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Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu: Week 2

17 Oct

“Meat and milk really matter. 

Reduced consumption could

decrease the future emissions of nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture

to levels below those of 1995.” 

~ Alexander Popp of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research ~


Hubby and Son are still on the Vegan Wagon!  Here is our Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu Week 2.  You will notice that breakfast in our house is typically the same as last week’s menu.  My boys love certain Raw Vegan Meals for Breakfast and although I have tried to experiment and veer away from Raw Oatmeal, Fruit Pudding and Granola, these are their faves.  Please try out others to see what your family might like too.

Some Recipes for you:

Raw Drinks: smoothies, juices, limeade

Raw Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit Pudding (my favourite one is the Green Sundae!), Granola

Raw Dishes: Collard Green Noodle Salad, Marinated Mushrooms, Curried Vegetables, Kale Salad, B12 Salad, your choice of other  Salads

Cooked Vegan Dishes: Chinese Stir-Fry from The Happy Herbivore, Paella from Whole Foods Recipes (use whole tomatoes instead if you prefer and by the way, I love their APP. Their Vegan Soups are so much better than Epicurious Vegan Soups!), Maple Baked Beans (I use maple syrup instead of molasses – although molasses is a good source of iron if you want to use that instead – and I’m trying to wean my boys from canned tomato sauce by substituting with raw applesauce),  Shepherd’s Pie and Refried Beans from How it all Vegan!, Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan Diner (these are the best we’ve tasted and one of the healthiest! I substitute my home milled spelt flour for all purpose flour, Sucanat from brown sugar, coconut oil for canola, water for milk, whole flax meal for golden… still YUM!), 5 minute Vegan Pancakes from the wonderful web (just substitute Sucanat for sugar, coconut oil for vegetable and raw almond milk for soymilk), homemade Wheat Tortillas recipe from Anson Mills (although I use my own home milled flour).

Carissa’s Cooked Vegan Recipes:

Tempeh Joes: Our most fast food and processed dish ever… I’m scared to write this on here… but I wanted to let you know that I’m not the perfect Mama in the Kitchen sometimes too… and to let you know that sometimes the boys just want certain foods now and this is better than going to some fast food joint to get their ‘fix’.  No other substitute for the meat in this works for them… and no other ‘sauce’ is faster than organic ketchup.  Steam 2 packages of Wild Rice Tempeh (if anyone has a better non-soy substitute, please let me know!) for 10-15 minutes.  Grate to resemble meat.  Saute 1 diced onion in olive oil, add grated tempeh, stir-fry for a few minutes and then add ketchup to coat.  Add Nama Shoyu or Bragg’s Amino if desired.  Serve with loads of raw veggies on the side (corn, avocado and tomatoes work well!).

Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu: Week 1

10 Oct

  “Tell me and I’ll forget;

show me and I may remember;

involve me and I’ll understand.”

~ Chinese proverb ~

After watching Forks Over Knives together, discovering that our healthy non-smoker loved one had Cancer in the lungs and attending an equally entertaining and persuasive Vegan-centric Nutrition lecture by Dr. Greger (his videos are fantastic!) together at the D.C. VegFest, my husband for the past month has requested that we eat only Vegan meals. This is a HUGE step for him, as he is an Omnivore.  While my boys continue to eat 50% Raw Vegan foods, now for the past month their cooked foods have been ALL Vegan as well.

A few nights ago, it seemed to me that my husband was losing his zeal for all the Vegan food he has been consuming and I asked him, “Are you missing meat?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“Do you want me to cook some meat for you?” I offered.

“No. Can you bake some Chocolate Chips Cookies though?”

It is clear to me that my husband is going through some type of withdrawal at this point on his Vegan journey.  So for the past month, this Raw Vegan Mama has been cooking up a Vegan storm… selfishly because I don’t want my Omnivore Hubby to lose sight of the Vegan light!  I guess the events of the past month have affected him more than he lets on… as Robert Kegan states so well:


“What the eye sees better the heart feels more deeply.

We not only increase the likelihood of our being moved;

we also run the risk that being moved entails.

Seeing increases our vulnerability to being recruited to the welfare of another.”

~ Robert Kegan, The Evolving Self ~

I like to think my efforts in the kitchen are working because my husband even agreed to embark on a 1 month trial Vegan menu for our family this month (yes, yet another month of Vegan food for Omnivore Hubby and Son!).

For many out there who have wanted Sample Menus and for Elizabeth who just commented on Peace @ the Healthy Table: What Does It Take?, here’s the first week’s menu for you:

Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu Week 1

Some Recipes for you:

Raw Drinks: smoothies, juices, flavored water

Raw Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit Pudding (my favourite one is the Green Sundae!), Granola

Raw Dishes: Kale Salad, your choice of  Salads, Guacamole and other sides for Burger

Cooked Vegan Dishes: Shepherd’s Pie and Mulligatawny Soup is from  How it all Vegan!, Potpie from Meatless Meals for Working People, Black Beans and Rice from Forks Over Knives (NOTE: I use coconut oil for vegetable oil, my own milled flour and other unprocessed ingredients to substitute for some ingredients in these books)

Carissa’s Cooked Vegan Recipes:

Portabello Burger: simply marinate mushrooms in a Balsamic Vinaigrette with basil for 10 minutes and roast/grill on both sides for 5 minutes

Vegan Alfredo: heat 4 tbspns coconut oil on medium heat, add 3 – 4 tbspns spelt or whole wheat flour, stir for a minutes, add ‘milk’ (blend 2 cups water, 3 tbspns raw almond butter, 4 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp sea salt and 2 pinches nutmeg together) and cook until thickens.  Add to pasta.  Top with Nutritional Yeast, if desired.

Waffles: Mix in a bowl 4 cups spelt/wheat flour, 2 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp baking soda. Mix in another bowl or blender 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup flax meal, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup raw almond butter, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil and 3 1/2 cups water.  Mix dry into wet ingredients and cook with waffle maker.

Apple Crumble (adapted from my mother-in-law’s friends recipe): Place 10 apples, peeled and sliced, in a slightly greased dish.  Top with juice of 1 orange and cinnamon.  In another bowl, mix together 150 grams coconut oil, 1 cup Sucanat, 1 cup of your choice of flour (1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup wheat germ or 1 cup spelt).  Place this mixture on top of apples and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Sweet Potato Fries: Slice them, coat with some olive oil, salt and/or Sucanat and cinnamon and bake them!

Washington D.C. VegFest

22 Sep

According to VegNews, Washington, DC has the biggest Veggie eating population at 8.3 percent, the biggest percentage of any city in the United States. And this Saturday, the nation’s capital will be offering a FREE outdoor festival with the very best of everything VEGGIE in D.C.!

When: this Saturday, 24th September 2011, 11am to 6pm

Where: George Washington University at the Univ. Yard, 2000 blk of H St., NW, DC

Price: FREE

Organized by: Compassion Over Killing and the Vegetarian Society of D.C.

Scheduled Talks include: The Latest in Clinical Nutrition, The Meat Crisis and Gas Prices and The Meat of the Matter: how our diet impacts the planet (details here)

Exhibitors: food and commercial vendors, as well as non-profit organizations (details here)

For more information:

Hospital Feeds Cancer Patient Animal Based Meals and Processed Foods

19 Sep

Free Drinks for family or friends at the Hospital in the Surgical Waiting Room

What’s Wrong with Animal Based Foods and Processed Foods?

If you’ve watched the recent documentary Forks Over Knives, which is now available in DVD or on Amazon Instant Video or on Netflix, the message from highly respected and reputed doctors (Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Pam Popper, Dr. Dough Lisle, Dr. Terry Mason, Dr. Neal Barnard and Drs. Matthew Lederman and Alona Pulde) is clear and simple:

  • the quantity of animal based foods and processed foods consumption is directly correlated to degenerative diseases, especially heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and even erectile disfunction.
  • animal protein has shown that its addition into the diet alone can turn on and off cancer.
  • a whole foods plant based diet has the power to cure many diseases.
  • a whole foods plant based diet has the power to prevent many diseases.

Hospital Serves Cancer Patient Animal Based Meals and Processed Foods

Would you give an alcoholic a bottle of wine?  Would you temp someone who just quit smoking with a cigarette?  Then why do hospitals serve Cancer patients, and other patients who are struggling with health and possibly life itself, processed foods and animal products – the very foods that cause disease in the first place?

Last week, someone very close to my heart had a lung operation to remove cancer cells.  While I was undoubtedly saddened by the news, I was appalled at what kind of food was served to her at the hospital.  And this was in a very well known and respected hospital!

Her very first and subsequent drink offers at the hospital:

  • ginger ale with high fructose corn syrup with loads of ice
  • cranberry juice from a plastic tub (the kind that makes the juice taste like plastic)
  • apple juice concentrate from Argentina and China.

She also noted that she had quite a difficult time getting the nurses to give her just plain water without ice.

Her very first meal was breakfast:

  • oatmeal (the healthiest choice on the tray)
  • French toast
  • 2 pieces of greasy bacon (after surgery? really?) and 
  • canned fruit.


  • turkey and gravy
  • mashed potatoes (with butter?),
  • green beans and grapes (at least!).


  • beef stew and
  • broccoli (another at least!).

Snacks: Family and friends were offered ice cream, which was full of  artificial ingredients except for the first ingredient, milk.

The total ignorance in choices offered by the hospital’s food service is appalling but not really surprising.  I remind myself, this is probably how many people eat.  This is considered normal food.  But it is wrong on so many levels.

What To Do To Change What Hospitals Feed Patients?

While many of us are unable to make drastic changes to hospital food services, we can make our choices known!

For family and friends of patients, bring better options for your loved ones:

  • filtered water
  • raw healthy juices
  • fruits and
  • easily digested vegetables (i.e. pureed soups).

For patients: ask the hospital staff if they have Vegan options.

A Tip from a Raw Smoothie Dad: Decrease the Number of Steps to Making a Raw Smoothie!

9 Sep

Recently, a Super Raw Smoothie Dad, Allen Kachurowski, shared a big tip with me: DECREASE THE NUMBER OF STEPS TO MAKING A RAW SMOOTHIE!

He pointed out to me, “Speaking from experience, I think males are probably worse fruit and vegetable eaters than kids.  I know I was.  Through my own experience I have found that the only way that I was able to reliably make [raw green] smoothies a habit was to decrease the number of steps to making oneI pre-measure all the dry ingredients once a week and store them in baby food containers.  That way every morning I save time by not having to open each package individually. It’s kind of like those daily pill containers.  I find with the Spirulina powder this works really well and prevents spilling.  Just wanted to let you know that thanks to your blog we have now added Spirulina (never knew about it before), Kale and and sometimes Dates to our smoothie.  Made the basic green recipe today and really liked it.”

Allen's Containers

Here’s Allen’s daily mix:

– Flax Seeds
– Raw Wheat Germ
– Spirulina powder
– Juice Plus+complete powder

What a time saver!  I think I’m going to have to start portioning out my ingredients too!

Thank you Allen.  I think your tip will not only make it easier for Dads to make those Raw Smoothies, but busy Mamas too!

Do We Have To Love What We Eat?

12 Jul
My son actually enjoying this salad!

In Ayurveda, they say that your mental state affects how your body digests food.  So, if a child doesn’t like veggies, forcing them to eat it will cause them to improperly break down their food and therefore cause toxins in the body.

But, my son has gladly eaten 2 big bags of Valentine’s candy and was ill for a month.  My son has also fought many times against our ‘veggies first’ rule, begrudgingly ate his very green salad and has become much healthier for it. Looking at the bigger picture, the chemicals contained in junk or fast foods cause consumers to have a high, cause them to crave these same foods and within weeks can wreak havoc on their healthy systems.  Cancer patients, though willing but who may not love the drastic change in diet, have cured themselves off cancer on Raw Vegan Foods.

Do we really have to love the food we eat? Compared to the quality of the food we eat, it can’t be as important, can it?

Should We Have Fun Now and Pay For It Later?

Some people may call me fanatical and extreme for being a Raw Vegan Mama.  For the past 2 1/2 years, I have been transitioning my hubby and son’s diet from a Cooked Meat-based one to a largely Plant-based diet that is high in Raw Vegan foods.  We hardly eat out.  I make most of our meals from scratch and have all the appliances I need to make it easy for me.  When my family does eat out, I secretly cringe when my hubby and son order Sweet Tea (corn syrup! yikes!), Shrimp Tempura (mercury! hydrogenated oil!), a Hamburger (not-organic meat! hormones! dioxins! cow poop!) or celebrate a friend’s birthday with a store-bought cupcake (GMOs, preservatives, artificial dyes, I give up!).

But here’s the thing: when my husband and I married, we vowed to work at being PHYSICALLY HEALTHY so that we could live a long life together.  I take this vow very seriously and now that we have a family,  I dream of a healthy and disease-free family too.  I honestly can’t sleep at night knowing I served my family foods that could potentially harm their future health.

Why Do I Believe In A Plant-Based Diet?

There are so many reasons (look under Research)!  Here are more reasons why:

  • Did you know that we can decrease our chances of cancer by 40%, heart disease by 50% and diabetes by 60% through a whole foods Vegetarian Diet? (from Kathy Freston’s Veganist)
  • A plant-based diet also reduces BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure and hypertension.
  • Did you know that Diabetes is on an upswing worldwide?  1/3 of the kids born after 2000 will get type 2 diabetes and it has been proven that it is preventable through diet and lifestyle.  Dr. Barnard has shown that beef and cheese are bigger insulin spikers than pasta and fish more than popcorn!  The Vegetarian Diet helps prevent diabetes!

My Solution

As a Mama in my kitchen, I have the power to influence what my family eats.  I am lucky that I am able to spend a big part of my day in the kitchen to create healthy, as un-processed as possible, tasty Plant-Based meals for my family.   Admittedly, I work hard at it because I want my family to enjoy and crave healthy food.

So, do we really have to love the food we eat?

Yes.  I want my family to love what I serve.  Isn’t it the only way to get them to come back for seconds?  And not only today, but tomorrow and the day after.

Q and A with Vegan Mama, Chef, Restauranteur and Author of Vegan Family Meals: Ann Gentry

6 Jul

As part of Ann Gentry‘s Blog Tour for her new book Vegan Family Meals, we have featured her delicious recipes (Garlic-Sesame Kale Chips and her My Niçoise Salad) with a raw twist here on Mama in the Kitchen.  In her professional life, she has been in the forefront of the Vegan and Green Food Movements: Ms. Gentry owns two Vegan restaurants, Real Food Daily in Santa Monica and Hollywood serving 100% Vegan foods, she hosts a cooking show, Naturally Delicious, she is the author of The Real Food Daily Cookbook and the executive chef to Vegetarian Times magazine. But what I really wanted to get to know was Ann Gentry, the Mama in her own Kitchen… so here is my interview with her, which I want to share with you.

Q&A with Ann Gentry

Carissa: As a Raw Vegan Mama today, I am only too aware of our culture that encourages an unhealthy lifestyle and the Standard American Diet.  How have you been able to bring your children up in a counter culture, being a Vegan chef, restauranteur, author and mother?  How have you created a family culture that allowed your children and husband to embrace the Vegan diet and lifestyle?

Ann: At my house, my kids are vegan.  At birthday parties, or other social occasions at their friend’s houses, they eat vegetarian.  We allow them to eat these “non-vegan” foods from time to time, NOT to supplement their vegan diet as there are no supplements to an already ideal diet, but rather allow them joy, comfort and participation in their childhood social settings. My kids get plenty of protein from beans, legumes, nuts and seeds and soy foods. I love it that they prefer non-dairy Cheeses to cow’s cheese any day.

Carissa: Have your children chosen to be Vegan themselves? 

Ann: I tell them they are in this family for a reason and eating a plant-based diet is one of them! My 12-year-old daughter early on understood the implications of an animal based diet and was perplexed as to how people could live in this world, eating animals while having others as pets.

Carissa: What are (or have been) your family’s top favourite Vegan meals?

Ann: Nachos – corn chip with black beans and my cashew cheese.  Recipe in Vegan Family Meals on page 57.  Tacos and enchiladas made with beans. Mac ‘n’ Cheez – I worked so hard to perfect this recipe for Vegan Family Meals.  The joke around my house is everyone is burnt out eating it.  Recipe on page 152 called Baked penne and cauliflower w/ Cheesy Sauce.   Right now, both kids are eating the Acai Bowl with My Super Hippie Granola everyday.  The granola is also a dish that both kids love to help make.  See first recipes in the book.

Carissa: At your restaurants, what are the favorite dishes that non-Vegan patrons order?

Ann: Most people eating at Real Food Daily are not vegans or vegetarians, instead they are health minded eaters who are looking for clean delicious tasting food served to them in a clean and stylish ambiance with friendly educated service. Everyone has the same favorites, to name a few: the daily specials and soups, all the hot entrees are popular, The Club Sandwich, our burger w/ the Works.

Carissa: I am all for ‘un-processing‘ my family’s food and making everything from scratch, so many Vegan ready-made products are not something I would readily buy.  My boys still crave their meat and don’t like beans at all, what dishes would you recommend a Vegan Mama prepare to help her family transition to a more Vegan diet?

Ann: In the world of plant proteins besides beans, there are the soy products such as seitan also called wheat-meat, tempeh and tofu.  These foods can be made into tasty dishes using condiments that bring texture and flavor to them.  I too stay away from the overly processed faux meats.  I find my kids will eat soy-based dishes such as Frittata on page 17.  The texture is creamy and pleasurable.  Also, nuts and seeds are great sources for protein.

One simple thing that has worked for me is always having one consistent dish on the table.  This is one way I’ve introduced new foods or dishes.  Right now, I always place a bowl of steamed brown rice on the table. This is the fall back to peaky eaters. If they don’t like what I’ve prepared, then they can eat the rice.  This is not a punishment, I just tell my kids our home is not a restaurant, if they don’t like the foods I prepared then their other choice is the rice.   So, you might try new foods you want to introduce using this method.  It has worked for me as my kids love brown rice.  In fact, it is now time to change the consistent dish on my dinner table to something new.

Carissa: I am a Raw Vegan Mama and wonder do you have any favourite Raw Vegan Foods?

Ann: I appreciate living foods and on occasion really enjoy them as a meal. My all time favorite is Lydia’s Luna Nori Crackers.  Not only are they raw and vegan but they are gluten free too.  I love these, so satisfying, great with any spread or dip.

Carissa: Thank you Ms. Gentry!  I very much appreciate your time and your generosity in sharing your wonderful Vegan tips with all of us!

Top 10 Questions on the Raw Vegan Diet

17 Jun

From a Restaurant Menu

UN-PROCESSED foods is what is important to me and my family. In getting rid of all the processed foods in our pantry, it made sense to increase foods that were at the other end of the spectrum: raw, fresh, organic, in-season fruits and vegetables.  For the past 2 years, my husband and son opted to eat at least 50% Raw Vegan Foods, with the other 50% cooked whole foods made from scratch.  I am on my 3rd year as a Raw Vegan (about 100%) and although I feel great, I am now contemplating adding more cooked whole Vegan foods into my diet.  Like I state below a few times, in my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener.  Also, some foods just taste better when they are slightly cooked (artichokes for example).  And some foods are not toxic when cooked (raw green beans were horrible for me for example).  However, on the whole, it is important for people to consider adding more RAW fruits and vegetables into their family’s diets because of the added nutritional and health benefits To help you understand what we have learned about adding more Raw Vegan Foods into our diets, here are the top 10 questions we get asked regularly.

1. Will my skin glow on a Raw Vegan Diet?

YES.  No doubt about it!

Although I have always looked young, I don’t think I’ve aged much either.  And since switching to a Raw Vegan Diet, I’ve had my share of compliments on my glowing facial skin.  Not only that, but my overall skin is clearer.   I grew up with constant whiteheads all over my arms and blackheads all over my legs. My dermatologists would charge me for different creams, shampoos and other quick-fixes which never worked.  Just 1 month after I turned Raw Vegan, all of these skin inflammations were gone and I had not one white or black head on my body.  I have since discovered that it is after I eat some foods sautéed in oil that I usually break out with a bump or two.

My son, who has had terrible eczema, now is at least 50% Raw also has beautiful flawless skin.  Hubby’s skin looks the same.

2.  Will I have a lot of energy on the Raw Vegan Diet?

YES.  On a balanced Raw Vegan Diet, I have more energy ‘to go the extra mile’ in situations where I did not before.  My husband has noted that I do much more and complain much less, especially when I need to clean up…  😉

3. Will I sleep less on the Raw Vegan Diet?

DEPENDS.  A lot of Raw Foodies really believe that they don’t need much sleep.  I used to get by with 5 hours of sleep a night on my first year of raw.  Now, on my third, I prefer about 7 hours.  If I don’t get enough sleep, I am more inclined to get sick.  So, I think this depends on the person.  Also, having a lot of energy while awake doesn’t equate to needing less sleep.

4.  Can I eat whatever I want on a Raw Vegan Diet?

NO.  I met a Raw Vegan once and she said on a Raw Vegan diet there isn’t a pyramid or plate chart to follow, “just eat whatever you feel like.”  Well… some famous Raw Vegans have become sick from an unbalanced diet of too many sweets and heavy foods (such as fruit, sweeteners, nuts), and too little greens (where the bulk of raw vegan nutrition is). Many long-time Raw Vegans have added raw dairy, raw egg and raw fish back into their diets because they felt something was missing.  Like any diet, a Raw Vegan must pay attention to daily balanced nutrition.  In my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.

What I have discovered on a Raw Vegan Diet is that I can easily pinpoint what my body needs by being sensitive to little changes.  I have found that I need to supplement with iodine, zinc and B12, for example.

(Resource: Raw Vegan Ingredients and Foods Raw Vegans Avoid)

5. Can I gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet?

YES. You actually can gain weight and some people have!  If you eat a lot of nuts, avocados and oils, you can gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet.  That said, it is easy to maintain your weight on a Raw Vegan Diet if you have a tendency to gain weight.  But you can also lose a lot of weight and have difficulty putting on some.

One thing that I have discovered is that I crave a lot of GREENS.  When I do crave other foods, I don’t eat a whole lot of it to feel satisfied.  When I get hungry, I don’t get “I-need-to-eat-now!!!” mad like I used to.

6. Will I get sick on a Raw Vegan Diet?

People have cured themselves off many diseases on the Raw Vegan Diet, which is testament to its efficacy. But, YES.  It’s not that we never get sick by adding more raw produce into our diets, but we get sick much less.

On 100% Cooked Foods, my husband and son were sick at least once a month.  I was sick less, but perhaps more than a few times a year.  After adding more Raw Vegan foods into our diet, we are all sick much less and our immune systems are much stronger.  By combining more Raw foods with exercise, sleep, time outdoors for sun and fresh air and more time to relax, we are creating a much healthier lifestyle for our family.

Note: The one thing that Raw Vegans must watch out for is food poisoning.  We have to be vigilant in washing our produce before we feed our family.  Animal foods are not the only foods that carry E. coli these days!  Also look at question #4.

7. 100% Raw Vegan is the only way to go!

NO.  Some people add only 25% Raw – and still feel the added benefits.  Many prefer to eat 50% Raw, but the term Raw Vegan describes people who are at least 75% Raw.  Although your family may prefer cooked foods, by adding live foods to your diet a little at a time, you and your family may be surprised how much Raw foods you are actually eating and enjoying in the process: a fresh fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinner, green smoothies and fresh juices at mealtimes or snack times, and raw desserts.

8. Is All Cooked Food poison?

NO.  Although a lot of Raw Vegans believe all cooked food is poison, I cannot make such a blanket statement.  What I like to say instead is that processed foods are poison!  What is most important is to UN-PROCESS the foods our families eat to improve their health.  We need to focus on foods prepared from raw, fresh, organic, local and seasonal whole foods – whether Raw or Lightly Cooked.  Like I said before, in my opinion, eating a plain steamed sweet potato is better than eating a big piece of raw cheesecake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.

9. Is it more expensive to add Raw Vegan foods to my family’s diet?

YES and NO.    It is true that buying organic produce is expensive, but I buy them on sale.  In our favourite health food store, produce is 30% off on certain days.  That’s when I buy!  A savings of 30% is tremendous.   And, if I cooked all the produce I already buy, I’d have to buy even more.  My family would want to eat double the amount of servings of  cooked foods as they would the same food served fresh, which is more filling.

Most restaurants serve salads these days! I ask them to make a big bowl of any fresh and raw veggies they have.

10. I won’t be able to eat out on a Raw Vegan Diet and I’ll have to learn to be satisfied with boring food!

NO.  Most restaurants have fruit and vegetables on the menu.  I order salads or slightly cooked vegetables for my family when we eat out.  There are also so many options available today for eating more Raw Vegan Fare.  In my own city, for example, we have our local Good Life Café.  In DC, we love going to Java Green where they serve Raw and Cooked Vegan fare.  In NYC, we have loved Pure Foods and Wine.  In London, we visit SAF Kensington on top of Whole Foods.  All their menus are interesting and their food delicious!  Just look at my Food Photos and you can see that Raw Vegan Food is far from boring.  There is an abundance of fruits, vegetables and dishes to eat and enjoy!

I Like Vegetables Video for your Kids!

9 Jun

Always on a lookout for more marketing strategies on getting kids to eat healthier, I was thrilled when a friend sent this to me.  I can add this to my #7  tip out of my top 10 tips to get my son to eat more fruits and veggies.


Thank you Kathy!

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food

26 May

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food:

prepare everything from scratch and

eliminate processed foods as much as possible.

Organic Candy without High Fructose Corn Syrup... Is it better? (answer below)

Can a Vegetarian Diet be BAD?

I ‘got’ it. I was vegetarian in high school and college because I learned that a plant-based diet was better for my health and for the planet.  But on a vegetarian diet, I was sluggish and gained at least 20 pounds in my first semester of college.  Even my own mother didn’t recognize me at the airport when she came to pick me up for Christmas break.  I had to stand right in front of her, wave my hands before her eyes and say “Hi!”  It is definitely not a fond homecoming memory.

I confess I did go a little food crazy in college. Sugar-coated cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Countless dining hall visits for Ranch dressing, Honey Mustard dressing, Mayonnaise, American cheese melts, Pesto Pasta, cookies, ice cream with sprinkles galore at the dining hall. I also got a job at the Student Center Cafe, thinking I would learn how to cook for myself.  Well, I didn’t learn a thing.  The only thing I did learn was how to use the griddle and fryer, slap flat foods together to make sandwiches and slice tomatoes.  Everything else was pre-packaged and pre-made somewhere else. Looking back, I realize that most of the food I bought or ate or touched were highly processed foods – not whole foods.

A Processed Culture

I understand why we are attracted to ready-made convenience foods: they do not require much work or energy.  We want food NOW without having to work for it.  We want to be healthy but we don’t want to put the effort into actually preparing our meals directly from whole foods.  We want things EASY.

The thing is though, like most things, it requires work on our part to get something really worth anything.  Nutrition is no exception – plant-based or not.

The Difference

Consider this: When a fruit or vegetable is 5 days old, it will contain only 40% of it’s original nutrients.  How about processed foods with long shelf-lives?

Plant-based whole-foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.  They are in their natural state and are not packaged, canned, bottled or boxed.  Most of the time, you can eat them fresh (washed or not) or they may require some time and attention (cleaning, prepping, dressing/marinating, cooking).

Processed foods, on the other hand, require little time and attention.  Most are ready to eat as is (junk food) or require some cooking (frozen dinners).  They are foods that have been so drastically altered from their natural state.  They are anything canned, boxed, bottled and packaged.  They are foods that are full of preservatives, artificial flavors and artificial coloring. They include anything refined (like white flours and sugars), any hydrogenated fats, any processed meats, anything with soy fillers, artificial food grade chemicals and additives.  

Plant-based processed foods are a whole niche market dedicated to serving ready made Veggie Meats and Veggie Dairy to vegans and vegetarians.  Unfortunately, these are highly processed foods too, containing especially high amounts of soy (most of which is genetically modified).

What’s The Big Deal?

Although we call them ‘food’, processed foods are not readily recognized by the bodyThey are seen as alien matter and our white blood cells will be on attack mode as soon as they enter our system.  Processed foods create toxins in our systems and cause degenerative diseases.  For our planet, processed foods require more energy and packing material.  Most of all, processed foods create more waste.

What’s more? 75% of all processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients – even foods labeled organic!  Of all seeds planted in the US, 93% of all soy, 86% of all corn and 93% of all canola seeds are genetically modified. According to Monica Eng of the Los Angeles Times, their bi-products “have become such common ingredients in processed foods that even one of the nation’s top organic food retailers says it hasn’t been able to avoid stocking some products that contain them.” People are generally unaware of foods containing GMOs: only 26% of Americans think they have eaten anything genetically modified and only 28% believed genetically modified ingredients were sold in stores.

The Ills of GMO

There has not been a long-term human study conducted to prove genetically modified organisms are safe.  A peer-reviewed paper GM Crops – Just The Science by The Non-GMO Project states that genetically modified ingredients:

  • “can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • can disrupt the ecosystem, damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations and harm biodiversity
  • increase chemical inputs (pesticides, herbicides) over the long term
  • deliver yields that are no better, and often worse, than conventional crops
  • cause or exacerbate a range of social and economic problems
  • are laboratory-made and, once released, harmful GMOs cannot be recalled from the environment.”

Repercussions: Our Children’s Health

Studies have shown that processed foods are contributing to our children’s emotional and/or health disorders.  Recently, processed foods have been shown to adversely affect our children’s intelligence.  And yet, processed foods are still everywhere: in home kitchens, restaurants, cafeterias, and worse of all, they are used as gifts and rewards for children.

A few months ago, my friend Christina told me her children’s teacher at school was still giving Potato Chip parties every Friday for the best performing student of the week.  The kids also received daily Candy Rewards for good behavior.  My niece Lia is only in preschool and candy rewards are there too.  And it doesn’t end at school.  There are always boxed juices, frosted cupcakes and pinatas full of more candy at birthday parties. Doctors visits end with lollipops. People who want to do good, like Cookies for Cancer, raise money for cancer research by selling cookies with vegetable shortening, white sugar, sweetened condensed milk, packaged refrigerated cookie dough and Angel Coconut Flakes. Then there is Easter Bunnies, then Halloween Trick or Treating, then Holiday Sweets…  These are all occasions for highly processed foods with genetically modified soy, corn and canola products no doubt.

What adults are essentially saying to children is “You are so good!  Here’s some junk food that causes disease!” Why does our culture encourage this shameful and imbalanced exchange? Is it correct to reward our good children with processed foods containing empty calories and zero nutrients?  Is it right that we give them foods that negatively affect their future health?  Is it acceptable that by rewarding with these processed foods that children will be more resistant to eating whole foods?  Is it suitable that we are allowing children to crave junk foods by using them as rewards? According to Joanne Ikeda, a nutrition education specialist highly regarded for her work on childhood obesity, these are all the factors why foods (especially candy) must not be used as rewards for good behavior.

What’s A Mama To Do?

After a whole year of my son pestering me for the same lollipops he’s seen other kids eating (“Mama, REAL lollipops not my Banana Lollipops“), I finally ran out of distraction tactics or maybe he just wore me down.  So the other day, this Raw Vegan Mama succumbed to buying organic processed lollies for her son.  He’s only allowed 1 a week, which he rarely remembers and hubby and I conveniently forget to remind him.  The top 3 ingredients are: organic evaporated cane juice, organic tapioca syrup and organic rice syrup.  Not bad, no high-fructose corn syrup at least.  But all 3 ingredients are still processed foods. I sigh – almost defeated.  If you’ve read Is Sugar Toxic? you wouldn’t want your children to consume any kind of processed sugars either.

Resources on Plant-Based Whole Foods Diet

Blue Vinyl, The China Study, The Cove, Diet For A New AmericaFood Matters, Forks Over Knives, Mad Cowboy

Spring Salad with Sesame Dressing

14 May

Spring Salad with Sesame Dressing

It’s easier to add more ‘raw’ foods into our daily diets than a lot of people think.

How?  Substitute unprocessed ingredients for the processed ones and voilá! you’ve got something RAW.

Here’s a quick and simple example of how I re-created a favorite Japanese Sesame Dressing.

Puree together:

2 tbspns Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce instead of regular)

2 tbspns raw apple cider vinegar (instead of rice vinegar)

2 tbspons raw local honey (instead of white granulated sugar)

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (instead of toasted)

1/4 cup raw tahini (instead of peanut butter or roasted tahini)

1/4 cup water (instead of stock)

Enjoy your truly raw and unprocessed Spring salad greens and/or microgreens (the latter from City Roots)!

That’s easy, isn’t it?

A Raw Vegan Lunchbox

14 Apr

Raw Vegan Lunchbox

I was shocked to learn from Toni of that a Chicago Public School has now banned homemade lunches, and other Chicago Schools have done the same thing.

The first thoughts came into my mind were: How about vegans? vegetarians? whole foods? organic foods? local foods? BPA free containers?  How about a variety of RAW fruits and vegetables?

My friend Christina doesn’t trust the mandated health guidelines for nutritional meals in school because the breakfast cereal her child’s school offers within federal guidelines provide a whopping 25 grams of sugar.  “A KING SIZE SNICKER BAR HAS LESS SUGAR THAN THE FOOD THE SCHOOL PROVIDED TO MY CHILD AND HER CLASSMATE FOR BREAKFAST!”

Yikes! I’m sure the 25 grams of sugar was as refined as sugar could be too.

Toni took the words right out of my mouth when she said: “It’s sad that the things you and your family believe in have to be compromised by the very system in place to provide support.”

Well, I’m glad we don’t have that problem yet. Spring is here and we are enjoying lots of picnics outdoors.

So, what’s in a raw vegan lunchbox?

First of all, we love our lunchboxes made of stainless steel or BPA free materials and a thermos with a straw is especially handy to have for kids who are squirmy about green drinks.

Secondly, preparing a raw vegan lunch is so easy: no cooking required!  Most of the time, I am packing dinner leftovers for lunch – if I didn’t do it the night before already.  How easy can it get!

Each day is different, but here’s a sample of what my son enjoyed the other day (pictured above):

Tastes Just Like Honey “Pooh Bear” Smoothie – we just substitute in-season fruits, like mangoes, for the pear

Fruit: Apple, Banana, Berries

A Big Kale Salad

Raw Oatmeal Cookies

How Food can Protect our Families from Radiation Exposure

29 Mar


Idea go /

I have worried about my friends who live in Japan.  Yet at the same time, in the midst of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, I am inspired and awed by the great peace, power of community and strength of the Japanese people.

Today, trace levels of radiation from the explosion at Fukushima are now in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Nevada and other Western states. Despite the low levels found, the risk of radiation exposure hits home. Although we are exposed to significant amounts of radiation already in our daily lives (cell phone towers, microwaves, X-rays, CT scans, yes even cigarette smoking), the low levels of radioactive material leaking out from a nuclear plant on the other side of the earth makes it seem more significant.

What radioactive material should we be looking out for?

The byproducts of the recent nuclear explosion are Iodine-131, strontium-90 and cesium-137. Iodine-131 travels best (therefore the first material to be found in the US), but after 80 days, only less than 0.1% will remain.  Cesium-137 can travel too, but once it falls on the ground, it will stay there for 300 years with only 0.1% remaining.


Why should we be concerned?

Because these radioactive materials can enter our bodies through ingesting, absorption through the skin or inhalation.  Moreover, they have been shown to cause different types of cancer.


What can Mamas do to protect their families?

Before going out to buy Potassium Iodide, Mamas can simply use Raw Food to:

1. protect our family’s bodies by filling up our cells with good minerals  and thereby keeping radioactive materials out, and

2. detoxify in order to get rid of any radioactive materials already present.

How can we use Raw Food to protect our families from radiation exposure?

From Gabriel Cousens’ A Comprehensive Holistic Approach to the Plague of Radiation and What To Do:


1. Serve up foods that protect the body from radiation exposure:


Iodine (found in kelp and strawberries)



thyroid and gonads




Potassium (found in chard, crimini mushrooms and spinach)



muscles, kidneys, liver, and reproductive organs




Calcium (found in spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens and collard greens)






Other excellent foods that protect against radiation are:

– garlic, onion, ginseng

– echinacea, rosemary

green tea – 20 cups gives 97% more protection against radiation

chlorophyll-rich foods: cabbage, leafy greens, spirulina (decreases side effects of radiation by 50%), wheatgrass, sprouts, blue green algae

beets can lessen cesium-137 absorption by 97-100%

bee pollen contains 15% lecithin which protects against all 3 radioactive materials: iodine-131, strontium-90 and cesium-137


2. Serve up foods that bind to radioactive material, turning them into harmless salts and then ridding the body of them:


Kelp family (kelp, arame, wakame, kombu, hijiki) contains sodium alginate





Green algae (chlorella)




Other excellent chelates:

apples, sunflowers seeds, miso, grains, beans, peas


3. Serve up alkalizing foods that are low in the food chain protect the body against radiation:

raw vegan foods because they have lower concentrations of radioactive materials:

avoid animal products because they contain up to 15 x (milk) and 30 x (beef) more radioactive materials

More Resources:

Nuclear Plants Near You (USA)


What is raw vegan food?

What are Raw Vegan ingredients?

What do Raw Vegans avoid?

What Happens When Raw Foodies Go To A Cooked Potluck?

26 Mar

Sometimes people FREAK OUT about what is on our plates.  A young cousin recently pointed to my son’s greens and said: “Yuck!  I don’t what to sit next to THAT!”

But most of the time, our family and friends are truly receptive and I’d like to say MAGIC HAPPENS. Many friends and family are now drinking green smoothies and even taking flax seed crackers and raw dip to work.  One of my favorite cousins, Cris, and her daughter love green smoothies and are eating our fave Kale Salad regularly!  My mother is partially raw too!

My dear friend Sherri, our host for today’s lunch, asked us to bring something raw because her husband wanted to taste it.  I love small potluck get-togethers! Not only does that mean that our host feels very comfortable with us, but also that they are open to us bringing some raw foods. My favorite raw items to bring to family potlucks are green smoothies, appetizers with crackers and avocado, something non-raw foodist can relate to like Zucchini Alfredo and practically any dessert. And wherever I am, I tend to bring along the topic of food, health and nutrition too!

Always a hit: Zucchini Alfredo (zucchini noodles with macadami nut 'alfredo' sauce)


Today, I wanted to experiment on a Banana Cream Pie.  I didn’t actually try it properly until we got to Sherri’s house, and when I did, I was aghast because it wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be.  I feel  that if I’m going to introduce someone to Raw Food, it better be a FANTASTIC first introduction! This was, in my opinion, a flop!


Banana Cream Pie


So I was surprised when we returned home, I found an e-mail from Sherri:

When my daughter got hungry tonight, she asked if there was any more of your banana pie that she could have after dinner was over.  I explained that you took the leftovers home but that you felt you could improve on the pie.  She told me she “loved it!”

Music to my ears! Sherri’s little one LOVED the RAW BANANA CREAM PIE!!!  ONCE AGAIN MAGIC!

(FYI, I’m still reworking it though!  And will post the recipe as soon as I have it.)

Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce

15 Mar

My mother is Mrs. Clean and she is worried about the parasites and other undesirable microorganisms in the raw foods that we eat. So to ease her mind, this post is for my Mama and for all you Mamas out there who want clean and non-toxic food for your family!

Me: Yes, I do clean my veggies! My mother: How?


The University of Maine conducted a study on cleaning produce with:

1. distilled water and

three kinds of commercial wash treatments

2. Fit®

3. Ozone Water Purifier XT-301 and

4. J0-4 Multi-Functional Food Sterilizer).

They found that distilled water cleaned just as well or better than commercial wash treatments.


Cook’s Illustrated conducted a study on apples and pears cleaning them with:

1. soap (not recommended at all because it leaves a residue)

2. vinegar solution

3. scrub brush and

4. simply water.

They found 2 solutions that cleaned better than just water: scrub brushing removed 85% of the bacteria and diluted vinegar removed 98% of the bacteria. The Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, found that cleaning an apple by dipping in the vinegar solution and rubbing for 5 seconds reduced salmonella bacteria significantly.

How To Clean With Vinegar

1. SOAK PRODUCE for a few minutes up to 15 minutes in vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and rinse with water.

2. SPRAY PRODUCE with same solution, leave for a few minutes and rinse with water.

NOTE: Vinegar can be white or apple cider vinegar and can be substituted with lemon or lime juices. Some produce, like mushrooms, strawberries and peaches, cannot be soaked for long periods.


Susan Sumner, a food scientist at Virginia at Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, discovered an easy yet effective method of cleaning produce by spraying them first with vinegar, then with hydrogen peroxide, or vice versa. She told Science News Online, “If the acetic acid [vinegar] got rid of 100 organisms, the hydrogen peroxide would get rid of 10,000, and the two together would get rid of 100,000.” Apparently, this method was found to be more effective than chlorine and other commercial products.

How To Clean With Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

1. Fill a clean bottle with full strength vinegar (white or apple cider).

2. Fill another clean bottle with full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide, which you can get at any grocery or drug store.

3. Spray produce with one, then the other. It doesn’t really matter which you spray with first.

4. Rinse with water.


If you don’t have distilled water, a scrub brush, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide? Soak produce in a saline solution (1 tsp salt to 1 cup water or 1/2 cup salt to a basin full of water) for a few minutes up to 15 minutes and rinse.

For more information on DIY cleaning visit

Top 12 Kid-Friendly Year-Round Raw Superfoods

7 Mar

After discussing the top 5 reasons to feed our children more raw vegan foods, I thought it would be good to list the most kid-friendly raw foods that are in-season all year round and/or available all year round.  It is best to find organic, local and in-season foods, but sometimes it is just not possible for many reasons (one being I have a monkey who loves bananas and we don’t grow bananas where we live).

So, here is a list of 12 superfoods that are full of, as my son says, “En-zines! En-zines!”

Hope your kids enjoy these living and enzyme rich foods!


1. bananas – all kids love bananas.  They are rich in enzymes, best eaten just ripe when there are brown spots on the skin.  Many kids are monkey bananas for them in

  • breakfast – cereals, granola, porridge, pudding
  • green smoothies – a must in any
  • ice cream – with the texture of real ice cream, you can add different ingredients to change its flavor
  • lollipops – name me a kid who doesn’t like them!

2. apples – sweet and crunchy!  Full of phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, what’s there not to love in

  • breakfast – in our favorite Raw Muesli and a yummy accompaniment to Almond Yogurt.
  • easy snacks – simply slice one up and serve with or without a dip, or create Apple Sandwiches
  • raw Applesauce
  • immune booster ‘tea’: mix together equal parts of apple cider vinegar and honey, add water to taste
  • veggie juices – to make it more palatable for kids. I know my son prefers apple green juices over carrot ones.

3. lemons – rich in raw vitamin C and bioflavanoids.  Enjoy in

  • salad dressings: 1 tbspn lemon juice, 2-4 tbspns extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, spices and herbs
  • raw lemonade

4. avocado – rich in protein, enzymes, fiber, potassium, vitamin E and healthy fats.  Avocados add a richness and creaminess in

  • dips – Guacamole
  • soups
  • a simple side – sliced with a little sea salt and extra virgin olive oil
  • desserts – creamy chocolate Sundae

5. papaya – loaded with living enzymes, papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme which helps break down protein and soothes the stomach.  Enjoy in


6. romaine lettuce – rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, manganese, and chromium, it is also a very good source of dietary fiber.  It is the mildest of all leafy greens and the easiest for kids to learn to love.  Enjoy in

  • easy salads – Kid’s Only Salad and South Asian Salad
  • smoothies – in any smoothie, this is the easiest way to get kids to eat them
  • as wraps – simply place a banana in a leaf, topped with almond butter and honey or dates or nama shoyu, or other filling


7. sprouted oat groats: a good source of dietary fiber, significant amount of vitamin B1, potassium, iron, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, manganese and magnesium.  Enjoy in


8. almonds – higher in fiber than other nuts, contains healthy omega-9 oleic fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Enjoy in

  • Almond Butter – use it instead of peanut butter on bananas with honey, or in lettuce wraps
  • Almond Orange Salad Dressing
  • Raw Almond Milk – soak 1 cup of almonds overnight, rinse and drain the next day, process in a high speed blender with 4 cups of water and your choices of sweetener (honey, dates, to taste) and flavor (cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom)
  • Raw Almond Yogurt

9. coconut – besides being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (Coconut Research Center), coconuts are highly nutritious, rich in fiber (4x as much as oat bran and 2x as much as wheat bran or flaxseed meal), vitamins and minerals.  We have a tub of coconut oil in my son’s bathroom and he enjoys eating the butter as I lather moisturize his skin with it. Enjoy in

  • breakfast – granola
  • coconut oil – in desserts, pit a date and place a little coconut oil inside, close and enjoy
  • creamy milk – simply blend together fresh raw coconut water and meat from one coconut.
  • Pina Colada smoothie – blend together water and meat from 1 coconut, 1 banana, 1 cup pineapple, 1 tbspn honey.
  • soups – we love my Coconut Gazpacho, but you can make a simple Avocado Coconut Soup by blending 1 avocado and water and meat from 1 coconut and your choice of flavours (curry, vanilla, sea salt or honey)

10. sunflower seeds – excellent source of vitamin E, as well as vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate.  We enjoy this is our son’s fave salad

11. flax seeds – great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, good source of dietary fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and lignan phytonutrients.  Enjoy as


12. raw local honey – not only will this help with seasonal allergies, but this is an unprocessed sweetener that kids just love.  Since finding out more about the negatives of agave syrup, honey is now our favorite liquid sweetener.  Enjoy in

  • breakfast
  • chocolate syrup with raw cacao or carob powder
  • desserts
  • toppings or dips for cut fruit

Why It Is Important To Focus On Children’s Nutrition 3

27 Feb


As parents, we can agree that a child’s physical well-being is the most important factor in a child’s life and that a child cannot survive without food (Why It Is Important To Focus on Children’s Nutrition 1).  But we don’t want our children to merely survive, we want a healthy and disease-free future for them.  Based on the Pottenger Cat Study, we can conclude that food consumed directly affects long term health and the future health of generations in a family. Food can also be used to reverse degenerating diseases.


Cats are strict carnivores and as the Pottenger Cat Study shows, they are healthiest on raw meat and milk. How do we relate this study to humans?  By looking at people whose diets are based largely on meat.



Eskimos in East Greenland were first studied by the Hȍygaard Expedition in 1936. 90% of the Eskimo diet was the flesh of seal, most eaten fresh in the raw and 10% vegetables: “fresh mammals (mostly seal) 54%, stored foodof animal origin (mostly seal) 22%, fresh fish (mostly cod) 16%, importedvegetable foods 5%, native vegetable foods 2%, birds 1%.” The people did not show nutritional deficiencies in any vitamins or minerals with a diet that consisted almost 5 times more animal protein than average people at that time, 2 to 3 1/2 times more fat and 3 1/2 to 4 times less carbohydrates. At 20 and 25 years old, they were vibrant, full of life and energy, healthy, smart and hard working, but only 10 years later at 35, they lost most of these characteristics and most died of atherosclerosis, influenza or hunting accidents. In fact, average life expectancy for Eskimos studied was 27 1/2 years old.

More resources: A Turning Point in Nutritional Science by Dr. Ralph Bircher


According to the USDA, Americans increased their meat consumption by 57 pounds more in 2000 than in 1950. According to Mark Bittman, “Americans eat about the same amount of meat as we have for some time, about eight ounces a day, roughly twice the global average. At about 5 percent of the world’s population, we “process” (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total.”  According to the CDC, average life expectancy for Americans in 2007 was 77.9 years old with a long list of degenerative diseases as leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, nephrosis and septicemia.



The American Heart Association published a study that concluded that the consumption of processed meats is associated with higher incidence of coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitusAnother study found that high red meat intake increases risk of coronary heart disease and such a risk can be reduced by consuming other sources of proteins.


The Cancer Project states that “When cancer researchers started to search for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop the diseaseMeat is devoid of the protective effects of fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other helpful nutrients, and it contains high concentrations of saturated fat and potentially carcinogenic compounds, which may increase one’s risk of developing many different kinds of cancer.

One of the causes of cancer is dioxins.  Low exposures to dioxins cause mutations thus tumors in our bodies.  Any molecule that is present in our bodies poses a risk of cancer. As a doctor from Columbia University said on the Blue Vinyl: “Zero exposure is best”.  Unfortunately, this is not so easy in the US, as according to the National Academy of Sciences: “A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In fish, these toxins bioaccumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment. The best way to avoid dioxin exposure is to reduce or eliminate your consumption of meat and dairy products by adopting a vegan diet.


Eskimos 1940 Americans 2000
Animal Protein (oz/day avg) 10.6 8.48
Fat (oz/day avg) 5.92 3.2
Carbs (oz/day avg) 4.32 8.8
Life Expectancy (years) 27 ½, youthfulness  lost, death by accidents, flu and atherosclerosis 77.9, death caused largely by degenerative diseases


1. a raw meat based diet shortens life, and

2. a cooked meat based diet creates many degenerative diseases.


So what diet prevents and cures disease? Click here.

Why It Is Important To Focus On Children’s Nutrition 2

25 Feb


As parents, we can agree that a child’s physical well-being is the most important factor in a child’s life and that a child cannot survive without food (Why It Is Important To Focus on Children’s Nutrition 1).  Admittedly, as parents we don’t want our children to merely survive.  We want our children to be healthy and disease-free for life.


What can a Cat Study show us? 

The Pottenger Cat Study illustrates clearly that food choices  not only affect one’s health but also the health of offspring, as well as offspring’s children.

Mr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. accidentally discovered that his laboratory cats who ate raw meat scraps were much healthier than those on cooked cat food.  He thereafter embarked on a 10 year study to determine the effects of foods on cats from 1932 to 1942.


As you can see from the chart below, the cats fed raw meat and raw milk were healthy for four (4) generations, while the group fed cooked meat and raw milk developed many diseases and died out by the fourth generation.


2/3 raw meat1/3 raw milk 

Cod liver oil

2/3 cooked meat1/3 raw milk 

Cod liver oil


healthy developed degenerative diseases, became quite lazy

healthy developed degenerative diseases by mid-life, started losing their coordination

healthy developed degenerative diseases very early in life, some born blind and weak, had a much shorter life span, many couldn’t even produce offspring, abundance of parasites and vermin, skin diseases and allergies increased to over 90 percent, kittens did not survive six months, bones became soft and pliable, cats suffered from adverse personality changes, males became docile, females became more aggressive

healthy suffered from most of the degenerative diseases encountered in human medicine, died out totally by the fourth generation


As you can see from the chart below, the cats fed raw meat and raw milk were healthy for four (4) generations, while the group fed raw meat and processed milk developed many diseases and died out by the fourth generation.  It is interesting to note that groups C and D degenerated more quickly than groups B and E.  Male kittens in group E1 developed rickets and died early deaths.

FOOD FED 1/3 raw meat, 

cod liver oil,

2/3 raw milk

B: 1/3 raw meat, cod liver oil, 2/3 pasteurized milk 

C: 1/3 raw meat, cod liver oil, 2/3 evaporated milk

D: 1/3 raw meat, cod liver oil, 2/3 sweetened condensed milk

E: Raw metabolized vitamin D milk
(E1: Milk from cows on dry feed
E2: Milk from cows on green feed)

GENERATION 1 healthy developed diseases and illnesses near end of life
GENERATION 2 healthy developed diseases and illnesses near end of life
GENERATION 3 healthy developed diseases and illnesses in beginning of life; many died before six months of age
GENERATION 4 healthy no fourth generation was produced: either third generation parents were sterile, or fourth generation cats were aborted before birth


According to the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, “Dr. Pottenger tried to return degenerating cats to health. He found that it took four generations on raw meat and raw milk to bring the kittens of second-generation degenerating cats back to normal. This experiment could not occur with third-generation degenerating cats because they did not live long enough to reproduce.”



1. food consumed heavily influences one’s long-term physical health

2. food consumed affects one’s children

3. food consumed affects one’s family for generations, and

4. food consumed can reverse degeneration.


How about meat based diets for humans?  Click here.

Why It Is Important To Focus On Children’s Nutrition 1

24 Feb


As parents, I think we can all agree we want the best for our children. Admittedly, we all have different concepts about what best is. Some parents want the best education, others the best toys, the best clothes, the best spiritual life, and yet others the best social circles. But I would think all parents would also agree with me that all these things would be secondary, if not superficial, to the physical well-being of a child.


When a baby is born, what does it need more than anything in the world? Many would say a mother. But I think we can all agree that even without a mother’s love and touch, a healthy baby can survive if it is given FOOD to eat. And as it grows, the child will continue to need food to live.


1. a child’s physical well-being is the most important factor in a child’s life

2. a child cannot survive without food.

But as parents we don’t want our children to merely survive.  We want our children to be healthy and disease-free for life. More here.

Apple Kale Juice

21 Feb

Apple and Kale waiting to be juiced

We can’t stop eating kale salads at our house.  We love the leaves but don’t like chewing through the tough stems.  So what to do with the leftover kale stems?  DON’T THROW IT!  JUICE IT!! This easy juice is so yummy.  It is perfect for kids and hubbies who aren’t in the mood for their greens because it tastes like pure apple juice heaven.

Juice together:

stems from 2 – 3 bunches of kale

2 bags of apples


Who Is Karen Ranzi?

14 Feb

Me, Karen and Professor Debbie Billings of USC

My family and I were fortunate to be able to spend a whole day recently with Karen Ranzi author of Creating Healthy Children Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods.  Her book is full of researched evidence for topics that include breastfeeding, natural birth, circumcision, vaccinations, non-violent communication, raw foods for pregnancy, lactating mothers, children and the family, non-toxic households and other important issues that any parent (raw or otherwise) would love to read about.  In the time we shared with Karen, we discovered an easy going, funny, kind and a loving person.  There are three things about Karen that really impressed me however:

1. SHE SUPPORTS THE MARRIAGE: Karen Ranzi says “Prior to conception, the mother and the father need to be on the same page on how they want to bring up their children.  If there is conflict between mother and father, there will be conflict with the child.”

Karen encourages couples to work together as a team in creating a family.  Only then can there be a happy household and thus the creation of a healthy happy child.

2. SHE IS VERY FLEXIBLE and OPEN: When I said my boys wouldn’t want to go 100% raw, Karen said “That’s ok.  Don’t force it.  Work with what they want and change one thing at a time.  Controlling what they eat won’t work.  JUST DO YOUR BEST.  They are already eating so much better.”

Karen is a mother’s cheerleader.  She’s been there and done that.  She admits easily to her own mistakes  and encourages mothers to learn from her.  She says that the only thing she regrets were times when she wanted to control her own children: in their food or education.  She encourages flexibility instead.  Her advice to mothers is to: “Do your best,” “Change one thing at a time,” “Work with your family,” and “Controlling only severs relationships.”  Most of all, LOVE your children and your family.

3. KAREN LOVES CHILDREN AND CHILDREN LOVE KAREN: My son exclaimed, “I want Karen Ranzi to stay at our house for 100 days!”

Karen says, “If I can change just one thing for one person in their road to health, then it was worth it!”  Not only is she passionate about her message and generous with her knowledge , but she knows just how to instill a love for health in the young ones.  I saw this as she interacted playfully with my son.  After presenting him with and reading The Children’s Health Food Book together, my son and Karen were transformed into Superheroes with capes saving stuffed animals from the effects of bad food.  Needless to say, my 4 year old happily drank all his green smoothies and ate all his greens while she was here.  He was in Raw Food Heaven!

And finally, before we said goodbye, Karen looked into my eyes and said “You are doing a great job!” I smiled a really big smile because that was the highest compliment I could have received from her.

Quote of the Day

10 Feb

In talking to her children about foods that are better for the body, Karen Ranzi of author of Creating Healthy Children through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods would ask:

“If you were hungry and you saw a cow in a field and an apple orchard, where would you run to get food first?”

Free Humane Educational Materials for Kids

6 Feb

FREE Teach Kind Materials: comic books, kid's magazine, booklets, DVDs and posters


A few days ago, I received my TeachKind materials.  I should have added them to my Top 10 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat Fruits and Veggies but I had forgotten about them as the materials took so long to arrive. provides FREE humane educational materials and policy resources for k-12 and college educators. Their goal is to end violence through humane education and policy initiatives.  Humane Education means: violence prevention, character education, empathy building, youth empowerment and development of critical-thinking skills.

For me, a parent and teacher, it means getting materials that help teach my child how to make better choices to live a greener, kinder lifestyle.


Responses To The Materials

I laughed to myself because my sweet meat-loving husband took one look at the posters and said:

“I hope you don’t plan to put those posters up.”


My son loved the comics.  Upon looking at the posters:

“We’re not nuggets: please don’t eat us!” my son’s eyes widened and said to the chicks:  “I won’t.   I’ll help you!!!”

“Meat’s not Green” my son said with sweet honesty: “Mama, I try.  I really try.  It’s just that meat taste so good!”

We Love Bananas

1 Feb


Banana Lollipops: A Treat Anytime of the Day! Slice bananas, skewer with toothpick, freeze if desired, serve topped with chocolate sauce (equal parts raw honey and raw cacao powder) and sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds or dried shredded coconut or dried fruit.

We love bananas at our house.  Some days, our 4 year old can eat 4 in a row.  Although we eat a varied array of fruits, some friends have cautioned that 2 bananas a day is one too many.  Needless to say, I was worried about his excessive banana consumption possibly causing hyperkalemia.

According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, 1 medium banana has 467.28mg of potassium.  The recommended daily intakes of dietary potassium are (and equivalents in bananas, assuming other potassium rich foods are not consumed):

  • Infants birth – 6 months: 500 mg or 13 mEq (around 1 banana)
  • Infants 7 months – 12 months: 700 mg or 18 mEq (around 1 1/2 bananas)
  • Children 1 year: 1,000 mg or 26 mEq (around 2 bananas)
  • Children 2 – 5 years: 1,400 mg or 36 mEq (around 3 bananas)
  • Children 6 – 9 years: 1,600 mg or 41 mEq (around 3 1/2 bananas)
  • Children over 10 years and Adults, including pregnant and nursing women: 2,000 mg or 51 mEq (around 4 bananas)

However, research also suggests that doctors believe, like Dr. Jennifer Shu of CNN states here:

“A diet that is high in potassium may also be the cause [of hyperkalemia], although if a person’s kidneys are working properly, the extra potassium is usually removed from the body through the urine.”

So, we continue to enjoy our bananas heartily – but as they say, too much of anything isn’t good for you.  We make sure we have many other fruits available and don’t eat excessive amounts of bananas everyday!

What do we do with our bananas?

Breakfast Puddings – to make them thick

Smoothies – to make them smooth

Wrappers – so they are not too brittle when we use them as sandwich wrappers

Ice Cream – to make them healthy

Lollipops (recipe above) – to give your kid something fun and still healthy to eat!

Popsicles – place smoothie mix in popsicle molds, freeze and voila!  Yes, even the ones with greens work!

Fast Food Snacks – just peel and enjoy.

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:’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





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


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.


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