Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Vegan Stupidity

Children need protein. Children need minerals. Children need fat. Children need the nutrition in fat and protein. Parents who feed their babies vegan diets are worse than ignorant, they're abusive.

Van Helsing at Moonbattery notes the latest example, of, well, moonbattery:

The youngster, fed on a strict meat- and dairy-free diet from birth, is being treated at the city’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. She is said to have a severe form of rickets and to have suffered a number of fractured bones. The condition is caused by a lack of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and dairy produce.

Dr Faisal Ahmed, the consultant treating the child, said he believed the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet needed to be highlighted. “Something like this needs publicity,” he said. However, he refused to blame the parents, who are understood to be well-known figures in Glasgow’s vegan community: “We shouldn’t name and shame \. Mum feels guilty about the whole thing and feels bad about it.”

Aw, mum feels guilty. Does she? Guilty enough to give up her religion? A lifetime of proper nutrition for her daughter will not compensate for her daughter's health today. Because of her long-term Vitamin D deficiency, her daughter is at risk for:
  • Colon cancer
  • Impaired neurological and cognitive development
  • Osteoporosis (duh)
  • Anemia
  • Breast cancer
  • Heart disease (?), new research
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Crohns disease
  • Hypertension
The list goes on and on. And no amount of health building now will make it right for this girl as she grows into womanhood. Her mom feels guilty? Her daughter may never be able to have children. She wasn't just being stupid about her own health, but the health of her daughter's. I think she should feel guilty from behind bars.


Anonymous said...

It has been widely reported that a 12 year old girl is in hospital in Scotland with a severe case of rickets [see notes 2,3,4].

Vegan Society Vice-Chair, Graham Neale, said, "Here at the Vegan Society we are saddened by this news. As a charity we are devoted to providing information about maintaining a healthy plant-based diet. Anyone thinking of becoming vegan, or caring for vegan children and adults (including caterers ) can contact us for simple guidelines on a healthy, animal free diet." [see notes 1, 5]

Vegan Society nutrition advisor, Stephen Walsh, said, "The Vegan Society’s guidelines highlight the importance of vitamin D and the potential need for a supplement, especially during the winter and we produce a low-cost vegan supplement, VEG 1, including vitamin D.

"We have insufficient information to say what exactly went wrong in this sad case but we hope that it will increase awareness of the need to ensure sufficient vitamin D and thereby help prevent any similar problems in future."

State Registered Dietician Sandra Hood (Dip of Adv Dietetics), said, "Well planned vegan diets can support all stages of life. As with any diet, it needs to be balanced and include a variety of foods to meet nutrient requirements, particularly for growing children [see note 5].

"Vegan children, like all children, are especially vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency while their bones are growing. The Department of Health recommends that vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D be used for all children from 6 months to 5 years whether vegan, vegetarian or meat-eating and the Vegan Society supports this recommendation – children under 5 years of age have a high requirement for vitamin D to enable calcium deposition in bone.

"Vitamin D is found in many vegan foods including margarine and some fortified non-dairy milks. It is also formed by the action of sunlight on the skin and humans rely on sunlight exposure for this vitamin. Some health experts recommend a vitamin D supplement for everyone whether vegan or not, particularly during winter months when there is minimal vitamin D production from sunlight.

"All parents/carers should think carefully about what they feed their children and the vegan parents we come into contact with do so with passion and care.

"We should not lose sight of the benefits of plant based diets which are well documented. Studies have shown that vegan children have higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, foods that are important for health, and lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol than non-vegetarian children and this may be important in reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and obesity."

Graham Neale continued, "We rely on donations to help people who choose this diet. We would like to remind all vegans that their health, and the health of their children is their responsibility, and that we are here to help."

Notes for Editors

1. For more information, please contact The Vegan Society nutrition advisor, Stephen Walsh (London, 07967 361 510), The Vegan Society Media Relations officer, Amanda Baker (Email: media [at] vegansociety [dot] com, 0121 523 1737 or 07847 664 793), or The Vegan Society Chair, George Rodger (Aberdeen 07713 848 663).

2. Rickets is a softening of the bones which can be caused by lack of vitamin D or calcium, or problems in utilizing these nutrients.

3. Intake of absorbable calcium from a plant-based diet can be very high if large amounts of dark green leafy vegetables such as spring greens (collards) and kale are eaten or if calcium fortified foods are used. (See Plant Based Nutrition and Health, by Stephen Walsh, pub. The Vegan Society, ISBN 978-0-907337-26-3)

4. Vitamin D can be manufactured in skin exposed to sunlight when the sun is at least 40 degrees above the horizon. Supplements may have an important role to play in winter, especially for young children and for the elderly, for people with dark skin, and at latitudes above about 40 degrees. Vitamin D2, the form which is suitable for vegans, can be obtained from fortified foods and supplements. (See Plant Based Nutrition and Health, by Stephen Walsh, pub. The Vegan Society, ISBN 978-0-907337-26-3,

5. The Vegan Society publishes "Feeding your Vegan Infant with Confidence: A practical guide from pre-conception through to pre-school" by Sandra Hood, ISBN 0-907337-29-5 (

someone said...

Vitamin D is made by your skin from sunlight exposure.
You're a doctor and you don't know that?

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Anonymous said...