Had a CNA tell me that being raised vegan causes harm because meat gives children important immune system building blocks, nutrients that can only be replaced with artificial supplements that pale in comparison to the real thing, prevents heart disease, and that they've seen vegans come into the hospital with organ failure because of their diet. This all sounds like bullshit to me, but I can't refute it. What do you think?
That is absolute bullshit, and I’ve never heard anything like that before. I’m actually pretty astounded that a CNA would say something like that. So thank you for your ask.
There is something I’ve learned over the years. Just because someone is certified in something, or they have a degree, it doesn’t mean their word is infallible. Especially if other people who are certified and knowledgeable refute those statements (not speaking about myself, but other doctors who recommend plant-based diets).
I’ve gone to a certified dietician, who herself was vegan, and recommended vegan diets for those who wanted to be healthier. She was employed by Arizona State University. You don’t employ a dietician who recommends a diet that will result in organ failure. That’s ridiculous.
ASU even has a page on their site for recommending students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Not about eating more meat and dairy. Again, they don’t seem to be worried about causing the deaths of their students by recommending eating more plant-based foods.
Here are a couple resources from vegan dieticians or dietician organizations:
There’s even a website for where you can find doctors who eat a plant-based diet. Clearly, those doctors aren’t concerned about organ failure or “immune system building blocks” from their diets. (I’ve never heard that phrase before so I’m not sure what it means, they may have been talking about the structure of protein and how plant-proteins are supposedly deficient, but that’s been debunked.)
And as far as raising kids to be vegan, ask yourself: what kind of foods do you find in the baby isle? Are infant foods made up of ham and cheese and beef? Fish and chicken and eggs? Or is it all sauces made of fruits and vegetables?
More and more people are raising their children vegan, and you never hear about all the healthy, happy, veggie-eating kids. You hear about the extremely rare situation of parents starving their kids into malnutrition - and then veganism is blamed for it. When the fact of the matter is, doctors specifically tell parents to feed their kids fruits and vegetables because it’s healthy for them.
And as for supplements paling to the “real thing?” We all take supplements, whether we know it or not. No matter what diets we have. Packaged foods, especially cereals and milks of every kind, are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Every meat-eater eats B12 supplements created in a lab - they just obtain it through animal feed via the cow or chicken or pig they just ate, rather than directly from the source. Sometimes the B12 is injected right into the animals because they can’t obtain B12 from plants any more than we can because of modern agricultural methods.
So your CNA doesn’t understand the basics of how we obtain nutrition in our foods, and that’s understandable. Being a certified nursing assistant does not make someone an expert in nutrition. My only concern is that they are repeating misleading (or just plain false) information, and presenting it as medical advice.
One last thought. It has been well-documented that eating less meat prevents heart disease. I’m also curious as to what specific organs they say will fail on a vegan diet, since no organ I know of relies on saturated fats and cholesterol to function.
Thank you for your question, and I hope this helped refute some of those (rather bizarre) statements.