Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vegan Parents Starve Baby to Death

I heard on the radio last night, about a couple who was sentenced to life in prison for starving their baby to death on a "vegan" diet of soy milk and apple juice. So this morning I woke up and decided to look into this case and also the vegan principles of feeding newborns (in the hope that they advocate breastmilk or formula).

I was not disappointed in either search. I found the article about these parents and also that most vegans advocate breastfeeding infants, many for an extended period of time.

I do wonder, though, if a vegan or vegetarian diet can possibly be suitable for a breastfeeding mother or for children. While I have found several sources who say that vegan and vegetarian diets can be wholly sound for humans throughout their life, I have found other sources which say that it's not a good idea. There is a lot of conflicting information about this subject and I wonder what to think in the end...

Well, sort of. I guess my general opinion of the issue is that human beings are omnivorous by design and need to have a wide variety of foods, both plant and animal based, in order to be optimally healthy. I would say that from what I have found on the subject, the healthiest diet is largely based on plant foods but also includes some dairy and meet products (to a smaller extent).

In eating, as in other subjects, I tend to view the approach of moderation as the most sensible. As my address attests to, I hope and strive for balance in all of my life (and parenting too), and hope to extend this to the way that I feed my family (or am fed by my wonderfully cheffy partner :) ).

What I know about vegan nutrition is that, while through a concerted effort and diligent food combining, it is possible for vegans to get most of their nutritional needs met without the use of animal products but that vitamin b12 ends up being the problem and must be supplemented in some way in order to maintain optimal health. So that tells me it is possible to be healthy (and possibly healthier) while following a vegan diet, but I think that for most people it takes a lot more work than they are willing to invest.

The link to the story: Vegan parents guilty in infant murder

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