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Raising a Raw Vegan Child

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Explore A Rawsome Life with Paul and Yulia Tarbath, guest stories for Fruit-Powered Magazine.

Watching our 3-year-old raw vegan child, Elanie Tarbath, enjoy her fruits and vegetables fills our hearts with happiness. Raw foods are filling her body with life-enhancing nutrients that will help her be at her very best now and into the future.

Yulia was high-fruit raw vegan for four years prior to conceiving our daughter, so this laid the groundwork nutrition-wise for Elanie to have the very best possible environment to grow in. We interacted with Elanie from the time she was inside Yulia’s uterus, singing songs to her and talking to her because we knew she would be able to understand and appreciate the attention that we were giving her.

Yulia Tarbath holds Elanie Tarbath beside Paul Tarbath
Paul and Yulia Tarbath are raising their daughter, Elanie, to eat an almost wholly fruit-based raw vegan diet. The Tarbaths are also giving Elanie other key components of a healthful upbringing such as continued breastfeeding and attachment parent. Elanie is ahead of the curve in development.

Like many people who eat this way, we naturally look for alternative ways of living to enhance our life experience, including Elanie’s. We practice attachment parenting, which includes baby wearing, co-sleeping and long-term breastfeeding. We give Elanie books that have a positive and natural outlook, which means no pictures depicting any kind of violence. So no Tom and Jerry or animals dressed up to look like people, for example!

As for food, Elanie loves her fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds! She enjoys helping us choose which foods we buy at the local market and supermarkets and then preparing them when we get back home. She’ll chop salad leaves with her own plastic knife and make herself a fruit smoothie in our blender under our supervision.

She also enjoys eating other fruits like mandarins, dates, durian, jackfruit, rambutans and lychees. For vegetables, cucumbers are high on the list, and she also enjoys munching on lettuce, tomatoes and spinach. Elanie likes eating green soups—made with lettuce, tomatoes, mangos, celery and cilantro—as well, and this is a great way to make sure she always gets plenty of minerals in her diet, including iron.

Elanie Tarbath enjoys eating a banana

Elanie’s still being breastfed at the age of 3 years and 2 months, and the other day, she came to Yulia and said, “Mummy, the milk you have in your breast is healthy, but the milk they sell downstairs in the shop is not healthy.” Lately, Elanie’s been talking a lot about how much she loves breast milk, that it’s her “favourite,” “yummy,” and “sweet.” Yulia is committed to breastfeeding her until Elanie naturally weans herself off.

Even though other children around her eat other foods, including bread and candy bars, Elanie already understands that she eats her own food and that seems to be just fine with her at this moment in time. In fact, she gets offered other food all the time, and she’s happy to say no to it. We talk a great deal to her about healthy food choices and why our choices are different. We always explain to Elanie why we eat this way and why it is the very best food for us to eat so we can always feel our best. We also explain that some people haven’t yet realized that some of the foods they eat are unhealthy. We also talk to her about animals and vegan ethics.

Of course, the great thing about Elanie’s eating a raw vegan diet is that she gets to indulge her sweet tooth! Following is Elanie’s current favourite smoothie. We mix these ingredients in a blender and serve it all in a bowl for Elanie to eat it with a spoon, and she always laps it up with gusto!

Elanie’s Favourite Smoothie

  • 1 soft banana
  • 1 frozen banana (she likes it colder and calls it an “ice cream”)
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce
  • ½ tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • And a few sunflower seeds sprinkled on top
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Elanie’s diet is 99 percent raw vegan, and the vast majority of the time she eats just fruits, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Occasionally, she’ll eat some cooked sweet potato. It’s important to engage your child with activities around healthful foods because this will help reinforce the idea that eating healthfully is a good thing to do and a natural part of their lifestyle.

We have a big world map at home, and Elanie enjoys looking at the map as we explain where different friends and relatives live around the world and show her the different countries. Over the past six-and-a-half years, we’ve traveled the world and lived in many places. At the age of 3, Elanie’s already visited six countries and tasted a great diversity of fruit. Travelling is always fun, and Elanie enjoys visiting new places and seeing new people.

Elanie Tarbath is photographed at 10 months old
At 10 months old, Elanie Tarbath is gleeful over what’s bound to be among her favorite fruits: cempedak.

Elanie loves listening to music and dancing and enjoys putting on a performance with the help of various different clothes and accessories that she has in her wardrobe. We applaud her performances and ask for more when she leaves the room so we always get several encores before she is finished and ready for bed.

She’s a very bright, happy and energetic child, and we know for sure that the diet she eats helps her be at her very best. In fact, many times other parents have commented about how strong she is when playing in the playground. We like to call her our “Jolly Green Giant” due to all the plant foods she eats.

Many people have concerns about whether a child eating a raw vegan diet can develop properly, and we can say without any question that Elanie has done very well in all areas. Her height and weight have always been within or very close to the 50th percentile, and her mental capabilities are very strong as well. She’s bi-lingual and speaks English and Russian very well.

Elanie Tarbath holds lychees at 3 years old
Elanie, 3 years old in this photo, playfully holds lychees.

Compassion for others is something we have always encouraged Elanie to have, and we like to display this ourselves, so we stroke one another’s arms or faces, for example, and speak softly to one another. We will water plants together and smell beautiful and delicate-looking flowers but don’t ever pick them from the plant, only from the ground once they have fallen.

We believe that a combination of lifestyle factors are helping Elanie develop into a well-rounded and confident child. These include eating raw, healthful whole plant foods, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, listening to her wants and needs, and making sure she has plenty of development opportunities in her life.

Is it easy bringing up a raw vegan child? Well, Elanie has the energy levels and a personality that require a lot of our attention, but through the alternative lifestyle we lead, we can already see a healthy, emotionally intelligent and empathetic being growing up.

We believe that our world can be healed and transformed through children who can take care of planet Earth and make it a better place for future generations to come.

Paul and Yulia Tarbath pose while holding a coconut

Check out Paul and Yulia’s transformation profile!

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