Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vegetarianism and Other Weighty Matters

Recognize that nutritional deficiencies may develop in infants who are fed nontraditional diets (eg, goat milk, vegetarian)

Minh is currently a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I did cheat twice with some bits of my ham sandwich and some chicken, but other than that he's not had meat. My main reason is that I think it's healthier, and I don't want to change stinky diapers. The fruity ones are bad enough. Eeew.

Anyway, Minh's weight percentile has dropped since I started working again when he was six months, and while he doesn't look like a refugee, just slender, I worry because I'm his mom. According to a recent Peds in Review article co-authored by a medical school classmate of mine, Minh is probably getting adequate B12 from his diet, since he consumes eggs every morning. He is also likely getting adequate protein, as most vegetarians consume more than the minimum amount of protein. He was tested at 6 months for anemia, and his hemoglobin level was fine, so I'm not as worried about that. A lot of vegetarians eat high-fiber, low calorie diets, though, and that may be Minh's problem.

Now, if he were vegan, I would at this time be worried about his B12 levels, as well as calcium, folate, iron, and zinc. Right now, though I think that I just have to introduce him to more fatty foods, and foods that have omega 3 fatty acids. I'm thinking greek yogurt and tofu right now. I've got the Moosewood Collective cookbooks I like out in front of me, and I'm planning on vegetarian mayhem tonight.

Abbreviations: FTT

1. Renda and Fischer. Vegetarian Diets in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics in Review (2009)

2. Goat's milk sounds like something you need to know about for the boards and nowhere else. Here's a comparison from people who sell goat milk (keep that in mind). http://www.adga.org

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