is the only legitimate criticism of a healthy vegan diet
are no other nutritional deficiencies caused by a vegan diet of
whole plant foods - in other words, there is no chance of calcium,
amino acid, protein, vitamin D, essential fatty acid, zinc, or
iron deficiency - except B-12 deficiency. To avoid controversy
from the scientific community or any criticism of my recommendations,
I have for the past 25 years made a clear, consistent recommendation
in all of my books and tapes about B-12. This is what I have written:
If you follow our diet for more than 3 years or if you are
pregnant or nursing, then take a minimum of 5 micrograms of B-12
a day. This recommendation avoids all risk of dietary-caused
B-12 deficiency - the human body stores a 20 to 30 year reserve
of B-12 in most people.
deficiency is usually accompanied by minor problems, like a well-tolerated
anemia that is easily reversible with supplementation with the
vitamin and/or changes in the nervous system, like tingling sensations
(paresthesias) that are reversible until late stages. On very
rare occasions more serious neurological consequences, like the
kind of poor development in these two children, have been reported.
When the victims are children with brain damage, the emotional
juices of the sensation-seeking public flow overboard.
B-12 sufficient diet causes serious illnesses for billions of
this risk of B-12 deficiency from avoiding all animal products
against an opposing stand of assuring sufficient B-12 by eating
lots of meat, poultry and dairy products - in other words, the
the unborn infant the consequences of mother following the Western
An abnormally large baby that is too big to fit through the mother's
birth canal, and therefore requiring a cesarean section - the
medical description is "failure of progression of labor."(1)
Twenty-five percent of mothers deliver by this major surgery
in the USA.
Thousands of birth defects annually, of which most are known to
be due to too little folic acid in the expectant mother's diet.(2)
Folic acid is from foliage, in other words, plants. Birth
defects from folic acid deficiency include spina bifida (the spinal
canal fails to close in development of the spinal cord, and when
left exposed, often causes paraplegia), and anencephalia (where
the child is born without a brain). Heart deformities, cleft palate,
and many other birth defects are also caused by eating too few
vegetables by the mother prior to and during early pregnancy.
You will never see folic acid deficiency in a healthy vegan mother.
the young child the Western diet causes:
The beginnings of atherosclerosis, known as fatty streak development.
Children raised on cow's milk, meat, and other delicacies found
on a typical B-12-sufficient Western diet show fatty streaks in
their aorta beginning at 9 months of age and all children on this
diet have this artery damage by age 3 years.(3)
These streaks evolve into well-known heart attacks and stokes
Obesity and overweight affect at least 25% of children on the
Western diet. Approximately 22 million children under 5 years
of age are overweight across the world.4
you have any doubts about the wisdom of a healthy vegan diet then
look around your neighborhood. Children on B-12-sufficient diets
with lots of ice cream, milk, hot dogs, egg muffins, and chicken
nuggets are fat and sick. The obvious signs and symptoms are snotty
noses, ear infections, stomach aches, and headaches. Get to know
them better and you will find them constipated with bloody bowel
movements. The pain and suffering inflicted on children by the
American diet is so brutal that if it were administered with a
stick, parents would be put in jail. Because the instruments of
injury are a fork and spoon, everyone ignores the agony as if
nothing was out of the ordinary, and nothing could be done to
remedy the problems - you know so well that is not true.
the Adult the Western diet causes:
order to avoid a one-in-a-million risk of an anemia or neurological
problem caused by a vegan diet alone, you risk a:
in 2 chance of dying prematurely of heart disease,
1 in 10 chance of breast or prostate cancer,
65% chance of being at least overweight
22% chance of being obese
almost certainty of arthritis, indigestion and/or constipation.
(I could go on for several pages)
have faith that a low-fat vegan diet, based around unrefined starches,
vegetables and fruits, is the healthiest diet for men, women and
children (after the age of 2 years). From birth to 6 months babies
should be exclusively breast-fed. After 6 months, solid foods
in the form of starches, vegetables and fruits, are added in increasing
amounts and breast milk is continued until at least 2 years of
age. Failure to breast feed puts your child at a high risk of
death and disease.1 Follow my recommendations for B-12 (above)
by finding a reliable B-12 supplement in the natural foods store.
If you have any question about your B-12 status you can have your
blood checked for your body's B-12 levels. (Deficiency is a level
less than 150 pmol/L).
might ask, "Why would a diet so perfect in all other ways
be deficient in a necessary vitamin?" Most likely the answer
is that we live in an unnatural world these days. Remember, B-12
is made by bacteria. Our world is sterilized because of an irrational
fear of germs. Once people consumed trillions of helpful B-12
producing-bacteria daily - they lived with their chickens, goats,
and horses. Today everything is sanitized by hand-washing, antiseptics,
antibiotics, mouth washes, and cleaning agents. To compensate,
we must add back B-12, or possibly, live more naturally, like
I do, with my B-12 producing dog, cat, and birds.
McDougall J. The McDougall program for Women. Plume, 2000.
Kalter H. Folic acid and human malformations: a summary and evaluation.
Reprod Toxicol. 2000 Sep-Oct;14(5):463-76.
Holman R. The natural history of atherosclerosis. The early aortic
lesions as seen in New Orleans in the middle 20th century. Am
J Pathol 1958;34:209.
Deckelbaum RJ. Childhood obesity: the health issue. Obes Res.
2001 Nov;9 Suppl 4:239S-243S.