Vegans and birth defects? Get real.

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Vegans and birth defects? Get real.

The percentage indicates the daily recommended requirement for B12 found in each vegan food item above.

The percentages indicate the daily recommended requirement for B12 found in each vegan food item above.

A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that B12 deficiencies are associated with increased risk for neural tube defects. The study was done on blood samples taken in Ireland more than twenty years ago from pregnant women who came from a region where birth defects were common. The women were chosen specifically because they came from a region where people had no access to fortified foods or supplements.

This study, which was not conducted on vegans, nor about vegans, unleashed an attack on the vegan diet from steak eating journalists to hamburger loving celebrity TV doctors all across Canada.  The headline in the Vancouver Sun on March 2nd read “Vegan Diet Tied to Birth Defects” and the next day, Dr. Art Hister went on Global Morning News to warn against vegan pregnancies.  I mean, seriously now.  Do these people think vegans run around in the woods collecting sticks and berries for breakfast and live in caves?

As an ACTUAL vegan who lives in an urban environment, I shop at grocery stores just like my meat eating friends (actually, I probably go to better ones because I eat organic).  The almond, rice or soy milk I pour on my cereal in the morning are fortified with all the same stuff as nasty cow’s milk. The only things missing are the fat, cholesterol, blood, pus and cruelty. The cereal itself is also fortified.  At breakfast alone I get 100% of my daily vitamin B12 requirement.  By dinner time, I think I’m well over 300%.

My friend and LBC activist, Angela, recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl.  According to this proud vegan mom:  “she weighed 7lb 12oz at birth and is well into the 95th percentile.  I have every confidence that raising her vegan is the most healthful way”.  You should see baby Isabel and her rosy chubby cheeks.  Those pinchable cheeks make me want to make all sorts of silly baby sounds.

All the vegans I know, no matter their age, are on average healthier than the everyday meat eater.  Most vegans eat what they want, whenever they want to without worrying about high cholesterol, heart attack, type 2 diabetes or even B 12 deficiencies.  I think maybe 20 years ago, vegans had to actively think about vitamin deficiencies.  However, nutritionally balanced and fortified foods are readily available for vegans in almost every grocery store now.  It will take extraordinary circumstances before a vegan living in an urban area comes down with a vitamin deficiency of any kind.

So don’t let the bad journalism and alarmist doctors scare you away from a compassionate lifestyle.  Go veg, for yourself for the environment and for the animals!  You will feel healthier, happier and you’ll even look younger.


2 Comments

Becci

March 4, 2009 at 9:43 pm

“Do these people think vegans run around in the woods collecting sticks and berries for breakfast and live in caves?”

Hahaha! If so, I guess I’ve been doing it wrong!

Also, yes–Isabel is cute and SO chubby!!!

Ed Coffin

March 6, 2009 at 11:26 am

This kind of stuff drives me insane!

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