Why I’m a Raw Vegan Mama

The following article was written by Carissa Leventis-Cox of Mama in the Kitchen, and she ain’t cookin’!
Hands Reaching for Fruit Including Bananas
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.

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  • Glepor commented on April 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    To each his own, but life is too short to miss out on so much. Being Vegan is not something I’d ever do, but being Raw Vegan? Too extreme, cooked food is at the very least a natural way to enjoy it. Eating eggs, cheese, drinking milk, etc…too much to miss out on ..but hey, whatever works for you may not work for me, and vice versa..

    • Judika Timar commented on August 25, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Yes. Extreme for sure …not like eating brutalized slaughtered animals or chicken periods or another animals breast milk Breast milk that is not meant for human consumption because it’s designed for a baby cow…yes. I can see that veganism is extreme. Lol

  • Tamara commented on April 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I would love to learn what you serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are kid friendly. Since my kids didn’t grow up eating vegan, it’s tricky to introduce them at the age they are at now but perhaps I can change one meal a day at least. Also why RAW vegan? A bowl of homemade vegetable soup is so wonderful in the winter…is there something unhealthy about that?

  • Carissa Leventis-Cox commented on May 2, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    One natural way to CURE cancer and other diseases is to change one’s diet: lots of fresh juices, fresh greens and sprouts – living foods. It is the same foods that can PREVENT diseases too. I think it is important to add more raw foods into one’s diet – not necessarily to go 100%. Although I have found health as a raw vegan, my family chooses to be 50% raw for the health benefits of eating live foods full of enzymes. Tamara, check out for more recipes. Snacks and breakfasts are the easiest to transition into more raw vegan foods: raw oatmeal (soaked and sprouted oat groats + dates + apples), just fresh fruit for snacks. We love salads too and lots of green smoothies. I think the main thing is to get rid of all the processed junk people eat: white flour, white sugar, anything packaged. The best way to do this is to eat raw foods and/or make everything from scratch (when cooked).

  • Hannah commented on May 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I think this sort of lifestyle is very admirable. Your story and choices are motivating. I tend to eat junk food and not pay attention to where my food is coming from. After watching “Food, Inc.” I’ve decided to try and take on a lifestyle filled with knowledge of where my food comes from, and eat as much local and natural food as possible. These types of choices are not only better for a healthy life, but for choosing which companies you want to support and effecting change in our society.

  • kathy commented on May 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I have so much more energy now that I’ve become a high-raw vegan. Energy has always been an issue for me as I’ve struggled with fatigue. I admit when I first became a vegan I enjoyed partaking in all the yummy vegan “junk” food. Many vegan versions of conventional tasty foods actually taste BETTER and I had fun eating that way at first. I slowly changed to eating healthier and eventually high RAW and I’m feeling really great.

    Tamara, in answer to your question, raw foods retain their enzymes. When we eat cooked foods it actually takes our enzymes to digest. Eating raw actually gives us enzymes. The vitamins/minerals are also assimilated very well when the food is raw.

  • AkiraMakena commented on May 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    All that matters is that this a healthier diet that makes you feel good inside and out. I don’t see how this could be difficult at all. I’m already almost there.

  • michael commented on July 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    WOW, I had no idea we can CURE cancer! I guess every doctor on the planet is desperately trying to hide that from us.

  • voop commented on August 21, 2011 at 7:33 am

    junk food is usually what i eat when im stressed or upset. im starting to feel kind of uncomfortable about the effects of this comfort food….

  • voop commented on August 21, 2011 at 7:33 am

    junk food is usually what i eat when im stressed or upset. im starting to feel kind of uncomfortable about the effects of this comfort food….

  • chrisitna commented on March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    so I’m vegan and would love to go raw. tried a few times but failed. my two children 4 and 2 are vegetarian. but I know they are not getting the right amount of nutrition, my children unlike myself wont sit down and eat green anything, I found myself feeding them mostly fruit nuts and a whole lot of dairy and grains, amelia my 2yr old daughter is now lactose intolerant and may have a gluten intolerance also both of my children are on the slim side which was always ok but after I weened my daughter at 21 months she has now dropped off and is considered failer to thrive I hide veggies all the time in pancakes mac n cheese ect. I would love to know how you get your kids to eat enough greens and veggies and have enough protein to remain healthy raw vegans?? I’ve even thought of resorting back to grass fed organic meats I believe in this lifestyle but not at the cost of my childrens health I have met lots of vegans but noone who was raised that way Is a growing child able to live a healthy vegan lifestyle w/ not gluten/grains?? please help. thanks chrisitna

  • Mark commented on February 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    We are seeking a substitute breast milk formula that does not contain dairy or soy. If anyone can suggest one or direct us to it, that would be much appreciated. We are researching nut or seed milk but are not sure what nut or seed would work best. Thanks in advance.