The following article was written by Carissa Leventis-Cox of Mama in the Kitchen, and she ain’t cookin’!
Have you watched Bedtime Stories? In the film, Adam Sandler’s character pokes fun at his sister, who serves her kids only organic foods and bans junk food from her house. Her kids have never tried or even heard of s’mores. The movie was funny … until I realized that I am a bit like the mother in the film but maybe much more extreme, because not only am I a mama who believes in organic, in–season, local, and unprocessed foods, I am also a raw vegan. Many raw vegans eat around 75 percent raw fruits, vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds, and grains. I eat almost 100 percent raw vegan foods. And because I prepare all my family’s meals, my husband and son eat at least 50 percent raw vegan foods.
It hasn’t always been this way though. In fact, when we were first married, my husband and I would buy sugary cereals, canned foods, packaged foods, and questionable animal products just because they were on sale. I cringe at that thought today.
I guess people change when something drastic happens. In our world, it took our son’s health issues to wake us up and change our lifestyle. When our son was around 1 year old, we found his bed sheets full of bloody splotches almost daily because he scratched his eczema wounds open during the night. We learned that he was allergic to banana, peas, soy, dairy, eggs, and corn, and the list kept on growing. At 2 years old, he was sedated in my arms and taken to another room for a CT scan to determine if there was a growth in his body. At the hospital that day, I promised myself to choose a healthier lifestyle for our family.
As a mother, it is hard not to be conscious of the health of our children today: Childhood obesity has increased by 2 to 3.5 times since 1976, food allergies have increased by 18 percent since 1997, pediatric cancer has become more invasive, and cancer that occurs during the first year of life has increased by 36 percent since 1976. One in two American men and one in three American women will develop cancer in their lifetime. In the world in which we live, I don’t believe a mother can be so complacent about her family’s health anymore.
So today, I’m a mama who carefully chooses what my family eats. Genetics, the environment, and other factors may be out of my control, but I have the power to choose whole, organic, in-season, local, unprocessed foods for my family. As the “mama in the kitchen,” I have taken one step further by adding more and more raw, unprocessed vegan foods to my family’s diet as a disease-prevention measure. I’m able to use food as our medicine.
In Bedtime Stories, Sandler’s character entices his sister’s kids to the world of s’mores and junk food. It’s all done in good fun as he introduces the kids to nostalgic feelings associated with these forbidden foods. The audience is moved to reminisce back to their own
camping days and made to laugh and approve of the bonding experience between uncle, nephew, and niece. But by the end of the film, I could not help but feel for the mother, who chooses a healthier lifestyle for her family against the culture in which we all live, learn, work, and play. Like her, I never intended to be so different or so extreme in my food choices. I’m just a mama who wants a healthy family. And yes, my son has tasted s’mores, too … but not in my house.
Carissa believes in raw, fresh, organic, local, in-season, unprocessed foods. A culinarian with a cooking-school,
restaurant, and catering background, she is also a certified Ayurvedic nutrition therapist and co-author of Yoga for Cancer. She has found a short- and long-term health solution for her family in raw vegan foods. Carissa is a passionate “mama in the kitchen,” creating and sharing easy and simple, yet yummy, family-friendly raw vegan recipes and educating others on how to live a disease-free, healthy life by adding more raw fruits and vegetables to their family’s diet.