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Korn
May 12th, 2004, 10:15 PM
Excerpt from http://www.scienzavegetariana.it/rubriche/cong2002/vegcon_infant_diet_en.html:


"If you go to a gathering of vegans, you may notice the children. They often provide glowing testimony to the fact that vegan children can be healthy, grow normally, be extremely active, and (we think) smarter than average. Of course it takes time and thought to feed vegan infants and children. Ideally, all parents, whether vegan or not, should be thinking carefully about what their children eat. The years from birth to adolescence are the years when eating habits are set, when growth rate is high, and to a large extent, when the size of stores of essential nutrients such as calcium and iron are determined.
In this lecture, I shall examine the health benefits of vegan diets for children, address potential concerns, present information on key nutrients, and provide guidelines for feeding vegan infants and children.
The number of vegans in the UK today is estimated at 0.5% (1) but we do not know how many of these are children. In the US, a poll in 2000 commissioned by The Vegetarian Resource G roup found that about 0.5% of 6 to 17 year olds are vegan - they do not eat meat, fish, poultry, dairy products or eggs (2). Meat consumption is falling in all socio-economic groups: 14% of 6 month old children never eat meat (Office of National Statistics 1995) and meat only provides about 0.5 mg iron in the daily diets of children aged 18-30 months which is less than 7% of the recommended intake of 6.9 mg per day (National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Children aged 1.5 to 4.5 years. Volume 1. Report of the diet and nutrition survey 1995 HMSO London) .

Health Benefits of Vegan Diets



Several studies have examined the nutrient intakes of vegan children. One study of British school-age children found that they had higher intakes of fibre and that intakes of all vitamins and minerals studied (with the exception of calcium) compared to those of meat-eating children (3).

I detail below the most recent study on the dietary intakes of vegan children compared to children on omnivorous diets.


[Go to http://www.scienzavegetariana.it/rubriche/cong2002/vegcon_infant_diet_en.html to see the table!]

As you will see, with the exception of vitamin B12 and calcium, the intake of essential nutrient s was similar or greater in the vegan children than those reared on mixed diets. Protein intake for the vegan and omnivorous children was the same.

This was only a small study and unfortunately no studies have been carried out since this one in 1992. However, Plamil foods since 1977 have produced case histories on over 100 children which are glowing testimony to the health of children brought up on a vegan diet.

Vegan preschoolers in the US were found to have generous intakes of protein, vitamins, and minerals; their diets exceeded recommended intakes for all nutrients studied, again with the exception of calcium (4). Although cow's milk provides about two-thirds of the calcium in the diets of omnivore preschool children, in many parts of the world cow's milk is not consumed and calcium intakes are low. It is not surprising, therefore, that the vegan children had low intakes. However no estimate was made of the calcium provided by drinking water; in hard water areas this amounts to as much as 250 mg/day. Moreover, adaptation to low calcium intakes is well known to occur (24) and it was showed (25) that children receiving as little as 200 mg/day remained in positive calcium balance.

The study showing lower calcium intakes by vegan preschoolers was conducted before calcium-fortified products were readily available so calcium intakes of vegan children may be higher now. Calcium is important for bone development. Around 45% of adult bone mass is accrued before 8 years of age, another 45% is added between 8-16 years of age and a further 10% accumulates in the next decade. Given the importance of calcium intake during childhood, all parents should ensure that their children's diets contain calcium rich foods and meet current recommendations for calcium for their age group.


Regrettably, there have been few recent studies looking at the long-term effects of a vegan diet, especially as it is believed that the foundations for many chronic diseases of adulthood have their beginnings in childhood. For example processes initiating atherosclerosis and high blood pressure are thought to start very early in life and blood pressure and cholesterol levels have been shown to track from early childhood and to be related to childhood nutrient intakes (5, 6). Body mass intake tracks from early childhood with obese children being at an increased risk of obesity in adulthood (7). One in 10 children in Britain is overweight. In February this year for the first time, 4 white teenagers were diagnosed with adult type 2 diabetes, all 4 children were overweight.

A study in 2000 (Thane CW & Bates CJ Dietary intakes and nutrient status of vegetarian preschool children from a British national survey J Hum Nutr Dietet 13:3 pp149-162) looked at the diet of over 1.000 eighteen month olds and compared omnivores with vegetarians (no vegans were included). The study concluded that apart from lower levels of serum ferritin, indicating lower iron stores, the higher levels of anti-oxidants in the blood, lower fat and sodium intakes of the vegetarian pre-school children could be considered more desirable than the omnivorous children
When we look at potential long-term health benefits of vegan diets, we find that vegan children have higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, foods that are important for health. Vegan children have been shown to have lower intakes of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than non-vegetarian children (9, 10). This may be important in reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and hypertension. Finally, vegan diets may introduce children to a greater variety of whole plant foods, thus establishing healthful lifelong eating habits.

Vegan Infants



Up to the age of four to six months, the diets of many infants of vegan parents and infants with non-vegan parents are identical. The perfe ct food for the young infant is breast milk and supplemental foods should not be introduced until after four to six months of age. Breast-fed infants of well-nourished vegan women tend to grow and develop normally (11). The infant receives many benefits from breast-feeding including some enhancement of the immune system, protection against infection, and reduced risk of allergies (12). In addition, human breast milk is the natural food for baby humans and quite probably contains substances needed by growing infants that are not even known to be essential and are not included in infant formulas. Nursing mothers also receive benefits including a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer, release of stress-relieving hormones, and, for some, convenience (12). For all these reasons, we strongly encourage breast-feeding.
Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are key nutrients for the young infant who is being exclusively breast-fed by a vegan woman. Vegan women, whose diets contain little or no vitamin B12, produce milk with very low levels of vitamin B12 (13). Since this vitamin is important for the developing nervous system, it is crucial for the infant to have a reliable source of vitamin B12. Many vegan women opt to use a vitamin B12 supplement or rely on fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals, fortified yeast extracts, vegan milks and some soya products to meet both their own vitamin B12 needs and the needs of their infant. If the mother's diet does not contain a daily, reliable source of vitamin B12, we recommend the young infant should receive a daily supplement of vitamin B12."

ravelston
Jun 18th, 2004, 05:02 AM
hey everyone,
i'm new to the forum but i've read through many of your posts and seems like a great place. i just have a couple of questions for all you experienced or knowledgeable vegans. i've only been vegan for about a month or so now, but i absolutely love it and will never go back. my only issue is that i keep reading about being careful of becoming b12 deficient. i plan on buying those tablets or maybe i can come up with something better. my biggest concern though is my two children. my son is 21 months and my daughter is 10 months. my husband is being supportive of me being vegan (trying all my new recipes and trying to eat just what i eat) but he doesn't want our kids to be vegan beacuse he doesnt think itll keep them healthy. the idea of cooking or eating animal products already completely turns me off but i have been giving milk and cheese and eggs to them because i'm not sure how to supplement their diet. i've heard of b12 drops or whatever but they're both so finicky with their food and drinks i don't think i could slip it past them. is there *any* way to supplement while staying vegan (ie some type of veggie or carb) ? is it possible they're just too young for this lifestyle? oh i hope no one says yes to that because i so want this to work for our family (and save those animals!)i's appreciate any advice. thanks!
crystal

Mystic
Jun 18th, 2004, 06:37 AM
Hey there and welcome! :p

Although i don't have kids, I do have a very supportive omnivore boyfriend and let me tell you that we are very lucky, because a lot of people reject each other due to differences in values, which is a shame.

My boyfriend and I have decided that when we do have kids, they will not necessarily be vegan. I will feed them vegan food in my home, but how can I justify what Daddy eats - and tell them that they cannot have it. I want them to make their own choices and i will educate them as much as possible so they can make the right choice for themselves.

Also, I have a friend who was raised a vegetarian, and she often speaks of the humiliation and embarrassment of going to birthday parties and things where she was not allowed to eat the same as the other kids...now she is a full omnivore...a real meat and potatoes chick! I don't want to humiliate my child but I just want them to know...to be aware and as long as they know, I will support whatever path they choose.

But if you do want to raise vegan children (bear in mind I am not at all anti-vegetarian/vegan children raising), there are plenty of calcium and B12 enriched rice and soy milks available, which can be substituted for cows milk in recipes and cooking or whatever. You can also get flavoured, like chocolate or vanilla soy milks, which your children might like. I like rice milk better than soy. Soy yoghurt (although I hate it) is available, calcium fortified too. You can also get calcium fortified orange juice, and I think most soy ice creams have calcium too. Other rich sources of calcium include broccoli, almonds and almond butter, sesame seeds and tahini, dried figs, calcium set tofu, most leafy greens as well. A lot of nuts, seeds and legumes have a substantial amount of calcium. I would suggest going to a good vegan website, like one from a national society or something, which usually gives tips on children's nutrition and pregnancy nutrition.

Good luck!

phillip888
Jun 18th, 2004, 08:24 AM
I will start by saying please don't feed your children cheese. Dairy is not the friend of any child (or adult). There is a lot of information on the web and in liturature for parents about the negative effects dairy can have on a childs immune system. In my case it did horrible things including asthma, adolescent arthritis, and nasal infections.

B12 can be purchased in vegan pills. Make sure the label calls the B12 cynocobalamin or conbalamin with folic acid. I purchase 1mg pills for a total of about $40 US a year. 1mg is approximately 160 years worth of B12 for a healthy person that does not smoke, drink alcohol or caffine, or processed foods. Unfortunately your body can not absorb muchl of that at once, but since the pills are so incredibly cheap you can take one (or part of one) every other day. I just chew them and then eat something with calcium (calcium is used in B12 processing). Also make sure they get Vitamin D of some sort. Actually there is too much to discuss about this, if you look around there are books on vegan children (the vegan society is a good start). This will be your best move since there is so much to know about nutrition and growth. This will help educate you, your husband, and your children about nutrition.

newmayaml
Jun 20th, 2004, 10:54 PM
I am thinkning about another problem that can accure, when raising vegan children: This is a very good argument my husband said to me (he is a veggie but thinks we should give our-not-born-yet children meat occasionally).

As a vegan, I wouldn't like my children to eat animal's products, both for health and/or moral reasons.

But, as they grow up, assuming they will have different values then me, and that they would like to taste and eat dairy products (as someone already suggested: maybe a cake at someone's birthday?) or even, God forbid, meat products...

Do you think they're bodies would be able to consume these kind of foods? My guess is that it would give them a hard time to digest these foods, and that means that as a parent I didn't give them much choise...


So what do you say?

Wanda
Jun 21st, 2004, 09:46 PM
I have been a vegan for 14 years and my (vegan) husband and I are raising our two children vegan.

To make sure they are as healthy as possible, we give them:
- nuts and nut butters (almond butter)
- veggies and fruit (as much as we can get in them)
- fortified soy and rice milk (with calcium/vitamin B12/D)
- children's multi vitamin (http://www.naturesplus.com/products/supp_detail.asp?criteria=search&searchVar=animal+parade&productNumber=29980). Very tasty. They love it.
- Sublingual B12. The one we use has 3000 mcg per tablet. We give a quarter tablet to them twice a week. Also very tasty!
- calcium fortified orange juice. We always give them this with dinner. Only drink with dinner allowed.
- To make sure they get all their omegas, we give them Essential Max from Spectrum Essentials. We mix this through their cereal or almond butter.
- We also buy bread and waffels with extra omega 3.

My guess is that they are likely going to be healthier than the average child. :)

So far they are in really good health (ages 3 and 5).

Birthday parties are tricky! We always call ahead and ask what they will be having. We then make sure that we hand the host some similar stuff. Any other candy junk they give her, we replace with vegan things. I won't lie, she is starting to complain a tiny bit :). She loves the stuff we give her, but is curious about non-vegan food. We are just going to take it one day at a time. I'll post again 10 years from now.

You can also check out some links (http://www.veganpeace.com/Links/Links.htm#Vegan%20Pregnancy/Children) that can be helpful or some books (http://www.veganpeace.com/Books/books.htm).
'Raising Vegetarian Children' is a really good book!

Good luck!

cedarblue
Jun 22nd, 2004, 05:43 PM
its a problem! my daughter really only want to have cheese and crackers for packed lunch each day! she has a nut allergy, so i am concerned about starting her on peanut butter again (although it didnt seem to affect her before her major anaphalactic shock episode) even though she begs for it! she eats some fruit and veg in some form daily and occasionally wants a vinigar-soaked cuecumber sandwich as a change but i do get bored of preparing almost the same basic packed lunch every day!
she doesnt like hummous or tahini, nor tomatoes, peppers. we have tried school dinners but it seems again the only veggie alternative is cheese salad :(
sensible suggestions gratefully accepted

Cloudy
Jun 22nd, 2004, 06:28 PM
its a problem! my daughter really only want to have cheese and crackers for packed lunch each day! she has a nut allergy, so i am concerned about starting her on peanut butter again (although it didnt seem to affect her before her major anaphalactic shock episode) even though she begs for it! she eats some fruit and veg in some form daily and occasionally wants a vinigar-soaked cuecumber sandwich as a change but i do get bored of preparing almost the same basic packed lunch every day!
she doesnt like hummous or tahini, nor tomatoes, peppers. we have tried school dinners but it seems again the only veggie alternative is cheese salad :(
sensible suggestions gratefully accepted

What about that vegetarian pate stuff? Lots of flavours, and easy to make. There's also that 'cheatin' range of meats. I use those a fair bit.

phillip888
Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:59 PM
Cedarblue, if she's allergic to peanuts, don't give her any more. Peanuts have a symbiotic fungus, and it's actually one of the allergic substanced in peanut products. It's when you get one that has more of this fungus that the severe reactions show thier face, and you can't control that. There are other nut butters too. Almond butter is like a thousand times tastier than peanut butter and usually not an allergy substance, but watch out, it's up to ten dollars a jar (that's twice the price of natural peanut butter here).

when I was little I ate a lot of whole fruits for lunch. It was great, I ate that way for about seven years with no complaints.

It's no surprise she doesn't like tahini or hummus, both are usually kind of spicy and not sweet. Kids like sweet stuff. Anyway good luck.

eve
Jun 23rd, 2004, 08:13 AM
Hi, strange how people tend to tell vegan mothers to be careful that their children don't suffer because of no meat or dairy. No-one seems to tell omnivores to be careful what they feed their children, and there have been many instances of harm to children from being fed meat sausage, cheese, etc, that do no good to children.

May I suggest the following website? http://www.vegfamily.com/ where there is heaps of info for vegan families. It is a US website, and we have links to many such websites on our own Australian website at http://veganic.net

cedarblue
Jun 23rd, 2004, 06:48 PM
What about that vegetarian pate stuff? Lots of flavours, and easy to make. There's also that 'cheatin' range of meats. I use those a fair bit.


i see what you are saying and will give them a try, BUT kids can be really fussy even to the point that they will eat something on top of toast but not when its spread in a sandwich! she does love veggie ham, so could give that a try in a little box with some raw veggies etc but that diversion wont last forever!! :confused:

neoveg
Aug 15th, 2004, 06:57 PM
We have a 15 month old and we've been doing a lot of research lately concerning his diet. I'm vegan and my wife is a vegetarian. We have been keeping him on a vegetarian diet since birth. No soy formula. After much research we've decided to pull all soy from his diet except for occasional tofu and temphe. All the studies I've read from vegan and non-vegan sources both say soy may have adverse side effects on a child's body. Right now we've decided to add organic cheese (small amount) and fish once a week into his diet. As much as I hate the thought of adding fish to his diet I feel strongly that he needs a complete balance that a vegetarian and vegan diet won't give him and I would never forgive myself if my beliefs harmed him in anyway.

He just had an abnormal growth removed from his shoulder three weeks ago and the doctors are scratching their heads wondering what caused it. They said it is benign, but it was unusual. I can't help wondering if my wife's high soy diet during her pregnancy and his current diet aided that in any way. We will not use any non-organic or non-free-range products though. I do feel strongly about that.

After The Rain
Aug 15th, 2004, 09:31 PM
Right now we've decided to add organic cheese (small amount) and fish once a week into his diet. As much as I hate the thought of adding fish to his diet I feel strongly that he needs a complete balance that a vegetarian and vegan diet won't give him and I would never forgive myself if my beliefs harmed him in anyway.

Hi, what is it that you think he needs from fish or cheese that he can't get from plants? And what about the mercury in fish? Giving kids cheese or other cow milk based products also increase the diabetes risk. I don't think there is anything in fish or cheese that a kid can't get from a vegan source.

There are many children being raised as vegetarians and vegans, and many books on the subject, and none of these claim that kids need fish or cheese!

neoveg
Aug 15th, 2004, 09:57 PM
There are risks with any food I imagine. I will only use organic products and those that are free-range and I'm using limited amounts. Why fish? Omega 3's for one.


Different types of omega-3s. Key omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), both found primarily in oily cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Aside from fresh seaweed, a staple of many cultures, plant foods rarely contain EPA or DHA.

However, a third omega-3, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is found primarily in dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oils, and certain vegetable oils. Although ALA has different effects on the body than EPA and DHA do, the body has enzymes that can convert ALA to EPA. All three are important to human health.

Like I said I'm still doing research. I wasn't reared vegan. I converted In my twenty's. Mercury is mainly harmful in Tuna, Shark and one other fish I can't recall right now. I will only use smaller fish which are less likely to contain high amounts, if any, of mercury.

Until now his protein has been provided from soy, seitan and various beans. I just don't want to mess w/my child's development in a negative manner.

veganmike
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:22 PM
Human body converts ALA into EPA and DHA, but if you're worried and want to be sure your child gets it all, just add DHA to child's diet. Check these vegan DHA foods:

http://www.drfuhrman.com/dhapurity.html
http://www.veganessentials.com/catalog/o-mega-zen3-vegan-dha-supplement.htm

See http://www.vegfamily.com/brenda-davis/tip11.htm for more details on DHA issue.

veganmike
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:25 PM
Oh, here's another (upcoming) vegan DHA food: http://www.devanutrition.com/products.html

neoveg
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the links! I prefer the suppliment over fish. This is one area my wife and I go back and forth on. She's not totally convinced that our bodies can convert it and she's even more concerned about our son. I for one would not go the fish route. Growing up I can recall eating fish about 4 or 5 times .. I hated it and I am fine, so adding a suppliment would seem to do a better job than what I had growing up.

Wanda
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:41 PM
We give our kids a little bit of this EFA oil blend (http://www.lifesvigor.com/prod/10766/index.htm) each day. We mix it into their cereal or almond butter. Whatever hides the taste. Regardless of any animal cruelty issues, I would much rather put this oil blend into their bodies than dairy or fish.

I do understand though how you can be worried about whether your kids would thrive on a vegan diet. Most vegan parents have to raise their kids with no other vegan parents around. Reading online or in books that kids can be okay on a vegan diet is of course different than actually meeting other families first hand and hearing pediatricians say that it's okay.

We personally are raising our children vegan because we are confident that we are giving them a well balanced diet. Because we are so focussed on their health, I actually believe that we are giving it the extra attention a lot of non-vegan parents lack.

You might want to check out the Vegan Parenting/Children links on my links page (http://www.veganpeace.com/Links/Links.htm).

After The Rain
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:50 PM
She's not totally convinced that our bodies can convert it and she's even more concerned about our son.

I've had one bite of fish since 1972. My medical tests and health is brilliant. There are millions of people, most of them are not vegans, who never eat fish or Omega-3 supplements. There are millions of children of parents who don't eat fish. These kids never ate fish, because their parents didn't like fish. For some reason, vegans are much more paranoid about every possible nutrient that they think we need daily than other, health aware people.

If it has gone so far that even gone so far that even vegetarians and vegans give their kids fish because they fear that supplements or other vegan sources ain't good enough, it's time to look at what it is that has taken the trust in nature and plant based food away from the vegan movement. As I just wrote in another post, some vegan sites and vegan "experts" might cause more harm than good.

neoveg
Aug 16th, 2004, 12:43 AM
We've been talking about this some more and I thank you all for your comments and links. I'm going to nix the fish for him and try the supplements.

I'm curious what some of you feed your kids (toddlers) on a daily basis. Here's a sample of what we do:

- Morning - Oatmeal with agave or Cheerios and fruit
- Lunch - all veggie burger (no soy) w/whole wheat bun and veggies
- Dinner - pasta w/seitan and veggies or another whole grain and beans and veggies

Right now he's on formula still for another year.

This week I'm going to introduce flax seed and vegetable protein powder into his food .. introduce meaning sneak it in! ;)

After The Rain
Aug 16th, 2004, 01:02 AM
Good news! Good luck! :)

cedarblue
Aug 16th, 2004, 04:52 PM
neo, i was going to suggest flax seed for omega's, sprnkle it into oatmeal, soups, bakes etc, no-one well ever know! also if you know your child does not have a nut allergy, walnuts are a good source of omega's too. :)

Wanda
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:36 PM
neo, i was going to suggest flax seed for omega's, sprnkle it into oatmeal, soups, bakes etc, no-one well ever know! also if you know your child does not have a nut allergy, walnuts are a good source of omega's too. :)
Don't flax seeds have to be ground up to be able to get the omegas out?

cedarblue
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:46 PM
not sure - i buy ready ground flaxseed 'nutrasprout' brand or something like that anyway. i just sprinkle in on my cereal, pop it in bread machine when i make bread, pop it into homemade hummous, couscous, soups, chillis, curies etc, almost anything!
(i guess you could pop it into a grinder or blender and whizz it up a bit?) you could add it to smoothies, fruit dishes etc too!

ConsciousCuisine
Aug 17th, 2004, 02:45 AM
The flaxseed meal is great, but be sure to keep the seeds in the freezer or refrigerator if you grind whole ones yourself and grind it fresh each time. I would give my toddler both flax meal (put into anything not heated, see suggestions above *don't heat*) and also supplement with the oil Wanda uses or Dr Udo's Oil. Udo's Choice Oil made by Flora is absolutely the *best* oil on the market. Dr. Udo dedicated years of his life (and continues to) towards the study of " Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill" (it's the title of his book. Look for it, request it at the library or buy it! Incredible information) I spoke to him directly when I met with him a few times about raising Vegan Children. I told him the supplements I give my daughter, the foods she eats etc. and he said that I was on the right track, it was a healthy diet and supplemets schedule we were on as a family. I'll share the information with you if you want and tell you what we do.

Be Well!