Many parents fear sharing their raw food lifestyles with their children because they think that there could be protein deficiencies and that the children would experience social ramifications. I have spoken to adults who enjoy the high-raw or completely raw food lifestyle but wouldn’t consider it for their children. These parents think the ramifications or consequences of their children eating fresh, unprocessed, unadulterated, nonirradiated foods would be adverse physical effects and most certainly psychological harm. Would it then be advisable to feed children primarily enzyme-deficient, indigestible, cooked and animal foods to avoid having them feel like social outcasts?
From my observations, when both parents enjoy a high-raw food lifestyle, their children tend to follow along joyfully, often becoming leaders instead of followers. Parents who take their children to fast-food restaurants are generally viewed with acceptance, but parents who provide healthful natural foods are often frowned upon. As the known benefits of raw plant foods become more widely known, it’s getting easier for children embracing this lifestyle to gain acceptance among their peers. If they don’t feel included, they will still be emotionally better adjusted than those with the mood swings often resulting from the consumption of refined sugars, fast and processed foods and glutinous cereals.
The variety of emotional problems resulting from the consumption of refined and processed foods is more harmful by far than any possible emotional ramifications that may affect the child eating fresh, natural organic plant foods. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies of diets containing largely cooked and processed foods have the potential to cause violent behavior and mood swings. Allergic and addictive food reactions are related to excessive intake of refined sugars, fast foods and wheat. These allergic reactions can result in severe inner tension, depression, irritability and anger. Living enzymes in raw foods aid digestion, and these foods are satisfying, whereas fast foods do not satisfy, leaving one craving more. An increased intake of living foods helps create a more alkaline pH level in the blood. Recent experiments with living food dietary intervention in relation to physical and psychological illness have been conducted on a small scale with amazing results. When the amount of cooked, processed food is decreased and the amount of fresh, raw food is increased, many chronic or nonresponsive mental and physical symptoms can often be significantly reduced or even reversed.
An increasing number of parents and educators comprehend the scientific and nutritional value of raw fruits, green leaves, vegetables, nuts and seeds but somehow continue to feel that children need cooked food to feel “normal.”
Children who have been living close to a 100 percent raw food lifestyle for a long time will often react adversely when cooked foods are introduced, even if cooked food is only occasionally eaten. Some families live a high-raw or totally raw lifestyle at home but make exceptions when dining out.
In my book Creating Healthy Children, one mother asked a question regarding her children’s nosebleeds and/or vomiting after eating cooked foods when dining out. I recommended she would eventually have to feed her kids more cooked or more raw foods to avoid these symptoms. Because her children are extremely vital, each time they would eat something not natural to their systems, their bodies try to get rid of it. The nosebleeds are a sign of high blood pressure. Please note that an excess of salt causes high blood pressure and that most processed foods are loaded with salt. The blood pressure will rise as a result of the body’s attempt to get rid of poisonous substances. If the blood pressure gets high enough, the nosebleed will result. This experience is valuable in demonstrating the immediate effects of devitalized foods on a healthy child.
When going to a restaurant, it’s a good idea to take a list of raw vegetable ingredients so the chef can provide a good salad. A delicious homemade dressing and avocados should be brought along to add to the salad to make it tastier and more filling.
My own children loved the fresh plant foods on which they grew up and believed my impassioned message about their benefits, but when approaching their teens, they desired to experiment with cooked foods. In my attempt to coerce them to remain with the raw food lifestyle, they did experience social ramifications. It would have been preferable for them to explore freely on their own and decide what worked best for them. My insistence caused them to rebel even more. Once we’ve established an early base of learning, I’ve learned that we can feel comfortable with the knowledge we have imparted to our children. As children grow up, they need to take responsibility for their own decisions.
The Attachment Parenting philosophy focuses on the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of the child. These principles follow the child’s needs at each stage of development. As a child grows into adolescence, parents need to respect the child’s choices, within reason. If health and nutritional information has been presented early in life and the child has been provided with models for listening to his or her body when it comes to well-being, the parents’ input will no longer be needed unless the child asks for it.
Children who enjoy fresh living foods and have adapted well to this healthy lifestyle will not experience social ramifications as long as they themselves have made this decision for their health. Social consequences occur only when one is not making his own decision and someone else is controlling the choices.