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Responding to question #7, Robb Wolf said (at ~55 minutes into the above noted episode):
“An underfed baby will not have adequate..will not have normal cognitive development. That is, ya know, the classic scenario when you’re looking at an underfed baby– which interestingly you actually see a lot of this stuff in like the vegan community, because even if the mother is breastfeeding, the mother’s breast milk is so nutrient deficient that the baby’s not doing well, and then beyond that..um..you know it’s a clear indication that when the baby is, has a failure to thrive, there’s a lack of body weight gain, and there’s a lack of normal, kind of psychomotor development…”
WHAT?! Did Robb Wolf actually say that the breast milk of vegan mothers is nutrient deficient?? Is he saying that “you see a lot of” vegan babies who are underfed…failing to thrive…lacking body weight gain…and lacking normal psychomotor development? Seriously?
That’s a bold statement: ”You actually see a lot of this stuff in like the vegan community.” Someone making a statement like that needs to back it up with some facts!
On 9/11/12 I went to the Robb Wolf website to ask for the reference:
“What exactly is the reference to Robb Wolf’s statement about “seeing a lot of this stuff in the vegan community?”"
CHRIS WILLIAMS (from the Robb Wolf website):
“Hi Elisa, here are a couple of examples (not to mention Robb’s own experiences and things he’s seen personally)
It’s not an attack against vegans, but it’s pretty much impossible to get everything necessary for human thrival on a diet without animal products without supplementation.”
So…what do YOU think about those examples?
The first example– of “seeing a lot of this stuff in like the vegan community”– is the case of one baby who died in France. The unfortunate 11 month-old died of a pneumonia-related illness. She was underweight and suffering from vitamin A and vitamin B12 deficiencies. She was reportedly fed “only on her mother’s milk.” Her mother just happened to be vegan.
Is this a fair example? NO!! This baby should have been started on solid food months before. Breast milk shouldn’t be the exclusive food source for an 11 month-old infant. This is NOT a failure of the vegan diet. This is a failure of parenting, in general.
The second example– of “seeing a lot of this stuff in like the vegan community”– is the case of one baby (a 5 month-old) with a vitamin B12 deficiency. The deficiency was “due to low vitamin B12 concentrations in the maternal breast milk.” The case did not indicate whether the mother actually came from “the vegan community” or not.
What the case did indicate was that the mother was found to have classical (Addisonian) pernicious anaemia and hypothyroidism. Is pernicious anemia unique to vegans? NO!!
Is this a fair example? NO!! Fortunately, the baby in the second case example was treated with B12 and showed a “rapid clinical and haematological improvement.”
Let’s still learn from this…
- Everyone needs vitamin B12. Everyone should have vitamin B12 levels checked periodically.
- Vegans should supplement with a B12 supplement.
- Non-vegans may also need to supplement, because vitamin B12 deficiency is not only a “vegan issue.” Besides cases of pernicious anemia, people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods.
Dear Robb Wolf,
Please stop talking out of your paleo ass about vegan babies.
Dear Chris Williams,
To use your words..it’s “pretty much impossible” to take you seriously when you provide such ridiculous examples.
(thriving without killing animals…with the intermittent help of a modern world supplement that is cheap and readily available )
Things That Make Me Go “Huh?”
EXHIBIT A: DAIRY RELIEF
While working with an elderly woman for therapy at the skilled nursing facility, I noticed this empty packet on her breakfast tray. It would appear that my patient is lactose intolerant, which means she produces insufficient levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose (milk sugar) into glucose and galactose.
This chewable tablet is taken for the purpose of being able to consume lactose– i.e. dairy products– without incurring the symptoms of lactose intolerance: abdominal bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
What is milk? Food for babies.
Once solid food is introduced, it’s the natural progression for mammals to wean off momma’s milk. People do it. Cows do it. Goats and sheep do it.
It’s natural to stop drinking milk after infancy (including the early toddler years). It’s normal to stop producing lactase, because you shouldn’t need lactase if you won’t be consuming lactose.
If you produce the lactace enzyme beyond the typical age of weaning, it’s called lactase persistence. Worldwide, lactace persistence is the exception, not the rule.
I grew up thinking it was normal to drink milk from cows. This is because I was indoctrinated by my dairy-consuming culture to think this way. I never questioned it because it was all that I knew. It never occurred to me that humans drinking cow’s milk is actually quite bizarre.
Alas, the dairy industry is a propaganda machine. So is Big Pharma.
Who concocted the idea that lactose intolerance– a normal biological process– should be considered a medical condition? Dairy producers? Drug companies? Both?
Brilliant, huh? Dairy producers are happy because they can keeping pushing dairy products on people. And pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to supply people with just the right pill to “pop.”
Dear Lactose Intolerant People,
THINK about it. You don’t need dairy products. Milk from a cow (or a goat or a sheep or any other animal) is not a dietary necessity for humans. If your body is telling you that you cannot properly digest lactose, then LISTEN and STOP. It really is that simple. And, not only are dairy products not necessary, but they are actually implicated in a variety of preventable human diseases.
There are also significant ethical problems with dairy, whether produced by small or large scale operations, and whether produced by conventional or organic dairies.
I haven’t consumed animal milk for nearly 4 years. Weaning off animal milk is much easier than you might think. Once you take dairy out of your diet, you might just say “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
I am happy to help anyone who needs help weaning off dairy. Contact me.
In closing, taking a pill– Dairy Relief– to digest a substance that is completely unnecessary in the human diet just makes me want to go “Huh?”