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Vegan Diet is Safe for Infants
[Houston Chronicle - opinion]
By DR. AMY JOY LANOU
As a nutritionist who testified as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial, I want to clear up some disturbing misunderstandings about the case. Vegan diets are not only safe for babies; they're healthier than ones based on animal products.
Unfortunately, not everyone talking about Crown's death is getting the facts right. Some are even misusing the tragic and confusing case to question the ethics and adequacy of vegan nutrition during pregnancy, lactation, infancy and childhood.
Yet one thing about Crown's death is very clear. He was not killed by a vegan diet. As the autopsy report stated, Crown died of complications of starvation. I was in the courtroom when the judge and jury were shown photographs of Crown right after he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The infant was literally skin and bones. His parents had fed him the wrong food for an infant -- soymilk and apple juice. But the real problem was that he was not given enough food of any sort.
The other reason Crown died was that his parents did not seek medical
care or even advice from a relative when it was clearly warranted.
Astonishingly, the father stated under oath that he didn't know
anything was wrong with Crown until right before he and the infant's
mother drove him to the hospital. That was the child's first visit to
any kind of health care practitioner.
Lanou is a senior nutrition scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and an assistant professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She is also the author of "Healthy Eating for Life for Children."