New York Times "Death by Veganism" or "Death by the New York Times"

Sue writes: Dear Dr. Young,

I’m curious to find out what you would have to say about the op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times arguing the importance of feeding a baby meats and dairy.

It’s copied below. I was once a vegan. But well before I became pregnant, I concluded that a vegan pregnancy was irresponsible. You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants.

All the best,


Dear Sue,

For the sake of our other readers, you are referring to the Op-Ed Contributor by the name of Nina Planck who wrote the article “Death by Veganism” and published on May 21, 2007.

I would like to rename the article. Instead of “Death by Veganism,” how does “Death by NY Times” sound?” Or maybe, “Death by the culinary and nutritional wisdom of Nina Planck?”

Well, perhaps that’s too harsh. So let me sleep on it for a few days. But I must wonder if the NY Times does not have a health editor who reads books. Much of the information which I am about to impart has been available for decades. The fact that some doctors do not know this information only suggests to me that they are too busy with patients to read the new books. But what is the Times editor’s excuse?

The story in the NY Times says that when Crown Shakur died of starvation, he was 6 weeks old and weighed 3.5 pounds. His vegan parents, who fed him mainly soy milk and apple juice, were convicted in Atlanta recently of murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty.

When I read the latter by Nina Planck I was in shock. I could not imagine how two parents could be convicted of involuntary manslaughter and cruelty for feeding their son a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet can be a very healthy diet, and far more healthy than a meat and excess protein-based diet. I personally have been on a plant-based diet for over 30 years.

My wife and I have four children. We have raised all four children on a plant-based diet. All of our children are healthy, strong, and fit. Our oldest is 30 years old and our youngest is 19 and they all eat and drink their greens!

Shelley’s last three pregnancies were all based on a plant-based diet. Shelley had no complications during her pregnancies or after childbirth. This particular calamity—at least the third such conviction of vegan parents in four years — may be largely due to ignorance of the court, New York Times and the author Nina Planck. But it should prompt frank discussion about nutrition.

Sue, you said, “I was once a vegan. But well before I became pregnant, I concluded that a vegan pregnancy was irresponsible. You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants.”

Our four children are perfect examples that you can eat a plant-based diet of alkalizing foods and drinks and give birth to healthy, fit and strong babies.

In the New York Times article, Nina said, “indigenous cuisines offer clues about what humans, naturally omnivorous, need to survive, reproduce and grow. Traditional vegetarian diets, such as those found in India, invariably include dairy and eggs for complete protein, essential fats and vitamins. There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.”

Wrong again. To suggest that we are omnivores (we were born alklavores) there are no vegetarian societies is to ignore the fact that there are millions upon millions of vegetarians around the world that do not eat meat, eggs, fish or dairy products. In addition, there are at least hundreds of thousands of alkalarians or alklavores who are much more strict with their diets and who are incredibly healthy and strong. I know many alkalarians who never have to see a doctor! Most M.D. medical docs can not even explain the pH Miracle concept, the acid-alkaline pH theory and practice, let alone disagree with it.

Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies, according to Nina Planck. This, of course, is a misconception among nutritionists because you do not build muscle with protein you build muscle with blood and healthy strong blood is built with green foods and green drinks (chlorophyll).

Nutritionists used to speak of proteins as “first class” (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and “second class” (from plants). But today this is considered denigrating to vegetarians. It is notable, indeed remarkable, that more and more pediatricians do not consider meat necessary for child development. In a demonstration of this trend, a paper in favor of a vegetarian diet for children was presented in 1995, possibly for the first time in history, to the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine. Efforts to demolish the persistent myth surrounding meat are being launched by international organizations such as the World Health Organization. Their objective is to encourage developing countries to focus their efforts not on meat for their people but rather on grain and legume production. Why? Because of their multi-national ten year study that found that meat was the major cause of many cancers!

Myth 1: Meat is necessary for blood formation. In other words, meat produces blood.

Scientific Fact: Meat is not essential as a source of dietary iron. In fact, the iron from vegetable sources is just as useful in the formation of red blood as that of meat. Blood hemoglobin cannot distinguish whether its iron atoms are from a beefsteak or a bowl of chlorophyll rich broccoli.

Anemia is as frequent among omnivores as it is among vegetarians and non-existent with alkalarians. But it is much more prevalent among those whose diet is based upon meat. This has been demonstrated with native Alaskans who frequently suffer from anemia in addition to other chronic diseases due to a lack of iron which is a consequence of their typically carnivorous diet.

Myth 2: Meat protein is necessary for tissue production during growth periods. In other words, the idea that meat makes meat or meat makes flesh. This myth is analogous to that of certain primitive tribes who believe that by eating meat of a strong animal they acquire the same strength.

Scientific Fact: Protein, whether from animals or vegetables, is made up of long chains of amino acids that are the same in either case. The only difference between animal and plant protein is the proportion of their amino acids. The most important scientific fact here is that you make flesh with blood and not with protein. The health of the blood will then determine the health of the body and the health of the blood is determined by a diet high in chlorophyll, not animal proteins. The body needs amino acids not proteins. The source of these amino acids, whether from acidic beef or alkaline vegetables, is not important except for the fact that when you eat vegetables you do not get all the acidic residues that you get from meat such as nitric, sulphuric, phosphoric and uric acid which are highly damaging to the body and especially to a newborn.

Meat protein does not provide any amino acid that is not available from vegetable sources. In fact, herbivore animals, like the cow whose muscle forms what is known as meat, obtain all essential amino acids from the plant foods—from the chlorophyll rich grasses they eat!

Myth 3: Meat provides essential nutrients that are unavailable from any other source.

Scientific Fact: In terms of essential minerals and trace elements, there are none that are presently exclusive in meat or fish: not iodine, calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium or zinc or even B-12. The only vitamin that meat offers and that plant foods do not—unless the plant is fermenting or rotting—is B-12. B-12 is formed when matter is breaking down as a waste product or ferment. That is why tofu, which is not a fermented food, contains no B-12. And tempeh and miso, which is fermented soy, does contain B-12. B-12 is also found in algae which help to break down dead bodies. The need for B-12 as an essential vitamin has NOT been established!

It is therefore unnecessary to eat meat to obtain any mineral or vitamin that the body needs.

Author Nina Planck said, “the fact remains, though, that humans prefer animal proteins and fats to cereals and tubers because they contain all the essential amino acids needed for life in the right ratio. However, this is not true of plant proteins, which are inferior in quantity and quality — even soy. A vegan diet may lack vitamin B12, found only in animal foods; usable vitamins A and D, found in meat, fish, eggs and butter, and necessary minerals like calcium and zinc. When babies are deprived of all these nutrients, they will suffer from retarded growth, rickets and nerve damage.”

The reason that you find greater amounts of B12 in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products is because you have to have high titers of bacteria to synthesize B-12. B-12 is the morbid waste product of bacteria found in decomposing animal products. The more rotted the meat, the more B-12 that is produced as an acidic waste product of bacteria and yeast fermentation. Just like carbon monoxide is the morbid waste product of your cars energy production, so B-12 is the waste product of energy consumption as matter is breaking down. That is why B-12 is found in fermented soy products like tempeh and miso.

The fact that vegetarian diets lack B-12 is a good thing, not a bad thing. And even if it was good, there is no scientific evidence that can substantiate it being essential for the body.

Author Nina said that “responsible vegan parents know that breast milk is ideal. It contains many necessary components, including cholesterol which babies use to make nerve cells and countless immune and growth factors. When breastfeeding is not possible, soy milk and fruit juice, even in seemingly sufficient quantities, are not safe substitutes for a quality infant formula.”

Commercial infant formulas are universally saturated with the acid known as sugar in the form of lactose or sucrose. These acidic sugars will affect the delicate alkaline pH of the newborn or infant child making them sick, tired and weak. There are several primary drawbacks to infant formulas:

1) Over-concentration of the formula resulting in dehydration.

2) Adverse reactions to milk-based formulas due to the acid sugar lactose.

3) Lactose breaks down to lactic acid which can lead to increased risk of intestinal hemorrhage which can then lead to damage of the intestinal villi and then the symptoms of diabetes.

A study at the University of Iowa revealed that 30% of infants who had been fed cow’s milk showed occult blood in the stool. This is due to tiny small intestinal hemorrhages. No wonder some babies cry a lot. The same occurred with 5% of children who were fed adapted infant formulas based on cow’s milk.

Also, several studies show that the earlier that cow’s milk is introduced in the diet of an infant, the greater the risk of suffering diabetes later due to damage of the intestinal villi. On the other hand, the longer the infant is breast-fed, the lower the risk. Why? Because, the acids in milk (lactose and lactic acid) damage the intestinal villi of the small intestine causing the body to go into the wasting of the body to create blood production and energy. This is why babies, young adults, adults who are underweight, including Type I diabetics, cannot gain weight.

When you have damage to your intestinal villi, the root system of your body, you cannot produce blood to produce body cells. When this happens you then produce blood and body cells from your own flesh—you start feeding on yourself.

Soy based formulas are an alternative to classic formulas based upon cow’s milk. They are considered to meet the protein needs of the infant. They contain more than 2.45 grams per 100 Kcal (calories) of proteins. They also have more then 640 micromoles of the saturated amino acids methionine and cysteine, two very helpful buffers of metabolic acids, per 100 Kcal. (calories).

Nina Planck said that “as the infant is weaned, there is an increased risk of anemia due to iron deficiency.”

Yet, this can be avoided with high chlorophyll content foods. This means that foods and drinks that are green are high in chlorophyll which helps to build the blood and in turn, the body cells. A variety of studies reveal that eating meats increases the risk for tumors of the nervous system such as brain cancer in the newborn.

Investigations with animals conducted at the University of Southern California show that when sodium nitrite and other nitrosomine precursors are administered to gestating females, there is a very high incidence of brain cancer in the young.

Nina said that “even a breast-fed baby is at risk. Studies show that vegan breast milk lacks enough docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish. It is difficult to overstate the importance of DHA, vital as it is for eye and brain development.”

This is another nutritional myth. You don’t have to eat fish in order to get Omega 3 fat which is found in seed oils such as Hemp and Flax. And you can find organic Hemp and Flax whereas organic fish are rare, indeed.

Nina said that “A vegan diet is equally dangerous for weaned babies and toddlers who need plenty of protein and calcium. Too often, vegans turn to soy which actually inhibits growth and reduces absorption of protein and minerals. That is why health officials in Britain, Canada and other countries express caution about soy for babies. This is not the case in the U.S. though, perhaps because our farm policies are so soy-friendly”

Babies do not need protein, and adults do not need as much as they get – if any. Babies need energy from alkaline foods and drinks and green vegetables and fruits that are high in chlorophyll to build healthy blood, and in turn, fit and strong bodies.

Historically, the honored diet tradition was simple: we ate the foods that our mothers and their mothers ate. Now, your neighbor or sibling may be a meat-eater or vegetarian, may ferment his foods or eat them raw. This continuing fragmentation of the American menu reflects admirable diversity and tolerance, but healthy food is more important than culture, fashion, ethnic diversity or political correctness. Though it may not be politically correct to say so, all diets are not created equal.

In fact, most Americans do not know the difference between an alkaline food and an acidic food or foods that heal and foods that kill. And those foods that are alkaline and heal are alkaline water, green vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts and healthy oils. The foods that acidic and kill are dairy products, animal proteins and fish, eggs and of course sugar in any form.

Nina said that “an adult who has been well-nourished in utero and in infancy may choose to get by on a vegan diet, but babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil. Children fed only plants will not get the precious things they need to live and grow.”

Babies are not made out of protein. They are made up of water and minerals. When babies are born, they are approximately 90% alkaline water, 7% fat, 1% to 2% minerals and less then 1% protein. Babies are made up of water, mineral and fat and very little protein. As we become acidic adults we are 70% water, 20% fat, 7% protein, 2% minerals and 1% sugar or acid. Protein is not as important as water and fat. The emphasis on protein can only lead to excess acidity which can then only lead to sickness, debilitation, and most often an early death.

The diet of a healthy and strong baby, toddler, young adult and adult should contain alkaline water, healthy fats, alkalizing minerals including the most important mineral, salt and lots of chlorophyll containing foods and drinks. When you eliminate acidic animal proteins, including fish and eggs out of your diet, that will be the day that you begin your way back to the “House of Health” energy and vitality!

For more information on an alkaline lifestyle and diet may I suggest reading the following books:

1) Sick and Tired! Reclaim Your Inner Terrain
2) The pH Miracle
3) The pH Miracle for Diabetes
4) The pH Miracle for Weight Loss
5) Back to the House of Health I and II
6) Doc Broc and the Stone Hinge Cave Adventure – a must for teaching your children alkalizing and energizing principals!

You can find all these books on or at:

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3 thoughts on “New York Times "Death by Veganism" or "Death by the New York Times"”

  1. Hi Dr. Young,A very good rebuttal to the NYTimes article!But I was wondering what you said about B12. Many vegan nutritionists recommend taking a B12 supplement because they say our body needs B12 and it’s not reliably found in plant foods. For instance, see < HREF="" REL="nofollow">this article<> at you respond to that?thanks,Jeff


  2. Dear Jeff:B-12 has not been established as being essential to the human body. B-12 is available in wheat and barley grasses which also contain all the essential amino acids. The amount of B-12 is very insignificant – approximately 2 mg a year.


  3. Dr Young – Yesterday I attended a webinar by David Rainoshek about the importance of B-12 in the diet. David cited research that shows the critical health benefits of this vitamin to our health.
    He also distinguished Human Active v. Human Non-Active forms and informed us that Methylcobalamin should be taken, which produced improved brain funtion, among other things.
    Check out his blog post about it:
    I am interested in optimal health and I'd love to hear your response to David's info! Kind regards, Patti


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