Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Death by Ignorance

If you haven't already, check out this op-ed from the New York Times entitles "Death by Veganism". Also check out other bloggers who have posted their response to the article, including urban vegan, vive le vegan, and lifestyles of the chic and vegan. I could hardly believe what Nina Planck, a self-proclaimed nutritionist, was writing about nutrients that are lacking in a vegan diet. She uses the line, "I used to be vegan..." as if that somehow qualifies her to make completely ignorant and emotional statements.
She points out protein deficiency as a danger for babies on a vegan diet, ignoring research that has shown that one can consume all the essential amino acids from plant foods, without combining proteins. Then she goes on to talk about vitamin B12 deficiencies, which are easily remedied by including a supplement, fortified soy products, and nutritional yeast in your diet. She then seems to say that babies need cholesterol in their diets, even though our bodies make plenty on their own. Maybe she wants to have babies get a jump start on developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other "diseases of affluence".
Sorry for my ranting/raving and sarcasm, but this article really angered me. I think I will take some time to write a less emotional reply to the NYTimes explaining how damaging it is to run these types of completely biased and un-researched articles that lack scientific evidence. I will post this later as an update!

**** UPDATE 05/23/07 ****

So it took several hours last night after a longer than anticipated cooking night (more about that tomorrow), but here is my letter to the editor. My boyfriend was extremely instrumental, so I must thank him for our discussion and his many suggestions. 150 words goes fast!!

The NYTimes did the public a great disservice by publishing Nina Planck’s op-ed piece entitled “Death by Veganism”. She has taken a tragic, heartbreaking story of abuse and neglect and turned it into a self promoting attack on a way of life that seeks to reduce suffering and promote compassion. It would be easy to refute the majority of claims Ms. Planck makes concerning vegan nutrition using the vast amount of available well-researched, scientific evidence. According to Ms. Planck’s personal website, she is a “food writer and entrepreneur” not a registered dietician.

I ask the editor, did you publish this piece in order to start an open dialogue on the merits of a vegan diet, or simply as a media stunt to promote Ms. Planck and her “entrepreneurial” efforts to monopolize on the coincidental timing of this most unfortunate incident and the release of her book in paperback edition?


Petite Yogini said...

I can't remember for sure how old the baby was, but if I remember correctly, the baby was very young, and unfortuntly many young babied die of unknown causes. The article was pretty vague on what actually caused the death, I mean do they even know? How do they know it wasn't Sudden Infant Death Sydrome?

taskette said...

I found the article about the baby on msnbc 2 weeks ago.


Thanks for linking to that article in the NY Times! And Good Post!

Tamara said...

Your letter is great, thank you for writing it. I've been so infuriated by that horrible article and all of the buzz it has caused. Any newborn baby who is fed inadequately is going to starve and die, regardless of whether its parents are vegan or not, and (sadly) plenty of non-vegans neglect and abluse their children every day too. Grr...

mvegan said...

I totally agree with you, thank you so much (and your boyfriend) for writing the letter! :)
Check out my artwork helping animals: http://mvegan5.etsy.com

happykatie said...

So this is months late, but I too was incensed at the NY Times article. Talk about ignorance at its finest. Very nice letter to the editor. I never did see if there was any follow up to this article, although it certainly got the Blogosphere up in arms...