Also on the NY Times - a health Op-Ed on the problems with veganism.|
Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies. 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.Most people in developed countries need more fruits/vegetables and less meat (and of course, less junk food in general) but there's a lot of truth to the old "moderation in all things" advice; veganism takes it a bit too far.
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. 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.
Oh, and here's an interesting tidbit: the old Peanut butter and Bacon recipes (more here). Why is this (and other peanut-butter-and-meat combos like PB & Bologna) so appealing? As it turns out, the peanut is relatively low on the essential amino acids Lysine, Cystine, and Methionine - and the meats are high in these.