Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Creating Healthy Children"

Don't worry mom; I'm not getting into the specifics as to how my hubby and I "created" my little masterpieces (this is a kid-friendly site). Instead, I'll be reviewing a book about how to raise happy, healthy children, entitled "Creating Healthy Children Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods," by Karen Ranzi.

Part of raising happy, healthy children includes giving them the love and attention they deserve, which is why it took me a bit longer than expected to get through the 400-plus pages of this amazing book. It's obviously not due to lack of interest in the subject (believe me; I enjoyed reading this one when I had the chance), but because I sometimes have trouble finding a moment to sit and read something that's not geared toward a younger audience (no wonder Hayden and Jacob are usually involved in my blogging, and when we read together, it's most likely Dr. Seuss, Sandra Boynton, etc. Jacob reads above grade level books independently).

I'd assume that Karen Ranzi (who so generously sent me her book to review. Thank you!) would totally understand, as attachment parenting has been so important in raising her own children. She writes about how she would make herself available to them, eventually opting to homeschool, although that's jumping to the middle 0f the book.

Ranzi addresses just about every topic on the path to creating healthy children, starting not only with the mother's lifestyle, but the father's as well. She talks about consuming a healthy diet (raw food being the optimum choice) and taking the time to detox prior to conception (water fasting is discussed).

Other topics include how to ensure all nutritional needs are met on a raw food diet (why to eat fresh, local and organic, whether or not to supplement, food combining, etc.), exercise, home births, her views on circumcision, skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, homeschooling, the truth about vaccines and more, all the while sharing her own personal story with you. By the end, you really feel like you've grown to know and love her beautiful family, and have been inspired by their natural lifestyle.

Her book is backed by and full of research from highly respected experts and well-known members of the raw food community. If you've ever doubted this lifestyle or found it difficult to explain your choices to others, this book is definitely for you.

I, myself, have had issues defending my dietary choices to friends and family. Armed with the information in this book, I feel more confident in my decision to eat raw foods.

Speaking of raw food, there is a recipe section in the middle of the book which provides kid-tested/-approved food ideas for the whole family. Some are Karen's personal family recipes, while others were contributed by raw foodies like Rhio, Nomi Shannon, Cherie Soria, Brigitte Mars and more. Even recipes by her own children are featured inside, such as Marco's Strawberry Splash (Hayden enjoys this smoothie with a handful of greens tossed in, as well as Marco's Banana Splits with Strawberry Sauce pictured at right), Gabriela's Stuffed Tomato (apparently, it was her specialty as a young child, but continues to be a favorite; I'm a fan of this one) and B.A.T. (a dish created by both Marco and Gabriela; you'll have to check out the book to see what it is).

My kids and I have enjoyed testing out these recipes in our raw kitchen, so today, Hayden and I decided to show you a couple of her favorites from the book (maybe one day, her own recipes will be published, as well, like her NB&J Salad and Peach Banilla N'ice Cream Cupcake). She loves to have a "Rise and Sun Shine" in the morning (Jean Oswald's contribution to this book and "The Health Seeker's Yearbook." The dish is pictured at the top of this post; we added a smile that can be seen more clearly and intact in the second photo of it), even if the sun isn't shining (it's been raining all day, which explains the terrible lighting in our video and photos).

She also likes traditional Ants-on-a-Log (Karen didn't forget to include this kid-friendly favorite; even non-raw foodies consider this a staple in their house) and Marco's Banana Splits with Strawberry Sauce.

His banana split is so much simpler and easier to make than the one I entered in the Hot Raw Chef 5 in 5 contest. Hayden likes to turn Marco's recipe into a hand-held version by placing some of it in a Romaine leaf, referring to it as a banana dog. You may recall me making these for my son and I a few years ago on this blog (above is a photo of our usual banana dog with pear "fries," while below is a pic of the split served in a similar fashion), as a raw way to celebrate the end of tax season with my accountant father (you'd have to read the post to understand the significance).

Hayden especially likes to serve her banana dogs with nut butter in a Romaine leaf (sounds a lot like her NB&J salad in another format, with bananas in place of the fresh concord jelly), but back to the book review.

My favorite part of the book is the collection of stories from other families with similar lifestyles. Some of the people profiled may already be familiar to you, while others you'll be glad to have finally met. Whether they are living the ultimate natural lifestyle in a tropical setting, growing their own food, bathing in pure rainwater, etc., or just extending their gratitude to Karen for introducing them to raw foods, you'll be sure to relate to at least one of them.

It's no surprise that it took Karen about 7 years to put all these stories, research and other information together into a very impressive book. It is worth the read.