A portal and a network of professionals are born who are applying to become a reference for all problems related to nutrition of exclusive vegetable origin in childhood.
The Scientific Society of Vegetarian Nutrition after launching the "Veg Family Network" initiative ( click here ), a network of plant-based pediatric nutrition professionals with studies and clinics in various provinces of Italy, opens a portal dedicated to nutrition vegetarian and vegan in the family and therefore to all aspects and problems related to plant-based nutrition during growth. The site is called FamigliaVeg.it ( click here ) and is intended above all to be a uniform guide for professionals in the sector. All the dangers, the advantages, the myths to dispel, the critical and the advantageous aspects.
To give a unique message
So that everyone more or less says similar things and that go in the same direction. The need arose after episodes of very young malnourished children whose parents followed a vegetable diet. The news, as often happens, caused confusion and the information turned out to be, in one sense and another, often approximate or biased. The question is: can a small child in full growth be fed with products of plant origin only? The answer is yes, but with a lot of caution.
The hot issues
Requirements for protein, iron, fiber, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin B12: these are the hot and recurring themes of vegetarian nutrition and in the area dedicated to professionals are defined on the site the guidelines that doctors, nutritionists and dieticians can subscribe to and who undertake to apply and disseminate once they have joined the Veg Family Network, with the aim of avoiding contradictions or divergences in the indications provided to patients by professionals who in this regard they should give a message as unique as possible.
Vegetarian yes, but well planned
A vegan diet consists in avoiding eating any type of food of animal origin , excluding meat, but not even cheese, eggs and dairy products and if the parents subject a child to a vegan diet in an uninformed way and without food supplements, they risk obviously to slow down the development of the baby. In Italy, vegetarians are on the rise and vegan cuisine is also in full popularity, so much so that even omnivores do not disdain. On the shelves there are foods based on millet and soy, rice and coconut milks and other specialties increasingly courted by those who have decided to do without food of animal origin. But if the decision concerns a child, who has a high energy requirement, it is necessary to be as informed as possible as parents and as objective and unambiguous as possible as doctors. In reality, vegetarian and even vegan diets are considered safe by the American Academy of Nutrition and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as long as they are well planned, in all phases of human life: pregnancy, breastfeeding, before and second childhood, adolescence, adulthood and even in the case of an athlete.
Bioavailability is a further hot topic since the problem of some foods of plant origin is also that of the assimilation of vitamins and other elements important for growth. Spinach, for example, is rich in iron but our body can only assimilate a small part (about 10%). Much more we get instead with meat (25%).
The structure of the site
The site is divided into three macro sections according to the target audience: parents, professionals and the press. In addition to updates, opinions and useful suggestions, on the portal you can also find recommended readings on the topic of vegan nutrition in children, specific scientific articles on pregnancy, breastfeeding and weaning and a list of professionals divided by region and province with an identification card and related contacts. Because you can make many choices in life, about nutrition and more, but the essential thing is to make them consciously.