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The Case of the Malnourished Raw Vegan Child

Some time ago, a story about a mother who was feeding her child raw food and causing him malnutrition, was all over the news. Here are two links with parts of the movie. It’s in Dutch but someone translated it in English (the second trailer at least…)

I heard about the case through a review of the documentary, which I read in Hebrew here:

Does Raw Veganism Promote Undernourishment? 

I don’t know the full story of course, and it is possible that this child was actually malnourished. What I want to talk about in this article today comes out of a discussion that I had with my mother about the film. It was a very enlightening discussion, which highlighted the fact that the raw food diet is treated as a cult, as outside of the norm, and the deficiencies on the diet were always seen (even by me, for a long time), as something that might make it a much more unworthy diet than the Standard American Diet… let me explain what I mean…

We are always comparing ourselves to regulations made by doctors who recommend the Standard American Diet, and always trying to reach some sort of standard… We are seen as outside of the norm, and the questions that I receive from friends and family, with worried looks on their faces, concern protein, vitamin B12, and other things… these questions always make me feel like what I’m doing is wrong and I absolutely must prove to them that I have found some way to breach the incredibly large gap between what they eat and what I eat because I’ve made an extreme and psychotic choice, and now I must prove to them that I have managed to somehow make my choice less extreme and come closer to THEIR norm…

When I see the commentary on this film, and the way the mother in the film is treated (like a criminal who is part of a cult that is trying to poison her child), it makes me very sad and confused. I agree, there are standards we must follow, things we need to worry about (like B12…) but can we seriously say that eating a large amount of raw food is unhealthy and dangerous, that we must worry all the time about coming closer to the “norm”?

Luckily, I was raised in a family that advocated healthy eating, from a very young age. I didn’t always follow that path, but my grandmother, who is actually a medical doctor by profession, was always against pills and medications, and when I would get sick I was always sent to her house for a 3-day course of herbal teas and tonics that healed me very quickly without drugs! Not many kids had that childhood and I’m very thankful. Coming back to thinking about this childhood, I realize that in my family, it was the norm, and I am more easily able to adapt to being a raw foodist because of that. But even for me, with my family history, it was not always easy.

grocery haul final photo

Raw Vegan Lifestyles Should Not Be Sidelined 

For anyone who is a raw vegan right now (whether 100% or 70%), please stop feeling sidelined. What you are doing is incredibly healthy and normal, for you and for the earth! People will look at you like you’re crazy. Perhaps this is because we have gotten so dumbed down by the different food and drug industries. People who eat junk food and fatty food are NOT worried about their lives! How come families who feed their kids junk (even babies) are not going to court? We are dangerous to ourselves as a society. But our new standard is so far from the earth, and from eating naturally. People who try to connect with the earth and their planet are labeled as “dangerous” and cult-ish.

Please make sure that you’re getting all your amounts of vitamins and nutrients. Do worry about B12 if you are vegan. And take supplements if you need to. Worry about protein, and Vitamin D if you don’t get much sun exposure, and all the other nutrients that are important to human health. But please do not think that you need to worry MORE than other people! The fact that you are even reading this, and that you are worried about your health, is special and commendable. Don’t allow other people to look at you as extreme. Unfortunately, most of the time, those people are the ones who REALLY need to worry about themselves and don’t.

Importantly, you should not look at those who eat a standard diet as inferior to you… we all have choices in life. Some make choices without being informed. Others do choose in an informed way. What I’m asking you is not to look at YOURSELF as inferior. Don’t preach to others how to eat. You can offer them the information you have. But most importantly, care for your psychological health by commending yourself for doing something lovely and good for yourself. And offer love and information to others, without judging or pushing them. Just don’t judge yourself.

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Soul in the Raw is a high-raw vegan recipe + education blog. Marina creates quick, easy, and delicious high-raw vegan recipes and blogs about the health benefits of a high-raw plant-based diet. You can get more of Marina’s awesome recipes, tips, and lifestyle techniques on the free Facebook group: Raw Souls .
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