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Vegan Parents: Please Write to Nina Planck

I need your help. Because I don’t have children and my Ph.D. is in Applied Linguistics, not nutrition, a letter from me responding to Nina Planck’s opinion piece, "Death by Veganism," in today’s New York Times won’t pack as much punch as one from vegan parents or people who are experts in nutrition or biochemistry. (This, of course, won’t stop me from writing a letter.)

A couple of comments:

First, contributors to the NYT Op-Ed page don’t usually write their own headlines, so I’m not sure that we can hold Planck responsible for the title. The reason it’s infuriating is that Crown Shakur died from malnutrition (he weighed 3.5 pounds when he died at 6-weeks old). In fact, "[t]he lead prosecutor in the case, Chuck Boring, told the jury, ‘He just was not fed enough. They’re not vegans. They’re baby-killers.’" Yes, that’s harsh, but the point isn’t veganism; it’s ignorance. People who eat meat starve their kids to death, too, but you never hear anyone make the connection between meat-eating and starving children.

Next, because this is an opinion piece, and by design they tend to represent a views that disagree with what is in the rest of the editorial space, don’t think the editors don’t know that Planck’s opinion (which of course she presents as fact) might be a tad controversial.

Finally, because Planck used to be a vegan, and "concluded that a vegan pregnangy was irresponsible" (clearly, she didn’t do her research), AND because she is plugging her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why, and she is working on a new book, Baby Food, about diets for fertility, pregnancy, etc…, she is the perfect contributor for the opinion page.

Go to Nina Planck‘s website to learn more about her. Her opinions make sense, given her upbringing on a family farm. If you’re a vegan parent or a biochemist or nutritionist, e-mail her at, and educate her.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joe #

    My wife has been a vegetarian for 22 years and a vegan for 10 years. I am a strict vegetarian going on 7 years now. We have 2 children, ages 3 and 1 and another one due next month. My wife did not stray from her diet during pregnancy and both kids were born healthy and of normal size and weight. We are raising them as vegans and have encountered our share of questions and criticism about their diet. Here's the bottom line: The 3 year old is in the 50th percentile for height and weight and is she is extremely active and intelligent. The 1 year old is in the 50th percentile for weight and the 90th for height. He is also very active and intelligent. My wife breast fed both during their first 6 months, then they were switched to soy formula. Our kids have experience no detrimental side effects of their diet. To say that a vegan diet is irresponsible is one's own opinion. What I find to be irresponsible is feeding children chemically tainted fish and antibiotic and hormone-laden meat and milk. How anyone can advocate giving that to growing kids is a mystery to me, although the meat and dairy industry do contribute heavily to the government, which puts out the food pyramid and recommended daily allowances.
    The parents who starved their baby were uneducated and irresponsible, that's it. It is possible to be vegan and raise healthy vegan children, it just takes some knowledge of nutrition and personal responsibility.

    May 22, 2007
  2. Tara #

    But see something she wrote on 9/21/06 in the NYT:

    Leafy green sewage

    She spoke of "contamination of ground water, flood water and rivers — all irrigation sources on spinach farms — by the E-coli-infected manure from cattle farms…..The United States Department of Agriculture does recognize the threat from these huge lagoons of waste, and so pays 75 percent of the cost for a confinement cattle farmer to make manure pits watertight…..California’s spinach industry is now the financial victim of an outbreak it probably did not cause, and meanwhile, thousands of acres of other produce are still downstream from these lakes of E. coli-ridden cattle manure. So give the spinach growers a break, and direct your attention to the people in our agricultural community who just might be able to solve this deadly problem: the beef and dairy farmers."

    The beef and dairy industry have a gestapo monitoring the news, and are known to "buy" people.
    They may have co-opted her as one of their mouthpieces.

    May 22, 2007
  3. Peggit #

    I'll have her know, I'm vegan, and I have an IQ of 144, am in the gifted program, and can run a 6:03 mile, thank you very much.

    July 29, 2008

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