In general, the American public has met the vegan lifestyle with skepticism, particularly since we’ve come to associate certain nutritional values with meat and dairy. It’s one thing for able and willing adults to choose the lifestyle, but many call “child abuse” on parents that enforce the diet on their young children. Can young and growing children truly get all of their nutritional values from veganism? The answer is yes, so long as the parent is educated on the vegan diet and its nutritional requirements.
Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, head of the nutritional committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the Huffington Post that the health benefits of a vegan diet include lower rates of heart disease, obesity, cholesterol, and certain types of cancer. She reinforced the fact that a vegan diet has to be done properly for both children and adults, while recommending that vegan moms consult a nutritionist or registered dietitian to make sure they’re aware of what their children could possibly be lacking and how to compensate for it.
But still, many parents aren’t convinced, citing popular vegan parenting fails including a 2007 case in Atlanta in which two vegan parents were sentenced to life in prison after their son died of malnourishment and another case this year in which an 11-month-old baby died after suffering complications from vitamin deficiencies.
Like any diet, nutritional values have to be met to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, child veganism might be daunting for parents that fear messing up their children’s critical years for growth.
Would you raise your child on a vegan diet? Drop your thoughts!