This is a very common question that I get and one that actually surprises me. Not because it isn’t a very good question but often because it comes from parents who have never really analyzed their children’s diet before. Many parents are feeding their kids processed foods, a variety of cooked meals, meat and dairy, etc and yet they don’t think to ask if THAT diet is particularly healthy. They don’t analyze every food and wonder if their kids are getting adequate nutrition. Why? Because the majority are eating that way. If everyone else is doing it then it must be healthy right?
But when words like raw and vegan get tossed into the mix many parents will shy away and start asking: Is that healthy? Will my kids get adequate nutrition? Because it is unfamiliar and not the societal norm, it gets scrutinized as a potentially unhealthy or substandard way to eat.
Like I said these are good questions to ask but my question is…why are you waiting until NOW to ask that? Ideally this is something you should have already been studying and analyzing and you should already have a good idea of how to determine if your kids are malnourished. But yet when kids eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) put on a little too much weight, develop cavities, have behavioral problems, get colds often, or suffer from a chronic problem like asthma or eczema…parents don’t often associate that with malnourishment. But they can be. A raw vegan diet is closer to what their little bodies were designed to eat than ANYTHING else on this planet and any move in that direction is healthier for them. There are no essential nutrients found in meat, legumes, grains, or dairy products that are not also available in fruits, veggies, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
David Wolfe, one of the world’s leading authorities on nutrition, states, “A carefully chosen raw-food diet containing organic fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, superfoods, and herbs with appropriate supplements works beautifully for both children and older adults.”
That said it is still important to look for signs of malnourishment in kids who eat lots or even ALL raw vegan foods. Not because the diet is risky but because you should be doing that anyway. Every parent should, and raw vegan parents are no exception. While a diet of fresh raw foods is optimal in my book we can’t just take for granted that all their needs are being met.
It is important that parents understand how to supplement and provide all the nutrient rich foods needed for the amounts of Vitamin D, B-12, Choline, Vitamin K, Iron, and DHA that a lot people, including raw foodies, tend to be deficient in due to lack of education. There are many rich sources like leafy greens, raw seeds, sprouts, and even the sun that will give you what you need; and in some cases there may be the need for supplements depending on how the food your kids consume if grown. Soil conditions, pollution, even hereditary problems can mean that vitamins and minerals are not being absorbed the way they should be.
Be observant! If you see dark sunken eyes, tooth decay, an underweight child, or any other symptoms that might mean their nutrition is less than optimal…fix it! Many raw parents have opted to use supplements just to make sure they are covering all their bases. Some possibilities include:
- Soya lecithin
- Vitamin K2
- Vitamin D
- Vegan DHA from seaweed
Supplementation may be especially important if your kids are not eating enough greens. Dark leafy greens are VERY important. I absolutely loved the book Green for Life as it explains this beautifully.
We share an amazing 99.4% of our DNA sequence with Chimpanzees. In fact, many scientists believe they actually should be classified as humans! They have the same A-B-O blood groupings as we do. We are also closely related to Gorillas. With all of the similarities between us why do they not also have our degenerative diseases? Their diet! A Chimpanzee’s diet consists of 50% fruit, 43% greens, 5% pith, bark, and seeds, and 3% insects and on rare occasions…small animals. Are we eating diets proportional or even remotely similar to that?
Plant proteins from leafy greens are an essential part of a healthy diet. Green Smoothies for Kids are very beneficial and nutritious.
I encourage all parents to help their child(ren) see the benefits and wonders of raw foods and rest assured that as long as they remain observant, the children will get everything they need.
The BEST book on this subject is Evie’s Kitchen. It is written by a raw mom who documented the first 4-5 years of her raw child’s life.