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An Omni Hubby Goes RAW Vegan for One Week

17 Jun

My Vegan Homeschool buddy, Bonnie, finally succeeded in getting her Omnivore Hubby, Crosby, to go on a Raw Vegan Diet for a week. Together, they lost almost 10 pounds. Bonnie discovered more energy and Crosby discovered he could actually enjoy Raw Vegan foods.

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Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

Q: Why did you and hubby decide to go raw? How did you convince your hubby to do it with you?  

B – I am Vegan. I want to drop a few pounds and thought I would with a raw diet. I also think it is the most healthy way to eat.

C- Just to see if it would make me feel better. I have ulcerative colitis and wondered if a raw diet would improve my condition.

 

Q: For how long did you eat just raw foods?

B- 100% for 7 days. Now probably 90%

C- 100% for 6 days. Now 10%

 

Q: How did you feel?  

B – I feel better after having lost a few pounds. I always have more energy when I am on a raw diet. I don’t get that afternoon slump and sleep better at night.

C – I was tired the first 4 days, then I felt the way I normally feel.

 

Q: What was the best day?

B – I didn’t really have a best day.

C – The best day was when I no longer felt hungry. Probably day 3.

 

Q: What was the worst day?

B – I didn’t have a worst day.

C – Day 2. I was hungry and tired.

 

Q: What did you crave that was raw during the whole process?

B – I really enjoyed bananas and dates.

C – Avocados and nuts.

 

Q: What did you crave that was not raw during the whole process?

B – I didn’t have any cravings.

C – Meat.

 

Q: What was the best meal? Worst?

B – Collard rolls with sunflower seed pate were great. A beet salad that I made with cumin was not so good.

C – Avocado, tomato and basil plate with Italian dressing. I liked them all.

 

Q: Any side effects of this raw week?

B – I lost 4 lbs and had more energy.

C – I lost 5 lbs.

 

Q: Would you do it again?

B – I would like to eat that way all the time. Its is just hard to find time to prepare both kinds of food (cooked and raw) every day.

C – Probably not 100% raw, but maybe more raw dishes during the week.

 

Q: What was the first thing you ate after the whole week?

B – Some stir fried vegies and rice.

C – A Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A real hot-dog the next day.

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Q: What was the hardest part of the process?

B – Making a lot of different dished to keep Crosby from getting tired of the food.

C – I did not feel satiated. I never felt satisfied even if I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: What was the most surprising part of the process?

B – I was surprised that I had so much energy and that I was not hungry.

C – I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: How are you changed?

B – I think it will be easier to add more raw meals into our weeknow that Crosby has tried to eat this way.

C – I am more open to eating raw.

 

Q: What was the nastiest thing someone had said about your week?

B – Not really nasty, but it annoys me when people try to tell me I’m not getting enough protein.

C – No one was nasty, but I did get some razzing about not eating meat.

 

Q: How has this experience changed your relationship with food, your family, or everyday diet?

B – It made me realize that I enjoy eating simple salads and fruit more than more complicated dishes.

C – There are some really tasty raw dishes that are fun to eat. My brother encouraged me to change my diet if I thought there were benefits to my health. I appreciated his concern for my health.

 

Both Bonnie and Crosby’s efforts are inspiring: Bonnie, for preparing amazing Raw Vegan dishes for a whole week, and Crosby, who was open to eating RAW for a week. Kudos to both of them!

 

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The Beans That Blew My Cares Away

27 Mar

My family’s consumption of raw vegan foods has decreased tremendously. We had raw fruit pudding for breakfast today though and the boys licked the Vitamix clean. Hubby enjoyed his raw Chia Lime drink too. I also made an Asian salad, which unfortunately is still sitting in the fridge deteriorating as I write. My family started consuming soy products too, including non-organic processed fake meat once a week. Woo-hoo Bill Gates for supporting fake meat!  For you ‘unprocessed’ die-hards out there, it sounds bad. I know! I’m one of you and just writing it makes me cringe.

Yes, I feel like a Raw Vegan Mama failure sometimes, especially after reading an article that more and more families in England are now going raw and seem successful at it… and even Gwyneth Paltrow‘s kids are dairy, sugar, gluten and soy free (she has a second cookbook to prove it)!  Ok, where can I buy kids like Apple and Moses who don’t complain about being hungry without their fave foods?

In an effort to discover healthier and bulkier cooked vegan foods, I found this Bean Confit recipe on-line the other day and adapted it for my slow-cooker. (Look, if it ain’t raw, I gotta have someone else in charge of cookin’ it if it takes hours.  Is there a devoted Homeschool Mama out there with enough time to spend hours in the kitchen cookin’? Besides The Pioneer Woman…)

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Anyway, the cranberry beans mixed with the rosemary, oregano and garlic made my house smell damn good.  I ate a few bowls of the bean confit for dinner and the crazy amount of extra virgin olive oil gave it a richness and creaminess that comforted me. I dreamed about these barlotti beans that night and the next day while I drove my son to his violin lesson. I think I’ll make another batch tomorrow, with lots of raw veggies for me on the side. It’s  that satisfying especially on a cold Spring day.

Recipe:

27 oz dried cranberry beans (barlotti, as they are known in Italian)

Soak overnight with enough water to cover it by a few inches. Drain and rinse the next day. Place in a slow cooker, add fresh water to cover well and cook on high for 5-6 hours till slightly tender. Drain some of the water, so that the beans peak out of the water. Add the beans back into the slow cooker, top with:

a few sprigs of rosemary

a few sprigs of oregano

a few cloves of garlic

a couple teaspoons of sea salt, try 4 teaspoons (I had no problem adding the salt at this stage)

enough extra virgin olive oil to just cover all the beans.

Cook on low for 2-3 hours. Season to taste. Serve!

The bean confit brought me back down to earth from my Raw Vegan high horse. I got rid of all my hot air and what a relief. I can finally say it is OK to let go of the Raw Vegan Mama Power I had held on to for so long and let my family eat what they want to eat. I now understand that their happiness is truly more important to their well-being than having to eat ‘the right foods’ everyday at every meal.

I also learned:

  1. No more scare tactics. “That’s not healthy for you! Do you know what junk food will do to you? That’s disgusting!”
  2. Satisfy their cravings so they don’t feel so deprived. My son has been asking me for months what Jell-O tastes like. I finally made him some homemade ‘Jell-O’ today from fresh coconut milk and agar-agar. He loved it. He keeps giving me hugs for the foods I’m letting him eat.
  3. I’m a softy. I need to feel… ummm… loved and not resented at the dinner table. “That was yummy! You’re the best Mama in the Kitchen!” instead of “What? Eeewww! This again! This is horrible! Do I have to eat that? Your food isn’t as good as (name of fave restaurant here). I want to eat out…”

Finding Balance

29 Dec

I haven’t been posting on this blog for a few months because I end this year a little more tentative than I began. In the beginning of Autumn this year, my dear son and hubby decided on “no more nuts”. This was followed by “no more raw smoothies”. Then “no more raw salads”. In other words, NO MORE RAW ANYTHING.

Gah, had I pushed them too far?

So, I started cooking more and more veggies: in soups, with dressing, steamed, boiled, baked, etc. And, I discovered that my family actually have increased their intake of veggies this way. Dead broccoli is the new fave around here and mushroom miso soup. Surprise, surprise – I even lost a few pounds without all the added fats from nuts.

Cooked to death Broccoli.  Boil till the broccoli breaks apart.  Dress with orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil.

Cooked to death Broccoli: boil till the broccoli breaks apart, dress with a mixture of orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. My son loves it!

But I’m still a firm believer in RAW, so I slowly but surely added back some old faves after a month or two. Without complaints, we are all enjoying raw fruit puddings for breakfast again, Japanese and Kale salads for pre-meals and lots of coconut smoothies. We are not quite as raw as I would like, but dare I say I have found a new kind of “balance”?

I don’t know how RAW families do it. How do they function in society? How do they enjoy being with family and friends who don’t eat the way they do? How do their kids relate to other kids in the community? My big guess is that they don’t… not really in the same capacity we do. My second guess is that husband and wife have to agree on diet and nutrition principles to make it work for the family. My third guess is that the parents have to impose and work hard to ingrain these beliefs at home (unless the children have allergies and sickness that inhibit their diets). I cannot imagine regular kids not wanting what other mainstream kids can have – unless they don’t have much of a relationship with other kids, and therefore have no knowledge base of what goes on “on the other side”.

My husband recently bought some Maine root beer, a package of cereal and a carton of soy milk. My son’s hoarding some Vegan candy canes and has a new obsession with gum (it was hard finding one he isn’t allergic to).

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked?

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked from scratch? We discovered that Santa prefers homemade cookies to processed candy… and even left a small bit behind.

As a Mama, it is hard to let go of control – especially in the kitchen. But this year, I found more peace and happiness at the dining table by relinquishing more control over my family’s diet. I still buy the groceries, prepare and cook our food. I still educate my family on food matters. But at the end of the day, I let go and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to eat.

A little discouraged one day, I asked my husband and son separately if they wanted to branch out from our Vegan diet, they both said “NO”. Are you sure? “YES!” Both look forward to their fave homemade organic and Vegan cooked foods: Mulligatawny Soup, Shepherd’s Pie, Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Cookies. But I notice they too have their fave raw foods. My son was sick recently and only wanted to eat fruit. He prefers to start each day with bananas and he asks for fresh raw coconut milk almost everyday. He will eat a huge bowl of romaine lettuce. My hubby can drink a quart of green smoothie during a meal and he will keep going back for more salad.

I offer my family healthy food, I empower them with current food knowledge, and I model good eating habits. Then, I let go in peace.

30 Lessons this Raw Vegan Mama Learned from Traveling and Dining Out with Omnivore Loved Ones

4 Mar

In the last 6 months alone, it seems like my family and I have traveled non-stop to be with friends and extended family.  These days, I feel like I am a bit of a pro when traveling with and dining out with loved ones who happen to be non-Raw Omnivores. 

I wish I could tell you we did wonderfully: I ate 100% Raw Vegan Foods and my family kept up their 50% Raw Vegan diet. But we did not.

What we did a lot of instead was, what I call, nutritional compromising. Why?  Well, believe it or not, for harmony’s sake.  We love our friends and family dearly and being together with them means a lot to us.  We didn’t want to alienate anyone… or ourselves.

I cannot say I was very much OK with all the nutritional compromising in the past few months… but I met Perry the other day who made me feel a whole lot better.  He sold me a bottle of E3Live.  I asked him if he was Raw Vegan.  He said he used to be.  “Why?” I asked.  He said, his mother had cancer when he was growing up and foods were designated as BAD or GOOD, ALLOWED or NOT ALLOWED.  So Young Perry rebelled. He would go behind his mother’s back, steal her money and buy the foods that were verboten at their house.  Needless to say, he thought it was a good idea that I allow my son some slack. 

Here is what I learned while traveling with Omnivore loved ones:

Our Travel Food Bag

I always have fruit (bananas, oranges, apples) and salad for everyone. I also always have some cooked Vegan foods for the boys. Hopefully we can recycle the plastic containers.

1. I always pack my family’s meals for road trips and national/international flights. Unfortunately, the food lasts only about 8 hours and after that we have to make do with what we are given or find at the other end of our trip.

Vegan Meals up in the friendly skies: include preservatives, coloring and a bunch of other stuff we wouldn't normally eat. But - this is the best option we have when we run out of food.

2. On planes, we request either the Raw (not always available and this tends to be fruit or cut carrot and celery sticks) or Vegan (although some are cooked with many processed Vegan ingredients) options for flights.

3. Clearly, our family’s highly raw/unprocessed Vegan diet tends to go down the drain pretty much from the get-go.

I love this old photo of my son snuggling with his step-grandmother. In the first 5 minutes after they met, it was clear they had already bonded so wonderfully.

4. We want to spend time and create strong bonds with our extended family and friends while traveling/visiting with them.

5. But, this means mealtimes more often than not emphasize non-raw and non-vegan foods.

6. We tend to eat out at mainstream restaurants a whole lot while traveling with others.

7. We have lengthy and careful discussions with servers about our family’s food preferences and allergies before ordering. It seems to us that waiters, on the whole, are not trained well on matters relating to Veganism or food allergies.  Neither are they made aware of the repercussions of food allergies. Sometimes, the problem may be that they don’t properly convey diner’s requests to chefs in their kitchens.  So, we like to take our time in our communication with them.

8. Raw Vegans are not the best for diners with nut and maple/agave allergies.  After talking very carefully to servers about our son’s allergies, my son has had very bad vomiting spells after eating/drinking something at Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco and Quintessence in NYC.  Needless to say, we are not going back to these 2 places to eat.  I can, however, recommend The Farm in the Philippines, Good Life Café in South Carolina and Pure Food and Wine in NYC.

9. We tend to eat what our host provides.  “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do!” Right?  As guests, we are really at the mercy of our host, especially when they want to treat us all the time and/or we are in a foreign country.

10. I have discovered that food allergies are difficult for others to understand.

11. The concept of Raw Vegan foods are even harder for many to grasp.  I have had, many a time, cheese and bread on my “all Raw Vegan” salad or been offered regular hummus with cooked chickpeas.

12. Requests for Gluten- and Vegan-free food is akin to speaking a foreign language.

My son kept asking for the white bread served at most mainstream restaurants. Having said 'no' so many times (due to allergies), I finally ordered some wonderful Rice Bruschetta at a Vegan restaurant we visited towards the end of one of our trips. My son was extremely happy. So was I for having found a half-raw, half-cooked meal for him too!

13. My son will want to eat what others are eating: i.e. the cooked or processed refined foods.

14. A loved one recently baked 6 loaves of maple syrup white wheat bread while we visited her for 2 weeks – even after I asked her to please stop at the first loaf.  The breads just kept appearing though, which my son gladly ate and I tried to stop.  She was thrilled of course to watch my son devour her bread. On the other hand, I was focused on his rashes (c/o maple sugar).

15. This Mama will compromise only to a certain extent.

Using a handheld immersion blender in a plastic tub while traveling to make a lamb's lettuce smoothie for my family

16. If a kitchen and/or appliances are available, I supplement our family’s meals with fresh fruit for breakfast and fresh juices or green smoothies before a meal (that is if we have access to appliances and/or a kitchen).

Someone shared this on Facebook and made me LOL!

17. If a kitchen is available and if possible, we eat ‘in’ as much as we can and I end up a Mama in the Kitchen with no holiday.  But, I can’t complain!  We minimize allergies this way.

18. You cannot simply trust labels.  My son has even reacted to packaged Raw Vegan foods we have purchased while traveling to which, according to ingredients on labels, he isn’t allergic.

19. On every trip these past few months, my son has had some type of allergy, despite our efforts.  He has been very mucus-y on the plane home twice.

20. Raw Vegan food options are not always available when eating with family and friends…or they are harder to come by when traveling or sanitation is an issue in certain countries. When eating at mainstream restaurants or at people’s homes sometimes simply boiled, steamed or stir fried veggies are the best and only options.  In many health food stores in big cities, Raw Vegan Foods usually means a lot of packaged dehydrated foods… exactly the foods we try to avoid.

21. Raw Vegan food does not win over many people.  Some of my loved ones returned home to eat SPAM with white rice after a beautiful lunch at The Farm, Philippines.

22.  I, on the other hand, will have some type of food sensitivity after eating at a Raw Vegan restaurant: headaches, swelling or bloating from an excess of agave syrup, soy products, or nuts.

Juice Bars are worth it! Here in SAF London

23. To minimize allergies or sensitivities, we order simply at Raw Food Restaurants: an abundance of green juices (not smoothies) or simple Salads, and avoid other foods altogether (unless the server/chef can be 100% clear on the ingredients used).

The food was so delicious, I made sure I bought their cookbook as soon as we got home!

Food For Thought in Covent Garden will win over Omnivores anytime for taste and bang for buck! Just be prepared for small spaces and a communal-type feel.

24. Cooked Vegan foods, on the other hand, have been the best way for us to introduce family and friends to the Vegan diet. My mother gave us a cooked Vegan party when we visited her.  My friends thought they would have to lug their families to McDonald’s afterwards – but they admitted to loving the food by my Vegan Chef cousin!  They all had second helpings of the healthy mains and the desserts!  And no trip to McDonald’s afterwards!

I got an "That doesn't look very good at all!" comment for my salad here.

25. Prepare yourself for negative comments from loved ones about your food. Yes, even those who say they understand and would love to be Raw Vegan. I have had an ugly grimace directed at my food with a “I would NOT like to eat that!”, “is that all?”, “how do you get your protein?”, “yuck! how do you eat that!” And all in front of my son too, who takes it all in.

26. People somehow forget about your family’s diet and lifestyle choice, no matter how close they are to you.  I have had a platter of Steak placed under our noses blatantly at dinner with a smile and a “here, you will love this”; baked pastry treats full of syrup, butter and refined flour placed in front of my son while he, as most kids will, drools; salmon offered to us which they know was my son’s favourite fish before our kitchen turned Vegan.

27. The good outweigh the bad.  What is important is that we are surrounded by people we love and who love us back.

28. By the end of the trip, I am always itching to return to my own kitchen, I can’t wait to shop at my own local health food store and I can’t wait to eat healthier food.

29. After returning home, it is always just a little harder to get my son to eat as healthily as he used to.  And I am OK with this too because after traveling for the past 6 months, I know in a day or two, he’ll be asking for his fave smoothie and his fave kale salad!

30. And at the end of the day, I love what traveling does for our family.

Peace @ the Healthy Table: What Does It Take?

28 Jul

What happens when a Veggie marries an Omni? Peace or Burn-Out?

What Happens When A Veggie Marries An Omni?

I recently have met quite a few Vegan and Vegetarian women married to men who love their meat and processed foods.  The women joke that their hubbies eat these ‘on the side’.

Then Kids Come Along… and the dynamics drastically change…

Joy recently wrote to me: “how much I relate to so much of what you say. I am a raw foodie at heart stuck with a husband who loves soda, processed foods, pizza, candy, etc. He thinks he knows about healthy eating and argues with me on a regular basis regarding what we feed our kids 2 and 4. They are great eaters but definitely influenced by him and after almost five years, I’ve found myself exhausted and close to burn out.”

Exhausted and Burned Out Trying To Get The Family To Eat Healthy?

Yes, I’ve been there too!

I love nurturing the people I love through CLEAN, unprocessed food.  But, frankly, I sometimes want to quit and give up on days when my efforts are not appreciated or fail on the home front.  Sometimes I imagine just giving my family the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) Foods they would love to get their hands on. Wouldn’t I be more popular around here at meal times!?  Wouldn’t I have so much more time on my hands!?

But then I am reminded of why I do what I do in the first place and I look at how far we’ve come in the past 5 years.

Take Just One Step At A Time, Slowly Does It

Just 3 years ago, my husband and son were sick with a cough or cold every month.  This year alone, my husband has been sick only once.  My son twice (after choosing to eat overly processed foods).

3 years ago, my husband would have thought nothing about sharing a Krispy Kreme doughnut, corn syrup filled soda or dairy ice cream with our son with allergiesA few weeks ago, my husband and son sat down with me to write up and agree on a month’s worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menus for them that are 50% raw vegan and 50% home cooked foods, which are mainly Vegan or Vegetarian!

5 years ago, I used to buy 7 gallons of bottled juices, the biggest package of hubby’s fave breakfast cereal, a few packages of junk food and about 14 pounds of animal products each week… for my husband alone! And not to even mention all the other refined foods: white flour, white sugar and some candy!  Today, I am buying my husband and son a cart full of fresh produce, whole grains to mill or sprout at home and about 3 pounds of animal products for them to share each week.  That is basically it.

Even When You Don’t Think You Are Making Progress… You Are!

Finding and creating balance is difficult when a health-conscious family wants to interact and be a part of the community obsessed with fast foods, meats and processed junk.

After a 4th of July celebration this year, I realized that in in promoting fruits, greens, unrefined and un-processed foods at home, I had inadvertently created a little processed food junkie who, when away from home, craves his white sugar/corn syrup rush and his fat high.  Admittedly, children will ‘test’ and want what they cannot always have. But there needs to be a balance so that depravity does not lead to such intense craving. So, at the request of my son, I baked Zucchini Bread almost every week since that party with the least refined Vegan ingredients.  My son exclaims almost every time he eats it, “Mama, I love this more than the cupcake at the party!”  Sure it isn’t raw, but the bread is full of zucchini – and that in itself has created my son’s new love for squash!

A few months ago, my son also announced: “No more Salads for me!  No more leafy greens!  Just smoothies!”  Instead of making it a big deal, I just served up green smoothies breakfast, lunch and dinner.  One day for lunch, I decided to make a big bowl of his old fave Kale Salad for dinner.  I was surprised when my son finished a big bowl quickly and quietly and said aloud, not to anyone in particular: “This was yummy!  This is the best salad!” Although technically, my son is still in his “no salad” stage, when I don’t make it a big deal, he will finish his fave bowl of greens.

As for my husband, he really loves his meat. I don’t want to deprive him. Nor do I want the topic of meals and food to be a thorn between us, when it should be something to enjoy together.  Considering he used to eat some animal product at every meal, a few times a week is such a positive change.  Processed foods, on the other hand, are foods I don’t wish to have at home.  If he chooses to eat some, he can do so elsewhere or I can try to create a better substitute.

What Does It Take To Make Peace @ My Table?

Perseverance.  Balance.  Determination.  Education.  Motivation.  Empowerment.  Compromise.  And, knowing that true permanent change comes slowly, one step at a time.

Are you a Veggie Lover married to an Omnivore Junkie?  What do you do to make peace at your table?

Similar Posts/Resources

Do We Have To Love What We Eat?

Free APP Gets Kids Excited About Eating Fruits and Veggies

How To Transition The Family Into More Raw Vegan Foods

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health

Top 10 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits And Veggies

Top 10 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat Fruits and Veggies

29 Jan

A year ago, my 3 year old son loved eating salads.  But then he became accustomed to watching his friends enjoy their pre-packaged and processed foods and he followed suit exclaiming: “YUCK! I hate veggies!”  Before long, he too started avoiding greens.  It became a challenge feeding anything green to a young child who was anti-salads and anti-greens.  The only raw greens he would enjoy was hidden through green smoothies.

Needless to say, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make fruits and vegetables more fun, more attractive and more palatable for him.  I didn’t really know what to do but after an unintentional ploy at marketing, my son ate most of my full bowl of Kale Salad, leaving me both happy and hungry.  From that day on, I started to figure out more ways to market fruits and veggies to him.

 

The result?

A turn-around. While before, it was almost torture asking him to finish his green smoothie or  to try a green salad, our son now readily drinks his green smoothies and asks for his ‘favorite salad’.  While before he would pile our shopping cart with bananas, he now piles it high with kale too.

The other night, he exclaimed “Goodness Gracious!  This salad is delicious!  I love it!!!”  And yesterday, as he chowed down another big bowl of kale salad, he said with bulging eyes “Mama! I can’t stop!  This is so delicious!”

Marketing does work! And as I mention in all my tips, as parents we may not have as much money as big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time, love and commitment to our children’s and family’s health. May we all use this wisely.  So, here are my:

 

Top Ten Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits and Veggies:

1. Model Healthy Nutrition

2. Place Healthy Foods at Child’s Eye Level and Within Child’s Reach

3. Promote Fruits and Veggies Using Child’s Favourite Characters or People

4. Use Positive Imagery Associate with Eating Healthy Food

5. Watch Helpful Shows On Fruits and Veggies

6. Grow Your Own Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

7. Build Entertainment Value Through Raw Food

8. Find Support or Give Support

9. Allow Choices within Limits

10. Discuss Marketing Tricks

 

And don’t forget, all this works for husbands as well as the kids!  For more ideas, take a look at How To Transition The Family into More Raw Foods.

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #10

27 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

 

Tip #10:

Discuss Marketing Tricks

The premise behind this tip is that children will begin to understand how big food companies are manipulating them into buying their products.


The best site I found to help parents empower and educate their children on marketing ploys is called Media Awareness Network based out of Canada.  Here are their links on:

Dealing with Marketing: What Parents Can Do

– they suggest many activities to do with kids to educate them on how marketers target them

– they have handouts and tip sheets for parents, including: Talking To Your Kids About Advertising

Curricula for Teachers on Media Education

– for example, grades K to 3 example lessons include lessons on teaching marketing techniques, Food Guides, advertising and packaging tricks

 

Another good site is the New American Dream, a US based website:

– they have a FREE brochure on Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture

– and More Tips for Raising Healthy Kids in a Commercial Culture

 

If you want a short, bullet-point type of article,  6 Tricks Used To Sell Junk Food quickly outlines the important marketing techniques to talk to your children about:

– misleading labels, suggestive science or advertising, enticing prices of food, economics behind marketing to children, manipulative visibility of products and how companies get parents to buy their products

 

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has other resources for parents as well

 

Center for Healthy Communities is a California based group:

their newsletters delve into different health issues but their 2008 Winter Center Scene publication focused on ‘Confronting the crisis of childhood obesity: Advocates Combat Junk Food Marketing to Children’

 

Other links:

– for kids: PBS Kids’ Don’t Buy It Get Media Smart

– for teenage girls: About Face

– for the family: Adbusters.org’s Buy Nothing Day

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #9

25 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

 

Tip #9:

Allow Choices

within

Limits

 

 

Son knows that each meal must be accompanied by some type of vegetable. Most of the time, we eat raw veggies, but sometimes son chooses his favorite cooked vegetable: artichokes. He can happily eat 3 all by himself for dinner. Certainly not raw, but a real veggie nonetheless!

 

The premise behind this tip is that children will make better choices if they know what the available choices are.

 

Tonight, after seeing that I made a lettuce salad for dinner, our son cries, “I don’t want that salad! I want my favorite kale salad!  Not that salad!  Waaaahhhh….”

Sigh.  “At least he wanted to eat a salad,” I tell myself.

I don’t know how raw families do it, but this is what I have learned living with a 4 year old negotiator:

1. there needs to be very clear family agreements on food:

– breakfast is all raw

– we eat fruits with breakfast

– we eat greens at each meal

– no more snacking if greens are not being eaten at mealtimes

– Mama’s kitchen is open only at meal times

– Mama is not making Son special individual meals

 

2. son has freedom to choose what he wants within the parameters of family agreements:

– he can choose his fruit for breakfast

– he can choose whether he wants his greens as a salad or as a smoothie

– snacks are mostly fruit

 

3. food is not to be used as a reward

– son learns that nutrition is important to health

 

4. if son chooses to eat junk food again on special days, he has to only remember what happened to him

– last Valentine’s, after eating a bag full of candies from well-meaning friends, he was sick for a month

– last Summer, after eating ice cream from a shop (they didn’t display their ingredients), he was sick for a whole week

– last week and a half ago, after eating 5 cookies and 3 pieces of chocolate truffles from well-meaning friends, he’s still sick

 

It seems learning the consequences of eating ‘bad’ food first-hand  is very important for a little boy to understand proper nutrition.

 

Tip # 10: Discuss Marketing Tricks

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #8

22 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #8:

Find Support

or

Give Support

Banana Ice Cream: Freeze bananas, place frozen bananas in high speed blender and process until creamy, serve. Options: add cacao or carob powder or other fruits for different flavors.

 

The premise behind this is that everyone in the family will feel encouraged and supported within a like-minded community.


Find Support:

The Raw Mom Blog is a fantastic resource for all raw vegan mothers.

– find local raw food groups in your community: raw restaurants, raw chefs, other raw food families

– shop at a health food shop that supports RAW foods: we love our local shop because of the people who run it.  Not only are they helpful but they are walking encyclopedias for everything health related.

 

Give Support:

If there isn’t any existing local support, you can always create one!

– tell family and friends about raw foods if they are interested

– make great tasting raw foods for non-raw parties… this always works for me

One of my favourite cousins, Cris, has  become a recent fan of raw food.  She told me today that she made a green smoothie for her 3 year old daughter who asked for MORE after finishing it.  She also made raw banana ice cream for her daughter and another niece the other day and the kids loved it so much that more of our cousins have become raw banana ice cream fans.  I guess we can now have a family green smoothie and raw ice cream party!

 

Tip #9: Allow Choices within Boundaries

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #7

21 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #7:

Build Entertainment Value

Through Raw Food

Morimono: Edible Art Arrangements

The premise behind this tip is that children will gravitate towards anything that is ‘fun’.

The week we were learning about Japan in our preschool homeschool co-op, my mother, an Ikebana teacher, happened to visit.  We all thought it would be a wonderful occassion for the children to learn about the art of Japanese flower arrangement.  But my mother had an even better idea: for the kids to create Morimono or fruit and veggie arrangements and eat everything afterwards.  As you can see from the photo above, it was a hit with children.  Not only did they enjoy creating 3D art with raw foods (and toothpicks), but most kids ate their creations as soon as or while building it.

Food art doesn’t have to be as complicated as Morimono. A child can create images (face, flower, car) using fruits and veggies or a child’s meal can be served in the same fun way.

Other simple ideas:

– make shopping at the produce department or farmer’s market fun with games

–  for older kids

– see who can spot or grab the most on their section of the produce list the quickest

– who can calculate the price of the groceries of the day

– for younger kids

– a match-as-you-shop game using a list of images of produce

– count how many apples you are buying

– name a fruit or vegetable that starts with ‘A’, etc.

– at home prepare meals together – participation is key

– allow kids to choose fresh produce and create their own dish after watching a video of other children doing so

experiment with different fruits and vegetables to make smoothies or soups or puddings or popsicles (let kids guess what colour the mix will be)

– go to the zoo and study fruit and veggie loving animals

– we recently saw a Tortoise that was illegally owned for years and given hamburgers to eat, its back is now deformed as a result (its fave food is now bananas!)

 

Tip #8: Find Support or Give Support

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #6

20 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #6:

Grow Your Own

Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

 

Reliable Seed Companies: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

The premise behind this tip is that by planting their favorite fruits or vegetables, children will be motivated to learn

– how plants grow
– to appreciate organic farmers and their practices
– the value of produce
– how much better fresh fruits and vegetables taste right off child’s own plants
– to enjoy spending time together in nature.

We have had a few different varieties of tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers,  onions, basil, rosemary,  thyme, lavender, mint and sage the past few years, but then my green thumb relaxed too much and I found our garden full of grubs one day, all plants failed and my ONE  ripe beefsteak tomato taken by an animal last year.   My attempt at composting was also a disaster and I killed about 200 worms while trying to vermi-compost.

Sigh.

Not giving up too easily, we have  started our broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, snap beans and salad seeds indoors this week.  Wish us luck!

My back up plan if Tip #6 fails: visit a friend’s garden, as well as farms nearby and farmers markets.

Tip #7: Build Entertainment Value Through Raw Food

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #5

19 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #5:

Watch Helpful Shows

On Fruits and Veggies

The premise behind this tip is that children are greatly influenced by what they watch. Here are some favourites:

 

Edu-Tainment:

Grocery Store Wars – a long time fave showing the on-going fight between Organic and Conventional Produce, this short video is not only for Star Wars fans.

Kids Prepare and Eat Kale Salad – maybe inspire your kids to make their own and eat it too

Music TV:

For young kids:  ‘2 Fruits, 5 Veggies‘ song with dance movements kids can follow along

For older kids, a fun ‘rap’ song on Raw Foods by Sergei Buotenko of The Raw Family

Talks:

An 11 year old homeschooled boy tackles Organic Food and Farming on TED

Miscellaneous:

The Raw Family site has a lot of great videos too

The Raw Food Media has a few videos with raw food kids

Videos for older kids and adults:

The Cove on toxins in fish

Blue Vinyl on toxins in animal products

Food Matters and yes it does!

Food Inc on conventional and organic farming practices


Tip #6: Grow Your Own Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #4

18 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #4:

USE POSITIVE IMAGERY

ASSOCIATED WITH

EATING HEALTHY FOOD

Our Son's List of Raw Faves (inside pantry door)

 

The premise behind this tip is that children will associate positive emotions, positive physical attributes and positive social relations with healthy food.

 

We know that the big companies are showing emotional, social or health benefits for kids who eat their unhealthy products.  They use children’s insecurities in order to entice them to buy their foods with commercials showing:

– someone loves you more by buying ‘x’ for you

– someone is very popular for eating ‘y’, or

– someone is more physically fit for eating ‘z’.

 

As parents, we can counteract this heavy marketing ploy by using positive imagery in our homes. We can place the following in prominent areas of the kitchen:

1. photos of happy and loving families eating fresh produce together

2. photos of friends enjoying fresh fruit, fresh veggies and green smoothies together

3. photos of physically fit people eating fresh produce

4. a list of child’s fave fruits and vegetables with picture cut-outs of foods

5. photos of fave characters and personalities who love fruits and veggies.

 

Tip #5: Watch Helpful Shows On Fruits and Veggies

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #3

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children. What are parents to do? Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process Librarymarket fruits and veggies to kids. We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #3:

PROMOTE FRUITS AND VEGGIES

USING FAVOURITE CHARACTERS or PEOPLE

Yoda, Aunt Beru, Luke Skywalker, Michael Jackson

The premise behind this tip is that children will be inspired to eat what their favorite characters or personalities eat.


Our son loves:

1. Star Wars

2. Michael Jackson’s music

3. Winnie the Pooh.

 

How do we incorporate these three favorites with food?

1. Star Wars:

– We talk about Aunt Beru’s Kitchen being full of vegetables and that she uses her blender to serve Luke and Uncle Owen yummy Green Smoothies.

– We research the foods Yoda eats on Dagobah: berries, mushrooms, seeds…

– We create stories about other characters, for example the Jawas must eat carrots because they have amazing night vision.

2. Michael Jackson:

This was easy because Michael Jackson was a vegetarian. We found a story on Huffington Post about Michael Jackson being a regular at a vegetarian restaurant called The Golden Temple. He met a couple there and was very interested in the woman’s vegetarian pregnancy and her baby.

3. Winnie the Pooh:

Pooh Bear loves honey!!! Our fave breakfasts and snacks include raw honey (banana with honey, raw yoghurt with honey, raw oatmeal with honey…). And we discovered a Green Smoothie our son loves because It Takes Like Honey… thus we have renamed it Pooh Bear’s Smoothie.

 

Tip #4: USE POSITIVE IMAGERY ASSOCIATED WITH EATING HEALTHY FOOD

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #2

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #2:

PLACE HEALTHY FOODS

at

CHILD’S EYE LEVEL

and

WITHIN CHILD’S REACH

Fruits on the Counter

The premise behind this tip is that children will gravitate towards the food that are at their eye level and within their grasp.

Son's Dedicated Fridge Level: raw almond butter, green smoothie, raw yoghurt, dehydrated buckwheat cereal, flax seed crackers and kale chips, raw salted eggs, nuts and dried fruits

1. dedicate one level of the fridge to your child’s fave healthy foods (cut fruit or veggies, raw almond butter, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, dips, snack items)

2. dedicate one level of the pantry to your child’s fave healthy foods (honey, raw chips, raw cookies, dehydrated snacks)

3. make cut fresh fruit, cut vegetables, green smoothies and raw milk available at all times (we use our stainless steel lunch box and thermos with a straw)

4. keep fresh produce on the counter at all times

Tip #3: PROMOTE FRUITS AND VEGGIES USING FAVOURITE CHARACTERS or PEOPLE

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #1

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

TIP #1:

MODEL HEALTHY NUTRITION

Recently in Florida, our son helped Daddy choose exotic fruits to try

 

The premise behind this tip is that if children are accustomed to watching their own parents eating and truly enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, they will be more open to eating the same foods.

Being pretty much a raw vegan, I had thought that I was a great model on eating fruits and veggies.  But while my son loves all kinds of fruit and his ‘Tastes Just Like Honey’ Pooh Bear Green Smoothie, eating salads has not been popular for the past 6 months.  What I discovered the other day changed all that: my son ‘caught’ me truly enjoying my salad (read about how I unintentionally got my son to love Kale Salad).  And now Kale Salad is one of his fave foods.

Tip #2: PLACE HEALTHY FOODS at CHILD’S EYE LEVEL and WITHIN CHILD’S REACH

Marketing Fruits and Veggies to Kids

12 Jan

Everyday, our children are bombarded with marketing directed at them through various media that costs companies over $15 billion annually according to New American Dream.  The effect is disastrous with research showing direct links to childhood obesity, harm to children’s emotional well-being, self-image and sexual behavior, and to their financial self-control.

As parents, we need help in bringing up healthy children. We need to be supported. We do not want our role to be diminished.  We do not want our voices taken away by companies that directly market unhealthy products to our children.  So what can we do?

Having recently conducted my own unintended marketing ploy and seeing it work, I am ready to examine what works for big food corporations and how parents can use these tools to market healthy foods to their children.  So, I took a look at what The Center of Science for Public Interest wrote up in the Guidelines for Responsible Food Marketing to Children.  These were the biggest influential factors in marketing to children:

– advertise during TV, videos, cartoon shows
– product and brand placements in movies, shows, games, websites, books
– giving out premiums and incentives for consuming certain foods
– promote foods using cartoon or fictional characters or celebrities and the same placed on children’s merchandise and games
– build entertainment value through food: food shapes like a character, or use of colors to surprise the eater…
– create education incentive programs using food
– place a banner or wall paper of product on computer
– eye level shelves of grocery stores
– showing emotional, social or health benefits of food (i.e. someone loves you more by buying a food/ someone is very popular for eating a food/ someone is more physically fit for eating a food)

After looking at this list, I have decided to start using the same tactics at home… but to market raw fruits and vegetables to my son.   Although I have successfully transitioned my family from 100% cooked to about 50% raw in a year (read How To Transition The Family Into More Raw Foods), I would like to do more.  I want to make a long-term impact on my son’s health through nutrition.  So, I’ve come up with my own Marketing Fruits and Veggies to Kids list.

Let’s start with Tip #1: Model Healthy Nutrition

The Art of Proper Eating

6 Jul
We all basically know WHAT to eat, but we rarely hear about HOW to eat.  So, I’ve come up with a few fun Questions and Answers based on Ayurveda Nutrition to see how much we all know about HOW to properly eat.  Here it is!
Our Son lovingly handpicks our tomatoes, will it make a difference to our digestive system?

We all love our nutritionally rich raw green smoothies, but which would better feed our bodies?  A raw green smoothie prepared by:

a. a loving child on Mother’s Day
b. a mother who woke up in a bad mood and was upset we had spilled the first smoothie she made
c. either a or b because it doesn’t make a difference – the smoothie will feed our bodies the same way.

Answer is (a). The act of ENJOYING as we prepare and eat our food is essential in the process of eating.  A raw green smoothie prepared in a loving manner will feed not only our body nutritionally, but also feed us with love which affects how we digest and metabolize the food. Dr. Emoto has successfully shown how emotions affect water (and therefore everything that contains water) through his photographs of water crystals.  Being loving, being grateful toward, saying thank you to water creates beautiful crystals, but saying “I hate you”, and worse, ignoring creates ugly images in the water crystals.  What would our bodies feel when beautiful crystals entered our digestive system?  And how would our bodies feel when we consume foods full of negative energy? The energy of the food would affect us differently.  Prepare food with love and care.  Be grateful at mealtimes.  Love does make a difference!

Does it really matter where and with whom you have a meal?
a. yes
b. no
Answer is (a).  The Environment and the Company we keep certainly determines our state of mind and our state of health.  Our digestive system works well when calm and in enjoyment.  Eating in the car while running errands, while watching a suspense thriller, while in intense negotiation are not optimum times to have a meal.  Stress prevents proper digestion: instead of assimilating nutrients efficiently and effectively, toxins are produced in the body – even if the best kinds foods are eaten.  Being at ease and eating with people you love does make a difference!

We didn’t bless our food with prayer growing up, but my mother taught me to thank the food on my plate for nourishing me – to thank the meat for giving up its life for me, to thank the vegetables for the same.  Do you think prayer or being grateful for our meal makes a difference in their digestibility?

a. yes
b. no
c. it doesn’t make a difference.

Answer is (a).  Giving our full focus and attention to our food helps enhance proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients in the body.  Our thoughts, although sometimes subtle and sometimes unconscious, impact our physical bodies greatly.

Which food is best eaten on a daily basis to boost your immune system:

a. local in-season foods
b. organic foods.
This may come as a surprise, but the answer is (a).  It is true that we need to avoid anything processed and we need to eat more foods that are organic, high in greens and free of chemicals.  We need organic foods because they are pure, natural and unadulterated foods that contain higher levels of fiber, vitamins and minerals than conventional ones.  Organic foods also do not contain chemicals that inhibit natural cellular processes and they do not create toxic matter in the body that cause imbalance, disorders and diseases.
A South Carolina Farmer’s Sign
But what about local foods?  We always hear about local foods lessening our carbon footprint.  But we never really hear about the health benefits.  Local and in-season foods are in fact best for our immune system and enzyme function.  Just like local honey is best for people with pollen allergies, local food is  also best for our health.  If we are healthy, we can eat a small amount of foods from other locations.  However, if our diet is based solely on foods from elsewhere, it can cause disease: weak immune systems, allergies, digestive problems and weight issues.  Our bodies change depending on seasons and therefore so do our digestive enzymes.  Foods from other regions do not provide our bodies with the nutrients  appropriate for our own climate and season.   Local foods, on the other hand, provide us with the nutrients we naturally need to live well where we live.
What is the best solution?  Buy from local farmers who choose to grow organically. Find them on Local Harvest.  If you miss the diversity in your food, at least choose to eat foods in their correct seasons. 

Vegetables are the bes
t foods and need to form the majority of our diet.  True.  But do some vegetables cause disturbances in the body?
a. yes
b. no.

 

This too may come as a surprise.  The answer is (a).  It is important to listen to how your own body responds to certain foods.  In the West, people assume if a certain food is full of wonderful nutritional properties, it must be a good food for everyone.  In the East, this is not the case.  Nutrition and diet is more individualistic because foods have different properties and therefore affect people differently.  If there is a lot of ‘air’ in one’s system, cabbage will cause bloating and gas.  If there is an excess of ‘fire’, then garlic can exacerbate skin inflammation, ulcers and burning sensations.  If there is an excess of ‘water’, then fruits with high water content like watermelon, will aid in weight gain. 

 

According to Ayurveda, raw food requires more energy to digest than cooked food.
a. true
b. false. 

The answer is (a).  However, there is such a thing as ‘antidotes’ for foods to help make them more digestible.  For raw foods, the antidotes are juicing, pureeing, using spices and oil.
Raw Mushroom Soup
If I eat a raw foods diet, I can eat as much food as I want.  I can stuff myself with healthy food whenever I want.
a. true
b. false
Recommended Quantity of Food Stomach
Red = solid food, Yellow = liquids, purple = empty

The answer is (b).  Indeed, stuffing oneself with raw foods is healthier than stuffing oneself with processed foods.  However, according to Ayurveda, a complete and effective digestion cannot be possible on a full stomach.  It is best to train our stomach to be satisfied in thirds: 1/3 solid food, 1/3 liquid, and 1/3 empty.  An easier way to start is to fill the stomach with 1/2 solids, 1/4 liquid, and 1/4 empty.

How many times does food need to be chewed before swallowing?
a. 5 times
b. 15 times
c. 32 times
The answer is (c)!  Chewing that much allows us to taste our food, begin the digestion process in our mouth and prepare our stomach for the meal to come. 

How to mix Ayurveda Principles with a Raw Foods Diet?

Gabriel Cousens is the founder of Tree of Life and he uses Ayurvedic principles in explaining a raw foods diet. His 2 books are very interesting reads: Conscious Eating and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine.  In the latter, he cites the 10 worst foods to eat.