You are here

Proteins and Amino Acids

So I went and saw a dietician the other day.  I was highly disappointed in what she told me.  First: a bit of background info.
I am a vegan because Vegetarian is the only way I stay on top of an eating disorder and my son (17 months) is allergic to both dairy and eggs.  So, that simply makes my house a vegan house.
I am a full time college student (my major is actually dietetics) and a single mom.  Therefore, my son goes to government funded daycare which does not allow me to take his lunches.  It's a USDA guideline.  Please do not judge.  If you do, please keep it to yourself. 
The dietician jumped down my throat for feeding my son a vegan diet at home.  He eats only one meal a day that has meat.  She told me that the body can only absorb animal based amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).  I even told her the stance of the ADA that says a "well-planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life including infancy." She still went on about how plant based proteins are the "wrong type." 
I am under the impression that there are complete proteins which have high levels of the essential amino acids and incomplete proteins but when paired with other incomplete proteins make for a complete protein (ie: brown rice and beans).  I also am under the impression that a balanced vegan diet can provide all the essential amino acids and that the typical American non-vegan diet gets way too much protein to begin with.
All that being said, does anybody have any GOOD, RELIABLE, and preferably peer-reviewed resources that they can point me too?
What is a professional way to offer some education to her?  Is there a way to do that?
I want to make sure that my son is getting the best possible diet available.
Another interesting note, the dietician for my local WIC office (thank you taxpayers! my part time job simply doesn't pay the bills. I truly am grateful!) is a MUCH MUCH older lady and was super receptive to what I had to say and said I'm doing a great job and that I was the most educated person on nutrition that she has seen who isn't a dietician. 
Any advice or info on good info would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

I found this from the American Dietetic Assoc.

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=8060&terms=vegan%2b+children

It is not a scholarly presentation but meant for the average person however the source is respectable.

I enjoy research and will keep looking a bit

0 likes

found a better article that is research based.

Go to http://www.eatright.org/search.aspx?search=vegan%2b+children&type=Site  and download the PDF of their position paper on vegetarian diets. 

Part of the position statement reads:  Well-planned vegetarian diets
are appropriate for individuals during
all stages of the lifecycle, including
pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood,
and adolescence, and for athletes.

If a dietitian wants to argue with the ADA after being shown the evidence, I would find someone else to work with.  The article does point out areas of concern and how to mitegate them.

0 likes

Here are a few scholarly abstracts to help you get started on your research.  Unfortunately you have to pay for the full articles on most peer reviewed specific medical/adademic/scientific studies but the abstracts do provide some good information surrounding the studies and they are from very reliable sources, not quacks or those who might be biased one way or another.  Also, if you havent checked it out already, there is an excellent book called "Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant Based Diet" by Brenda Davis, R.D. & Vesanto melina, M.S., R.D.  This book explains every aspect of the vegan diet and nutrition (explaining proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, etc)  in great detail and includes whole chapters for infants, children, athletes, elderly, etc. It is an excellent way to introduce a vegan nutrition guide to those willing to learn and to also educate yourself so that you can make better arguments for your own and your child's health against what others are trying to tell you. 

http://www.ajcn.org/content/48/3/822.abstract?sid=fc735c72-ad3b-4c56-8897-d35f081fff9a

http://www.adajournal.org/article/S0002-8223(01)00167-5/abstract

http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/infants-and-children.aspx

I am not sure what your reasons for seeing the dietician were, but if this one is not willing to work with you or your child's needs than I imagine you have the right to "fire" her and see someone else?  I would not waste my time trying to argue with someone who is adament that a vegan diet is wrong. No peer reviewed study will change their mind trust me.  There are millions of people out there who have lived vegan for many years and still thrive.  Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, lived to be in his 90's and was vegan for most of his life.  He certainly didnt have a protein deficiency.  I know your options are limited due to your circumstances but you do not have to put up with that.  If I could not find a dietician willing to work with me under the circumstances, I might choose to find a doctor with more of an open mind.  This is what I have done in other areas of my life (ie hormone problems due to loss of ovaries/hysterectomy).  I see a doctor through a free clinic (I too am a student living on a part time income and struggling with my own issues) and fortunately for me she is also a naturopathic doctor as well as M.D. and has literally saved my life for the last six years.  I see her on a sliding fee scale.  In the meantime get that dietics degree and then you can educate the world with your own vegan educational resources and research and help another person struggling in an omnivore world!  Good luck with everything!

0 likes

What is a professional way to offer some education to her?  Is there a way to do that?

I have a better idea.  Ask this person to give YOU descent evidence of her professional opinion.  I doubt she can find many reliable sources.

0 likes

What is a professional way to offer some education to her?  Is there a way to do that?

I have a better idea.  Ask this person to give YOU descent evidence of her professional opinion.  I doubt she can find many reliable sources.

i like this idea! i find that when omni's act like they know it all health-wise and you ask them to further explain their opinion/ fact they are usually unable to do so... i usually just listen and say, "oh really..." (sounding generally interested) and then i start questioning their claims and asking them tons of questions which they are usually unable to answer since their outburst is usually opinion driven after 1 nutrition class... experts! lolssss

0 likes

If you want an extensive scientific peer reviewed study, refer her to the China Study. It is the most extensive study on nutrition that humans have ever completed. It was widely peer reviewed by ivy league and Oxford PhDs all (meat eaters) trying to knock it down. It concludes that the number one cause of all major health problems today in humans is animal protein.

But, if you want to get clever, ask her a few questions (be confident, you're armed with the truth):

Ask her a real simple one to start, which will infuriate her: do you know how much dietary fiber animal flesh contains? Any answer other than 0 is wrong. Source: the USDA.

Do you know why the country that promotes, produces and consumes more dairy than any other country in the world has the highest rate of osteoporosis in the world? Source: the USDA, the AMA, and The China Study.

Did you know that the US National Cancer Institute has a *quietly* published a *fact* sheet that provides conclusive evidence that cooked meat contains known carcinogens? Most common methods of cooking coat the meat with substances called HCAs and PAHs that "alter the chemical structure and DNA of your body's cells." These carcinogens are formed from heating creatine, and substance found only in human and animal flesh, not in plant sources. Source: NCI at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cooked-meats

Did you know that meat, after a few hours has rigor mortis, and contains synthetic steroid hormones that have proven to be harmful to humans, including causing breast cancer? Source: Cornell U. http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/Factsheet/Diet/fs37.hormones.cfm

Did you know that 70% (29 million pounds!) of the antibiotics administered in the US are given to livestock right before they are butchered and their rotting parts are sold? Source: The US FDA cited in this article in The Atlantic magazine: http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2010/12/for-the-first-time-the-fda-tracks-antibiotics-in-our-meat/67923/

Did you know that 50% of the meat tested at supermarkets tests positive for stapph infection? And since it has made it past all those antibiotics, it is an antibiotic resistant strain of stapph? Source: A scientific study cited in this CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/15/bacteria.in.half.US.meat/index.html

Also, ask her basic questions about bio-chemistry: Do you know what composes, what are the "building blocks" of protein? Chains of amino acids, right? (<--if she knew this) Do you know that since the amino acids are already digested by animals and formed into animal protein, animal flesh when eaten must be broken down from protein back into amino acids again, and then made back into chained protein for human digestion? That is just how our bodies and protein works. Ask her questions to see if she knows any of this. Then ask her if it is not more efficient and healthy to build your protein straight from amino acids rather than tear it down from meat of other animals and build it back up?

Before this discussion, you could print out these articles and links and have a little folder with the information that you can give to her.

0 likes

chaff: i posted some of your comments on FB... the calcium and staph infection one... thanks <3 btw why are you not my FB friend?!

0 likes

AML: make sure you run spell check on them, I re-read and lots of misspellings.

I am not sure, why haven't you ever invited me to be?

0 likes

AML: make sure you run spell check on them, I re-read and lots of misspellings.

I am not sure, why haven't you ever invited me to be?

too late

and find me Amy Love, Mission Viejo, CA

0 likes

AML: make sure you run spell check on them, I re-read and lots of misspellings.

I am not sure, why haven't you ever invited me to be?

too late

and find me Amy Love, Mission Viejo, CA

Off topic warning.  Small world.  My DD was born in the Mission Viejo hospital

0 likes

LOL i was born there too :)

0 likes

Awesome information above.  I just want to say I'm dismayed and disgusted that someone that is a "dietician" is spreading such false information and down idiodic information that anyone with or without a college degree knows isn't true.  "She told me that the body can only absorb animal based amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).  I even told her the stance of the ADA that says a "well-planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life including infancy." She still went on about how plant based proteins are the "wrong type."

I'm saddened that my tax dollars are paying for her to brainwash people, and it's brainwashing pure and simple.  What's even sadder is the American public without question believes it...."children HAVE to have meat...children NEED milk or they will be malnourished". 

End of rant.  Thanks for allowing me to vent.

0 likes

Awesome information above.  I just want to say I'm dismayed and disgusted that someone that is a "dietician" is spreading such false information and down idiodic information that anyone with or without a college degree knows isn't true.  "She told me that the body can only absorb animal based amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).  I even told her the stance of the ADA that says a "well-planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life including infancy." She still went on about how plant based proteins are the "wrong type."

I'm saddened that my tax dollars are paying for her to brainwash people, and it's brainwashing pure and simple.   What's even sadder is the American public without question believes it...."children HAVE to have meat...children NEED milk or they will be malnourished".  

End of rant.  Thanks for allowing me to vent.

This is a rant-safe zone. I definitely understand. One thing I personally (have been veggie less than 2 years and vegan less than a year) have to keep in mind that not too long ago I believed all these lies, in fact I perpetuated them. I was an avid hunter and fisherman for many years, and encouraged others to as well. If I lose sight of this I tend to reach out to strangle, rather than embrace the closest omni.

One thing I wanted to say, after I posted a bunch of links to info/studys/stats, is that I am personally weary of the "show me a study" type of arguments. I think initially it may help with someone like this young (?) dietitian, to jar them into "wow, not everyone is completely brainwashed as I am..." mindset momentarily. But it is only momentary; they quickly go off and research that GAZILLION meat eater/producer-funded studies that show the (albeit few) benefits gained by eating meat. Also, none of the sources  I cited (including the China Study, even Dr. Campbell admits this) prove definitively that animal protein will harm you. That study simply will never exist, most likely. It is on a personal basis that each needs to see the truth. After all certain recreational drugs are highly dangerous, yet their sale and use contines and grows, because people seek pleasure from them. So this "show me the study" gets into a tit for tat that just causes both sides to dig in further, cherry picking the sources and conclusions to which they want to subscribe.

So, what to do? I am not sure. For me, what makes sense, what keeps it real, is to keep it simple: torturing animals is clearly wrong, eating meat (sat fat, LDL, antibiotics, hormones, etc) is unhealthy for me, and it is unnecessary, I will not do it. How to get others to see this? It is tough, because lets face it, the dietitians and nutritionists (and doctors, and scientists and government and TV, radio, etc, etc) are all telling and caught in these same lies, not just this isolated lady. Seeing the "unnecessary" part is key, I think. So long as I see something as needed, vital, essential, how can I question it regardless of health risks or resulting torture? So, just the fact that we live as vegans and are healthy is probably the best argument, I think, because we are living proof of the unnecessary part. But I am not sure. I have arguments (um "discussions") with omnis almost daily and I have never seen any of this (stats, studies, appeals to simplicity, animal rights, etc) ever work. The only times I have seen anything work is with the very few cases of someone who wanted a change away from the Standard American Diet to begin with.

Lately the "argument" (reasoning) I have been using is the other side's argument, just put into sharper focus. For instance, even the omnis (99% of them, the politicians, the dietitians, the nutritionists, the scientists, the doctors) agree that eating meat is unhealthy. ALL of them (practically all) say, "Stop eating it, don't eat so much, cut it WAY down, saturated fat and LDL promotes disease, etc." Meanwhile, ALL (nearly) of them say, "Eat more fruits and veggies!" Why would they say these things if eating meat was healthy, vital, essential? No one, for instance, is saying limit your carrot intact, ease back on the oranges you eat! Ah, because they know meat is unhealthy, it is, after all rotting flesh. The solution becomes clear, I do not have to wait for a study, because everyone says it is unhealthy already.

For lainie_d06: perhaps you could find a good pediatrician that is 100% behind vegan diet! They are out there, but you will have to shop around, perhaps a lot, depending on your area. THEN go back to this dietitian and give her the name/number of your pediatrician. Suggest that the two health pros fight it out. You can ask her, "Did you talk with my pediatrician?" if she attacks you or your children with this again. This may get her to step back and examine whether or not she is spreading complete horse manure to the public.

Though I was hunter/fisherman, I raised my daughter vegan for 8 years, before she begged to eat meat like her friends and I caved to her and her mom. You could not imagine a more healthy, glowingly beautiful child for those first 8 years. Her pediatrician was 100% on board and extremely helpful. It is possible and it is healthy so stick to your guns, and help her!

Hah, so there! I can out-do just about any length of rant! ;)

0 likes

No one, for instance, is saying limit your carrot intact,

Charlie, I just have to tell the story.  I do know of one case where an RN did tell someone to limit carrot intake. My oldest sister was an ER nurse for years.  One day she had a young teen girl come into the ER.  The girl had decided to become a vegetarian because of ethical reasons, however, the only veggies she liked were carrots.  She had eaten nothing but carrots of a few weeks and as a result had turned orange from the build up of beta carotene.  My sister, an omni, suggested to her that she needed to eat a more varied diet for her health.  She did not suggest going back to eating meat.

Also, I have seen fair skinned red head infants turn orange from too many carrots in the mixed baby food jars.  Fortunately, it is not a serious thing, mostly aesthetic.  In those cases, the pediatricians advised limiting babyfoods that included carrots but not totally avoiding them.

0 likes

No one, for instance, is saying limit your carrot intact,

Charlie, I just have to tell the story.  I do know of one case where an RN did tell someone to limit carrot intake. My oldest sister was an ER nurse for years.  One day she had a young teen girl come into the ER.  The girl had decided to become a vegetarian because of ethical reasons, however, the only veggies she liked were carrots.  She had eaten nothing but carrots of a few weeks and as a result had turned orange from the build up of beta carotene.  My sister, an omni, suggested to her that she needed to eat a more varied diet for her health.  She did not suggest going back to eating meat.

Also, I have seen fair skinned red head infants turn orange from too many carrots in the mixed baby food jars.  Fortunately, it is not a serious thing, mostly aesthetic.  In those cases, the pediatricians advised limiting babyfoods that included carrots but not totally avoiding them.

well SV those are extreme cases LOL... i don't think he meant it quite so literally :)

0 likes

No, seriously, I was wondering why parts of me were turning orange. And here I thought it was the dreamsicle i was dating.... ;))

But yes any attempt, other than Popeye, to eat a single food for a length of time will have adverse affects. I was more using oranges and carrots as a couple of a thousand examples. Sad that I used 2 orange colored examples too, cause it made that lame dreamsicle joke tough to come up with.

Of course I did turn yellow from consuming liquid corn as my only "food" for many years ;)

eta: well corn wasn't my *only* source, there was lots of liquid potatoes, rye and barley too.

eta2: It brings us back to a point tho about the baby food. Why, if humans are so naturally carnivorous, don't they make baby food out of pureed ham and roast beef? In sane idea, right? They make it out of beets, carrots, squash, peaches, etc, etc, etc, fruits and veggies. Why? Because it is most healthy and natural for a baby human to be an herbivore! I would be interested in our dietitian's (I feel like we all know her now...) response.

eta3: PUMPKIN!!! ...the *pumpkin* I was dating!!!! <--- Had a prof in college that called that staircase humor...you only think to say it on the staircase as you are walking away.

0 likes

Charlie, I understood your intent.  i just found the young orange vegetarian to be humorous and felt compelled to share.  Ahh, the enthusiasm and brainlessness of youth. :)>>>  However, you may be right about your dreamsicle.  ;)b

0 likes

Awesome information above.  I just want to say I'm dismayed and disgusted that someone that is a "dietician" is spreading such false information and down idiodic information that anyone with or without a college degree knows isn't true.  "She told me that the body can only absorb animal based amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).  I even told her the stance of the ADA that says a "well-planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life including infancy." She still went on about how plant based proteins are the "wrong type."

I'm saddened that my tax dollars are paying for her to brainwash people, and it's brainwashing pure and simple.   What's even sadder is the American public without question believes it...."children HAVE to have meat...children NEED milk or they will be malnourished".  

End of rant.  Thanks for allowing me to vent.

This is a rant-safe zone. I definitely understand. One thing I personally (have been veggie less than 2 years and vegan less than a year) have to keep in mind that not too long ago I believed all these lies, in fact I perpetuated them. I was an avid hunter and fisherman for many years, and encouraged others to as well. If I lose sight of this I tend to reach out to strangle, rather than embrace the closest omni.

Understood.  I was a meat eater myself up until 20 years ago, so I completely understand why and how someone comes to eat and defend eating meat.  I haven't been a strict vegan myself but two years.

It's the "the body can't utilize plant protein, it's the wrong kind" that bugs me.  Unless you are a nurse, doctor or dietician then I can forgive and understand that. I don't get angry at lay people for believing the myths about nutrition.  (I do get dismayed at lay people like someone whose 50 lbs. overweight and won't eat but two servings of vegetables a day, worries that my diet is unhealthy and lacking, but that's another rant.)

I can't for the life of me understand a licensed dietician telling anyone such blatant misinformation.  It makes me wonder if this "dietician" is an RD or even went to college.  As a nurse, I only took the most basic of nutrition courses and I understand that the body can utilize amino acids from plants.  

I can understand dietitians whom don't support veganism or are concerned about it.   I get that.  But not even understanding the basic facts of nutrition, I have a problem with that kind of ignorance.  

0 likes

Oh yes, I've heard of people turning yellow/orange from carrots too. I'm guessing you could get the same results from sweet potato and stuff too, though carrots always seem to be the culprit.

0 likes

cff, they DO make pureed meat baby food! I used to feed it to my cats to help transition them to an all meat/raw diet.
gerber chicken

0 likes

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

More Posts Like This