Animal Action Network
A non-profit Colorado Group Working for Compassion
Children and pregnant mothers are especially susceptible to dietary dangers. Both groups should avoid the drugs, hormones, pesticides and other detriments of a meat- and dairy-based diet. In a 20-year study of 17,000 vegetarian pregnancies, only one in 100 births were by Caesarean. In the study, there was only one case of hypertension. All pregnant women need more calories and extra protein. Foods such as tofu, tempeh, beans, grains and nut butters contain plenty of protein to satisfy this need. Expectant mothers should consume adequate amounts of plant-sourced calcium, as well as iron, folic acid and vitamins.
One of America’s most respected pediatricians, the late Dr. Benjamin Spock, recommended that parents raise their children on a vegan diet. “We now know,” he wrote, “that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet. Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer... “I no longer recommend dairy products... There was a time when cow’s milk was considered very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation.” Pediatricians have found that chronic ear infections and respiratory problems are aggravated when dairy is part of a child’s diet. Children can get all the calcium they need from plant foods such as broccoli, chickpeas, almonds, black beans, tahini and kale. The American Dietetic Association says, “A well-planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation [i.e., breastfeeding], infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
Pregnancy and Raising Children on a Vegan Diet: What the Doctors Say