A well planned vegan diet can healthy, but too much of a good thing can be bad.
A Pennsylvania mother, Elizabeth Hawk, was charged with child endangerment after her strict vegan diet left her son developmentally delayed and with severe rashes all over his body.
According to relatives, Elizabeth Hawk took her own diet to the extreme, as her sister-in-law relayed to a local news outlet that she planned to live on water and sunlight.
Noting the 11-month-old’s severe rashes, Hawk’s sister-in-law and estranged husband, Jerry, intervened and took the child to the doctor. Hawks claimed that the bodily rashes we a result of allergies and not the child’s diet.
It was later discovered that Hawk had been feeding her child only fruits and nuts, which caused him to become severely malnourished and contributed to developmental delays.
At 11-months-old, the child was found unable to crawl, which is part of a general diagnosis of “failure to thrive.” His strict vegan diet was named as the culprit.
After the check-up, doctors noted that neglecting the rashes on the child’s body was inhumane, as it left him open to developing septic shock, a potentially fatal condition when wounds are not properly treated.
According to Jerry Hawk, the rash was so bad in some places on his son’s body that he was scratching his skin off.
Elizabeth Hawk had actually been given a topical cream to use on her son’s rash, but was firm in that he did not need it and would rather treat the rash “naturally.”
The boy has been removed from Hawk’s custody and is now living with his father. The couple has two older children together, as well, whom the baby has joined.
According to Hawk’s estranged husband, Jerry, he is now feeding him a diet that is “normal” for a child of his age. Jerry Hawk claims that now that he is on a regular diet, his health has completely turned around and he is now on a more “regular” path for a child of his age.
Elizabeth Hawk will be appearing in court in mid-November.
It is, however, important to note that a well-planned vegan diet is not necessarily bad for children. If the child receives the adequate number of calories, protein and fats and takes a B12 supplement, it can be incredibly healthy. However an extreme diet that lacks planning and proper nutrition can wreck havoc on a child’s body.