The media industry knows a good story when they see it, especially those publications that cater to our obsession with Hollywood stars and their children. Little Suri Cruise has been followed like a tiny fashion diva from the moment she toddled out in public in her mini Juicy Couture. While we may expect Hollywood kids to be dressed in the latest fashions, there are some trends that may seem a little out there for kids, even Hollywood's youngest stars. Vegan babies are one such trend.
One source reports that Alicia Silverstone has her three-month-old baby on a strictly vegan diet plan. There are other stars doing the same for their little ones. But it's not just Hollywood parents that have jumped on the vegan train. Many “ordinary” parents are slashing the meat, fish, and dairy from their child's diet to remain faithful to the vegan lifestyle.The veganism controversy.
Around one percent of the American population is vegan. Though veganism has become more mainstream as of late, there is still controversy regarding going through pregnancy and breastfeeding without any meat or milk. Even staunch vegans revert back to a less restrictive diet when their pregnancy cravings for milkshakes or chocolate chunk cookies get the best of them.
However, the more faithful report their pregnancies were perfectly healthy and their newborns were as well. But having a child that doesn't drink milk? What about their growing bones and teeth? What about all the nutrients they need to develop from infants to healthy children? Many omnivores think the vegan baby trend is ridiculous at best and criminal at worst. The reason for skepticism.
Skepticism and doubt are understandable, especially when many vegans have often welcomed any attention towards their cause – even negative attention. And then there are the tragic incidents involving several infant deaths that were linked to uneducated vegan practices. In 2007, two vegan parents received a sentence of life in prison after their child died from malnourishment. He had ben existing on a diet of apple juice and soy milk
. In another case, an 11-month-old baby died from a vitamin deficiency after exclusively breastfeeding for nourishment from her vegan mother.
It's important to point out that these horrific deaths weren't caused by veganism. Cow's milk
and juice would have led to malnourishment as well. But it's also important to point out that it's a dangerous thing to combine a restrictive diet with improper education on vegan nutrition. Understanding veganism.
Proponents of veganism say that for every nutrient found in animal products, there is a plant-based equivalent.
"In our culture we learn to associate certain foods with certain nutrients: beef with iron and protein, and cows' milk with calcium," said Tracy Wilson, a restaurant manager living in Washington, D.C., who is also raising two vegan children. "People don’t say, 'Make sure you eat your kale for your calcium.' "
A spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Vandana Sheth, says the recent trend towards veganism doesn't concern her. Also, the ADA supports nutritious vegan diets as healthy for infants and toddlers as well as adults.
"Vegan eating patterns can be healthy for anyone at any stage of life as long as it well-balanced
," Sheth said.