Our seven-year old daughter enjoys eating raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. What’s so strange about that? Absolutely nothing! Except that’s all she’s eaten since she was weaned off of breast milk.
Perhaps the strange part, if there really is one, is that not only does eating raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds seem perfectly normal to our daughter, but also that we had to go to great lengths to explain why some people choose to eat other fare.
When Faychesca was a toddler, she very much enjoyed feeding the ducks at our local pond. We’d purchase a loaf of “old” bread from the local store for a few cents, and bring it for the birds, who have come to rely upon people to feed them what Faychesca called “birdie food.”
One day Faychesca noticed someone eating a sandwich and asked why the person was eating the birdie food. Thus began our daughter’s course in ethical veganism, including learning to respect other’s food choices. We taught her about our values, and introduced the phrase, “in our family” as our method of solidifying our choices. We made it clear that we had both been brought up eating all foods, but over time had come to learn that being a vegan, a raw vegan in fact, was best for us.
As Faychesca began to notice that her friends often ate foods she wasn’t familiar with, so too did her friends notice Faychesca’s foods. Quite honestly, none of the children really made a big deal about the differences, except that many of her friends wanted to eat Faychesca’s foods rather than their own. She is thriving, and obviously extremely satisfied with the foods she has been raised on.
(Of course, as parents, we learned to make healthier versions of cookies, pies, cakes, and the other festive foods Faychesca learned her friends were eating, but Faychesca’s treats were made mostly from fruits and nuts.)
Being a raw vegan family seems perfectly normal to us. In the same way that different children are raised with different religions, there are many eating styles to which families stick fervently. Children quickly learn that almost every culture eats unique specialty foods, and we often highlight but never ridicule these. Restaurants are very often culturally based, or serve food that is focused on a specific nationality. We taught our daughter that being a raw vegan is a type of culture, one that she can be proud of and Faychesca is very comfortable with her uniqueness. As parents, our natural concern for her health, well-being, and personal development has been fully satisfied.
Here are a few ideas for delicious nutritious finger foods that are fast, fun and phenomenally easy!
Cucumbers with Almond Butter
Slice a cucumber into discs, on a slight slant for more surface area, about 3-4 slices per inch. Spread almond butter on top. It’s that easy. Kids will gobble this one as fast as you can make it.
Celery and Dates
Cut celery stalks into one-inch slices. Put half of a medjool date into the curve of the celery and serve em up. Know that even if your child doesn’t typically eat celery, s/he will probably ask for seconds and thirds of this treat.
Banana Ice Cream
Peel and freeze a few ripe bananas. Once frozen, put them into your food processor, using the “S” blade. Turn on the machine and walk away. Come back one minute later to perfect banana ice cream. No kidding. Top with raisins, berries, chopped nuts, or just enjoy it as is.
Not quite finger food, but for healthy ice cream, who cares?
Tomato Mango Soup
It just is not possible to mess up this soup. Any ratio of mango and tomato will work just fine. Blend or mix the two ingredients in any way you wish; coarse, fine, pureed smooth, or chunky. Start with any variety of tomato that you enjoy, and a non-stringy variety of mango, such as Keitt or Kent. Blend in roughly equal quantities to your desired coarseness and serve. Lime goes well as a garnish.
Tomato Celery Soup
Blend 2 or 3 large tomatoes. Remove the leaves from 6-9 stalks of celery and cut the stalks into 1/4″ pieces. Put celery in the food processor, using the “S” blade, until it is quite fine. Mix the celery and tomato in a bowl, and serve at room temperature or cooler.
Most folks are very surprised to find out how good this smoothie tastes, and how satisfying it really is. Blend one celery stalk with every 4-6 bananas you use in your smoothie. Be sure your bananas are fully ripe. Add water according to your preference. Feel free to use one frozen banana in the mix. Many people find they actually prefer their smoothie just a bit on the cool side.
Don’t knock this one till you’ve tried it.
For every 2-3 oranges you juice, add the fruit (not the skin or the seed) of one mango. Blend and serve. You can add flavors to this mix such as fresh mint, a small amount of vanilla, or many others in order to please your palate.
Eastern Summer Salad
Cut 4 tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Cut 2 cucumbers into smaller pieces. Blend 6 stalks of celery with 1 ounce of tahini (crushed sesame seed, preferably raw.) Place cut ingredients in a bowl and pour the blended mixture over the top. Mix thoroughly and serve.
Dr. Douglas Graham has been involved in the health and fitness field for over 40 years, and is still going strong. His revolutionary book, The 80/10/10 Diet, which came out hot on the heels of his book, Nutrition and Athletic Performance, is becoming ever more popular with athletes and mainstreamers alike. Making complex scientific issues easy to understand, Dr. Graham specializes in teaching clear, congruent health science. He’s known for his boundless energy, enthusiasm, and humor, and for his many successes in coaching athletes from a huge variety of sports. You can learn more about Dr. Graham’s teachings, programs, and events at foodnsport.com.