I believe that the commonality between every parent on this planet is that they wish for their children to live happy and healthy lives; however, each parent or carer will then have their own take on what is needed to reach these goals.
For myself, after discovering the fruitarian diet and lifestyle, it made sense on so many levels, one of which was that I felt it to be the most natural and rational way to raise a child.
One aspect of raising children on a fruit diet is the biological and anatomical factor. When we look at the animals with whom we share the most similar physiology, that is, the anthropoid apes, these animals have an extended period of breastfeeding for their infants by followed by their raw, mostly fruit-based diet, if fruit is readily available.
Another important aspect for me of child rearing is the ethical side. As an ethical vegan, the diet that I gave my children, needed to be in accord with these principles. And thirdly, the diet I fed my children needed to be a diet that would give them all the nutrients they required.
After studying nutrition at college and furthering these studies with my own personal studies, I very much believed that a diet based on fruit and supplemented with raw nuts and greens, if desired, could meet the needs of my growing children.
And finally, on the environmental level, I believe that the fruit diet, especially if local and organic fruit is eaten, is the diet that has the least negative impact on our planet whilst giving the most benefits.
Tree crops are one of the most efficient ways to maximize food production. For example an acre of avocado trees can produce up to 10,000 pounds of fruit per year while beef production on the same area will produce only 150 pounds of food per year. Also, tree roots hold together the structure of the soil and prevent topsoil loss. Furthermore, trees act like the air conditioners of the planet, taking in carbon dioxide and nitrogenous pollutants whilst giving out oxygen.
While I very much believe diet is a vitally important component of child raising, I appreciate that it is only a part of the complex jigsaw puzzle of what is needed for a happy and healthy child. Also very important are a loving and secure environment, appropriate physical closeness to a parent or carer, clean air, sunshine, exercise and a supportive community.
But I do feel that diet is the backbone that holds together all the other aspects, and without a natural and appropriate diet, the structure becomes somewhat wobbly and inefficient.
Something that I personally feel is vital for a happy and healthy young child is breast milk. All newborn babies are “milkarians”; they are not fruitarians, vegetarians, carnivores, or omnivores. All they need for the first part of their lives is a good milk supply from their mothers.
From looking at other cultures, human physiology and other animals who we are close to anatomically, I very much believe that humans need milk in their diet for the first three to four years of their lives. In cultures where animals are not domesticated for their milk, children are commonly breastfed for the first four years of their life. And I believe that human milk for the first three or four years is very important to all children.
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This then brings up the question of long-term breastfeeding. Because in most Western societies long-term breastfeeding is uncommon, it is often looked upon with suspicion; I feel this is mainly because people are just not used to seeing it. In societies where long-term breastfeeding is common, it is accepted and not viewed as strange or abnormal.
If we want our children to be on a raw vegan diet, I think we need to be aware that giving our children milk from another animal is not ethically acceptable and that giving them soy or rice milk is not optimal from a health point of view. The only real option left is to long-term breastfeed.
If there were no domesticated animals in our society nor any processed plant milks, then all women would need to long-term breast feed and then it would become the normality rather than the exception.
One thing I think we need to accept as parents raising children on a natural diet and lifestyle is that we are challenged by the irrationality of modern-day society. While it is seen as perfectly OK to feed a 4-year-old child the milk of another species—milk that is not freely or willingly given—it is seem as abnormal or weird for a woman to be seen feeding her own milk, freely and lovingly given, to a 4-year-old child.
I feel that another area where parents may be challenged in raising children on this diet is socially. I believe that in order for this diet to succeed, we need to have faith in the diet. By this I do not mean “blind faith”; I think we need to be continually aware of how this diet is working for our children and what daily changes or additions we may need to make to the diet optimal for our child at the current time.
But I mean the faith that comes from knowledge and experience, from reading and researching, and from connecting with others on a similar path, as well as from our own personal experiences.
When we have faith and confidence in the diet, then, I think, this is “mirrored” back to us by others, and they are more likely to be accepting and understanding of the dietary choices we have made for ourselves and our children.
Socially, parties have never been an issue for my children. When they have been to parties, the host has always provided them with fresh fruit. One of our friends even made her whole party raw vegan because Cappi, my younger son, was attending. People will often surprise you with their kindness and understanding.
When we have had our fruitarian parties, the other children have always had a great time—no tantrums or upsets due to the refined sugar and chemicals that abound at most parties. The children go home full of fresh fruits and veggies and not hyperactive, so their parents are happy as well!
I appreciate that all parents try to make the best choices that they know how for their children, and as a raw vegan parent, I, too, make these choices. I feel each parent needs to make the best choice they can given their current knowledge and experience.
I do not profess to know what is “best” for everyone; I can only share my experiences of what has worked well for myself and my children. For myself, raising two children on this diet has been the most rewarding experience of my life. To live with happy and healthy children who are a joy to spend time with and are full of energy without being hyperactive has been such a pleasure.
I do appreciate that diet is just one of many elements needed, but, for me, the fruit diet has enhanced and supported all the other factors needed to make child-raising a wonderful experience.