One such authority is Helen Wilcock, a naysayer and pediatric dietitian who -- uh -- confirms her lack of bias when she states that she "tries not to be judgemental about the rights and wrongs of vegan diets for young children" (can someone please explain this assertion to me?). She goes on to warn that
"Vegan children can be deficient in vitamin D, calcium, iron and possibly vitamin B12, so they need supplements."Furthermore, according to Wilcock, vegan diets aren't very calorie-dense (because vegans only eat raw fruits and vegetables?) so she recommends "adding oil to their food". What about nuts, seeds and nut-butters? What about soy milk or other soy products? What about avocado? Nope -- just add oil. And a multivitamin.
The pediatric dietitian goes on to say that -- wait for it! -- protein is an issue for vegan children, because you can only get complete amino acids by eating meat. I wonder how many decades ago Wilcock obtained her certification, since it is now widely known and confirmed by health professionals that the whole myth of "protein combining" is bunk. A healthy diet with a good variety of plant-based foods is all you need to worry about to obtain your protein. Read more about it here. Yet, according to Wilcock, it's a problem and "when a vegan diet starts to go wrong, the first symptom is usually that the child fails to thrive or grow properly. It's the shortage of calories and protein that kicks in first."
Thankfully, the article presents other view that balance out Wilcock's fear mongering. A representative from the British Nutrition Foundation is quoted saying that nutrition can be an issue with any child, vegan or not, when parents feed that child a diet that is too low-fat and too high-fibre. Amanda Baker from the Vegan Society takes this even further by pointing out that vegan parents tend to inform themselves better about nutrition and cook at home more often, with many relying on healthy whole foods and avoiding processed foods. Baker also states that too often, the problem is, in fact, that "many people, doctors and health workers to social workers and other parents, are badly informed" about veganism.