Friday, April 30, 2010

Vegan children malnutrition myths

I love this article! Yes, most of it is stuff we already know, but it's always cool to see positive (and correct) info about raising vegans in the mainstream news!

Credit to

Veggie Burger!
Veggie Burger!
Photo by Channing Carey

Vegan lifestyles are becoming the route of choice for many San Diegans (about 30,000 people, or one percent of the population) who begin even the most minimal research as to where their food is coming from. 
Horrendous factory farming techniques and the general lack of oversight or legislation on practially all but organic foods pushes many to this change in consumption habit.  The fact is that the USDA is not the trustworthy organization we are led to believe. In a sense, it's a business, and businesses are built for profit, not your health. Sorry, kiddo.
Vegan children are not the wan, spindly kids so often imagined. They are smart, strong and energetic.
Myths abound, so time to bust them open!
#1 Vegan kids are weaker than non-vegan kids.
Remember Popeye didn't down a can of Spam before kicking butt. He chugged some good old spinach.
Consuming a diet high in dark leafy greens, raw fruits and veggies actually energizes the body, as food should. The consumption of meat or highly cooked foods slows us down tremendously as 1) cooked foods contain dead enzymes, the live substances within all foods that help itself assimilate within the body, leaving the body to grab its own enzymes from other organs to help digestion and 2) meat can take up to four days to digest, leaving the body exhausted from all that digestion!
Vegan kids tend to be great athletes!
#2 Vegan kids grow smaller than non-vegans.
Since vegan foods (fruits and vegetables) are significantly lower in calories than meat and dairy products, it's more difficult for a growing child with a small stomach to be able to consume the bulk of food that a non-vegan child would eat in a typical day. Which is fine, considering almost a third of America's children are obese.  Vegan kids, just like any other kids, eat until they're full and on a vegan diet, it's almost assured the food's going to be nutrient-rich.
#3 Vegan kids aren't getting enough protein. Click the link to read about the protein myth. 
Virtually all plant foods contain protein.  Protein deficiencies are very uncommon, yet this seems to be the most asked question of vegans and vegetarians.
#4 Vegan kids are prime targets for calcium deficiency. Nope!
Where do cows get their calcium? It used to be that cows grazed on grassy pastures of clover, which is high in calcium. Now that most dairy cows never see the light of day, their feed grain (typically corn, which is inedible by cows for periods longer than about 6 months as it eats away their stomach linings) is supplemented with calcium.
Did you hear that? Cows are fed calcium so that their milk will be calcium rich. Why not go to the source?
#5 Vegan kids aren't as smart because their brains don't get Omega 3 fatty acids and B-12 from meat.
Most of us have heard about a recent study suggesting that vegan diets cause brain shrinkage. What the study actually says is that there is a link between vitamin B-12 deficiencies and brain shrinkage. The study doesn't test supplemental B-12 against naturally occurring B-12, nor does it mention that too-high levels of B-12 can also cause this problem, nor does it mention the words "vegetarian" or "vegan" anywhere in the study. Major news networks created a fallacy and ran with it. Grrr.
The truth is that Omega 3 fatty acids are brain foods that can be found in lots of fish, but being that ALL fish caught in US stream tests now test positive for mercury, you might want to consider the following alternatives:
  •  Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  •  Soybeans and soybean oil
  •  Walnuts
  •  Brazil nuts
  •  Soy nuts
  •  Olive oil
  •  Hemp seeds
  •  Pumpkin seed
(Flax is also known to be a natural cure for ADD and ADHD.)

1 comment:

  1. Well for me, it is good to be a vegetarian. vegetables have a lot of nutrition.