by Michael dEstries
Categories: Eats.

We’ve heard of all sorts of misconceptions regarding vegetarian and vegan diets – but never one that would actually cause a family to lose out on adopting a child.

Apparently, a vegetarian couple on the Greek island of Crete were denied such an action because social welfare had doubts about their plant-based diet.

“We asked the University of Crete medical school on the issue and they said the child’s diet must include meat, fish, etc,” the head of the city’s welfare services, Spyros Epitropakis, said on Thursday.

“We do not discriminate but we were obliged to check this out. The issue is now in the hands of the judicial authorities,” he told AFP.

The parents are currently seeking to overturn the ruling. As for the University expert who issued the recommendation, he said that denying the application purely on the basis of a vegetarian diet is “unreasonable”.

“A child needs to eat fish, seafood and dairy products among other things, without meat being essential. But if the family has no intention of imposing its diet habits on the child, I don’t see where the problem is,” he said.

I’m sure plenty of vegetarian/vegan parents will take issue with the above – especially the recommendation a child must eat seafood and dairy to thrive.

Back in April of last year, a question over whether vegan diets are safe or not for kids was brought up in the UK Guardian, with Amanda Baker of the Vegan Society saying the following:

“The real issue isn’t whether a child’s diet is vegan or not, or restricted or not – the important thing is whether it’s healthy. There are plenty of children who are eating a bad diet, and they’re not vegan,” she says. “Vegan parents have to plan their child’s food carefully. Of course there are pitfalls, but there are pitfalls for all parents and for any diet.

“The reality is that vegan parents are more likely to cook at home, and are likely to be very knowledgeable about nutrition because they have had to make a lot of effort to follow the diet they do. Many of them follow a wholefood diet, and avoid trans-fats and too much salt. It’s actually much easier for vegans and their children to meet the five-a-day guidelines than for other people.”

I expect this decision will be overturned fairly quickly.


About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • whitney

    Either we made the kid eat an American diet and be obese or a vegan diet and he’ll be … healthy? No.. that’s not right. The kid will be ‘sickly and frail’. Yep.

  • LittleMe

    This is ridiculous. The Greek authorities seem very out of touch with the modern world when it comes to nutrition. Children brought up on vegetarian or vegan diets are often much healthier than those given meat and dairy, primarily because their parents tend to pay closer attention what they’re feeding their children.

  • Paul

    Ha! Hilarious to me. Why are people shocked that depriving a child of fundamental nutrients in the developmental period could be considered unsafe and endangering? When you are an adult you can manage a vegetarian diet. When you are a developing child you need a lot more to develop properly. Please don’t rant about supplements either. Why are supplements the only place where the extremists make allowances for nutrition coming from anything but it’s raw form? Only when it’s convenient, eh?

    If my parents restricted my diet I would have been very upset. Instead they made me try new things all the time and let me form my own decisions regarding food and guided me to proper nutrition. Now I am a true omnivore, I make my own food from the ground up, I have an extremely healthy body and I appreciate food.

    • Natalie Z.

      What fundamental nutrients are you talking about? There’s nothing missing from a healthy vegetarian diet at all, and you don’t need supplements. The only thing I can think of is B12 for vegans, and that’s a bacteria that comes from dirt not animals,the only reason you can’t get it from vegetables is because we sterilize everything so much (quite understandably, who wants to eat poop?) There are many very healthy vegan and vegetarian kids out there, I’d argue they are a LOT healthier than kids who eat McDonald’s every day.

    • Matt

      Yes, so true Paul; no children in Hindu families ever make it to adulthood! You are either mentally deficient or deliberately spreading falsehoods about vegetarian/vegan diets. What Natalie says is true, and with 100s of millions of vegetarian families over the world raising healthy children you can’t really argue with the facts.

    • herwin

      Indeed Paul you are very right. A good parent teaches the child about good and nutritious food. I think you are raised in a family who has high standards about foods and maybe growed / grows your own food etc. I am sure that your parents did teach you well about food.
      But there are also other COMMON diets that are good for children without any meat, and it’s not a new thing or a new diet. As Matt points out in India there are millions of people who are born vegetarian and who’s parents are born vegetarian. So there are millions of people that are veggie their whole life and are healthy, and it would be unfair to say that those millions and millions of veggie families are “restricting” their children, or denying them good and nutritious food.
      Advice of the day, if you want to complain about unhealthy food please google for some fastfood forums and leave a comment there, i am sure your parents did teach you that fastfood like McD ISN”T nutritious, so in that way we can agree, i think.

  • Karina

    That’s right its better they eat crap and raise their chances of becoming obese and suffering from health problems and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Who wants healthy kids? Not the Greeks apparently.

  • Sharon F.

    If people could get the idea that animals and their secretions are not food for humans, there should be no problems.P.S. Someone should send the University of Crete medical school a vegan starter kit from PETA!

  • Steven Ault

    Just shows you how backwards Greek society is. Ignorant twats! You can keep your vile kebabs! I’ll still to a veggy diet thankyou.