Vegan Diet for Babies Good or Bad

Baby and Vegetables

Crown Shakur

Crown Shakur died at six weeks old weighing just 3.5 pounds.
Crown Shakur died at six weeks old weighing just 3.5 pounds.

Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas

Crown's parents.
Crown's parents.

Lamoy and Joseph Andressohn

Woyah's parents.
Woyah's parents.

Did the Vegan Diet Kill These Babies?

There is a wide controversy on if babies, especially newborns should be on a vegan diet. Is this healthy or is it a death sentence?

We have all heard of the stories of starvation and death of babies given this type of diet. Were these parents at fault? An infant can not choose what goes into his or her body.

To recap on the death of Crown Shakur who died just 6 weeks old on April 25, 2004, he weighed only 3.5 pounds. Crown Shakur’s parents, Thomas and Jade Sanders were both Vegan and wanted to stick to their Vegan way of life, even when it came to their new born son. He was fed on soy milk and apple juice. Vegans do not consume animal products in any form. This includes diary products as well.

Both of Crown’s parents claimed they didn’t think their baby was in danger until minutes before he died. Prosecutors said the couple intentionally neglected their child and refused to take him to the doctor.

The jury (who had four vegetarians on it), were convinced by the prosecution that the couple intentionally neglected and did not feed their child. May 2007, Lamont Thomas and Jade Sanders were both found guilty of malice murder and child cruelty to the death of their son. Both parents were sentenced to life in prison.

In 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn were convicted of manslaughter on charges in the death of their 5 1/2 month daughter Wovah (died on May 15, 2003).  She weighted just under 7 pounds. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office concluded that the child died from malnutrition. Authorities say the baby was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk.

An autopsy found the child's thymus gland was almost nonexistent. Defense Attorney Ellis Rubin stated that a defect was responsible for the infant's low weight at the time of death.

The prosecutor attempted to negotiate a plea bargain. The couple refused saying they were innocent. The prosecutor continued with the plea bargain until it finally went to court. Lamoy and Joseph Andressohn were cleared of manslaughter but convicted of child neglect.

These are two cases of four infants who have died given a vegan diet. Did these babies die of malnutrition or was it birth defects? Which could be the case for baby Wovah.

My Opinion on a Vegan Diet for Babies

I am neither a vegetarian nor vegan. I have been on a vegetarian diet in the past. I don’t think I would have the discipline to be on a vegan diet. I love diary products too much. A diet in this nature can be very healthy as long as nutritional supplements are added. There is a lot of truth to red meat products not being as healthy and harder to digest. I have a great respect for anyone who chooses this type of lifestyle.

An infant needs the right about of protein and vitamins. Soy milk and fruit juice do not give enough nutrition. Vegan diets may lack in vitamins A, B and D, and minerals like calcium and zinc. The diet may even lack DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish. This is vital in the development for the eyes and brain to develop properly. Supplying an infant with the missing supplements, may be possible but hard to achieve.

In my opinion, a diet like this can benefit toddlers and children but a parent should stay away from this type of diet for their newborns.

Before a parent decides if a vegan diet is right for their children, I they should research and read as many books on this subject. Discuss what is the proper nutrition is with their physician.

My heart goes out to the families who have lost their children.

30 Hubs in 30 Days

Im taking part in the March 2010 Helpful Health Hubs Contest of 30 Hubs in 30 Days. Visit my other Hubs and help with the celebration of Health & Wellness Month.
Im taking part in the March 2010 Helpful Health Hubs Contest of 30 Hubs in 30 Days. Visit my other Hubs and help with the celebration of Health & Wellness Month.

Newborn on a Vegan Eiet

Should you start your newborn on a vegan diet?

  • Yes, it is very healthy.
  • No, this is neglect.
See results without voting

© 2010 Sandy Mertens

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What is your opinion on this issue? 28 comments

richardheft profile image

richardheft 6 years ago from Stratford, CT

It's a bad idea. The vegan diet is a low protein, low fat diet, good for weight loss and or spiritual development, for someone a lot oldwer who doesn't work, is celeibate and meditates all day long. I've questioned and counseled thousands of people as an Acupuncture Physician and Nutritional Counselor (FL 1992- 2002) and owner, operator of a health food store, Food and Thought, Hollywood, FL (1984- 2001). The majority of people, children and adults on long-term low protein, low fat vegetarian, vegan diets (salads, tropical fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, juices and dairy) were thin, anemic, sick, pale, losing their hair, had thin skin, cracked nails, infertile, etc. If i had a child I would not raise him, her as a vegan. I have also eaten every diet imaginable: lacto ovo vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, vegan (years+), raw food, sproutarian, fruitarian and macrobiotic (10 years). In te beginning I felt great. I was in my early twenties. Four years later I started getting real sick. I am now in my late fifties and eating a lacto vegetarian diet, for the most part.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Thumbs up, until a child or person has the mind of thinking for themselves, the parents they must follow the regulated recommended baby food for strong bones and body, plus mind. What might be good for one might not be good for all. Thanks for writing this outstanding hub, it is, in my opinion this fact are true...


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK

I am a vegetarian and I have brought both of my children up as such. They are very healthy and have always been so. They eat eggs and dairy but not meat. Bringing your child up as a vegan is a totally different ball game. It is more difficult to provide the correct fats; infants and young children require high amounts of fats for proper brain development. I suspect it is possible to bring your child up as a vegan but not without considerable knowledge on the matter. One thing I am pretty sure of though, is that breastfeeding for the first two years of life is necessary if a parent is adopting a vegan diet for their child. Breastmilk is 50% fat. It doesn't sound as though the infants in the examples you gave were being breastfed and therefore did not consume enough calories or the correct nutrition.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

You are right Polly. They might have survived if they were breast feed. But maybe that went against their way thinking.


sukkran profile image

sukkran 6 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

hi, sandy. some of my neighbours are strict vegetarians. they brought up their children with these only veg foods. they are healthier than so called non-veg babies. truth is different from these experts opinion and datas. even though my family is a strictly non-veg one, i vote for veg foods!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

This is a very well written hub. I am a Vegan and I would like to say the first person that commented that he doesn't know what they hell he's talking about. Vegan diets are not low protein. Vegan get all the protein they NEED from broccoli, tofu, nuts, etc. It's "some" of non-vegans that are getting TOO much protein and other garbage that's pumped into foods putting you at higher risk for many diseases and health ailments. Do you know any vegans with cholesterol, heart disease, migraines? Oh...that's right you don't. Why are women who have had breast cancer recommended to start a vegan diet and men who have prostate cancer have actually have reversed affects of the cancer when switching to a vegan diet? Vegan diets can eliminate your chance for Cancer and oh....how about the fact that dairy is being linked to Autism in children. Just because you have been fed beliefs your whole life that you need to eat products coming from animals doesn't mean its true! New studies prove more and more everyday how much you are damaging your body so before you open your mouth and say something that really has no scientific backing...rethink your silly comments because those of us that know that we are vegans and we are healthy and get all the protein and fat our bodies need...think you...MR. ____ are a fool.

That being said..I believe the author brought up a wonderful point because I remember watching the new about this infant. There are plenty of infants that are brought up vegan and are perfectly healthy but I also believe that if the child had proper health care then they would know that their baby was unhealthy. Most vegan mothers will breast feed their baby but if not there are soy alternatives. Not commercial soy however... there is a special soy formula with vitamins essential for newborns.

This was a well written hub. I am so tired of reading vegetarian or vegan hubs everyday on Hubpages that are just ridiculous full of garbage that the author has no clue what their talking. I appreciate that Sandyspider did not judge either way but merely presented the facts and her opinion which is very respected. From a vegan that is tired of the shallow comments.....thank you!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

I appreciate everyones enlighten point of view on here. Thank you theherbivorehippi for your compliment. I have to add that in the cases above, if my baby was severely underweight, alarms would be going off in my head to seek medical treatment right away.

I intentionally did not want to be judgmental and I do look at both sides of every issue. After all I have eight legs and do not want to step on any toes.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I think it all depends on the person but then with a baby it would be harder to tell. I was a vegetarian for a while but I got really, really sick. Of course that was years ago and there is a lot more information now about things than there was back in the 'dark ages' but it all boils down to research and knowing what you are doing - for yourself or your kids.


rwelton profile image

rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

Good Post- I am not a Vegan, but many millions are, in many cultures. It is not the diet. Protein is available in a Vegan diet.

Bob


a2z Support profile image

a2z Support 6 years ago from Canada

I'm not a vegan, vegetarian or anything that starts with a V for that matter, but I respect those who are and their beliefs. From my knowledge of diets of vegans and omnivores, I know that both have their pros and cons. However the biggest con of being a vegan is arbitrary -- vegans are usually thinner than normal with not as much muscle mass. Some people are ok with that which is totally fine, thus making there no definite con of being a vegan. Many studies have shown vegans to be healthier, have longer life spans and are at a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases than people whoo eat meat.

However I find it irritating when people bring up babies in the ways you described. I actually believe if they had the proper knowledge and also if the mothers breastfed the babies, then they would have been able to grow up like normal kids. This is a serious issue so thank you for bringing attention and awareness to it!


dreamlove 6 years ago

hi iam trying to loss 20 lbs right now and its very hard for me can i get some tips


WhiteOak profile image

WhiteOak 6 years ago from Georgia

Very well written hub Sandy. I agree with what many are saying here but the key comment made about if the child had proper health care then they would know that their baby was unhealthy-is 100% truth. I am not sure I could be a vegan but I do know I eat very little meat. Not having a child I really cannot comment on this. I do have a yorkie and he is on a vegetarian diet and has been be for the last two months. He is healthier in his 11 years of life than I have ever seen him. I have to admit, if I did have a child chances are they would be raised vegetarian. You need to research, study and provide good health care regardless if you are an adult, child or the owner of a pet.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

This is a very infomrative article. I had not heard anything about these cases and am glad to know them. Poor babies that died! Vegan doesn't work for everyone.

I've seen at least one vegetarian bodybuilder in comepetions that was as big physiclaly as all the rest. Don't think he was vegan, though. Night have been.

Thumbs up again.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

Infants can be supplemented through the mother, as long as she is supplemented.

Also, vegetarian diets can include milk and dairy, depending on the particular diet. There are different types of vegetarian diets.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

This story was very sad. I'm not a Vegan, but feel for these poor parents. Through their fault they were the caused the death of their child which is punishment enough. They obviously come from an environment steeped in tradition, but common sense has to play a large part of your thought process when you become a parent. This was an excellent hub, thanks for the info. Rated and stumbled


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Thanks for the rating and stumbling.


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

Very well researched and interesting hub, I never knew parents could take things so far. I don't understand why they simply didn't breast feed their child, it's natural and it would never betray their vegan principles. It's good to have articles that raise awareness, especially when newborns are concerned.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Internetwriter62, My thoughts are that these two couples considered this animal flesh even though was their breast. I am sure there are vegans that breast feed.


blackreign2012 profile image

blackreign2012 6 years ago

Babies need to eat whether it be breast milk, formula, or baby food when they get to that point. I know parents have to be mindful not to OVER feed but the babies described above clearly weren't getting fed at all. Such a shame. Folks should look before they leap smdh


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

blackreign2012, I agree.


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

If it were my child I would stick to nutritional guidelines provided. But I wonder how vegans around the world manage it, it must work under some circumstances.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Mulberry1, I think education on this subject is the key.


stephanie 5 years ago

First off..... Why do these parents think they cant give their children breastmilk? i mean it is animal milk they want to avoid NOT THEIR OWN BREASTMILK!!! This is INSANITY!

Vegan diet is VERY BAD for children. No one should raise their child on this diet no matter what. Children (especially those under the age of 5 , including the time spent in the womb) need fats , protein, vitamins and other nutrients found in animal products for brain and body development. Artificial vitamins in supplements just DO NOT cut it, and are possibly harmful.

Once a child is grown and completely done developing (mentally and physically), at least the age of 21, then if they choose can go on a vegan diet. IF they want to be nutritionally deprived.

that being said No one should eat meat dairy or eggs from the grocery store. It is very unhealthy, most likely as unhealthy as a vegan diet, or worse. Additives hormones antibiotics pasteurization etc. Factory farmed animals are feed the lowest quality feed legally allowed( including GMO corn not approved for human consumption) and are extremely unhealthy- their meat, milk and eggs are therefor also unhealthy and lack the nutrients their healthy counter parts contain.

This is most likely the reason why vegans appear to be healthier than the mass population. But if someone were to study a vegan persons health compared to someone who eats meat milk and eggs from healthy 100% organic pasture fed animals - i guarantee the latter would be far healthier.

Meat dairy and eggs need to be purchased from local organic farms.

theherbivorehippi --- do some more research on soy . it is not that good for you *and i dont just mean commercial soy, i mean ALL SOY*. especially in the mass quantities that vegetarians and vegans consume it. Soy should be fermented before being consumed. An occasional serving of non fermented soy will probably not cause harm. But vegans and vegetarians consume soy everything* on a daily basis* and most of it is not fermented

http://riversidechiropractic.com/unhealthy%20soy.h...

There is some information on this page but i suggest doing further research


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Thank you for your input Stephanie.


Career Coaching 5 years ago

My sister fed her babies nothing but breastmilk for 8-9 months and then introduced cereals and fruits and vegetables. I don't think the vegan diet was to blame for the baby's death; I think they pretty much starved the baby to death...there are newborns that weigh 10-11 lbs. If that 11 month old weighed 13 lbs, there were obviously other issues going on--13 lbs would be about right for a 2-3 month old.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Career Coaching, I think it was a combination of both.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 19 months ago from Oakley, CA

There is a serious caveat here, that the guilty parents totally neglected.

A newborn should be breast-fed. Period. That does not violate a vegan ethic; it is a natural as vegans want to be. "Dairy" by definition, is milk and milk products from other animals, from farming practices.

I'm a vegetarian myself, and I, too, wish I had the discipline to go vegan. Like you, I like cheese too much.

Once a child is weaned, there is no issue with a vegan diet. As long as that diet is well-balanced, and supplements are added (if needed), there should be no problems. Substituting soy products for breast milk is a very bad idea prior to weaning, however. This is where those folks took a very bad wrong turn.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 19 months ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

DzyMsLizzy The parents did take a wrong turn for sure.

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