Couple Sentenced To Life After Six Week Old Infant Dies from ‘Vegan Diet’

by in Parenting

Plant-based diets are becoming more and more popular for a variety of reasons; health reasons and cruelty to animals are the two most popular. Even well-known celebrities have made the switch; celebrities like Natalie Portman, Alicia Silverstone and even Bill Clinton.

Yesterday Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were sentenced to life in prison for starving their infant son.  The pair claim that a ‘vegan’ diet is what they were adhering to when they chose to feed their newborn, Crown Shakur, only soy milk and apple juice – in dirty rancid bottles, nonetheless. And as you may guess, this diet was not enough to sustain his little life. His little body simply withered away and he weighed only 3¼ pounds when he died from extreme malnourishment in 2004.

“No matter how many times they want to say, ‘We’re vegans, we’re vegetarians,’ that’s not the issue,” said attorney prosecutor chuck Boring. “The child died because he was not fed. Period.”

The prosecution also added that, even if the couple didn’t understand what a vegan diet was, the death of the infant was just plain neglect. Most parents, vegans included, would question when their infant lost weight. This infant should have been to the doctor at one week and again at one month. If he had been in for these critical pediatrician visits, someone would have noticed the drastic weight loss and educated the parents on proper vegan practices.

The court agreed with Boring and the couple was convicted of malice murder, involuntary manslaughter, felony murder and cruelty to children.

A lack of education may be the reason behind a six week infant death but it a ‘vegan’ diet cannot be held responsible. Breastfeeding, which is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for at least the first six months, is a vegan diet for infants. So is soy-based infant formula.

As a vegetarian for more than two years now and a mom that is always working towards a vegan diet, I know, on a very personal level, how much research most vegans and vegetarians put into their diet – especially when they have small children.

With a change to a plant-based diet, there is a serious need for education and understanding. A vegan or vegetarian diet is not just a lack of meat. It is learning how to live healthier without the saturated fats and hormones often found in meat and other animal products like milk and cheese.

It is possible to implement a vegan diet, even when you have small children – even the nutritional experts agree. However, there are certain nutritional elements that you have to be purposeful about as a vegetarian or vegan – particularly protein, iron, Vitamin D and B12, all of which can be found in the right kinds plant foods.

If you have ever thought of a vegan or vegetarian diet, you don’t have to let stories like this prevent you from giving it a try. You should, however, use stories like this to encourage you to take the right steps before a drastic diet change like veganism. Take the time to educate yourself on what a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet is. Ask questions and do your research. Many families, mine included, are able to live a healthy, plant-based life without sacrificing the health of the children.

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About the Author

Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done. Find out more about Kate’s books at

Comments (2)

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  1. chinta says:

    this is a very sad story and i would have to agree with the prosecution. if they were responsible parents they would have taken the baby to his regular check ups. very very sad…

  2. Rebecca Smith says:

    That is HORRIBLE my god man!! That baby must have looked like a shriveled up RAISIN. They don’t even allow 3 1/2 pound babies to LEAVE THE HOSPITAL after being born, the baby has to weigh at least 5 pounds.

    My son weighed 5lbs4oz when he was born (a month early after a wreck) I was scared, he was my first baby & it was a hard time breast feeding (because he was so small, and I could not get the aureola into his mouth, it was bigger around than his HEAD – well my boobs were bigger than a 38 FFF when the milk came down LMAO) Anyway he did lose a few ounces before we left the hospital (had to stay for 5 days) at 4lbs15oz – but 2 weeks later, after feeding him every 4 hours, at his 2 week checkup he weighed over eight pounds! I mean I watched every ounce & if I overslept a feeding by an hour I would cry & feel like a terrible mom.

    What is wrong with people?

    You should also look up and review the story of the mother in france whose was a vegan and whose baby died from malnutrition. NOT STARVATION but she had been breastfeeding the baby & I”m telling you when it comes to TOTAL VEGAN people better watch out, you have to know exactly what you are doing when it comes to babies & kids. It’s a delicate line to traverse. They need so much protein, grow and thrive.

    I never did that,I mean I’m not against it, I just was never a vegetarian. My baby still ate yogart, cheese, fruit, wheat toast & maybe a little piece/square of ham for breakfast. I always gave him a bit of all those things at breakfast time, he would eat it! I tried real hard to make sure it was all really good stuff for him. I think we would have died without cheese though, LMAO – my son was a cheese head. Even at 3 years old he loved bleu cheeze, feta cheese, goat cheeze, Asiago. He would eat up italian spinach & would even cry if he thought his dad was ‘gonna eat all the ‘pinach’ lol I had to make a pound and a half of spinach at a time so he wouldn’t cry.
    He was great. One day as a special treat at breakfast I bought him a big ole apple turnover. He grabbed it and took a bite & said HEY isn’t there any fe-ta in this? I said OH NO honey that’s an apple turnover, not a feta puff. And he said ‘awh’ gingerly placed it back down, I don’t want it then. 😀 haha He wanted some nice filo and feta cheese, not a sweet treat apple turnover.

    OH I was going to look up a link about that lady in France and found this:

    There’s either 6 or 9 baby deaths on this site, including this one here. Wow, that should be good information for you to review!!

    Anyway, have a great day !

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