September 26

Why I Wouldn’t Feed a Pure Raw Vegan Diet To My Children

Filed under Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition by Frederic Patenaude

Most raw foodists I meet want to know whether or not I would feed my (potential) kids a pure raw vegan diet.

Today I’m giving you my answer.

First, I want to emphasize the fact that I’ve never recommended a 100% raw vegan diet for children.

Although I believe that this type of diet can be successfully implemented with a lot of planning — the risks outweigh the benefits, especially when there are much better, practical and safer alternatives.

Let’s start with a little bit of anecdotal evidence.

Over the 14+ years that I’ve been involved in this field, I’ve met my share of raw food families and raw children.

I would say that the vast majority of people that I’ve met that were themselves following a raw vegan diet were not able to keep their children on a 100% raw vegan diet, for simple practical reasons.

Although most of these children ate a great deal of raw foods, the parents were forced to introduce some cooked foods in the diet, due to the social circumstances with family and friends and sometimes out of sheer fear of deficiencies.

In some rare cases, motivated parents were able to successfully shelter their children from the “cooked” influences of society and managed to raise them on a 100% raw food diet. That usually lasted until the kids themselves, usually between the age of 7 and 12, requested to try cooked foods, out of curiosity or social pressure.

Some of these children were able to follow a raw diet for even longer, but almost all of them (I would say 95%) abandoned it past their teenage years, when they left for the big world and realized that this marginal diet did not fit in completely with the rest of society. However, what we eat in our childhood really shapes our taste buds for life. So all of these children, even after they stopped being raw foodist, seemed to love their fruits and vegetables, and many choose to at least remain vegan or vegetarian.

Most parents that I’ve met did not let their ideology or belief system get in the way of what they thought would be a more rational compromise in modern society.

On the other hand, some of the families that I’ve met really insisted in feeding their children a 100% raw food diet.

In some cases, the children managed to be healthy and grow healthfully. I already told the story of a French Canadian family who ate a 100% raw diet all the way until the children were about 17, but I lost touch with them after that. (You can read my full interview with the mother at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/articles/interview-solange.html)

The children grew a little slower than “normal” but ended up reaching above-average height. However, this family was not vegan and used some raw dairy products, but no eggs or meat.

I’ve also met other raw families that did not seem to be successful in raising raw children. The most troublesome symptom I noticed was malnutrition, when children had big bloated bellies, but skinny arms and legs — almost like the poor malnourished African children we’ve all seen on TV.

Other children were hyperactive, always seeking food and stuffing it down their throat, as if it were their last meal they were allowed to eat for a week. They seem to be constantly hungry and asking for food, even though they seemed to be eating up to 12 times a day.

It saddens me that some parents let some half-baked, unproven ideology get in the way of their precious children’s future and health.

I’ve often said that the raw vegan diet is an experiment. I was willing to undergo that experiment as an adult, and I made many mistakes that cost me my health. I told these experiences in my books The Raw Secrets and Raw Food Controversies, hoping that others wishing to follow a raw vegan diet could learn from my experience and not make the same mistakes.

We adults have the luxury of experimenting with different diets and health programs, but we also get to face the consequences as adults.

Children are in the hands of their parents and must suffer the consequences of their parents’ decisions — even though they have not made the choices themselves, and oftentimes rebelled against them. That is not fair and no parent should use their children as a laboratory to try out different diets that frankly, have never really been proven to work for children.

These children must then face the consequences of their parents’ folly for the rest of their lives. And that makes me mad.

Before we go any further, let’s consider an important fact:

No society in the world has ever lived and raised children on a 100% raw vegan diet — at any point in recorded history. And as far as we know, no society or tribe of humans anywhere on the planet has ever lived on a raw vegan diet as long as homo sapiens, our species, has ever roamed this earth, for over 200,000 years!

If we look at the long history of our species, as far as all archeological evidence can tell us, there’s actually never been a time that any human society has ever lived on a pure raw vegan diet, as long as we’ve been around on this earth!

To go back to our raw food eating days, we have to turn the clock back a lot more than 200,000 years. In fact, we have to go back to the days when we were not even humans — that is our pre-human ancestors. That would probably set us back a few million years, if not between 4 and 6 million years, which is the last time that paleontologists say that a common ancestor to both modern humans and chimpanzees existed.

So let’s make it very clear that the raw food diet is an experiment. It is not a diet that has been proven to have sustained human populations throughout the ages.

On the other hands, millions of people throughout the world have lived on vegetarian diets, so we know that meat is not necessary in the human diet. In many cases, these vegetarians were pretty close to be vegans, and for the past 100 years there have been many vegan families that have successfully raised children on a 100% vegan diet.

Here are the main problems with raising children on a 100% raw vegan diet:

1) Fruits and vegetables are not calorie-dense enough.

People tend to think that what a raw vegan diet is missing is certain minerals and vitamins. So they obsessed over getting a ton of greens in their kid’s diet, or truckloads of slimy seaweed.

But what really matters are the macro-nutrients — the calories! Calories only come from fat, protein and carbohydrates. This turns out to be perfect for adults who need to lose a few pounds, but not so great for children who are growing and need a lot of calories.

Fruits and vegetables are just too low in macro-nutrients (calories) to form the basis of the diet of growing children, who have tiny bodies and great caloric needs for growth. The reason raw food children eat all the time is that they just can’t fit enough raw produce in their tiny stomachs at any one time to get the calories they need.

Some raw foodists who follow a low-fat diet say that the solution to this is to give these children large amounts of fatty foods like avocados, nuts and seeds. Even though these experts ban or severely restrict these items for adults, they claim that in nature, children would be breast-fed up to the age of seven, therefore it would be natural for humans to eat a high-fat diet up to that age, as the fat content of breast milk is around 50% by calories.

While it is true that in many cultures, children are breast-fed up to an age that would be considered improper in Western societies, these children do not only drink breast-milk up to the age of 5 or sometimes 7. Breast milk is critically important for the first 2 years of life, but after that, even in primitive societies, children eat other foods than just breast milk.

What children really need are enough calories to grow. That means enough carbohydrates for energy, and enough protein to grow and build their bodies. Fat also plays an important part because of its concentrated energy, but there is no evidence that children must eat a very high-fat diet in order to grow properly. It’s just easier to get enough calories and proper nutrition if you include high fat items such as nuts, seeds and avocados.

However, nuts and seeds are not as rich in nutrients as we think, if we analyze their nutrients per calorie, compared to cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and even some whole grains.

Children would be better off having access to a variety of foods — raw and cooked — as they are growing up, instead of relying solely on low-calorie fruits and vegetables and high fat raw foods.

2) The unsupplemented raw vegan diet doesn’t provide critical vitamin B12

I won’t expand too much on that point, but it goes without saying that a B12 supplement is mandatory for both children and pregnant or nursing mother. Every single doctor who promotes a plant-based diet recommends a B12 supplement, especially for young children.

3) Grazing on fruit and nuts all day long can create dental problems.

The issue that I’ve seen with 100% raw children has usually been the same: they eat constantly, all day long, and they are never satisfied.

Children have a tiny stomach, yet need a ton of calories and nutrients to grow. It’s normal that they may need to eat more often than adults, so food in general should not be restricted.

The problem is that in a purely raw food diet, many children are not fundamentally satisfied and are not getting the necessary nutrients they need. Their carbohydrate intake may be too low, as they are instinctively looking for more concentrated foods to give them the calories they need, but are restricted to fatty foods like avocados and nuts.

One unfortunate side effect of this constant grazing is an increased occurrence of dental decay, which I’ve seen quite often in raw vegan children. Every dentist knows that the more often you eat in the day — especially sugary foods — the more likely it is you’re going to suffer from dental decay. Eating constantly never brings the oral environment to an alkaline state, and the constant supply of sugar is feeding the bacteria that cause dental decay.

Can a raw vegan diet provide enough protein for growing children?

Human breast milk is composed (by calories) of 52% fat, 6% protein and 42% carbohydrates.

Cow’s milk, on the other hand, is 19% protein, 52% fat, 29% carbohydrates.

The main difference between the milk of these two species is not the fat content, but the carbohydrate and protein content. Human milk is significantly sweeter and less concentrated in protein.

The reason behind this difference is that humans are supposed to grow over a slow period of time, gradually, while cows must grow quickly. But human milk is still concentrated in fat, as babies need those extra calories.

So can a raw vegan diet provide enough protein for growing children? Quite possibly, as human beings grow over a long period of time and do not need that much protein, unlike cows and other animals that grow very quickly.

But remember that babies who drink breast milk also start eating other foods after just 1 or 2 years of age, and that over time, in all cultures, breast milk becomes more a supplement than the main staple of the diet.

So it would be safe to assume that protein needs of growing children should be a little higher than the 6% content of mother’s milk. To be safe, a few percentage points should be added.

The big problem is when children are not getting the calories they need, they are also not getting the protein they need for proper growth. A diet deficient in total energy will also be deficient in protein, which is not so much a problem for adults who don’t need that much protein, but may be a huge issue for growing children.

A fruit-based diet may also be inadequate in protein as many fruits are lower in protein than even breast milk. For example:

Bananas — 4% protein
Apples — 2% protein
Grapes — 4% protein
Honeydew Melon — 5% protein
Dates — 2% protein

On average, fruits are only 4-5% protein, with some fruits being as low as only 2%. I suspect that a big percentage of the protein content of fruits is actually found in the seeds and hard peels of fruits, that are then analyzed in the process but not usually digested when we eat those foods.

Fruits are also low in minerals, compared to vegetables or even cooked starchy plants. Analyzing the data, I can only come to the conclusion that a fruitarian diet is far from adequate for growing children.

Other Nutrients

I won’t expand on specific nutrients, which rely on common sense more than anything. Green vegetables are extremely important for their calcium content, but most raw foodists are aware of that.

Vitamin D can be an issue if sun exposure is not adequate, so sometimes a supplement may be advised if children are not consuming any fortified foods like soy milk.

“Pregnancies From Hell”

Food aversions are very common in pregnant women, including those following a raw food diet.

The vast majority of women that I’ve met who were raw foodists when they got pregnant were not able to maintain that diet 100% during pregnancy, simply because they suddenly couldn’t eat most greens and sometimes most fruits.

Why would healthy women suddenly be unable to eat fruits and vegetables when they get pregnant, when they have been living on essentially fruits and vegetables for years prior to pregnancy?

A recent article published in Science Daily sheds light on this mysterious process. According to two Cornell university researchers, “the nausea and vomiting of “morning sickness” experienced by two-thirds of pregnant women is Mother Nature’s way of protecting mothers and fetuses from food-borne illness and also shielding the fetus from chemicals that can deform fetal organs at the most critical time in development.”

Quoting from the article:

“By creating food aversion, NVP (nausea + vomiting during pregnancy — Frederic) also protects against toxins from microorganisms and other teratogenic (fetal organ-deforming) chemicals, Sherman says. “At that same time, in the first trimester of pregnancy, the cells of the tiny embryo are differentiating and starting to form structures. Those developing structures and organ systems — such as arms and legs, eyes and the central nervous system — at this critical stage of a new life could be adversely affected by the teratogenic phytochemicals in some food plants,” Sherman says. These chemicals are secondary compounds that plants make to defend themselves against disease and insects.

Although phytochemicals have no known nutritive function for humans, most people tolerate their presence in food. (Small amounts of these chemicals might even be beneficial because of their antioxidant properties and trace elements.) But during pregnancy, according to the Cornell biologists, women with morning sickness are shielding the developing unborn from the harsh chemicals by vomiting and by learning to avoid certain foods altogether until the fetus develops beyond the most susceptible stage.”

You can read the full article here:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000602075407.htm

Many raw vegan women that I’ve met could not stand the sight of raw green vegetables, but were able to eat some cooked vegetables during pregnancy. Eating cooked vegetables was undoubtedly better than eating no vegetables at all, which is what they would have to do if they had stayed 100% raw.

Many also could not eat many fruits and even found themselves completely repulsed by them. Yet they craved simple “comfort” foods like potatoes, in addition to unhealthy foods like fried chicken and ice cream.

Most women were wise enough to listen to their bodies and make some serious modifications in their diet during pregnancy.

Others stoically stuck to the raw vegan diet, often with disastrous results. I’ve heard of women who ended up completely depleted after a difficult pregnancy when she could only eat a few types of fruit, because she tried to stay 100% raw no matter what. In the end, she was harming her body by starving and more importantly, her unborn child.

Animal Foods and Raw Vegan Children

Many raw vegan families have recognized the nutritional issues that I brought up, yet remained committed to the idea of eating raw. So they instead choose to introduce some animal products to their family’s diet, the most common ones being eggs and some form of raw dairy products.

Although these animal foods can certainly improve on a deficient raw vegan program for children, a body of scientific evidence shows that they are not necessary for the needs of growing children, on a well balanced, low-fat (or lower-fat, in the case of children) vegan diet with B12 supplementation.

There are very serious issues related to drinking cow’s milk, whether it’s raw or not, and a lot of evidence points to dairy products as a culprit in the incidence of diabetes and certain auto-immune disease, and to the prevalence of these foods in children’s diet. (For more information, read: http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/020700puthepancreas.htm)

I personally wouldn’t include dairy products in my children’s diet as I see no reason to do so, although I realize that occasional treats will be hard to avoid in today’s world. But, as long as the rest of the diet is clean and optimized for human nutrition, children will grow healthy and without long-term health problems, many of which can be caused by dairy products in the human diet.

Certainly children can get all the nutrition they need from plant foods and mother’s milk, and some selected supplements.

So if I wouldn’t feed my children a pure, 100% raw vegan diet, what would I do instead?

1) The basis of the diet would remain fruits and vegetables, along with cooked starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.


2) I would include some cooked legumes and beans


3) I would include some whole grains, focusing on the non-gluten containing ones like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat.


4) I would include various kinds of cooked vegetables, especially green vegetables.


5) Nuts and seeds, as well as avocados would be on the menu. I’m not sure what the fat content of the diet would be. I suspect it would be somewhat higher than an adult diet (which should be no more than 15% for adults, ideally less than 10%), but certainly a lot less than a pure raw food diet, which often has a fat content of over 50% of total calories.


6) I would include a B12 supplement (because I’m not naïve).

So I’m essentially I’m talking about a healthy, whole foods, plant-based diet, with very few refined products and lots of fruits and vegetables. That’s what I think is healthy for children.

I know some people will say: but cooked foods and especially grains are so bad for you… why would you ever give your children foods that have been destroyed by fire?

I’m sorry, but even though I think a raw food diet can do wonders for adults, mainly because of it’s such a great cleansing diet that eliminates almost 100% of the foods that can ever make you sick, after 15 years of experience in the field I have seen how a lot of “raw food science” is completely bogus and does not stand up to honest scrutiny and research.

If you pay attention to all the nutritional factors I’ve covered in this article (and a few others I didn’t have time to cover), you could technically design a raw vegan diet that contains everything children need. But, it would be complicated, and likely not as practical. A good plant-based diet will accomplish all of the benefits in a much simpler way.

Of course, this is what I would personally do based on many years of thinking over the subject, the body of scientific research and my personal experience with other raw vegan families. I would be interested in hearing what my readers think.

 

51 Responses to “Why I Wouldn’t Feed a Pure Raw Vegan Diet To My Children”

  1. Excellent article! I have three children and we have all been through all parts of the spectrum: vegetarian, vegan, raw, 100%, 80%, fasting, no breakfast, raw except lunch, etc… and what I have learned is that each person, child or adult is unique and their vehicle (body) each has it’s own cries for what we’ll call nutrition (fuel). Fresh is best, but I would never advocate 100% raw for children anymore. I go into great detail as to my experience and why in my video. (And I mention you and your book several times too!)

    Love, Laughter, Sunshine, Fresh Air – these are still the best foods for children! Have an amazing day!

  2. Jeff says:

    Hey Frederic,
    Thanks for taking the time to write this and go so in depth. My wife and I have a 17 month old daughter, that we have raised on a plant based diet so far. We were actually just having the conversation today about what other foods to add in to help with her development, so your article came just in time. We have done a fairly high percentage of raw food for some years now, and just recently started to add in some more cooked plant foods and grains. We also have played around a little bit with some lightly cooked eggs. The cooked foods have been helping me and my wife, as well as our daughter. It has helped us all feel a bit more grounded, and it has helped with my digestion as well. Our baby seems to do really well on sprouts, veggies, avos, and your occasional grain or potato. I think it is definitely important to give our children a diversified diet especially as they begin to have more interaction with the world. We are still huge advocates of a plant based diet, and the eggs seem to help a bit for us.

    Thanks for the tip on the B12. That is something that I have started to look into lately and I am excited to start some form of supplementation for our family. Do you have any suggestions on brands?

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

  3. Catherine says:

    It is so kind and generous from you to share all your personal experiences. Even if what you think may be different from what other raw foodists promote, you are still being honest with what you think is the best for health. Thank you Fred.

  4. Ellen says:

    EXCELLENT article. While I’m past my child-raising years (vegetarian-raised kids now in college) and so don’t have a personal stake in this one, I think that what you’re advocating is a great common sense approach. I’m sure this will be controversial with some people, but I feel that the best parenting does not attempt to sacrifice the child to the philosophy.

  5. Robbie says:

    very informative and result oriented rather than trying to live up to some label/ideal ( I am 100% vegan). I loved your article. thank you Frederic, Robbie

  6. Dawn says:

    Thanks Frederic for this informative article. It makes sense and is balanced.

  7. Thanks for the great post, Frederic!

    My children are high-raw and we almost follow your recommendations to a tee. They eat a diet of predominately fruits, veggies, greens, (home-grown) sprouts, but some of their veggies (i.e., broccoli, root veggies) steamed or baked.

    We avoid dairy (replacing with coconut and almond milks), but they do have eggs from time to time. We try, also, to keep their grains non-gluten, with the exception of spelt.

    They eat NO refined flours or sweeteners, drink no pasteurized juices and when they do eat meat, it’s always organic and the portions are much smaller than the veggie portions. They also eat a range of fermented probiotic foods like kefir.

    They’re 17 months old right now and are doing GREAT. One cold each so far and one respiratory infection, NO ear infections and these boys were born 6 weeks premature and one has had a few heart surgeries.

    I’m confident that their diet is the main reason for this.

    As always, love your content, Frederic. The interview on my writer’s site is still getting some great reads, too. Can’t wait to do it again. You rock. =)

    Best,
    Jennifer

    Oh, and btw, when I was pregnant with the boys, just the sight (& sometimes mere thought) of my usual favorites, like green smoothies, arugula, romaine, etc., made me ill. Glad to see there’s some scientific basis for this.

  8. Fruits and vegetables are calorie dense enough for me to actually put on more muscle in the last six months than I did in the last ten years. Furthermore, when I “backwards experimented” with cooked sweet potato, for example, bland no salt or spice etc., it only took me down in my performance and health that few weeks. The main reason that people fail on 100% raw – low fat raw vegan or the high fat unhealthy transitional gourmet raw food- is due to ignorance, laziness, or addiction to old habits. It is our duty to help people, and help the planet as best we can, not try to retain old habits no matter how many years humans have been living less happily and healthfully. If you check out my pics- esp. my recent 2011 pictures on my site you will see that building muscle is very similar to feeding an extra mouth, as in baby, and that it is possible if you do it right!

    Societal pressures can be turned around into interested people. At the very least, you can learn how to live, travel and thrive on a low fat raw vegan diet AND NOT LOOK LIKE DEATH WARMED OVER.

  9. Gilly says:

    Great article Fred!
    ‘Complicated’ is the operative word when it comes to feeding children anyway. I agree with you, introduce kids to the right fuel foods and model good eating. They will find their place with food as they grow and understand more.

  10. Peter says:

    Frederick, very good and informative as always and I do have your book.
    Looks like children would need a little more dense food than us.
    As far as our ancestors are concerned and also our nutrition – what Dr. Walter Veith has to say is very informative. He was world know Evolution scientist, professor – he came to be 100% convinced that evolution (taught everywhere) is scientifically totally wrong – he travels and lectures in Unversities etc. that Creation is the only way.

  11. barbara says:

    I don’t have children and I don’t plan to ever have one BUT this article
    makes a LOT of good plain sense.
    Thank you

  12. Frederic Patenaude says:

    @Chris, congrats on the muscle-building experiment! I’m sure you will keep on inspiring a lot of people and that’s what matters!

  13. Thanks for your excellent well balanced article Fred. You’ve pretty much described my diet, although I need to keep the fat levels very low. For children with higher fat needs, it looks like an optimum diet plan and strategy.

    I do really like the all raw diet, but cost at the moment prevents me from being 100%. The above approach is still excellent though.

    I think teaching kids how to eat healthy cooked food is great, plus they’ll still have the taste for raw. The worst thing for kids would be to rebel altogether. My kids would struggle consuming enough calories on an all raw diet.

    best regards,
    Stuart

  14. tanya says:

    I love the information given. I have a 19 month old that must not come from the same planet as any of the children mentioned. I am vegan (not while pregnant-I craved burgers). my daughter will not touch a veggie raw or otherwise, not a legume, nor organic glutenfree pasta. She was primarily breastfed until recently and is a very picky eater. i wonder if it is because i ate so many McDonald’s when pregnant. I gag at them now and I wont let her near the place but I do cook her french fries. Her favorite food! Other than that I make lots of smoothies and sneak in veggies. She’s non the wiser.

  15. Sophie says:

    great helpful article, thankyou… i have a 2 year old who seems to naturally want to eat the diet you described so thats reassuring… i love how in tune young children are with what they need at different times.. sometimes my son just wants fruit and salady things, other times he wants potatoes and eggs, and when he was ill recently he would only eat oranges for 2 days! despite mummy trying to tempt him with all sorts of things. And the amount he eats varies hugely.. im fascinated by the cycles of feasting and fasting children have.
    thanks again, sophie x

  16. Great article Frederic. The diet you laid out for what you would feed your kids is as far as I can tell exactly how my sons, ages 13 and 17 have eaten since birth. They’ve been 100% vegan with lots of greens (except for a pizza eating event my younger son has occasionally experimented with at school. We always found out because his behavior and focus went haywire after) The eat lots of vegetables, whole non gluten grains and legumes as well as fruit. Fresh as much as possible.

    They are both well built, muscular very strong and extremely healthy. They’ ve also never been immunized or given any medications of any kind. The point is, i think they are living proof that a vegan diet is an awesome diet for kids. All the points you bring up about all raw for kids are so true.

    At a swim meet the other day I was admiring my son’s strong muscular body, in comparison to other kids who were either overweight (mostly the girls) or two thin.

    They certainly get enough protein or they would be so muscular.

    Frederic I am so impressed with this super well researched and detailed article. Thanks

    Dr. Ritamarie

  17. trinity says:

    Good article. My friend just had her first baby and she is not able to produce much milk after a few months, its just slowly stopping. What would you do in that circumstance? Would you feed your baby formula? I am not sure what kinds there are but I would be afraid of cow or soy. What is the best alternative?

  18. Bonnie says:

    Thanks Frederick. I appreciate your approach, because it removes guilt from the equation for a lot of us who would like to be pure raw vegan but who, for a variety of reasons, find it impractical at times. This blog does it again with addressing children. Everyone is different, and our bodies require different things at different times. The most important thing is to listen to your body – which is hard when society “indoctrinates” us with meat, dairy, wheat, cooked foods in general, processed foods, etc. It is possible – and sometimes it may mean that you need to eat something cooked! I was a vegetarian for 19 years before going vegan/raw three or four years ago. Over the years, every couple of years I get an insane need to eat salmon – much like when I was pregnant and had to have something. So I eat the salmon, and then can’t look at any again until a few years pass and my body screams for it. I don’t know why it happens, but I do listen.

  19. Monica says:

    Fred, I confess I don’t always agree with you on every topic, but WOW you really NAILED IT this time!! I’m impressed! Thank you for such an excellent, balanced view on this very important topic.

    When I was pregnant 24 years ago, I had 100% confidence that a vegetarian diet was sufficient and even optimal for pregnancy and for children. But I wasn’t entirely sure about being vegan. Keep in mind that we had very few resources back then! Just Ann Wigmore’s book ‘Healthy Children’ and another on natural hygiene, the latter of which I found totally wrong, being that it recommended weaning the baby from mother’s milk very early. So even though I was high-raw vegan at the time, I decided to err on the side of caution and re-introduced free-range eggs and raw goat’s milk. I also continued juicing, herb tea for pregnancy, and bluegreen algae, as well as a mulit-vitamin, to fill in any gaps. I had a wonderful pregnancy with NO morning sickness, and delivered a robust, healthy baby boy.

    After he was born, I went back to being vegan. I never vaccinated him, & breastfed him until he was almost 4! He never had any refined sugar at all, and to this day, at age 23, has never had a bite of meat in his life! When he was a baby, he was robustly healthy, with perfect weight and a glow to his skin. He never had that excess flab, or huge tummy like bottle-fed babies often do, but he wasn’t thin at all. The word that comes to mind is SOLID. He never had any of the ‘normal’ colds, ear infections, etc. HOWEVER, I noticed when he was around 4, that he just didn’t seem to have as much physical stamina as the other kids, even though he had plenty of energy on the surface. (We had settled into a middle-of-the-road vegan diet, with whole grains, beans, some fruits & veggies, some juicing, etc.) Concerned, I grudgingly introduced eggs to him, which he refused, & cheese, which he devoured! I had to admit that he perked up upon getting the cheese. Sure enough, he started having colds after that, tho not nearly as severe as most kids. If I had known then what I know now, I would have given him raw goat’s milk but never cheese. But again, I didn’t have much support, & I knew I had to do something. No way was I going to let his health suffer due to making diet into a religion. I know now that the cheese was a mistake, but I just didn’t know what else to do at the time. Now, moms are so lucky, with all the wonderful raw recipe books, with delicious ways to sneak nuts into a child’s diet! How I wish I could do it over! (sigh) But I am happy that he chose to stay a vegetarian. THAT is a success! And get this: He still loves his cheese, but is starting to go more in the direction of raw. I’m thrilled!

    I agree with your assessment, Fred, 100%, with the only modification being: If the child were to get mama’s milk until age 5-7 like ‘primitive’ moms do, then the child would have that additional advantage. But, most modern moms don’t breastfeed past 2 years, and many probably not more than 6 months, if at all. So I think children could benefit from raw goat’s milk until around age 7, since it is the closest match to human milk. (I wouldn’t ever give cow’s milk, raw or not, except as a last resort.)

    I had a friend who became veg after meeting me and being inspired by my veggie son. I also told her about the raw vegan diet, which I always planned to return to ‘some day.’ My friend became raw vegan & was very strict with her young daughter. Then she got pregnant & told me later that, no matter how much she ate, she was NEVER satisfied but ALWAYS starving, the whole 9 months. The new baby, raised 100% raw vegan, was always sickly & lost his front teeth at around age 4 – they just crumbled! Her daughter, by this time age 8 or so, was ‘literally dying’ she said. She finally realized that she was ‘killing her children’ (HER words) with her ‘radical, rigid dogmatic diet’ (HER words) & went back to eating meat.

    I find her story tragic. I tried repeatedly to tell her to not be so rigid, but she wouldn’t listen to me. I told her, the raw vegan diet is great for adults, but it’s still experimental for children. We just don’t know yet how to do it right. I fully believe that kids CAN thrive on a raw vegan diet, perhaps in a few generations, after our DNA has mutated a bit perhaps. (speculation!!!) But I sure as hell won’t experiment on MY kid.

    I also don’t understand why people go from raw vegan back to eating dead animals. Like in my friend’s case: why not just eat free-range eggs and raw goat’s milk, temporarily to make up for any deficiencies? Why go back to meat? I would much rather eat eggs & goat’s milk than go back to meat.

    Anyway, I agree with your assessment totally, Fred, with the possible modification of also adding a bit of raw goat’s milk and maybe even free-range eggs to the child’s diet. Better to do that than have the child rebound and eat pizza later due to cravings for fat and calories.

    Thanks again for an awesome article Fred!

  20. Monica says:

    This is for Trinity:

    When my baby was born, I thought breastfeeding would just come naturally. They just latch on and know what to do, right? Wrong! Well, sort of! Historically, women had the benefit of their elders, to help guide them. There really are some tricks and tips that used to be passed on from mother to daughter, that modern women have, for the most part, lost.

    La Leche League is filling in that gap. I strongly suggest that your friend go to an LLL meeting ASAP! They will surely have some tips for her, that might mean the difference between her baby having the benefit of mama’s milk, and not. They really are so very helpful!

    Also, there are medicinal herbs which can help facilitate milk flow. An excellent resource is The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed.

    But, even with the herbal teas, if she is stressed, that can interfere with milk flow. Stress is often the culprit! She might be trying to do too much, instead of relaxing and enjoying her baby.

  21. @Chris Califano, you are right. I am listening to professor Rozalind Graham, Doug Graham’s wife on her audio CDs Nurturing Peace: Healing Your Inner Child and Raising Your Little Cherub in Health and Happiness. Doug Graham and Rozalind Graham are raising their daughter, Faychesca, 100% raw, and Rozalind Graham was pregnant at the age of 46 while being on an exclusively raw vegan diet for about 20 years. They were slowly weaning Faychesca off of breast milk. The only difference in diet from 80/10/10 raw vegan was the addition of more fat such as avocados and almond milk because she said that babies and growing children require a higher percentage of fat in their diet than adults. Rozalind Graham had no problems with a completely natural birth of Faychesca. After weeks of being pregnant, her obstetrician said that Rozalind was so ridiculously healthy that she is healthier than most of his 23-year-olds and to get out his office. He wasn’t interested in her until the day of the birth. Her systolic blood pressure was stable at 105 to 109. Three days before Faychesca was born, Rozalind did a three-hour hike in the hills. The day after Faychesca was born, Rozalind carried her for on a 90-minute walk. Faychesca has never had a drug in her body. The medics said that Faychesca is one of the healthiest, most brightest and alert babies that they have seen in years of practice.

    I wouldn’t worry about vitamin B12, which healthy individuals produce and absorb. Doug Graham said that he has not taken any sublingual B12 since almost 15 years ago. He took it for a month during extreme stress. No wild animal is taking vitamin B12 supplements.

    The answers are right in front of us in nature. All wild animals eat 100% raw food. They eat organic food if it was not contaminated by humans. Raw organic is the norm. Humans are the exception.

  22. Natasa says:

    Hi Frederic,

    My child stopped to grow when he was 3-4 year old. A static test of the growth hormone was not ok. He was eating fruit for breakfast, then “normal” food in kindergarten (also meat), and some vegan/vegetarian cooked food in the evening. Then, we put him on a recommended diet from Dr. Graham. And, after 2 months my son had a dynamic test of the growth hormone. And, this was ok. And, after that my son is having every year the static test of the growth hormone. And, now for the last 2 years these was ok.

    After 4.5 months on 100% raw vegan diet, my child was on and off on a (vegan high-raw)/(high-vegetarian diet). The reason is that I am more than 90% lfrv and my husband thinks it is not possible to raise normal children without milk products. Now, my son is on a gluten free diet.

    And, though I have these believes about my food, I was so unsure about my child. And, I thought that the cooked diet would be really better.

    But, what I noticed: it is easier for my child to eat 3 mashed bananas with figs (about 350 Cal) than to eat 100 gr of brown rice. He can eat about 350 Cal in one meal of cooked food only if it is accompanied with salt and milk products.
    Even for potatoes, it is easier for my child to eat more calories of mashed bananas than from cooked potatoes. Maybe, it is only similar with baked potatoes.

    But, yes, I agree about social pressure. We had a situation: persons in a kindergarten asks us to give some confirmation from our doctor that it is ok to feed our son the way we fed him. This was when they saw that he does not eat cereals and milk for breakfast, but only fruit!
    And, my son did not always feel well that he had to eat the way I wanted. But, I think that this is not very much an issue where both of parents agree on the food choice for a child.

    And, yes, I agree about cooked vegetables. It is really easier for my son to eat cooked broccoli than salad. He only wanted to eat some blended spinach with tomato and a little bit of green onions.

    And, for the end, I think that an experiment is also a vegan diet. According to researchers, humans always ate some animal food.

    Best regards,

    Natasa.

  23. iemke says:

    Thanks for this article. My son is 20 months and ate raw for his 1st year. Now he also get some cooked food at dinner. He was breastfed until 2 weeks ago. Now he gets some raw goatsmilk before bedtime. He does graze a lot, mainly because he is so active and doesn’t have the patience to eat a decent amount.

  24. yamina says:

    Around me, I know a woman who cannot breast feed her child and gives her rice milk, and moreover, cool milk ! Because heating is not “natural” ! “But mother’s milk is warm !” I felt like not assisting a person in danger. This little girl is tiny, underdeveloped compared to children of the same age, with tiny arms and legs. She doesn’t laugh, doesn’t seem to be happy, is not radiant like others I know on a cow’s milk diet ! Fortunately, it is time for her to be fed with mashed vegetables and fruits, this will hopefully save her from her mother’s fanatism ! Decidedly, grains are evil ! I am sure that warm (!) milk would have been better for this baby. I see so many children on a mediterranean diet, with plenty of yogurt that are so beautiful and radiant ! After all, we are mamalians ! Especially in earlier life ! I really think that grains are worse than milk for children, even gluten free grains. Reading Christopher’s comments (Hello Christopher !), especially about little Faychesca, I am relieved, because I was wondering if raw plants food is the right diet for children. Probably, above grains, gluten free or not, dairy, cold or not, blind dogmatism is the worst ! Nice to hear from you again !

  25. Tina says:

    I found have been raw foodie for a few years, I started because my daughter was very sick. When my daughter was first eating “real food” or solids (mush) she refused meats, all meats, spat it out but would eat all fruits and veggies. So I spoke to the doc and my faughter about it and they both said that the babies naturally do not like meats, it tastes dead to them . hmm, I thought about that and decided to not force my child to eat meats. She started off as vegan right from birth. When she was 3 years old her Grandmother refused to allow her to not eat meats and forced my child to eat it and dairies, she refused to beleive that it was ok and that my child must eat it. So while she had my child for the summer break she broke that natural instinct and my child ate dairy and all meats. I was suppreamely lectured on how horrible a parrent I was etc etc. So for two years my daught ate the SAD diet of everything, she constantly got sick, every cold and flew around, and by the time my daughter was 5 she was in the hospital all the time to get enemas etc. The Doc wanted to remove her colon as he stated it was not functioning corectly and I decided to take a step back and think. I removed all dairy, glutens, meats from her diet, within three months she was regular bowel movements, no vistits to hospital, I continues with this or one year, she had better grades, her hight shot up 7 inches as she had stopped growing, her skin was clearer, and she was energized. The Doc said”glad you started giving her fiber!!!!” that was not what was the problem, she ate all the fiber I could get down her before the vegan diet change and the fiber is not what made the difference. I then noticed she started going backwards again, so we tried raw foods, about 80% and been that way since. She is the most healthy child I know. So I think that when parents raise children on raw food diets they do need to allow for some cooked foods especially here in canada winters season, but vegan is still very possible, and mostly raw is benefitial as well. Parents needs to be aware of the dangers and watch for them, parents meal well with raw food diet as it helped in many ways with adults, however, a cup of vegetable soup is just as healthy also.

  26. Amanda says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this article and also the comments have been very helpful so thank you to all of you! I don’t have kids but I hope maybe we’ll have a baby in a couple of years (we’re 34).

    I’ve been particularly interested in the comments about breast feeding. Ideally if I have a baby I’ll breast feed for as long as possible, a few years hopefully. Maybe I’d express eventually when they kid got a bit older. I’m not sure what I’d do if I was one of the unlucky women who was unable to produce milk, I definitely wouldn’t want to give my kid cows milk. Any further advice on this would be appreciated.

    Thanks again, great article (and I agree with you over the types of food you’d provide).

  27. Em says:

    Man, Frederic, this is the most interesting of all the articles you’ve ever written in this forum – and maybe even the most interesting in any raw vegan forum!

    Thanks for all the detail & honesty – it is so appreciated.

    I also love all the contributions here from everyone – I’ve read and heard every word…

    Despite Natural Hygiene having been around for quite a while now, really, we are all still pioneers in our eating journey into raw – and many of us have experienced the traps that are to be had in choosing this direction. I am just so grateful we have tools like the internet and a medium like this forum (among many others) in which to share and learn from each other…

    Huge thanks again, Frederic – for everything!

  28. Skai says:

    Sounds smart! I was just wondering though, why isnt this special diet ONLY good for the children? It seems like eating this way would be beneficial to all.

  29. Sjef says:

    Very interesting. What about salt Frederic? If to be included in a childs diet, would it be sea salt?

  30. Moe says:

    Just because Fayechesca seems to be doing well on a raw vegan diet doesn’t mean it’s suitable for all children. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the bulk of a young child’s diet should be raw fruits and veggies. But excluding other plant foods just because they are cooked doesn’t really make sense unless one is really fixated on remaining “raw” and wishes to push that dietary ideal onto their children.

  31. Rashnu says:

    Excellent article, Fred!
    You cannot stress enough how important it is for children to act “normal”. It is very important for them to eat like their peers, especially when they are a teenager. E.g. my children refuse to take fruit to school, since they would be the only ones who eat fruit, so they prefer bread and some snacks like the rest of the children. Also bread fills them up longer because it contains more calories per weight. If I gave them fruit to take with them to school they were complaining that if they ate only fruit they were hungry again after just one hour, but there is no time to eat every hour between the lessons.
    And they definitely find ways to eat like everyone else: junk food with lots of salt and fat, and all kinds of sweets with lots of sugar in it. It is no use forbidding them to eat those. Just feed them well when they are at home.

  32. Ryan says:

    I agree with you Rashnu, but while I do also eat wheat bread on the odd occasion I feel is absolutely necessary to stay as far away from it as possible, gluten from what I have read and experienced is a very serious problem in many peoples diets. It’s debatable just how many issues arise from meat consumption (In high quantities and cooked at high temperatures it’s most certainly a problem) but I think the main conspirators of poor health arise from consumption of wheat products, sugars and milk. Rule these out and you’ll be FAR healthier than most.

  33. Monica says:

    I wonder if a 100% raw diet would work for children if it included raw goat’s milk? Could that fill in the gaps as well as cooked vegan foods? I’m still thinking children probably need some kind of milk until around age 7, being that mdern moms don’t breastfeed very long, like primitive moms did. I agree with Fred that it’s experimental, and better to cover all the bases…but surely someone has tried a raw diet with goat’s milk and I’m wondering how those kids did.

  34. trinity says:

    Thanks for the info about the leche league, I have passed it along. I know people think goat milk is better and I tried it a couple of years ago. I found that it gave me the same weird allergic reactions I get from cows milk. A friend of mine can eat cow milk but goat milk makes her more sick & bloated. Maybe you need to build tolerance?

  35. Monica says:

    Trinity, was the goat’s milk raw or pasteurized? That might have been the reason. Or, it might simply be that milk – any milk – isn’t good for adults. I’m thinking children might handle raw goat’s milk whereas adults can’t.

    At any rate, my suggestion for children getting goat’s milk was only for those who weren’t breastfed for very long. If they got mama’s milk for at least 3 years, I don’t think they should need any milk from some animal. But if the child wasn’t breastfed, or not for very long, then raw goat’s milk is probably the best substitute for human breastmilk.

    I remember reading somewhere that milk is a very expansive food, designed for rapid growth…with cow’s milk much more expansive than human milk or goat’s milk. Since adults aren’t growing, that ‘expansive’ quality turns into congestion.

    I have no idea if that’s true or not, but it’s an interesting theory. If true, it might explain why even goat’s milk might cause problems for adults.

  36. Frederic Patenaude says:

    That is true. You can find lectures on this by Dr. John Mcdougall. Cows need to mature in less than a year, and humans 18 years. So the protein content of human milk is much much lower than cows milk, because human growth is much slower.

  37. Frederic Patenaude says:

    @Christopher. I appreciate your input. Wouldn’t you think however that these are legitimate concerns? It sounds like you’re just repeating arguments you’ve heard on the diet, without really backing them up with anything substantial. Don’t get me wrong — I think fruits and vegetables are our best foods. It may just be that the best diet for children is fruits and vegetables. But to say that kids’ diets has to be 100% raw — or else — without any actual proof, to me that’s just a little misguided.
    We should keep in mind that there are at least 4 to 7 million years of evolution that separate the human being from modern day chimpanzees, and we differ in significant ways. There has been probably dozens of sub species of hominoids since that split happen, leading to us 200,000 years ago. I used to think that by just looking at the diet of chimpanzees, we could figure out exactly what to eat. The reality is that no one living on a raw food diet could possibly survive on foods that modern-day chimpanzees eat in the wild. If you tried, you’d live in a more or less perpetual state of abdominal pain, as most of these wild fruits are very different from ours and largely indigestible. So looking at modern day apes can give us CLUES but not the whole answer.
    As for cooked foods, I think it’s best to bring arguments that have the most validity. It’s been my approach to condemn specific foods like dairy products or meat, for specific reasons. But to just say all cooking is bad, whether it’s steaming up some broccoli or barbecuing some meat, is making things a bit simplistic.
    What happens when you put your hand in a running blender? You destroy and damage it forever. Therefore why are you blending your food?
    The argument above is the same as “hand in boiling water” and doesn’t really make sense because food is different from a living organism. By the time food reaches your digestive tract, it is long “dead.”
    What I recommend is that people learn to think for themselves, not accept arguments simply because they sound great, and come to reasonable conclusions. I’m learning a great deal with parents that have had a successful experience raising raw kids, or the other way around. I can only say what I would do in this situation based on the information that’s available to me at the moment.

  38. @Frederic, I know of three children from one family and three children from another family who were raised 100% raw from birth. I met four of them, and they are all doing well. They had enough calories and nutrients.

    Why would a parent give a child cooked food after learning the following from my notes from Raw Food Central, Windsor, CT?

    When food is cooked or processed above 107 degrees or higher, we modify the nutrients and reduce or destroy the value. The body then has to work to move the dead, unnatural substance through the digestive system causing great stress for the colon. We lose up to 97% of water soluble vitamins and up to 40% of the lipid soluble vitamins. Although cooking does not render food completely toxic, the level of toxicity of cooked food is confirmed by the doubling of white blood cells after eating. White blood cells are the body’s first line of defense and part of our “immune system.”

    Here are some of the results of cooking our food:

    * Proteins are denatured
    * Fats become carcinogenic (may cause cancer)
    * Carbohydrates (sugars) are caramelized
    * Vitamins and minerals are less available
    * Water is eliminated

    In all of nature only humans cook their food and only humans suffer a large variety of sickness and ailments. Have you ever seen an elephant or a tiger stopping to cook its food before eating? Maybe that is why they do not suffer from debilitating disease.

  39. Frederic Patenaude says:

    I’m sure some families are doing well feeding children 100%. I’d like to know more from them. About the quote you provided, I would prefer if people promoted raw foods for the right reasons. There’s a big difference between different kinds of cooked foods, and they can’t just be bundled in the same category. The white blood cell hypothesis is not a confirmed scientific fact. It dates back to 1930 and if you read the actual research you would actually come to very different conclusions.

    I would like to point out that doctors treating patients with a low fat, plant-based diet, even when most of the food is cooked, achieve amazing results in every area of health, healing a wide range of degenerative diseases. Obviously, if cooked foods per se were the cause of those diseases, they would never be able to get those results. It’s not so much that all cooked food is bad, but some cooked foods definitely are.

    I think there are better arguments than comparing ourselves to wild animals, as I’m sure none of my readers would want to go back in the wild and give up clothing, housing, and live like wild animals. I’ve never seen a wild animal blend foods to make a smoothie, cultivate vegetables, chop foods with knives, grate vegetables, and go to the supermarket to buy boxes of bananas. I’m not sure exactly what the point is to say that animals don’t do certain things, don’t get sick, therefore we should imitate them.

  40. @Frederic,

    I can ask the 100% raw-food families if they would like to contact you about how they raised their children.

    Why is not eating undamaged food a bad reason to eat 100% raw? If people were given the choice between a damaged product and an undamaged product, most people would prefer the undamaged product. Cooked food is man-made, chemically changed, and not found in nature. We are designed to only eat food that is found in nature, not chemically changed food that has lost its nutritional value.

    People say if everyone eats cooked food, it must be good for us. That’s like saying that if everyone thought that the world was flat, it must be flat. I feel like one of the few people in the world who is saying that the world is round. It’s a strange position to be in because it’s so obvious that damaged food is inferior to undamaged food. It doesn’t matter what kind of food you cook because it’s always less nutritious when you cook it. I wonder why this is such a stumbling block for people. This isn’t rocket science. See below for more explanation.

    Yes, a low-fat cooked vegan diet is better than other diets, but there’s good, better, and best. Cooked food is never best.

    What conclusion did you find about the increase in the white blood cell count from cooked food consumption? How did you arrive at that conclusion? From a logical point of view, it makes sense that white blood cells would view cooked food as foreign because it’s man-made.

    The purpose of looking at nature is not to live like wild animals.

    * The purpose is to find our natural species-specific diet, which is whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and greens. Fruits are those things with seeds, including non-sweet fruits like cucumbers.
    * The most natural way to eat is to pick the food from the plant and eat it, not to pick the food, cook it, and then eat it. We weren’t born with stoves and fire. If we can’t eat the food the way it comes from nature, it’s not natural to eat it. By cooking the food, we are bypassing our sensory safeguard, our natural instinct.
    * All wild animals raise their children on raw foods, so we can too. Wild animals are not more superior than us at eating raw food.
    * Another useful reason for looking at wild animals is that they have to be strong, fit, lean, and healthy to survive. They demonstrate that they can do this on their species-specific raw diet.
    * I believe that there’s a design by our Creator. We have to observe nature to find the design and how everything fits together. That is why we look at comparative anatomy and physiology with bononos and other anthropoid primates. It confirms what we are designed to eat if we used our instinct in the wild rather than thinking so much.

    Doug and Rozalind Graham both say that cooked food dulls the mind. That’s another reason to not raise your child on cooked food. Also, your child will have better athletic ability on raw fruits and greens because there isn’t much effort in digestion to fatigue the body.

    Cooked food is radical, and raw food is ultra conservative because of the above reasons.

  41. el-bo says:

    >>christopher paulin said : ” No wild animal is taking vitamin B12 supplements.”

    of course they aren’t, why would they when they have all those delicious bugs and insects to enjoy

    while doug and roz’s kids coud turn out to be successful on this diet, it doesn’t mean all will…and just because roz’s pregnancy turned out ok in this fashion doesn’t mean that all would

  42. Natasa says:

    What about soaked dried fruit (when there is no enough fresh fruits available, or because of financial reasons)? Are cooked potatoes better than these?

    What about dried vegetables (spinach, celery, tomatoes, etc.)? Are cooked vegetables better? What about frozen vegetables?

    I was wandering about these alternatives that we have when no enough fresh fruits and vegetables are around. And I did not still came to the answer what better is.

    Thank you on all your information. Reading other raw gurus, I was so much scared of all cooked foods, like something very terrible will happen if I eat it, or if I give it to my child. You helped me to again feel normal about cooked foods.

  43. Frederic Patenaude says:

    @Christopher: You’re still going by the assumption that all cooked food is bad for the body. “Damaged” food as you call it, is nothing more than a cute statement that doesn’t mean much. People: don’t get me wrong! I recommend a diet based on raw fruits and vegetables. But if someone can give me irrefutable proof that eating steamed broccoli and kale, or even some steamed sweet potato:
    – Creates illness
    – Is not beneficial
    – Will somehow “Poison” the body

    Now that proof needs to be something other than just raw food rhetoric such as “humans are the only animals that eat cooked foods” or “cooking food denatures all proteins,” or vague statements such as “cooked food dulls the mind because so-and-so said it.”

    PROVE to me that people eating steamed broccoli and kale are LESS healthy than those eating everything raw, and that those foods create illness, and I will go back to 100% raw overnight.

    Bottom line is that if eating 100% raw makes you happy and keeps you healthy, then keep doing it!
    If you prefer and feel better having some healthy cooked foods like steamed greens and sweet potatoes, then don’t feel guilty for it either.

  44. Sarah says:

    SUCH a sensible article – the needs of children are SO different to those of adults. THe former are growing and putting downt he foundations for later life while the latter are maintaining a completed “structure” so need different “building blocks”. I give my boy (2.5 years) raw meat as well as eggs (cooked) and cooked fish as I find he thrives on it, despite the fat. Maybe we need to be less hung up on “vegan/vege” and actually think what our evolutionary ancestors ate/eat. Chimps and bonobos have all beebn documented as eating SOME meat prducts as well as the fruit/leaves beloved by most raw foodists. Awaiting the flames …..

  45. Amanda says:

    Sarah – no flames or judgement, would love to know your thought process though. You cook the eggs and fish you give to your child which are both widely consumed raw in certain communities, raw eggs for health reasons, raw fish in sushi but you prepare the meat raw? What are we talking here, raw steak? Is it safe? Can your child injest it easily and enjoy it? Is e-coli not an enormous risk?

    I apologise if I seem judgemental, I’m curious more than anything else and actually have a very open mind or I’d never have found this blogg in the first place.

    Ironically it was raw meat which turned me vegetarian nearly 15 years ago. I was given a piece of chicken breast that wasn’t cooked properly and bit in to a piece of jelly which repullsed me. There were other factors too. Long story short, I stopped considering it meat and started to think of it as flesh so couldn’t stomach the thought. And that was cooked meat, raw makes it 100 times worse.

  46. Sarah says:

    Fresh steak from the local supermarket is (in my experience) pretty safe; we have never had a tummy upset with it and I have eaten raw steak for years …… I cook the fish and eggs simply because I am not entirely happy (gut feeling) with them raw unless from a specialist restaurant or from my parents’ chickens so 100% fresh. Chicken (and pork) I would NEVER consider raw if only because of the salmonella risk. My boy loves the texture of the meat in the raw state – “mmmm deeelicious!!!” I make sure that the meat is as fresh as I can get it and is locally produced. I can’t say that in later years he won’t be repulsed by the thought of “flesh” but I am totally honest with him regarding the source of the meat and other animal products he consumes and so far he loves it :-D

  47. Amanda says:

    Thank you! I appreciate your response. I’m still trying to digest your information but I really appreciate and respect your point of view!

  48. trinity says:

    Monica, I tried raw and pasteurized goat milk, I still get reactions. I thought it was the fat but I got fat free and still had issues. I can’t do animal protein.

  49. Tatyana says:

    I don`t believe in evolution,I see a hand of the Creator in every living thing…My children are 8 and 10,I couldn`t get pregnant until went 100% vegan,had first pregnancy at 34,second at 37-both wonderful and easy with natural births at the end.When my daughter was about 15 months,I attempted to feed her baked sweet potato(to make her heavier) and she immediately spitted it out.That was my first and the last attempt to feed my child cooked food.Than I tried raw organic goat milk,she got very sick and was coughing for 2 months,so I decided to stick to raw vegan food… She started ballet training at the age of 2,5,singing in tune at the age 1,reading in 2 languages at 4,brightest in learning,industrious,creative,energetic,solid muscle and a pure beauty that everybody admires.She loves everything she eats,not fussing over food,not craving anything,no signs of any kind of deficiency.My son has a totally different personality,very hard to please with anything-ether food , book,or activity.He loves fruits the most,would love to live on watermelon and durian along,and I have to create special meals for him to lure him into eating veggies.He is very active physically,playing flag football,dancing hip-hop,singing in the professional children`s chorus,learning in amazing pace. Bee pollen,fresh veg. juice,green smoothies are in the morning.Lunch –totally fruits,different,seasonal,only fresh,dinner-veggies and fats,sprouts and greens,simple meals with no more than 5 ingredients.No snacks in between…I do give them raw egg-yokes sometimes,or quail eggs(raw),and honey is also used as a treat on occasions. We do B-12 supplementation,just in case,and use different forms all the time- sub-lingual,spray or patch.Never had they go to the doctor or a dentist,thanks be to God!They are always the best in the class and love to live and learn!Their sense of smell is amazing ,sight is very sharp,hearing is excellent.This way of living is not a philosophy or religion for me,just a common sense.I see more and more people follow my way after seeing my children “in action”. Cooked food seems so unnatural to me,it makes me tired and sluggish,clouds my thinking.Why should I put my children through that?

  50. Monica says:

    Sarah, respectfully, I cannot fathom ANY reason to give a child ANY meat, much less raw! Our ancestors were very violent – that doesn’t mean we too should be violent. The bottom line is that, while whether or not children need ‘some’ cooked foods might be debatable, whether they need dead animals in their diet, isn’t debatable. They simply don’t. We don’t yet have proof that a 100% raw diet is sufficient for children, but we DO have irrefutable proof that a properly balanced vegetarian diet IS sufficient for children. That’s no longer being questioned, even among mainstream doctors. Whether the diet should include cooked foods or not, or even eggs and dairy or not, is still being debated. But whether it should include meat or not, is no longer up for debate. We’re well past the question of whether they need meat or not. They don’t. With the horrible suffering animals are subjected to, and the immense environmental impact of the meat industry, and the adverse effects of meat in the diet, I see no reason to ever give a child meat. Serving it raw might reduce the adverse health effects but it won’t negate the animal cruelty and disastrous environmental issues. Why would we want to teach our children that cruelty to animals is ok just to satisfy taste? Further, I question whether one could ever be 100% certain that raw meat is free from bacteria. All it takes is once. Why put the child at risk for that unnecessarily? As for our ancestors eating raw meat, well, they were primitive. I agree with Fred that we don’t necessarily need to emulate what wild animals do, or what our ancestors did. Surely we have evolved a bit since then! Killing animals for food is barbaric. Sorry if this offends, but there’s no way around it.

  51. Monica says:

    Trinity: Since you got a reaction, then that pretty much settles it for you! =) I don’t think adults ever need any animal’s milk, except in rare occasions of debility perhaps. My suggestion regarding raw goat’s milk was really for children who didn’t have the advantage of mama’s milk.

    Tatyana: Wow, how inspiring!!! Sometimes I wish I had tried the raw vegan diet with my son. sigh. Ah well. At least he doesn’t eat dead animals, so I’m happy about that! That’s so awesome that your children are thriving! It seems that some children are doing well raw vegan, and others aren’t. I think we are in a transition. Maybe in a few generations more and more children will thrive on raw vegan. Tatyana, I do have 1 question tho: why no snacks? What’s wrong with snacks?? Thanks for sharing!

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