Monday, December 12, 2011

The Negative Label "Vegetarian Kid"

I was reading a recent post on the blog Healthy Tipping Point (Caitlin is expecting her 1st and due on June 13th) about raising their baby vegetarian.  She had so many comments to her post, and some of them absolutely angry and shockingly mean and misinformed about her decision!

Being 5 months pregnant, and only gaining 2.5lbs, I have already been subjected to judgment about eating vegetarian (I decided to give in to eating cheese and ice cream this pregnancy - glutinous!). While my doctor is more than happy about my weight gain and both the baby and my body measurements - I have been confronted by others about not giving my unborn child the appropriate nutrients.

What's really funny, is right now I'm struggling with feeling like I add too many carrots to my meals. Really, is there such a thing??

The American Dietic Association (ADA) states, "well-planned Vegan...diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.(4)

So, as we watch childhood obesity rise, and 1 in 3 children born after 2005 are expected to have type 2 diabetes, I thought I should provide some interesting arguments for those that feel that Plant Based (PB) parents are depriving their children of necessary nutrients found in meat and dairy. In our house the focus of the plate does not center around the meat portion, but rather around how many fruits and vegetables I can stuff into a meal.

The following is a list of nutrients and ways that you can get them by consuming a PB diet (as excerpted from here):

  • Protein: In the United States, consumption of TOO much protein is a much bigger issue than not getting enough. Protein deficiency is common only in countries suffering from famine. Children can get all the protein that their bodies need from whole grains in the form of oats, brown rice, and pasta; nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and spreads such as tahini and peanut butter; and legumes, including tofu, lentils, and beans.
  • Iron: Some babies' intestines bleed after drinking cow's milk, increasing their risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia, since the blood that they're losing contains iron.(1) Formula-fed babies should be fed a soy-based formula with added iron to minimize the risk of intestinal bleeding. Iron-rich foods such as raisins, almonds, dried apricots, blackstrap molasses, and fortified grain cereals will meet the needs of toddlers and children 12 months and older. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so foods rich in both—such as green, leafy vegetables—are particularly valuable.(2)
  • Calcium: Cornbread, broccoli, kale, tofu, dried figs, tahini, great northern beans, blackstrap molasses, and fortified orange juice and soy milk are all excellent sources of calcium. As with iron, vitamin C will help your child's system absorb calcium efficiently.
  • Vitamin D: Cow's milk does not naturally contain vitamin D; it's added later. Vitamin D–enriched soy milk provides this nutrient without the animal fat. A child who spends as little as 10 to 15 minutes three times a week playing in the sunshine, with arms and face exposed, will get sufficient vitamin D because it is synthesized in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunlight.(3)
  • Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is found in fortified soy milk and many cereals.

Eating is such a personal decision, and no better display of our personality weaknesses, failures, and successes. Nobody wants to be told that their decision is wrong, but we have to be faced with the facts of what our current American diet is doing to our bodies.

Anyone else craving carrot sticks right about now? Mmmmm, yummm.

Don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect located on the sidebar. Or find me on Facebook @ Mommy Needs An Aspirin.

1) University of Michigan Health System, "Cow's Milk: Pros and Cons," C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, 2008.
2) U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, "Medical Encyclopedia: Vitamin C," MedlinePlus Health Information, 7 Mar. 2009.
3) U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, "Medical Encyclopedia: Vitamin D," MedlinePlus Health Information, 7 Mar. 2009.
4) American Dietetic Association, "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Jun. 2003.

1 comment:

  1. 5 months already? Wow! So glad you and baby are healthy :) What a long way you have come since the day I met you at the zoo and lunch was the zoo hamburger and french fries lol. I have some learning to do from you :) In more areas than one I wish you would slow down with the super mom stuff ;) We are now doing 3 meals meatless a week (dinners, lunch and breakfast are even more meatless)and it is going pretty well. Turns out all I had to do to get Matt to eat leftovers/ fruits/veggies and meatless was to be broke lol!