LA based mum Ruby Roth has written two books on Veganism for children, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, and Vegan is Love. The books have caused much controversy over their content as they introduce children to a vegan way of life. Roth illustrates through the books how our daily choices in eating meat make an impact locally and globally, and explores the ethical decisions we have to make such as refusing to go to zoo’s, animal races, refusing products tested on animals or made from animals, and choosing to buy only organic foods.
Is this forcing a vegan opinion on a child who has no choice?
There is a public outcry over the books as parents fear children are being pushed into a world of veganism without having the choice. Veganism is a way of life and many health experts are concerned that children will be lacking in the food groups needed to keep them healthy by cutting out all meat and dairy products.
Is it a healthy alternative?
There are so many products out there now and also an abundance of supplements to keep those healthy – vitamin B12, b6 and Vitamin D among many others.
Vegan Vitamin Chart
The following vitamins are found in meat, poultry, eggs and fish and are much needed for a growing healthy child. The argument is that without these vitamins, children are loosing out on vital food groups to keep them healthy.
Vitamin D (eggs and milk) bone building and calcium
Vitamin B12 (eggs, cheese and meat) red blood cells and nerves
Vitamin B6 (meat, eggs) normal brain and nerve function. It also helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells.
Thiamin (meat, fish) energy, heat and muscles
Niacin (meat, poulty, fish)
Riboflavin (meat, eggs) energy, vision
What is a vegan?
A vegan not only avoids consumption of all animal products, which includes eggs and dairy, but they also usually avoid wearing leather or any other products or materials made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Vegans not only make a diet choice but they have a different approach to their lifestyle including a more holistic approach and their compassion for the lives of living animals.
Ruby Roth’s book, Vegan is Love, launching on April 24, has caused an uproar with it’s content because it looks as such subject matters such as animal testing, the use of animals for entertainment purposes, clothing and of course the debate on whether it’s ok to eat animals.
What are the positive aspects of bringing up your child with a vegan diet?
Medical studies and registered dieticians agree that bringing up your child on a vegan diet can have positive health effects at the same time as providing excellent nutrition benefits. This is all providing parents are prepared to meet the dietary requirements of the child.
A normal diet low in dairy, and meat and high in leafy greens, fruits and vitamin D can prevent disease and promote well-being, so a diet excluding dairy and meat can have a hugely positive effect.
A pure vegan diet consists of only plant-based food, such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Foods such as soymilk, tofu, nuts, and beans ensure children get all the essential amino acids (2, 3 and 4) they need. Vegan food is found in many deli’s, and supermarkets have particular areas you can go to to find vegan dogs and burgers, deli slices, bacons, sausages, untuna and unchicken salads, and soy and rice cheeses, delicious desserts including soy yogurts and ice creams.
Research from The Cancer Project, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, suggests,
“Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes all have important nutrients and other cancer-fighting substances like phytochemicals and pectin that strengthen immune function and destroy cancer-causing substances before they cause harm. Research has shown that people who eat a diet free of animal products, high in plant foods, and low in fat have a much lower risk of developing cancer”
A child can thrive on a vegan diet, while adding positive health benefits and increasing the chance of preventing cardiovascular, obesity related diseases, high cholesterol and certain cancers.
We’d love to have your views on whether you think it’s ok to bring your child up a vegan or whether you are opposed or indifferent. To comment, see below.