The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the oldest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition in the U.S.) and the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorse appropriately planned vegan diets for children — even infants and toddlers. Nearly twenty-five years ago, Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of the most influential pediatricians of all time, made a radical revision to the seventh edition of his globally best-selling book, long considered the Bible of child-rearing: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.
In that edition, he recommended that children be raised on a vegan diet. After years of research, he concluded that cow’s milk, being custom designed for calves and not for human babies, was responsible for major childhood allergies and gastrointestinal disorders, and was a probable factor in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes in childhood. He advised against meat and all animal products at all stages of life, but especially in childhood, when long term eating habits and preferences are being formed, and when the cellular groundwork is being laid for future health or disease.
In the years since that publication, consumption of animal fats and proteins has been irrefutably linked with a long list of autoimmune diseases, obesity, diabetes and cancer — all of which are increasingly affecting children at astonishing rates.
The sites listed below provide important information on both the health benefits and how-tos of raising vegan children, as well as the links between consumption of animal products and specific diseases. Not only can children thrive on a plant-based diet; but raising them vegan teaches them to align their choices with the values of compassion and kindness we instill in them, rather than teaching them to love some animals and to harm others for a fleeting pleasure.
- VeganHealth.org, Real Vegan Children (pictures and profiles): http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/realveganchildren
- The Vegan RD, A Healthy Start for Vegan Children: http://www.theveganrd.com/2012/11/a-healthy-start-for-vegan-children.html
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Children’s Health Issues: http://www.drfuhrman.com/children/default.aspx
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Nutrition for Kids: http://www.kidsgethealthy.org/
- The Vegetarian Resource Group, Feeding Vegan Kids: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php
- Raising Veg Kids: http://www.raisingvegkids.com/
- Vegan Lunch Box (great tips and meals for those packing vegan lunches for kids): http://www.veganlunchbox.com/
- Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right: a highly recommended read: http://www.amazon.com/Disease-Proof-Your-Child-Feeding-Right/dp/0312338058
- Pinterest: Vegan Kids’ Meal Ideas: http://pinterest.com/owkids/vegan-kids-meal-ideas/