Breast milk in, cow’s milk out: Vegan diet can be healthy for children – Saskatchewan

After seven years of eating a vegan diet, Regina mother Alyx Millham has the lifestyle down pat.

So when Millham, 35, delivered her first child, there was no question that he would also eat a plant-based diet with no food, such as meat, eggs, or dairy products, that come from animals

Millham’s son Xavier, who is now 21 months old, has never drunk cow’s milk nor eaten meat. He hasn’t had a bowl of yogurt or a spoonful of ice cream.

A pediatrician agrees it can be a healthy way to eat, even for a growing child, as long as parents are able to provide all the child’s nutritional needs.

“It wasn’t really a decision,” Millham told CBC News. “It was more like, well, this is the right thing to do, why wouldn’t I have my child do it.” 

Xavier when he was six days old. (White Lotus Photography)

Dr. Ayisha Kurji, a pediatrician with the college of medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, said there are pros and cons to any diet, but she’s never seen health issues arise for a vegetarian or vegan child because of what they eat or don’t eat.

‘If you meet all your nutritional requirements, then it can absolutely be a very healthy way for a child to grow and develop normally’

– Dr. Ayisha Kurji, pediatrician

“If it’s done properly and if you meet all your nutritional requirements, then it can absolutely be a very healthy way for a child to grow and develop normally,” she said.

Kurji said one of the biggest struggles vegan parents face is dealing with children who are picky eaters, something Millham says she’s experienced with Xavier from time to time.

“When you’re going through picky phases and you’re already limited in terms of choices, you certainly can end up in a situation where kids won’t take things,” Kurji  said. “Whereas with an adult, you can say ‘Here is a list of things you need to eat. You go and eat them.'” 

Question of cow’s milk

Millham said Xavier loves foods like hummus, bread, fruit…

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