When Kim Kardashian West revealed on Twitter this week that her kids are being raised mostly plant-based, the Twittersphere went nuts with memes and comments, ranging from: How could you? to: Good for You!

The question yet again was legitimately raised: Is it okay to raise kids on a plant-based diet.

According to expert dieticians and pediatricians, a mostly plant-based diet is in fact healthiest. Even Dr. Benjamin Spock, the iconic pediatrician to generations of children and who changed the way American parents nurtured babies to emphasize touch, empathy, and close contact, wrote in the seventh and final edition of his iconic "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care," that the healthiest way to raise kids is vegetarian—and mostly vegan. He also noted that children did not need to eat or drink dairy after the age of two. The book had sold 50 million copies before Spock's death in 1998, second only to the Bible.

Dr. Spock's approach to childhood nutrition was so extreme that many considered it unlikely to be taken up by parents, and even his co-author did not support this unless it was executed with care, according to a story in The New York Times at the time.

''We now know that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet,'' the final version of the Spock book says. ''Children can get plenty of protein and iron from vegetables, beans and other plant foods that avoid the fat and cholesterol that are in animal products.'' As for dairy foods, Dr. Spock wrote, ''I no longer recommend dairy products after the age of 2 years. Other calcium sources offer many advantages that dairy products do not have.'' He was ahead of his time.

The Way of the Wests

But let's double-back to the West family approach, since all things Kardashian somehow becomes news.


Here's the backstory: First Kim revealed she no longer eats meat. And when a fan asked if she would consider going vegan, she said: "I eat mostly plant-based. No meat anymore." (Although she also cops to enjoying white chocolate mocha with whipped cream at Starbucks, but let's assume that's her old order, not her new plant-based one.)

Another fan then jumped on the chain and asked “@KimKardashian do the kids eat plant-based too?” and she replied, “Yes they do! North is a pescatarian though," meaning her six-year-old also eats fish. Although as the responding comments pointed out, North probably doesn't use the word herself.


Kim claimed back in July in an Instagram video that she kept her slim physique by going vegan, though perhaps "vegetarian" is a more accurate way to describe her diet. One source reports that Kim is trying to lose 18 pounds ahead of her 40th Birthday in the fall. Previously she said she was eating plant-based to lose weight for the Met Ball in May. 

"Mostly plant-based" has many definitions, including eating a higher percentage of plant-based foods but still some meat, or eating only plant-based foods, no meat, no fish, no dairy. Back in January, Kim showed off a photo of her family having breakfast and there was no bacon, or meat of any kind in sight. She and husband Kanye West, 42, North, 6, son Saint, 4, daughter Chicago, 2, had plates of fruit and eggs, and what appears to be yogurt on the table, with berries and granola. Psalm, in a baby seat, peers at the camera from his chill spot.

So, should kids eat meat or not?

Pediatricians are embracing this new style of parenting, so long as the children are fed a healthy, balanced diet of whole foods with enough protein, fruits and vegetables and calories.

There is an entire community of parents raising children on a plant-based diet, and the publication Raise Vegan exists to help vegan parents supply their kids with the nutrition they need. In the UK, the trend of raising kids vegan dates back to the Mad Cow scares of the early 1990s, when parents and kids decided to stay away from beef—since it's better to be safe than sorry.
Now, pediatricians routinely counsel their families that want to raise plant-based kids that the only issue is time, since it takes a little longer to plan out meals on the go, and there may be baking or buying of cupcakes to take to birthday parties so that the plant-based youngster can enjoy a sweet.
The truth is, even if the Wests are not fully plant-based, we high-five Kim for trying to do her best. She signed up with Cara Delevingne's #MyEcoRevolution, defined by the model as a social media campaign "that got people talking, acting and sharing their pledges for the planet in a way that wasn’t judgemental [sic] but that celebrated our journeys of learning and changing." We don't see Kim giving up the private jet habit any time soon, so at least she ditched the meat. Baby steps, baby steps.

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