Insight from Natural Health Leaders | The Best in Family Health by Karen Ranzi | ThanksLiving Celebration: Honoring the Life of the Turkey
Potluck table at the 2012 ThanksLiving Celebration at Karen Ranzi's home
Fruit-Powered Digest Issues Insight from Natural Health Leaders Issue 26 The Best in Family Health by Karen Ranzi

ThanksLiving Celebration: Honoring the Life of the Turkey

The Best in Family Health by Karen Ranzi - Fruit-Powered Digest

Every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, I host The ThanksLiving Celebration. When this party began, it was a vegan celebration for the first couple of years, with a potluck of mostly cooked vegan food. There were only a few of us present. We joined in a circle and took turns expressing our gratitude for the day and especially how grateful we were that we weren’t going to eat a dead turkey at a time when millions of beautiful turkeys are being slaughtered for Thanksgiving meals.

A Farm Sanctuary message from Shannon Elizabeth for its Adopt a Turkey ProjectThe following years, after I had transitioned my children and myself to a raw vegan lifestyle, the gratitude circle remained but the food changed to a wonderful raw food potluck. Over the years, the attendance at this potluck has grown so dramatically that, one year, we had 122 people in our home of all ages and economic and social backgrounds. The two important messages we have in common are our compassion for animals and love of raw vegan food for health and well-being.

We start the day with the gratitude circle. Each year, my children, who are now 27 and 24, and I adopt one or two turkeys from the Farm Sanctuary. The $30 we pay for each turkey will pay for food and shelter for that turkey at the Sanctuary. We encourage others to do the same so that organizations such as the Farm Sanctuary can continue to do their work saving farm animals from factory farms and slaughterhouses, giving them a safe place to live the rest of their lives.

To develop spiritually, we must stop the unconscious violence done by eating animals. The Golden Rule of each religion is focused on the teaching of kindness and love of others as the essence of the message. The vegan message must come into being or there is no Golden Rule. We hope that you will adopt a turkey from to represent all the millions of turkeys that will not survive this Thanksgiving.

Adopt a Turkey banner from FarmSanctuary.orgA raw vegan potluck for the holidays can help you to stay healthy at a time when so many others will be getting sick after eating plenty of animal, processed and mostly cooked food. It will give you excellent energy so that you will not feel heavy, drowsy or bloated after eating. You will feel abundance, and your body will feel loved.

When I was growing up, I recall my family members falling asleep following the holiday meals. The digestion of the food was so cumbersome that the adrenals became  exhausted. Even vegetarian and vegan foods can cause this digestive exhaustion if focused on heavy complex carbohydrates.

I grew up loving pastas and breads that were a big part of our holiday gatherings. Cooked complex carbohydrates, especially those that are highly processed, cause a chemical reaction in the body that acts like a drug and causes a sedating effect. When I made this discovery and switched to a whole-food raw plant diet, holidays became a time of uplifting energetic fun!

Karen Ranzi holds up her books
Karen Ranzi discovered raw foods made her and her family feel best, and she wrote about children’s health in Creating Healthy Children. Her tried-and-true recipes are featured in her recipe book Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families.

When I found that I could live on fresh raw vegan foods, I learned that there is no need to be tired and lose energy following a meal. It’s quite empowering to be in control of what you eat and how you feel through this knowledge.

We must be models for our families, especially for our children, of the raw vegan health and compassion message. This is the way to improving the physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental and planetary health of our world.

Let everyone start his or her own ThanksLiving Celebration no matter where you are. This peaceful and humane festivity, with all delicious raw vegan loving food, will start a cycle of hope and camaraderie with all beings. The interconnectedness of all creatures is what we preach at The ThanksLiving Celebration.

About the author

Karen Ranzi

Karen Ranzi

Karen Ranzi, M.A., of is an expert on nutrition, family development and raising healthy raw children. She has led a low-fat raw vegan diet since the mid-1990s and is the author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, also available in Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods Markets, and Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families: 115 Easy Recipes and Health Tips for Energetic Living. Karen also lectures and consults on the raw food diet and lifestyle. Read all Karen's The Best in Family Health columns for Fruit-Powered Digest. E-mail Karen and join her monthly e-magazine, featuring articles, tips and recipes.

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