It’s a diet riot.
TikTokers exploded with indignation earlier this week after user Tasj Rose posted a video of herself with her sweet-cheeked 7-month-old baby Oak, declaring that she planned to raise her daughter vegan.
“[Babies] need meat in their diets,” one digital detractor scolded the plant-nourished mom, who has more than 14,000 followers and has been catching flak all week. “This has absolutely nothing to do with what’s best [for your baby] — it’s you being selfish.”
In response, an undeterred Rose has fired back at vegan baby diet disparagers with several saucy clips.
“She’s well-cared for, happy and healthy. That’s all that matters #VeganBaby,” Rose captioned a recent video, slamming online demands for Child Protective Services to take Oak into their custody for fear she’s malnourished. Her post, which has garnered over 25,000 views, is set to Meghan Trainor’s tune “Title,” on which the pop star cheekily invites haters to “kiss my a – – goodbye.”
And Rose is not backing down.
Is breast milk vegan?
“I love animals and don’t agree with using them for our own means,” Rose, 25, told The Post. She claims Oak gets all of her vital nutrients from her daily regimen of fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds.
Rose, a stay-at-home mom and video content creator from Newcastle Upon Tyne in England, also breastfeeds Oak, which she says does not conflict with her values as a vegan. “I believe cow’s milk is for baby cows, and human milk is for baby humans,” said Rose — who has breastfed her daughter since birth, and fully transitioned from vegetarianism to veganism at the tail end of 2021.
“I am able to consent to who drinks or takes my milk from me, animals are not.”
And she’s unfazed by the negative attention she’s gotten recently. “My honest reaction to people who threaten [me and my daughter] because I choose to follow a plant-based diet is that they are uneducated and [have] ill-informed opinions without evidence or research to back them up,” said Rose.
Healthy or harmful?
To her point, a November 2021 study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated that “well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns can be healthful and appropriate for all stages of the lifecycle, including for infants and toddlers.”
Another study, conducted in Poland and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2021, is a little less clear-cut. While researchers found that “children on vegan diets have a healthier cardiovascular profile and less body fat than their omnivore peers,” they are also at greater risk of health issues that “affect growth, bone mineral content and micronutrient status.”
That study goes on to say that children following vegan diets were on average 3 centimeters shorter, had 4 to 6 percent lower bone mineral content and were more than three times more likely to be deficient in vitamin B-12 than the omnivores. At the same time, they also had 25 percent lower levels of low-density lipoproteins (the unhealthy form of cholesterol) and lower levels of body fat.
The seemingly healthful diet can, in fact, be dangerous. In 2019, a vegan couple in Florida was charged in the death of their 18-month-old son who died of malnutrition due to an extreme and exclusive diet of mangoes, rambutans, bananas and avocados — which lacked protein and other nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy vegan diet, particularly for growing children.
And while experts say the vegan lifestyle can be safe for babies, they insist that parents make sure their children are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
“A well-rounded vegan diet is definitely safe for babies,” said Ayelet Goldhaber, a registered dietitian at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. “The baby will certainly thrive and grow just as well as a nonvegan baby as long as the parents are intentional about making sure baby is getting foods high in iron, calcium and protein like spinach, lentils, tofu and vegan-friendly dairy products like almond — or oat-based yogurts.”
And Rose said she’s up to the challenge, and wants her keyboard critics to see that it’s possible.
“I hope to educate people about plant-based diets,” she said. “I want to show them that it is healthy, and possible to do for themselves and also for their children.”