Contributors: Dr Roman Pawlak (Author)
Genre: Books, Diet & Nutrition
The idea of adhering to vegan and/or vegetarian diets during pregnancy and lactation or feeding such diets to young, fast growing children and adolescents is of great concern to some physicians and other health care professionals. The concern mainly has to do with potential nutritional deficiencies vegetarians may be at risk of. While such concerns have some merits, research studies clearly showed some potential advantages (e.g. higher birth weight, longer breastfeeding duration, lower prevalence of childhood obesity) of adhering to vegetarian diets during these critical stages of life. Furthermore, research studies identified nutritional deficiencies among non-vegetarians. Other studies highlighted serious adverse effects of meat intake during pregnancy and childhood (e.g. fetal growth restriction, increased risk of childhood brain cancer). Physicians and other health professionals should realize that vegetarian diets are here to stay. They should also be aware of the potential adverse health outcomes related to meat intake. It also seems prudent that, instead of discouraging vegetarian parents from adhering to plant based diets during pregnancy and from feeding them to their children, they should educate them about how to optimize nutrient intake to prevent nutritional deficiencies from occurring.
In this book readers will find an overview of dietary recommendations for early stages of life: pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescents. Consequences of and tips how to prevent nutritional deficiencies are outlined. Critical concerns many vegetarians have (e.g. is soy-based formulas or soy foods appropriate for infants and children, weight gain pattern during pregnancy, how to assess whether children’s growth is within norms) are described. I have written this book hoping to accomplish two goals: 1) it will become a tool to pregnant vegetarian women and parents of children and adolescent vegetarians to help them in optimizing their diet, and 2) health professionals will be able to use it to educate their vegetarian patients in ensuring healthy pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.