Parents have been accused of being ‘absolutely disgraceful’ for bringing up vegan children after they appeared on T.V show Britain’s Best Parent.
The program, described as a ‘parenting tournament’, saw plant-based couple Mark and Simone feeding a group of other people’s children vegan food before taking them litter picking.
One child, six-year-old Crystal – whose parents are Sophie and Phil – cried and said she wanted to eat ‘normal’ food, instead of the bananas and rice cakes she was offered.
The show split opinions on Twitter, with the vegan parents coming in for both praise and criticism. One person tweeted: “Britain’s Best Parent vegan parents are selfish. Most of these vegans became vegans in their adulthood yet they deny their kids that right to eat ‘normal food’ and become vegans if they want to when they’re adults.”
One angry Twitter user said: “Bringing your children up on a strictly vegan diet is absolutely disgraceful.”
Another added: “The vegan parents are deluding themselves that kids these days don’t know about the environment. It’s not just vegans, [meat-eaters] also recycle, eat a balanced diet, don’t have hyped up kids, and do litter picking (admittedly via school here).”
But there appeared to be more positive comments about the vegan pair, with one user saying: “The vegan couple should have won. Let’s face it [winners Jen and Tom] can only live that lifestyle due to privilege.”
Another added: “All these people that are so offended by the vegan couple. I’d be very interested to know if these other two sets of parents tell their children when they’re eating bacon sandwiches that they’re eating a dead pig?”
And another said: “All parents impose diets on their children. Children know the foods the parents feed them. Veganism is no different.”
Sophie and Phil, whose child Crystal had never eaten a banana, criticised the vegan parents saying it was ‘wrong’, adding that ‘children deserve the right to have a choice’.
However, Sophie and Phil came in for criticism themselves, with one online media user writing: “How can you sit there and talk about bettering yourself & aiming to be the best you can be, when you are morbidly obese? What example is that setting your children?”
The pair prepared a buffet for the children which featured processed meat, leading one viewer to say: “The audacity to complain about vegan food to then feed kids a beige buffet of processed sh*t, f*ck’s sake eat a vegetable for crying out loud.”
Another added: “I don’t think that questioning their size is helpful or fair but the fact that the lunch table was full of beige food with almost no nutritional value… that is a much better and kinder way to query the health concern you raised. You don’t need to fat shame to say your message.”
Appropriate for all stages of life
Despite the views of these social media commentators, major nutritional bodies, including the British and American Dietetic Associations, say that plant-based diets can be suitable for all stages of life.
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” the American Dietetic Association says.
“Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”