Anjali, the founder trustee of Indian Raw Vegan Foundation, is a blessed soul, strong spirit, raw vegan mother and wife. She is also an internationally acclaimed, award-winning artist-painter, renowned natural healer and author and speaker for the new generation kids and parents. Anjali has chosen a well-balanced fruit-based raw vegan lifestyle since 2012.
Anjali and her fully raw vegan son, Manikya, have together published the newly released Indian Raw Vegan Sweet Delights, whose sweets and drinks recipes are made from low-fat, whole, easily available and allergen-free ingredients. Their book Indian Raw Vegan Main-course Delicacies will also be released soon. Their first self-illustrated fruit-based story book, Little Monkey’s Birth Day, has found a place in the hearts of children worldwide. They are writing about their raw vegan experiences in their forthcoming book Nourishing the Whole Child. Learn more about them and their work on ManikyasNest.com and IndianRawVeganFoundation.com.
1. Practice imitation. Kids are only imitating almost until the age of 7 years. Getting kids to change food and lifestyle choices to healthier, natural ones is thus much easier during this time. They will eat what you eat. If they are still not used to having lots of fresh foods, however, then they may take time in creating the new conscious living practices. Generally, we have observed that if a parent is having a new food, the child may take one week to three months to give it a try willingly. Once they want to taste it themselves, they will continue to have it for a long, long time.
Also, get your kids to meet other kids who eat fruits and vegetables. This always works. The same applies to elders. Go to picnics, potlucks or eating with families who prefer nourishing raw foods to get your work done very easily. If you do not have such a group, you can start one in your area.
2. Involve kids in buying produce and stocking in abundance. Get kids involved in buying fresh produce even if they are young. When they get the opportunity to see and touch food, they are more likely to try it. They might also pick up a few new things to try and end up having them regularly. If you buy organic and order online or over the phone for home delivery, then you can create the list with your child before ordering.
Stocking fruits and vegetables freely in the house and within reach gives an opportunity to children and other adults in the family to go to them whenever they are hungry instead of looking for alternatives. Also, you can gradually or completely remove the food that you do not want them to have from your house and instead replace all of it with fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember to use the produce first that may have a chance to go bad.
3. Get yourself and kinds to prepare fresh food dishes. Getting kids involved in preparing smoothies, juices, salads, dressings and other dishes makes them really inquisitive to try out their creations. Small kids love to peel and spiralize noodles, create orange juice and toss salads. When you create your recipes with your own hands, you can clearly see how much less time they take to prepare. Also, the resources used are much less. It is well-said: “Self realization is the best realization.”
4. Wash utensils. This is what kids really love to do. The culmination of finally washing the utensils they used to eat gives them a satisfaction for completing the task and an opportunity to look forward to do it all over again. Utensils used for just fruits and vegetables require only water or, at most, warm water for cleaning. They generally do not require soap. Kids love to play with water, and this activity helps support their instinct to be near it and also learn how to conserve it.
5. Educate your children through stories, songs and use of the mother tongue. Several countries around the world have very rich cultural stories and songs based on nature, forests, springs, animals and eating fruits and vegetables. An age-appropriate story can be found or created and narrated daily. This really helps develop the interest of the child in their lifestyle choices and food and how food grows. We were greatly inspired how Waldorf education by the late Dr. Rudolf Steiner has clearly shown the way of story narration and presentation for each age group.
You can also read our fruit-based story book, Little Monkey’s Birth Day.
It is also well-known that children are able to do a task better, quicker and soulfully if lovingly spoken in their mother tongue. Stories, songs and plays introduced around new foods can be done in mother tongue.
6. Grow food together. This helps children connect directly to their food. Growing food together can be done in your own garden, back yard or even in small earthen pots. Several plants such as tomatoes, fruit vines and greens, including mint, coriander, amaranth, dandelion and other leaves, can be grown easily in homes.
If this is also not available, then you can create sprouts for yourself or together with your children in your kitchen.
7. Put up paintings, posters and pictures of fresh food. This works really well with children and grown-ups, too. The more you look at the pictures of beautiful fruits and vegetables around the house, the more you want to have them. We make our own paintings and display them around our home.
8. Reduce stress and comfort eating. It is well-known that increases in stress lead directly to comfort eating in all ages, including children. This has been found to suppress emotions and stress, rather than relieving them. Fresh foods help people relieve, detox and experience greater peace and wellness. Several parents advise to make loving changes in parenting styles, education and the environment to support kids. This works wonders, especially for the sensitive ones.
Creating fresh, well-combined recipes with children also helps during this transition phase.
9. Let the children play with the food. This one may sound messy, but as children would sit and enjoy the touch, sight and smell of the food, they are likely to enjoy it with greater delight.
10. Sit in nature while enjoying fresh foods. It is best to sit out in nature while enjoying these delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Instinctively, humans have been used to watch constant movement of branches, leaves, flowers, animals, birds and insects while eating in nature and also be alert to watch out for predators. In modern society, this has been replaced by watching television, laptops, mobile phones or iPads while having food. It is best to receive rays of the sun, fresh air and nature around us then to be surrounded with heavy electronic radiation while having our food.
More ideas are featured in our upcoming book Nourishing the Whole Child.
Check out Anjali and Manikya Sanghi’s transformation story!