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Photo: 123rf.com/posed by model

It’s not the first time alternative diet and lifestyles have gotten a bad rap.

Parents who choose a vegan lifestyle for their children have recently been making headlines around the world.

Just last year, two Italian parents lost custody over their 14-month-old child for enforcing the diet, while in 2015, Australian chef Pete Evans had his ‘dangerous’ Paleo cookbook for babies recalled.

However, a Belgian judge has made waves with the recent decision to serve two parents a suspended six month jail sentence. Their seven-month-old baby, Lucas, passed away after only being fed a ‘vegetable milk’ mixture of oak, buckwheat, rice and quinoa, according to the BBC.

Lucas died weighing nine pounds, just over four kilograms. His organs had shrunk to half their normal size.

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During the case, defence attorney, Karine Van Meirvenne, argued that Lucas’ mother couldn’t lactate, and Lucas declined milk formula.

However, CBS have reported that the father provided contradictory evidence, stating they never took Lucas to a hospital because they never noticed anything unusual.

The judge ruled against the parents, stating they knew their child was suffering.

“The [death was the] result of the systematic offer of food which was not suitable,” the judge ruled.

“His health was seriously impeded, and he eventually died.”

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Mrs Alethia Lee, 29, who works at a luxury lifestyle magazine, with husband Lee Ying Quan, 30, and their son Kester. Mrs Lee breastfed her son until he was 15 months old before giving him fresh milk.

Vegan diets that are well balanced are hard to maintain in an infant.

British Nutrition Foundation’s Dr Lucy Chambers has told Broadly that you need to ensure the child is getting enough nutrients.

“The risks of nutrient deficiencies are much higher [on a vegan diet],” said Dr Chambers.

“It is possible to feed a baby a healthy, balanced diet that is also vegan, but you need to be very well informed.”

Text: Claudia Poposki / The Australian Women’s Weekly

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