Written by Tera on June 25, 2012 – -
by Carissa Leventis-Co x and Tera Warner
I have been a raw vegan for over a year. During this time, my meat and carb craving husband and son have been able to transition from 100% cooked foods to more and more raw vegan meals. On a very good day at home, breakfast, snacks, drinks and lunch are 100% raw and dinner is about 50% raw. As I write this, I am reminded of how far we have come in the past year. But it is a struggle sometimes. On what I call bad days, the boys consume almost 0% raw but for their drinks. We recently visited Alabama and I was shocked to discover that in one restaurant the only fruit or vegetable (cooked or raw) on the menu was a side order of 2 slices of tomato!!! I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say, we didn’t eat there. We were appalled! But, what incensed me the most was the quality of food my husband and son were eating – rather what they chose to eat when dining out: non-organic meats, Krispy Kreme doughnuts (at a buffet in a museum), highly processed preservative filled pancakes and muffins (I would have chosen better restaurants if there were options), fried coconut shrimp (probably saturated fat and mercury filled), lemonade no doubt made with high fructose corn syrup… I could go on. I cringed at their choices. I cringed at the toxins they were eating. I cringed because I had a quick vision of myself giving up on them and serving them what they obviously so enjoyed. It is OK for them to make their own choices for themselves. It is OK for them to discover how these awful foods affect their bodies – for themselves. It can be a learning experience for them – and for me too. When we returned home, they were exhausted and had outbreaks of pimples on their bodies. I, on the other hand, was as healthy and full of energy as I was at the beginning of the trip. Now at home, I have bravely decided that (like all raw moms), I needed to do a better job at properly empowering my family to make better food choices. But how? HOW?!? Although we home-school, bring our lunch boxes everywhere and eat at home for most meals, we want to be part of the community and in doing so, we are exposed to what other people eat a few times a week. Although our friends know how careful I am about our family’s diet, it is inevitable that our son will want what all the other kids or adults are having. In a recent birthday party, there was a pinata and our son just devoured all the candy he picked up. It didn’t stop there of course because he ate all of his mainstream cupcake, some ice cream AND he wanted a lollipop. Needless to say, a watermelon cube at the end of a toothpick just wouldn’t do. (Did I already mention that we even made sure we fed him before we arrived at the party?) Of course, the very next day, he had a bit of a runny nose… Although I do explain the difference between processed and fresh foods – does my son really care? Does he understand? But will he choose to eat that junk anyway? Hmmm… if given a choice, probably yes. Ditto for my husband if we’re out of the house. Before this summer, it was easier to get our 3 year old son to eat more raw and he loved the green smoothies and sprouted salads. But as he has become more social and more attentive to how other kids (or adults) eat and attuned to their negative views on vegetables, he has said: “I don’t like greens.” “No green smoothie for me!” “I just want bread!” “This is Almond Butter, not Peanut Butter. Yuck!” He has taken the lettuce out of a raw sandwich (so lovingly put together), refused to drink freshly made juice or smoothies and declared “I am not hungry!” after surveying the table. This is hard.
How can you resist the Standard American Diet when it is constantly in your family’s face? How can you fight a culture that exalts bad food? Ummm… perseverance, I guess? Let me see… what other mantras do I recite in my head while I cringe at my family’s food choices: “force not, educate constantly, provide healthy food options at home and while traveling… and geez… you gotta just RELAX. It’s not the end of the world.” So what do I do? I keep at it because at the end of the day, I know I’ve done my best for my family’s health and well-being. This thought alone motivates, encourages and inspires me to keep serving up more raw vegan fare at home. Many friends have asked me HOW I have come this far in transitioning my family’s meals at home. Most are daunted by the task of introducing raw foods, especially if their husbands and children love meats and cooked foods. So, here is my ‘plan’. I wish we were 80% raw now, but I believe in ‘the slower the better’ method especially for those who may resist change. I know you’re an Earth-shaking change maker. But extremism isn’t right for everyone and the only way you’ll get your family over to the healthy side of the fence is through gradual, respectful change and communication.
Make a list. Go Slow. Start by changing one habit at a time – the easiest ones first. Once that becomes comfortable, move on to the next item on your list. Change takes place best on a gradient. Most people who do extreme purge diets just binge when it’s over. If you make gentle, gradual lifestyle changes they will become a part of your every day life. It will seem as though, without effort, you suddenly woke up and things were different. No one likes to be told what to do and no one likes having changes imposed on them. By gently offering new ideas, recipes, tricks, tips, your family will gratefully embrace the fresh, new foods and feel better for it. Imposing, rushing, complaining, etc. will only create disinterest and hostility.
For my husband, documentaries are important in getting his support, such as:
I did this in one day and it felt really good to get rid of the junk!
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Posted in Green Smoothies, Raw Food for Families, Raw Food Health | 12 Comments »