About

Mama in the Kitchen

 

Who is Mama?

Carissa Leventis-Cox is a passionate Mama in the Kitchen. She believes in fresh, organic, local/in season, unprocessed Vegan food. A Culinarian with cooking school, restaurant and catering backgrounds, she is a certified Ayurvedic Nutrition Therapist and co-author of Yoga for Cancer: Esoteric, Yogic and Dietary Remedies. She also completed Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Plant Based Nutrition Course at eCornell University.  Carissa believes we are healthier both short- and long-term because of the addition of more and more unprocessed and unadulterated Vegan foods into her family’s diet. Through this blog, she shares information with other parents on how to create a disease-free, healthy life by adding more raw fruits and vegetables into their family’s diets. She has been a panelist on Huffington Post Live and contributed to PETA, RawMom, and more. Carissa also blogs about homeschooling her son and her attached family in The Cardinal House.


Mama in the Kitchen 
is about A FAMILY: a Son with multiple allergies, an athlete Dad, and a homeschool Mama, who have created a Health Concious Family. Today, we proactively choose health. We make time to de-stress, to enjoy each other’s company, to exercise (all 3 of us are ranked indoor rowers) and most importantly, we choose to eat Vegan foods that are as organic, as in-season, as unprocessed and as freshly prepared as possible. If there is a treat on their table like Mama’s donut holes, spinach chips and green sundaes, rest assured that they are all freshly prepared, kid- and family-approved, nutritious and Vegan. What’s more, they don’t take more than 30 minutes of active ‘work’ and they truly are so healthy you will have no qualms serving them for breakfast!

Mama in the Kitchen includes our family’s dietary adventures and choices, how this Mama gets her boys to eat more unprocessed Vegan foods and how this Mama pampers herself! There are many well-researched posts and tips on how the Vegan diet affects a family’s health. There are also raw and cooked Vegan family recipes that are quick (under 10 ingredients and 30 minutes of active work – otherwise, I have no time for them myself) and easy to follow (not complicated) for parents who don’t have much time and yet want healthy Vegan fare for the family.  There are also numerous reviews on cosmetic products.

Hope you stay and enjoy looking around!

Salute!

10 Responses to “About”

  1. anna August 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    I found your site today and it seems to be exactly what I needed. I recently just gave up the “raw thing”, because of lack of support. Thank you for an inspiring blog! (saved it among favorites and now want to give raw food a new chance).

    • Mama In The Kitchen August 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      thank you Anna for your kind words and for visiting my site! let me know if there is anything i can help you with!

  2. Stacy Jones July 11, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I have an ongoing debate with a friend that I need ur input on. It’s kinda long, so i apologize:
    What I DO know is that vegan works best…but the debate is, what kind of vegan diet, and what is our natural diet and what have we evolved to optimally eat based on gene mutations, food quality, lifestyle, etc.

    The health experts on natural healing say that fruits, greens, and small amts of nuts/seeds is our natural diet and nothing else should be included. But then u have experts like Furhman and McDougall who see stellar results with their plans, which is sorta similar to what I’m doing in a way, except they add in starch and legumes and some cooked things.

    The natural healing camp says that starches and legumes are NOT natural foods for humans and will cause a host of issues, ranging from candida, acidosis, mucus, lymph issues… to premature death. That we never evolved to eat cooked foods or starches. But, IDK about that. Evolution doesnt need to take millenia to elicit change. It only takes a few mutations of genes over a couple generations to do so. I mean, look how short it took scientists to selectively breed foxes in dog-like domesticated ones…only a few generations. or how quickly it took to make hybridized fruits. And look how different humans’ lives have change in the last century alone! Also, we have 10-15x the amylase as chimps do, so does this mean that starches/legumes are fit for human consumption…or that we still need to stick to out supposed “natural” primate-like diet? But the natural healing camp says that just because we may be able to digest it, doesnt mean it is optimal, healthy, or good for us…but how do they know exactly what IS the best for us, when most thriving cultures base their diets on starches/legumes (Okinawins, african tribes, etc). The most unhealthy ones eat meat, so that it obvious that meat is not natural, but are starches and legumes that bad? Wouldn’t it help to round out a diet based on fruit/veg?

    However, our produce is NOT even close to being the same that it was when we were fruitarians. The fruit nowadays is GMO, hybridized, has a different glucose:fructose ratio,is grown in nutrient-poor soil and bad air quality, is exposed to pollutants/toxins/chemcals (even if organic), isnt always ripe and is picked too early… etc. So, have our bodies adapted to the man-made alterations we inflicted on our produce?

    Ugh, SOOOO confusing. Why are humans the ONLY animals who cant figure out instinctively what to eat, yet we have the intelligence to fly to the moon?!

    What is your take on the natural human diet, starches, legumes, evolution, etc?

    What starches and legumes do u eat and how often?

    What is your take on the 80-10-10 LFRV diet? Do u feel it is sustainable and healthy, or is the diet proposed by Dr Furhman or McDougall healthier?

    Do u believe that food combining rules are true?

    And lastly, what is your opinion on the optimal macronutrient ratios, and are products like Sun Warrior protein and Food for Life brown rice tortillas healthy?

    Thanks!

    • Mama In The Kitchen July 14, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      Hi Stacy, these are all important issues! Thank you for raising them and writing me here. I have been meaning to write a post on these issues… so for now, here is what I learned from Dr. Campbell’s nutrition course. 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat is ideal. It is similar to the 80/10/10 of Dr. Graham, right? Dr. Campbell believes in eating as raw/unprocessed/fresh whole foods is best, but in some cases, cooking the vegetable is better for assimilation of nutrients (like pumpkin, tomatoes, etc). The problem with Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 is the bulk of the carbs come from fruit – and if you have yeast issues, the levels of sugars may not be ideal on such a diet. I think whatever a person is comfortable eating under the 80 carbs:10 protein:10 fat rule is important. Each of us have different comfort levels and this is an important consideration also – whether raw or cooked. As for Sun Warrior protein, why would you need to take it if whole plant-based foods naturally give us 10% protein? Even elite athletes don’t need much more than 10%. It looks, from the site, like it is a dehydrated whole food – which is much better than protein isolates. Once any nutrient is isolated from the rest of the whole foods, it is problematic. As for Food for Life products – personally, I buy them when I have guests over or when there are so many things to do, I have no time to be in the kitchen to make things from scratch. My son still reacts to most of their products, except the corn tortilla. Hope these answers some of your questions – I have been planning a post for a while… there is just so many questions to tackle. Thank you Stacy for ‘stopping by’! Best, and wishing you well. Carissa

      • Stacy Jones July 14, 2012 at 9:23 am #

        Thanks for replying!

        Dr graham states that high fruit will cure candida issues…but then u have other people who avoid it at all costs! Things get so confusing

        I want to use sunwarrior bc i cant even get 4% protein (i get less than 20g a day). So, even if i use sunwarrior, it wont even bring me up tp 10%

        Im considering doing a mix of graham (fruitarian) + furhman (nutritarian) and mcdougall (starch). But idk how this would work. Can u do a blog post on the pros/cons of each of those leaders in the vegan movement? Id love to see that!

        Who of the above do u agree with most and why?

        What is ur daily diet like (meals and snacks, cals and macros)? Seeing how u successfully pull off a lowfat vegan diet would help me out a lot!

        How raw are u and what do u do raw and cooked (which meals and foods)?

        Do u eat grains and legumes?

        Do u think humans are meant to be fruitarians, or are cooked grains and legumes needed for balanced nutrients and health? …..or are those two food groups detrimental (acidic, mucus forming, inflammatory)? It seems the most successful vegans incorporate those, but there is also evidence of their potential detriment

        So food combining questions:
        -do tomatoes mix with grains? With avocados? With legumes? With all of those or only some or none?

        -do legumes mix with grains?

        -why do many smoothie recipes mix oranges with bananas? Isnt this a bad combo due to the acid and sweet?

        -is food combing really true…or is it debunked? Many experts seem to think its based on false science

        What do u do for tortillas that are lowfat and not made with loads of seeds/nuts and take days in the dehydrator? Lol. Thats why i like the FFL rice tortillas…but are these healthy?

        I need to gain healthy wt due to wt loss from colitis, but i cant get my cals up and i cant stomach the volume. I dont want to up my fats past 10% tho. Any tips? Thats another reason why i was thinking sunwarrior might help

        Sorry for the random questions…i appreciate ur well thought out and unbiased posts….im learning alot. Its so easy to fall into the dogma trap!

      • Mama In The Kitchen July 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

        Hi Stacy, I hear you! These are the thoughts I’ve struggled with and am struggling with. Right now, I’m leaning towards the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet… Ever since the nutrition course, I’ve reexamined my raw vegan diet and realised how much excess fat there was!! I haven’t posted anything in a while either because I prefer mono-eating… and how can you post about that??? It’s sort of… boring? My boys are getting tired of the raw vegan fare we’ve been eating too and I think they have been excited with the added fruits I’ve been serving. They continue to eat cooked vegan foods too, but I make a bulk of our foods from scratch so I limit the oils. I’ll definitely follow the 80/10/10 concept for them too… although they won’t be 100% raw. I will be writing a post soon… you’ve inspired me to get my butt moving on it! ;D

      • Stacy Jones July 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

        Hey!

        811LFRV is very hard. I’m failing on it, lol. U MUST eat a TON of cals in order to not risk deficiencies. I cannot stomach the volume of food… and I am coming to believe that human DO need a wider range of food groups besides just fruit and some greens. For one, the quality of our fruit is not the same as it used to be. You needed one orange during our grandparents’ time to equal 10 oranges in our current day and age. Plus, by the time the stuff is on the store shelves, it’s already lost 40% of its nutrients. Kinda scary!

        I’m researching Dr Fuhrman’s Eat to Live/Eat for Health theories, as well as Colin T Campbell and Mc Dougall. All of their theories make loads of sense. Same goes with Dr Goldhamer of TrueNorth. I think you cant go wrong with unlimited greens, veggies (raw and cooked), fruits….but I am coming to believe that a true vegan diet just isn’t sustainable long-term unless it is rounded out with some legumes, nuts/seeds, and GF-grains.

        I still believe that low fat is definitely key (10-15%…no more than 20% max), and protein shouldnt exceed 15-20% either. But, who knows…it seems things change daily regarding nutrition, lol.

        If u do decide on 811LFRV, do ur research first…and PLEASE take a good food-based multivitamin for safe insurance.

        Keep me posted!

  3. Doris Guevara-Isert September 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    I am so, so, so, happy I find your blog. Myself I have a child that has gastro intestinal food alergies. Since she was 2 months old, had to deal with strict diet, trying to be able to breast feed her safely. She is now 4 Y.O. and is a happy, bright and healty kid , but 2 days ago, I had to made one of the most hard choices for her: she just went under a CAT scan because of a head injury (the result was Normal ).

    I was in total panic attack, when we entered the room, and I heard the radiologist answer to my question: is equivalent to 300 xray radiation. In her brain! my little child….My heart is still sunken, thinking on her lying on that bed, being beamed with the xrays, and the way she was looking a me, trusting her mom, that was telling her everything was allright, when deep insade me I was in pure fear of the radiation going thru her. I was about to faint, thinking in all the repercursion. On the way home from the hospital, it was a long and lonely drive, (my husband is out of the country at the moment), I decided that I was going to do everything in my power to giver her, and me ( I stayed with her in the scan room, since she was not sedated, and I refused to leave her alone), and my husband ( a former cancer survivor ) the best possible diet, that gives her the chance to get ride of the radiation around (natural or men made), and help her cells to fight free radicals, in order to avoid the C word. So, I started my research about chelating foods, and your blog came on, on the March 29 entry, and I emailed you, but it was only after, when I moved to the entry on March 30, and ready the reason you became raw vegan and I started crying again, thinking I am not alone on this, I am not the first, somebody else had felt just exactly as I feel right now, all I can say to you is thank you .

    • Mama In The Kitchen September 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      Doris, thank you for visiting my blog and for reading my blog. It is so difficult to be a mother… Making the choices we make everyday impacts the people we love. I commend you for your love for your daughter. I am thinking of you and your daughter and hope only the best.

      How are you doing with your diet change? How is your family doing?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mama in the Kitchen | Snug Organics - August 11, 2011

    [...] I’m loving about incorporating more raw vegan foods into the family diet.  Written by mom, Carissa Leventis-Cox, who eats a 50% raw diet, this blog is practical and inspiring.  Trying a recipe here and there is [...]

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