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How do I raise children and deal with the critics?

Answered by: Thea

I have some resources that should help you get started on being able to bolster your case. First, note the following quote from a position paper from the ADA: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

Also note this quote from Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die, page 411-412: “Vitamin B12-fortified plant-based diets can offer health benefits for all stages of the life cycle. [When] Dr. Benjamin Spock, the most esteemed pediatrician of all time,…died at ninety-four, he advocated children be raised on a plant-based diet with no exposure to meat or dairy products. … ‘Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods have a tremendous health advantage and are much less likely to develop health problems as the years go by.'”

PCRM is the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine, headed up by Dr. Barnard. Dr. Greger has mentioned Dr. Barnard and PCRM favorably in posts and his book. Here are two articles [12] from PCRM that I think contains the type of information you are looking for.

I’ll also refer you to a site called the Vegetarian Resource Group, VRG. Their articles are usually very well researched and Dr. Greger has mentioned VRG favorably at least once. VRG has a whole section on kids on their website. Here’s the main page. Scroll down to the Nutrition section.

This is one of my favorite articles on that page, which starts with babies and goes on up.

Finally, Becoming Vegan, Express Edition is a great over-all reference book for the whole family. It also has an entire chapter on children and what to feed. It also includes an age-based chart where you can get ideas on how much of each of the main nutrients your child needs at various ages. The authors of that book have been guest bloggers here on NutritionFacts. They are very well respected and extremely knowledgeable about nutrition science and how it applies to all ages.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

12 responses to “How do I raise children and deal with the critics?

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  1. I am pregnant with my fourth child and am now hearing all this talk about Probiotics for breastfed infants. Do breastfeeding infants really need a probiotic supplement? My understanding is breast milk provides everything an infant needs.

  2. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer with NF. We wish all the best to you and your baby from all of us at NF.
    Have you seen this video Dr. Greger did on probiotics?
    Probiotics, and supplements in general, have not been well studied. If they are not well studied, I would be hesitant to give them to your baby. I took a quick look at LactMed- a database for drugs and breastfeeding by The National Library of Medicine. There was nothing on probiotics. This again suggests it has not been well studied and I would be inclined to avoid it.

    Breastfeeding should provide everything the baby needs. Human milk provides lactic acid bacteria for the infant gut:

    All the best to you and your baby.

    1. Thanks for the info! I kinda figured they were unnecessary, but that really helped. Very interesting video as well.

  3. I´m a mother of two beautiful plant based kids since birth. I have had a wonderful pregnancy and my kids are growing accordingly. My kids have no shortage and they are intelligent and affectionate. They eat the same as their parents (lots of beans, whole grains, greens, fruits, nuts…)and enjoy simple things. They never get sick, or have allergies, otitis or gastroenteritis. I confess that I had my fears at first, but now I have it clear and I’m glad to be myself and raise them my way. I read joel furhman’s book about “raising your kids right” and it helped me a lot. If you have a plant based whole food diet, all you have to do is supplement with vitamin b12 , some sun exposure and enjoy watching them grow. I encourage you to ignore the comments of those who do not even know what they eat, but talk like real experts.

    1. Hello and thank you for sharing. My family follows a similar lifestyle and now have a son that just turned 1. Can you tell me what you use to supplement B12 at that age and the dosage? Thank you!

      1. Hi Amy, I breast feed my baby until he is 2 YO. So I’m kind of relax because I know he is getting some B12 from breast milk. But I supplement him since he was 6 months old, with 1000mcg of B12 once a week, beside the breast milk.

        Once he will be weaned, I’ll give him 2000 mcg once a week. If there is any excess, he will eliminate it, as B12 is water soluble and the excess is excreted in the urine.

        I hope this info can help you.

    1. In my experience, I do a balance healthy meal following the Harvard plate as reference. It must includes legumes, whole grain, and vegetables. Also fruit as dessert. For my kids I do just the same, but they eat the amount they desire or they feel they need. For very active adults It would be the same but bigger amount of food. ( The more calories you burnt the more healthy calories you have to eat later on from whole plants foods).
      All that plus a B12 supplement once a week.

  4. Hi,

    I eat plant based with my family at home since about 2 years now and i am now a mother of a 2 month old which i would like to raise also plant based. This is my 3rd pregnancy and the first i did totally vegan. I was surprised of how well it went without me eating a single drop of animal products, only suplemented wit B12 and some plant based Omega 3. I just came back from my pediatritian where i politely exposed this subject to him as i want to be well informed on how to do a well balanced and nutritional rich diet for my baby forehand way before we start introducing any solid foods from the 5th month on. My questions were more related to soy because im not sure if you can give it to a baby younger then 1 year old. But my doctor quite shockingly informed he is against it and it is actually forbidden here at least where we are (Germany) to do this for babies. He agreed that later on it has advantages but not for small children and babies. I said i am trying to inform myself the best i can about it but he said he is much better informed with all the latest scientific data. I do take B12 suplements (actually at the moment as i am breastfeeding i take a whole lot that includes also iodine, iron, etc, its a specific bundle for breastfeeding) and i just saw Dr Gregers video about the vegan baby who died because of the lack of B12. How can i be sure i am taking enough and is it really so unsafe to bring up my baby fully vegan? If not could you help me to provide evidence for me and my pediatritian that its not unsafe? Thank you

  5. Hi, Tania P! I would agree that soy milk is not for babies under 1 year old. Breast milk should be their main food. The recommended intake of vitamin B-12 during pregnancy is 2.6 micrograms per day. Taking more than that will not confer any additional benefits for you or your baby. I am glad you are taking iodine, as that is important for fetal development. I hope you are getting plenty of folate, as well. You can find everything on this site related to pregnancy here: Everything related to children may be found here: In addition, you may be interested in these resources: I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Christine

      Thanks for your reply. Maybe i didnt explain it very well, but i am not pregnant anymore, my baby was born 2 months ago and so far we are breastfeeding exclusively. So my question is not so much about pregnancy (since that is over and it went really well, i have a very healthy baby despite not eating animal products whatsoever, only suplemented with B12 and plant based Omega-3), but i was inquiring more in the direction of a babys nutrition between 5 months, when he starts solid foods and 2 years.
      Is it possible to do it fully plant based? If yes is there a meal plan template or guidelines i could follow? And about when my baby stops breastfeeding what is the recomended B12 dosage for him and what kind to give (tablets, drps, etc).
      I dont seem to find exactly this information im looking for, especially one i can present my pediatritian with.
      Thank you very much again.

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