The Associated Press has a report today on all the substitute foods that vegetarian and vegan children should be eating to get the vital nutrients missing from meatless diets. This is by no means the first warning to parents that meat- and dairy-free diets can have devastating effects on kids’ health. Considering the amount of animal rights propaganda targeting today’s children, however, the AP’s report is an important reminder.
Even though childhood vegetarianism is on the decline, one in 200 kids still identified themselves as vegetarian in 2007. For them, the AP reports, dieticians recommend consuming soybeans, fortified soy milk, and nuts to replace the protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D they are missing out on (and could acquire from a single serving of meat a day). To get enough Vitamin B-12, kids will need to nosh on nutritional yeast, which is questionably described as having “a cheesy flavor.” (Sound delicious?) And don’t forget flaxseed, which is a source of linolenic acid – as are fish sticks and tuna sandwiches.
The animal rights philosophy is the main reason most of those one in 200 kids have cut meat out of their diets. But if vegetarian and vegan kids are going meatless for dietary reasons, they may want to think twice. The average teenager needs between 46 and 52 grams of protein a day. For vegan kids who don’t consume dairy products, meeting this goal isn’t easy. A cup of chickpeas has less than 12 grams of protein. That means that vegan youths will need to choke down more than a quart of beans every day just to get the recommended daily amount.
Unfortunately, health warnings like these haven’t struck animal rights activists as enough reason to stop telling parents that “vegan diets are not only good for kids, it’s a preferable diet for kids.” But from a nutrition standpoint, meatless and dairy-free eating habits are for the primary benefit of cows and chickens — not growing boys and girls.