Direct quotes from aforementioned CNA: "children need meats to prevent them getting heart diseases, and strengthen their bones and immune systems as they become adults." "Supplements don't come close to having the same amount of nutrients, or the health benefits real meat has." "Don't make your children miss out on the chance for a healthier life because you don't want something to die." (1/2)
Yeah, like I said, there’s just nothing to support any of that. There’s nothing derived from meat that we can’t get from plant/mineral/bacterial sources. There just isn’t. And this spate of people dying of organ failure from not having meat as children? They could be conflating malnutrition and caloric-deficiency in childhood to health issues later in life, which is certainly possible, but that has nothing to do with not eating meat. Are they treating patients from an area where starvation is a pervasive problem? Because that’s what is sounds like. Again, nothing to do with eating a plant-based diet, and having everything to do with not eating enough calories and getting enough nutrients. Human beings need many vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients to thrive, and the ones we need come from plants, bacteria, or mineral sources. Not only that, protein deficiency is basically unheard of in the US (again, I don’t know where you/they are located).
There is nothing in meat that we cannot derive from non-animal sources. Nothing. What are these nutrients they’re talking about? Iron? B12? Specific amino acids? They’re being rather vague about it, and it’s a lot more complicated than that.
As for supplements not working, that’s just not factually accurate? B12 deficiency runs in my family, and I have it too. All of my meat-eating family members who have it, have to take supplements. Meat isn’t enough. Ask any doctor and they will tell you the same. In fact, anyone over the age of 55 is strongly recommended to take B12 supplements no matter what they’re diet, because they will not be able to absorb the B12 as they age. And B12 comes from being bacterial fermentation done in industrial labs. It doesn’t actually come from meat.
I can provide you a ton of resources that show dairy and meat promote health problems, in children and adults. I can’t remember one instance of someone dying of organ failure from only not eating meat. And in fact, avoiding meat helps treat organ failure, such as kidney disease.
I don’t know where they’re getting the information. They neglect to mention the harms of saturated fats, hormones, antibiotics, and cholesterol found in meat and other animal products. They don’t talk about the detrimental health effects of people living in communities near slaughterhouses and industrial farms, unable to breathe the air due to pollutants from airborne fecal matter. They don’t speak on the absolute necessity of fiber and vitamins that can only be found from plant and bacterial-sources. I’m sure that individual means well, but none of what they said can be backed up by anything that I’m aware of.
The only explanation I can come up with is this person is talking about people with childhood malnutrition. Who ate nothing but rice or another staple grain and grew up with health problems. That definitely happens in many parts of the world where there is starvation and a lack of access to food. Without any other plants, vitamins, and minerals being given to them, in that case, yeah, it would look like people are getting sick and dying from not eating meat. I could understand that mistake. But it’s a case of malnutrition, not vegetarianism killing people.
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 sitefor 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 awebsite 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.