Yes. You read that correctly.
Parents could potentially be jailed for feeding their children a vegan diet.
How? you might ask.
The Proposed Bill ( written in Italian ) was introduced by Italian parliament member Elvira Savino ( pictured below ) of the centre-right Forza Italia party.
“There is no objection if the person making this choice is an informed adult. The problem arises when children are involved… The vegetarian or vegan diet is, in fact, deficient in zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3.”
I concur with Ms. Savino that parents should be held accountable for their children(s) health and wellness. However to single out the “Vegetarian/Vegan Diet” sounds a bit fishy to me ( pun intended.) Why is it such an issue to feed a child copious amounts of fruits and vegetables, yet no one bats an eyelash at children shoving fast food into their mouths on a daily basis?
Not to mention, if said “informed adult” is raising their child(ren) on a Vegan diet, then why would they purposefully withhold or conceal the knowledge and information they have from their child(ren) and feed them a poor diet?; especially since they themselves know better?
The conglomerate of the Meat and Dairy Industries are not going to simply roll over without a fight. However, It seems to be a bit astonishing that they seem to be threatened by a mere 10% of Italians who have documented their choice of following either a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Which is slightly less than what is reported in the United States.According to Public Policy Polling: Overall 13% of the people we surveyed consider themselves to be either vegetarians (6%) or vegans (7%).
This all came about after several reports of Malnourishment in children occurred over a span of 18 months after allegedly ( and I say allegedly because who can know for sure ) being fed a vegan diet, according the the BBC. However, I find it hard to believe that these “vegan” children were the one and only cases of malnutrition that were discovered. Yet for some reason, it seems that they are the sole cases being given so much attention.
It makes one wonder…
The part I find difficult to *ahem* digest in her statement : “… The vegetarian or vegan diet is, in fact, deficient in Zinc, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Omega-3.”
That being said , let us take a look into the validity of her statement, shall we?
Below is a list of plant-base sourced nutrients in which a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet is accused of being deficient.
1.Plant-Based ZINC Sources:
- Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters
- Wheat germ
- Grains and Bread
- Leafy Green vegetables.
2. Plant-Based IRON Sources:
Dark Chocolate — Yummers! — (70-85% cacao solids contains more iron ounce for ounce than beef; a lot more! Beef comprised of 70% lean meat & 30% fat contains 2.11 mg of iron, while 3 oz. of dark chocolate boasts 10.12 mg. whoo hoo!) also Cocoa is a great option ( Powder, nibs, pieces etc.) Not to mention Chocolate pairs nicely with various fruit i.e. strawberries, raspberries, oranges etc., so it is quite easy to improve the Iron absorption rate by adding in the Vitamin C from the fruit.
Other great sources: Dried Fruit, Dark Leafy Greens, Tofu, Whole Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Spirulina and Black Strap Molasses.
3.Plant-Based VITAMIN D Sources:
Although there are Vegan D3 Supplements available, along with Vitamin D fortified Food, One of the best ways to get enough is from sunlight, with just 15 minutes per day providing great benefits. Since it’s absorbed through our skin and is a fat soluble vitamin, it’s important that we eat healthy fats ( like nuts and avocados ) and that we get enough time outside whenever possible ( just don’t over do it; use a sunscreen and avoid or limit sun exposure during peak hours; between 10 am – 2 pm.)
For Good Measure and to ensure that I have covered all of the Nutritional Bases, I use:
Child Life Vitamin D3 Drops: http://amzn.to/2c2PTFk. I simply pour 1 (one) drop into her Sippy cup whenever she has either Flax or Soy milk at nap times.
Child Life Multivitamin Drops: http://amzn.to/2c2PXoS . I usually give her 5ml with a meal ( preferably during or right after breakfast). The recommended dosage is 10ml, however, because I track her daily nutrient intake, I personally do not feel the need to give her 10ml since I am confident she is receiving the bulk of her daily vitamins from food, also it being a “supplement” I administer it as such. Use your discernment regarding any and all supplementation.
4.Plant-Based VITAMIN B12 Sources:
Fortunately, you don’t need to eat vast quantities to avoid deficiency. Nutritional yeast is a great source as well as fortified non-dairy milks and cereals all of which contain B12—just be sure to double check the label.
I sprinkle and add Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast: http://amzn.to/2bZ9WFT to many of the meals I prepare. It adds a hint of flavor and has a slight cheesy taste to it, however, it is Vegan and not too overpowering.
I mix in some Happy Baby ProBiotic Oatmeal, Brown Rice or Multi-Grain Cereal http://amzn.to/2c7sa9U into her Flax or Soy milk ( soy milk is also another great source of Vitamin B12 & protein) or I’ll prepare it as a traditional oatmeal and mix in some ground Flax, Chia seeds & Hemp hearts as well as her favorite non-dairy yogurt. It makes a great breakfast and snack!
5.Plant-Based Omega-3 Sources:
Flax seeds ( I prefer to use ground flax while cooking ) Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds are all phenomenal choices when it comes to omega-3. They are rich in fiber, protein as well as other nutrients that all provide many benefits.
Just taking a glimpse at the nutrition facts, Hemp Hearts http://amzn.to/2c7tY2T alone pack a pretty powerful punch!
Chia Seeds are a great source of protein: http://amzn.to/2c6vWj7
Ground Flax Seeds are also a great source of fiber : http://amzn.to/2bP058v
As you can see, with proper education and a little preparation a Plant-Based and or Vegan/Vegetarian Diet is fully capable of supplying each and every nutrient a child needs in order to grow and thrive!
Children are our future and their nutrition should reflect that. Separating families due to misinformation or an isolated incident of a parent(s) not having the proper education is clearly NOT the solution to the problem.