans say, “Man is the only species that drinks milk from another species.” That is true only for adults. I have seen numerous photos of dogs suckling kittens, cats suckling puppies, dogs or cats suckling baby squirrels, and even a dog suckling baby tigers and another a baby lion.
In one case, a zoo tiger grew depressed when her cubs died. After zookeepers gave her piglets to nurse, she became content again! Animals seem to be generous when it comes to babies that need to be fed, even when it is a different species. In fact, early European explorers of North American observed that some Native American women loved their pets so much they even suckled the young animals at their breasts. Women from New Guinea love piglets so much that they sometimes breastfeed them.
Crucial Nutrients Often Found Insufficient in Vegan Breast Milk
Numerous studies have found the following nutrients to be frequently insufficient in the breast milk of vegan mothers:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
[end of Chapter 27 from Beyond Broccoli: Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work (#ad) © 2011 by Susan Schenck. Published by Awakenings Publications. All rights reserved. Reprinted with author’s permission.]