Vegan Diet Deficiencies Injure Baby:

Our Experience with Deficiencies on the Hallelujah Diet

By Andrew Foote
Health Minister

In the summer of 1996, my wife, Romsey, and I visited a friend who had a remarkable recovery from Lupus through the application of a diet called the Hallelujah Diet. After seeing such improvements in her health, we decided to go learn more about this diet directly from its founder, George Malkmus.

So in November of 1996, we attended a 3-day seminar to become Hallelujah Acres' Health Ministers. While there, we were quite amazed to hear so many others who had similar results of recovery from various health challenges after adopting this diet which consisted of 85% raw fresh fruits and vegetables and 15% healthy cooked while eliminating what Hallelujah Acres termed as the five "food killers."

These "killers" included all meat and dairy products, refined sugar, salt, and refined white flour products.

After leaving the training sessions, we decided to implement this diet 100% and, amazingly, we saw similar results of healing in our own family. We continued to not only eat this diet but we also taught it during the next several years. We thought we had found God's "ideal diet" since it was based on His original eating instructions to man found in Genesis 1:29.

In the spring of 2001, while attending a Hallelujah Acres Health Minister Reunion, we learned that there was possibly an important ingredient missing in the Hallelujah Diet, an essential nutrient called Vitamin B-12. They now recommended those on the Hallelujah Diet take a supplement to make up the difference for the lack of this vitamin in the diet.

Had God forgotten this key vitamin in His "ideal diet" so that it required supplementation? We discovered that this vitamin was primarily found in meat and other animal products but were told that B-12 could also be produced from sources such as friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

So, under the assumption that this was God's "ideal diet," we believed this must be the way God meant man to get Vitamin B-12. Consequently, we took a probiotic with an occasional Vitamin B-12 supplement to receive our B-12 since we were convinced that to reintroduce meat back into our diet was to reintroduce the number one food "killer."

About six months later, Romsey became pregnant with our seventh child. Having two other successful pregnancies on the Hallelujah Diet, we were ready for our third. Since this was the seventh pregnancy in eleven years for Romsey, she would need as much nutrition as possible. So we determined there would be no "cheating."

It was the Hallelujah Diet all the way with lots of juicing, which included a daily regimen of 64 ounces of fresh vegetable juice consisting of 50% carrot and the other 50% greens like kale, chard, celery, spinach, cucumber, and zucchini. We made sure the cooked portion was kept to a minimum of 15% by leaving that portion to the final meal of the day.

We also added Udo's Perfected Oil Blend and lots of barley powder as recommended by Hallelujah Acres.

During the pregnancy, we had Romsey's blood tested to make sure she was getting the nutrients she needed. Of the nutrients tested, Vitamin B-12 and folic acid showed to be in normal range but iron tested slightly low.

The one nutrient we were particularly interested in was Vitamin B-12 and since it tested in normal range in the blood even while pregnant, we thus concluded with even stronger convictions that the Hallelujah Diet was indeed God's "ideal diet."

Several months following the birth of our child named Andrew Aaron, we began to notice some symptoms that concerned us. His muscle strength and motor skills were far behind for his age of nine months. He could neither crawl nor hold his head up.

After doing some research into the symptoms of Vitamin B- 12 deficiency, we realized our child was likely deficient.

We also found out that the most accurate testing for Vitamin B-12 deficiency is done through the urine, not the blood. So we had a urine sample tested and the results consequently showed positive for B-12 deficiency.

We began Vitamin B-12 supplementation and saw some immediate improvements. After a few weeks he could hold his head up and began to scoot around on the floor on his belly.

Up to this time, this child was solely breast-fed but realizing Romsey wasn't supplying the baby with the nutrients he needed, we began to add raw goat milk to his diet. 

At one year, he cut his first tooth only to have most of the enamel missing off the front of it. This revealed more evidence of Hallelujah Diet deficiency beyond Vitamin B-12.

This past summer, we learned that Greg Westbrook and his family, former Health Ministers and founders of the Weigh of Wisdom Workshop, also suffered from numerous deficiencies after following the Hallelujah Diet for a number of years. They amended their diet to include some animal products in order to correct their deficiencies.

After the Westbrooks went through their trials of deficiencies on this diet, they wondered how many others on the Hallelujah Diet were having similar problems. So they created and released a survey of deficiency symptoms for long-term Hallelujah Dieters and, to their utter astonishment, the majority of the returned surveys indicated numerous symptoms of deficiencies. (Note: I even recognized several of these symptoms in myself such as muscle wasting, extreme weight loss and slumping posture.)

After knowing this family and their character and integrity, I knew they must have done their research to come to the conclusion they needed to put clean animal products back in their diet.

Some have ridiculed them for this decision, including the founder of Hallelujah Acres, George Malkmus, who stated in a recent communication to his health ministers regarding the Westbrook's claims of long-term deficiencies of the Hallelujah Diet:

"...their claims are BOGUS, and their teaching are DANGEROUS!"

Then, in early February of 2003, Greg Westbrook released an article which connects the results of their deficiency survey to a research article done in 2001 by Hallelujah Acres own research scientist, Dr. Michael Donaldson that revealed a week of dietary intake from 141 Hallelujah Dieters was deficient in numerous nutrients.

It was quite interesting that the deficient nutrients found by Dr. Donaldson in his study will cause many of the deficiency symptoms Hallelujah Dieters indicated on the Westbrook's survey.

If we had realized two years ago when Hallelujah Acres did the research revealing deficiencies of the Hallelujah Dieters, we most likely would have taken measures to avoid the situation we have now found ourselves in with our latest child.

It makes sense now -- after seeing Dr. Donaldson's study in which 139 of the 141 Hallelujah Dieters were deficient in their calcium intake -- why our child had the enamel missing off the front of his first tooth.

It was especially enlightening to us that after adding the raw goat milk to his diet, his other five teeth came in with complete enamel.

Of the 141 surveyed by Dr. Donaldson, 134 were deficient in Vitamin B-12 intake, which coincides perfectly with the complications of Vitamin B-12 deficiency we've undergone with our latest child.

In some ways we feel duped.

Much of our assumption that this diet was God's "ideal diet" came not only from the fact that it was the first diet mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 1:29 but from the testimony of George Malkmus that he went from dying of colon cancer to never being sick again after he adopted this diet.

Well, we recently came across an article from the Shelby Star dated Saturday, January 10, 1998, which contains an interview with George Malkmus.

The reporter states,

"He admits that he never went to a cancer specialist for a diagnosis. He consulted nutritionists and chiropractors."

Then the article continues by quoting George Malkmus:

"We never had any biopsies to prove this," he says. "We don't know it was malignant. We know there was a tumor. We know there was bleeding."

So our assumptions about the power of the "ideal diet" were based on the false premise that George Malkmus definitely had colon cancer.

Also, we discovered that Lester Roloff, the man who George Malkmus credits as inspiring and guiding him to make the dietary changes that healed him of colon cancer, didn't forbid the consumption of all animal products.

On his website, Roloff states,

"For meat, eat fish, fowl, wild game, avocado, egg yolks, nuts, cheese, and cottage cheese, sunflower seed, and a minimum of other meats."

Prior to this statement, Roloff gives ideas for meat substitutes, but the majority of the alternatives are still animal products. He states,

"Now then you say, 'Well, what am I going to do if I do not eat meat three times a day?' Just remember that egg yolks, cottage cheese (especially when it is homemade), avocado, nuts, and the right kind of cheese are very good meat substitutes."

It might have been a false assumption on our part, but we assumed George was following Lester's dietary guidelines leading to his recovery.

Another confirmation of the dangers of a vegan diet can be found in an article released by the Centers of Disease Control on January 31,2003 entitled "Neurologic Impairment in Children Associated with Maternal Dietary Deficiency of Cobalamin [Vitamin B-12] --- Georgia, 2001." Click here to read the article in its entirety.

The mother of one of the injured babies reported following a vegan diet during the preceding seven years and took nutritional and vitamin supplements. The mother of the other injured baby ate negligible amounts of meat, fish, and dairy products during her twenty years as a vegetarian, though she also took supplements, including one with B-12.

According to the study, "At age 16 months, the female child was seen in a genetics clinic to eliminate possible genetic causes of her neurological deficiency. At age 28 months, her developmental skills ranged from 9 months for fine motor skills to 18 months for gross motor skills. Her expressive language was at 10 months, and her receptive language was at 12 months. At age 32 months, she had made developmental progress but continued to have developmental delays, especially in speech and language."

The other child "experienced catch-up development in motor skills and completed physical therapy but continued speech, language, and occupational therapies. Approximately 6 months after beginning treatment, the child exhibited slight speech and fine motor skill delays but had age- appropriate gross motor skills."

Our child exhibits the same symptoms as these children, including delayed development in speech and language skills.

Although we can't change our decisions and past actions, we are extremely thankful for the Westbrook's research that will save many from the road to deficiencies on the Hallelujah Diet.

We are also very thankful that little Andrew, now at the age of 20 months, can crawl on all fours and is continuing to make improvements.

The Hallelujah Diet does indeed show good short-term gains in health, but it's now obvious from Dr. Donaldson and the Westbrook's research that it's not wise and may be even dangerous to undertake for the long term, especially for pregnant or nursing mothers and children.

For the sake of our children and our own health, we have recently included some animal products in our families' diet, as Lester Roloff recommended, such as raw goat milk, cheese, farm fresh eggs, salmon and wild game like venison since these products are the major source of many of the nutrients that Hallelujah Dieters were lacking in Dr. Donaldson's study.

We strongly urge anyone on a pure vegan diet to take a quality Vitamin B-12 supplement and to be ever vigilant for symptoms of deficiencies, especially in children.

Please don't make the mistake we made, concluding that just because a particular diet shows initial good results in restoring health, that it is therefore a diet to remain on for life.

We now realize that God didn't bless Noah in Genesis 9:1 with a curse of animal products in Genesis 9:3 to shorten man's lifespan.

God doesn't wink when he gives a blessing.

Click here to learn about former health minister Greg Westbrook's When Hallelujah Becomes "What Happened?" so you can overcome the health and deficiency problems you may well be generating or experiencing on a Genesis 1:29 vegan diet.

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