The ThanksLiving Celebration: 23 Years of Honoring the Life of the Turkey

Every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, I host the ThanksLiving Celebration. When this party began, it was a vegan celebration for the first couple of years, with a potluck of mostly cooked vegan food. There were only a few of us present. We joined in a circle and took turns expressing our gratitude for the day, and especially how grateful we were that we weren’t going to eat a dead turkey at a time when millions of beautiful turkeys are being slaughtered for Thanksgiving meals.

The following years after I had transitioned my children and myself to a raw vegan lifestyle, the gratitude circle remained but the food changed to a wonderful raw food potluck. Over the years, the attendance at this potluck has grown so dramatically that one year we had 122 people in our home, all ages and all economic and social backgrounds. The two important messages we have in common are our compassion for animals and love of raw vegan food for health and wellbeing.

Thanks Living Party Food 2









We start the day with the gratitude circle. Each year my children (who are now 27 and 24) and I adopt one or two turkeys from the Farm Sanctuary. The $30 we pay for each turkey will pay for food and shelter for that turkey at the Sanctuary. We encourage others to do the same so that organizations such as the Farm Sanctuary can continue to do their work saving farm animals from factory farms and slaughterhouses, giving them a safe place to live the rest of their lives.

farm sanctuary







To develop spiritually, we must stop the unconscious violence done by eating animals. The Golden Rule of each religion is focused on the teaching of kindness and love of others as the essence of the message. The vegan message must come into being, or there is no Golden Rule. We hope that you will adopt a turkey to represent all the millions of turkeys who will not survive this Thanksgiving.

farm sanctuary Turkey_Bios_600_width_v2







A raw vegan potluck for the holidays can help you to stay healthy at a time when so many others will be getting sick after eating plenty of animal food, processed food and mostly cooked food. It will give you excellent energy so that you will not feel heavy, drowsy, or bloated after eating. You will feel abundance and your body will feel loved.

ThanksLiving 2012 #9








When I was growing up, I recall my family members falling asleep following the holiday meals. The digestion of the food was so cumbersome that the adrenals became exhausted. Even vegetarian and vegan foods can cause this digestive exhaustion if focused on heavy complex carbohydrates.

I grew up loving pastas and breads that were a big part of our holiday gatherings. Cooked complex carbohydrates, especially those that are highly processed, cause a chemical reaction in the body that act like a drug and cause a sedating effect. When I made this discovery and switched to a whole food raw plant diet, holidays became a time of uplifting energetic fun!

When I found that I could live on fresh raw vegan foods, I learned that there is no need to be tired and lose energy following a meal. It’s quite empowering to be in control of what you eat and how you feel through this knowledge.

We must be models for our families, especially for our children, of the raw vegan health and compassion message. This is the way to improving the physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental and planetary health of our world.

Karen with both books









Let everyone start his or her own ThanksLiving Celebration no matter where you are! This peaceful and humane festivity, with all delicious raw vegan loving food, will start a cycle of hope and comraderie with all beings. The interconnectedness of all creatures is what we preach at The ThanksLiving Celebration.

By Karen Ranzi, M.A.

Subscribe to us and see our ThanksLiving Celebration videos on  Also see my delicious Persimmon Pie recipe for the holidays as I prepare it for you in under 10 minutes on youtube.

See our vast amount of raw food health information, books and coaching at

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The History of Raw Plant Food

Humans started out eating only raw foods. We began to cook only after we mastered fire. From the beginnings of recorded history, in countries like Iran and India, there have always been cultures subsisting only on raw vegan foods.









In ancient Greece, Pythagoras founded a philosophical and religious school where the students were required to be vegetarians. Hippocrates, a student of the school, is considered the father of medicine. Pythagoras and Hippocrates are believed to have eaten primarily raw vegan foods.

Foraging for berries, leaves, fruits and nuts was how humans ate for tens of thousands of years. Since the dawn of time, we humans have been raw foodists, and are now the only animal species that cooks its food. Throughout history, ancient cultures have adopted a predominantly plant-based diet. One example is the Brahmins, the priestly class in India who have a rich vegetarian history. Many Brahmins are known to have lived long lives through a plant-based lifestyle.

In 1930, Dr. Paul Kouchakoff, at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland, found that our bodies “normal” toxic reaction to eating, know as “Digestive Leukocytosis,” occurred only when cooked food was eaten. He found that ‘Digestive’ Leukocytosis, the immediate increase in our white blood cell count, did not occur if plant foods were eaten in their natural, unheated state. Leukocytosis is the stress response found normally when the body is invaded by a dangerous pathogen or trauma. He discovered that we have no stress response when we eat Purely Raw foods.

In 1966, Arshavir Hovannessian published Raw Eating in Iran. He had healed his sick child with raw food. They both went raw, guided only by intuition, without any outside information or support. His book declares that raw food is the proper diet for us all, and cooked food is our biggest health problem.

Raw Eating by Arshavir Hovannessian









In America, Viktoras Kulvinskas worked with health pioneer Ann Wigmore, discovering what eating raw can do for very ill people. They eventually began curing people of ‘incurable’ diseases, by feeding them wheat grass juice, and other raw foods. They opened The Hippocrates Institute in the late 60′s in Boston, which is still going strong today in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Arnold Ehret is the author of The Mucus-less Diet Healing System and Rational Fasting. He cured himself of Bright’s Disease, which is a type of kidney disease, with his methods of fasting and a predominantly raw vegetarian diet, occasionally even living as a fruitarian. In the early 1900’s, he opened a healing clinic in Switzerland and later in California. There he cured many people with his focus on long and short term fasting, and a combination of raw and cooked vegetarian foods. He considered fasting nature’s ultimate healing method.

Arnold Ehret’s The Mucus-Less Diet Healing System affected my own family life through my grandmother’s early healing of asthma and emphysema in 1921 through a vegan and raw vegan whole plant lifestyle after she read the short but fascinating paperback book by Ehret. It was my grandmother Celia’s early healing through raw vegan food and healthy lifestyle that motivated me to transition my children and myself in 1994 to a raw vegan lifestyle to heal my son’s asthma, chronic ear infections and multiple food allergies.










Dr. Max Otto Bircher-Benner (1897-1939) is the author of The Prevention of Incurable Disease. He cured himself of jaundice with a predominantly raw vegan diet. Seeing how successful this was in his own life, he then began healing family and friends. He eventually founded the Bircher-Benner Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland where he had incredible results healing many of the so called ‘incurables.’ He frequently referred to Pythagoras and his teachings on diet and lifestyle.

Dr. Max Gerson (1881-1959) is the author of the widely acclaimed study, The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy: a summary of 30 years of clinical experimentation. His healing approach emphasizes a diet of raw foods, including organically grown fruits and vegetables. Many of these are juiced for maximum nutrition. Dr. Gerson’s method is now known to have helped cure people of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. His most famous patient is Dr. Albert Schweitzer, whom he cured of diabetes. The ‘Gerson Therapy’ method is still successfully used today in several clinics throughout Europe and Mexico.

Edmond Bordeaux Szekely (1900-1979 was fascinated with longevity. He wanted to discover the secrets of the healthiest and longest-lived humans. He spent time studying with the Hunzas, a tribe in the mountains of Pakistan who boast many people that live to over 100 in excellent health with very few diseases. With his wife, Deborah, Szekely opened a clinic in Mexico focused on curing people with organic living foods. Many of these people were told their conditions were incurable. This retreat is still open today and is the world famous Rancho La Puerta Resort in Tecate, Mexico.

Herbert Shelton (1895–1985) revitalized a historic approach to healing known for over 150 years as the Natural Hygiene method. Natural Hygiene advocates an essentially raw food lifestyle and emphasizes creating balance in all aspects of life. In fact, it is an easily attainable approach to nutrition and inspiration behind many diet systems, including Fit for Life by Marilyn and Harvey Diamond.

Norman Walker (1886—1985) is the ultimate nutrition and juicing guru. Countless people have benefited from his knowledge of the healing qualities of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. He is the author of Raw Vegetable Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body? He lived to the old age of 99, and was a perfect example of the benefits of healthy living. He was a strong proponent of raw foods, feeling that cooked foods drained life from people. His juice formulas are still as powerful today as when he conceived them and can be used in any home having a quality juicer.

fresh vegetable and fruit juices by norman walker




John Henry Tilden (1851 – 1940) was a United States physician. He first studied medicine under the supervision of his father. He graduated from the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati on May 21, 1872 and began his own practice at Nokomis, for eight years. While there, in the spring of 1877, he took a post-graduate course at the American Medical College at St. Louis, Mo. It was during the early years of his practice in Illinois, that Dr. Tilden began to question the use of medicine to cure illness. His extensive reading, especially of medical studies from European medical schools, and his own thinking, led him to the conclusion that there should be some way to live so as not to build disease. In 1926, Dr. Tilden published a book regarding his extensive research into the underlying cause of illness, Toxemia Explained: The True Interpretation of the Cause of Disease. Dr. Tilden’s views on health are summarized as follows: “Food is a stimulant. Overeating is over-stimulating. Add to this excess one or two other stimulants—coffee or tobacco—excessive venery, overwork and worry, and one subject to that amount of drain of nerve-energy will become decidedly enervated. Elimination falls far short of requirements; consequently toxin accumulates in the blood. This adds a pronounced auto-toxin stimulation to that coming from over-stimulating habits, and completes a vicious circle. This complex stands for a disease-producing Toxemia, which will be permanent except as toxin crises—so-called acute diseases—lower the amount of toxin, again to accumulate and continue until the habits that keep the body enervated are controlled.”

Raw food is not a new idea. For years many have discovered its incredible benefits. The movement has come a long way with many contributing to it.



Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Nicole Ramirez

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The Hidden Environmental Benefits of Going Vegan

The benefits of going raw vegan, vegan, and even vegetarian go farther than most people think. It absolutely promotes a healthier lifestyle and a humane way of treating animals, but one huge benefit goes unnoticed: How much it helps the environment.

The raising of animals and production of products from them contribute to most of our food systems’ carbon dioxide emissions. Eliminating animal flesh and products from everyone’s diet would result in the major cut needed in the human carbon footprint and therefore have a huge impact on the environment, as is so clearly presented in the chart below focused on production emissions before the product leaves the farm.

Emissions green_house_proteins


It comes to no surprise that the transportation of food makes an impact on the environment, but what is surprising is just how much damage is done BEFORE the trucks are even loaded. Lamb produces 39.2 kilograms of C02 emissions per kilogram of food, as opposed to a kilogram of broccoli, which only produces two kilograms of emissions. Also, according to the Environmental Working Group article “Climate and Environmental Impacts,” “Lamb, beef and cheese have the highest emissions… because they come from ruminant animals that constantly generate methane through their digestive processes.” Methane is also 25 times more toxic than carbon dioxide, immensely depleting the ozone layer.

The graph below demonstrates a clear differentiation of embodied food emissions from three diet classes. “Two Simple Steps to Really Reducing Your Carbon Foodprint: Go Vegetarian and Walk or Bike to the Store” shows the differences in carbon dioxide emissions between omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. There is clearly a large gap between each diet. However, the largest difference is between omnivores and vegetarians. There is over a 1,000 pound a year difference between those who eat meat and those who do not. This is outrageous, considering that a plant-based diet does not prohibit one from consuming essential nutrients.

Emissions from three diet classes






According to Tara Garnett, “…a pulse-based vegetarian meal offers the same nutrition as one based on pork at considerably less GHG expense,” (277). We do not need these foods in order to lead healthy lives. In fact, “…a reduction in meat and dairy consumption may confer health benefits,” (Garnett, 2009).

Our “need” for livestock is not actually a need at all. We can go on to benefit the environment and lead healthy lives by adopting diets free of animal products. We can cut carbon emissions in half or even more by simply choosing fruits and vegetables over beef, chicken, cheese, and other animal products. The benefits of going raw vegan, vegan, or vegetarian are not simply for personal health and animal welfare. It is for the world’s welfare.



1. Environmental Working Group, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.

2. Garnett, Tara. “Livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions: impacts and options for policy makers.” Elsevier Ltd, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.

3. McDermott, Mat. “Two Simple Steps to Really Reducing Your Carbon Foodprint: Go Vegetarian + Walk or Bike to the Store.”, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.


Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Jaclyn Keenoy

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The Power of Raw Food Group Coaching

Two years ago, I began teaching raw food group coaching programs.

To hear what my Fall 2014 raw food coaching group attendees have to say, click here:

Many people I had worked with privately later “fell off the wagon” and went back to diets of highly cooked and processed foods and even animal flesh and products. The weight they had lost and the illnesses they had healed returned. I’m finding that the support received in a raw food group coaching program is what it can take to keep inspired, health conscious individuals on track.

Raw Food Group Coaching Program - Spring 2014








This is not to say that private raw food coaching isn’t important. Some of the raw food group attendees have chosen to do both, a private session to review their personal history of food choices and to receive recommendations for their own health journey, while also participating in a group class which motivates and gives the ongoing support needed from me and their peers coming to learn how to lead the healthiest raw food lifestyle.

Raw Food Group Coaching Program Fall 2014 #3








I have been amazed at the accomplishment of physical goals made by attendees in my 5 week raw food group coaching programs. Many of these people have experienced significant weight loss, others have healed from illnesses ranging from arthritis to fibromyalgia, to chronic fatigue, to sleep apnea, to candida, to skin disorders, to cancer and more. There were many areas of healing on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. I could see clearly that part of this healing involved becoming educated in order to be able to understand why animal food does not belong in our diet, also understanding the processing and chemicals of packaged and processed foods as well as highly cooked foods, and the stress placed on the kidneys and liver by following this mainstream Western diet.

Raw Food Challenge Group Raw Food Group Coaching Program Winter 2014 #3???????????????????C














The first part of each class in the program focuses on the science and benefits of raw plant nutrition. The second part of each class emphasizes the preparation of simple and delicious recipes with only a few ingredients to incorporate immediately into the daily lifestyle. The attendees have the opportunity to ask many of their own questions and get to know the others in the program. Some of the students choose to take the class again for both the information and the delicious food.

Green Smoothie with recipe by Rosanne

Raw Food Challenge Food Dish #2 2013Raw Food Fun for Families DSCN0357













To find out more about how easy it is to get on a healthy track with raw food information, a review of your current food diary and questions, and simple and delicious recipes and meal plans, give yourself the gift of raw food private or group coaching. My coaching page is at With further questions, you can contact me at


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Book Review of The Raw Cure


The Raw Cure

by Jesse J. Jacoby




Book Review of The Raw Cure: Healing Beyond Medicine

The Raw Cure: Healing Beyond Medicine is the best book I’ve read on why we absolutely must stay with a raw vegan lifestyle for our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and planetary health. The reasons are mapped out methodically in this excellent volume of research done by author Jesse J. Jacoby.

As the author of Creating Healthy Children, I am one who knows for sure that the principles and guiding research in The Raw Cure if started out early in life will lead to a fulfilling and long life of health and happiness. The ignorance seen today in abuse of animals, consumption of animals as food, and intake of fake, processed and refined, chemical-laden foods is sky-rocketing into epidemic proportions everywhere imaginable.

Jesse Jacoby in The Raw Cure takes us back to where we need to be, in a world where animals are treated with respect as the creatures who share our planet, and to a place where we can return to health by following Nature’s plan. I recommend this book to all my raw food coaching clients and thank Jesse for the phenomenal labor of love he has put into this masterpiece.

I found The Raw Cure to be extremely thorough, encompassing the toxins in the foods we are eating, from animal flesh and products to processed foods such as pizza, to why these foods such as cheese are so addicting, and to why cooked oils are so bad for us.

I love when Jesse delves into the positive side, including all the nutritious foods we should be eating, how to eat our way to optimal health, how we can reverse disease, how we can gain purity within, and all the many wonderful solutions to health and happiness, all starting with understanding the subtitle of the book: “How Self Empowerment, A Raw Vegan Diet, And Change of Lifestyle Can Free Us From Sickness and Disease.”

jesse j jacoby









Jesse’s wish is to one day live in a compassionate world where people no longer eat animals; wild animals roam free without hunters trying to shoot them; oil is obsolete and remains underground; logging is banned; dams are removed from the rivers; fracking does not exist; GMOs and food chemicals are erased from the food supply; prescription drugs, vaccines, cigarettes, and alcohol disappear; cleaning chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides are banished; hemp and bamboo are the only natural resources used for production; all corporations and industries collapse and we resort back to small family-owned businesses; war is a fairy tale; mainstream media delivers the truth; wealthy people actually care for the underprivileged and use their resources to end poverty; indigenous tribes live free without corporations threatening their survival; sonar testing is not allowed in the oceans and humans do not impede on marine life; and money does not rule our lives. Amen.

Thank you, Jesse, for this powerful message and all the research that went into it. I highly recommend The Raw Cure.

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Growing Up with A Candy-Free Halloween


Halloween Basket 








My children are grown now, ages 27 and 24. I still remember every year how I dreaded the thought of my children trick-or-treating with their friends on the Candy Holiday…. Halloween.

It was never easy for me, as I so wanted to raise healthy children. I learned that one cannot raise a healthy child in today’s processed and refined food world unless some incredible imagination and motivation are used. Think of all the parties our children are exposed to during the year. Halloween for me was the most intense of all.

There are the Halloween parties, at school and out with friends, and the trick-or-treating which often involves eating massive amounts of health-destroying, chemical-laden, highly-marketed candies of all sorts. I did not want to isolate my children. I wanted them to enjoy the beautiful costumes and the fun spirit, but I knew that once they started eating the toxic candies they would quickly become addicted.

I had to create a gift that would be motivating to replace the candy. When they returned home with bags filled with candy, I dumped it immediately and presented their gift or a gift slip with a special event written on it. So each year I came up with a new idea. One year it would be a desired book, the next it would be a sports toy, or a special trip we would take that week.

I piled a tray with coins, toys and other items as my trick-or-treat offering and let my children hand them out. When we as parents set this healthy model, we are helping our children to understand the harm of such poisonous food substances.

The children who visited our house for candy were surprised and often pleased to receive attractive colored pencils, coins, spider rings, fake witch nails, mini basketballs, masks, colorful necklaces and more. Many children looked forward to visiting our house above all. My youtube video dressed in my bumblebee costume will show you some of the fun trinkets I pass out each year.

Check it out here:

These are a few of the positive comments I received:

Mango Mama

Great ideas Karen! This is the first year that I won’t be giving out candy, and honestly this is so much more fun!


Love the outfit, and I think you delighted in those necklaces as much as the littlies will have done! :-)

Awesome Rawsome Lifestyle

You look delightful in your costume! Thanks for the non-food ideas! I’ve been giving out boxed raisins and fruit leather for many years.

When we prepare healthy treats for Halloween, our children can join in, enjoy and remain vibrant.

I see children who eat candy followed by demonstrations of erratic behavior, poor concentration, and hyperactivity. This was me as a child, bringing home five bags of candy after trick-or-treating. No wonder I ended up with a mouth full of mercury fillings and experienced years of brain fog.

My intern Nicole searched for healthy and fun raw Halloween treats. She got some excellent ideas but changed them to create her own healthy raw versions. These treats would be fun and healthy to prepare with our children for Halloween….”Apple Mouths” and “Pepper Pumpkins.”

Halloween Apple Mouths with strawberry sauce








Apple Mouths

Sliced up apples
Organic strawberries, blended
Raw almond butter (can be used instead of strawberries as a variation)
Raw sliced almonds

Spread blended strawberries or almond butter on the bottom apple slice. Stick almond pieces toward front section of each apple section to create the teeth.

Halloween peppers









Pepper Pumpkins

2 large red peppers
2 large zucchinis

Slice top off peppers. Scoop out seeds and carve to resemble a jack-o-lantern. Stuff zucchini linguini inside. Kids will enjoy eating the veggie noodles out of the pepper pumpkins.

Article by Karen Ranzi, M.A.

Food Photography by Nicole Ramirez

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A Day in My Raw Life

A day in my raw life….Karen Ranzi

Karen Ranzi is the author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, and her latest book, Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families: 115 Easy Recipes and Health Tips for Energetic Living, and also lectures and consults on the raw food diet and lifestyle.

Karen speaks at London Vegfest 2014






My day begins at 7am. I start out by washing up and looking at favorite quotes I have posted in my philosophy corner. There is one written by the Buddha that always inspires me to remind myself that life is fine the way it is right now: “Do not pursue the past. Do not pursue the future. Looking deeply at life as it is in this very moment, the liberated one dwells in stability and freedom.”

I always start my day with a bowl of fruit or a green smoothie. Today I started with my favorite smoothie which I feel truly nourishes me: two cups of water, two chopped Granny Smith apples and one bunch of dandelion leaves. This is Dandelion Apple Sauce. As I eat I chew slowly, thinking of the extreme benefits I am receiving from the life force in this food.

I grew up on the Standard American Diet and I turned to raw foods 20 years ago in 1994 when my son, Marco, was ill with asthma, chronic ear infections and chronic allergic rhinitis. My diet has been 100% raw since then because I lost the taste for cooked foods after a few months of eating only raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I also saw the dramatic healing of my son’s condition, and this spoke very powerfully to me about the benefits of the raw food lifestyle. So from then on I raised both of my children on a raw vegan diet. Marco is now 24 and his sister Gabriela is 27.

Gabriela Screen shot 2011-07-22 at 12.49.04 PM




Marco & Karen at Camp K










I started with a haphazard raw food diet in 1994, emphasizing nuts and dried fruit and not enough green leafy vegetables. Since this way of eating was an improvement from my previous cooked and processed food vegan diet, I did see some initial benefits. However, I soon learned the benefits of a diet high in leafy green vegetables, fruit and smaller amounts of nuts and seeds, and following appropriate food combining principles.

I often jump on a rebounder but today I have chosen hiking and yoga for my movement activities. After exercising, I replenish with five bananas and lots of celery to provide significant minerals to balance the sugar of the bananas.

Pina Colada Green Smoothie- Whole Foods Yonkers








I then drive 15 minutes to the school for autistic children where I work two days a week as a speech therapist. Today I will be there half a day and when I arrive home I will make a large green juice, 16 or 32 ounces. My favorite green juice consists of kale, cucumber, lots of celery, lemon and a small piece of ginger. I then spend at least one hour a day answering emails from individuals, parents, educators and others wanting information on dealing naturally with health issues. I love to empower others and consider my responses to them most important.

I then make phone calls to set up book tours, speaking engagements and other forms of promotion. In fall of 2014 I planned my speaking engagements for my talk on preventing and healing autism for the Autism in Focus Symposium at Arnold’s Way in Pennsylvania, my presentation for the London Vegfest, and planning information for my raw food coaching programs and talks for the Borneo Fruit Festival in Indonesia. I love to meet and speak to people interested in improving their health and the health of their children. My passion for healthy lifestyle in a time of major disease epidemics such as cancer, obesity, autism, diabetes, asthma and heart disease, keeps me focused and working hard on a daily basis.

After many years of raising and homeschooling my children, I placed my energy into writing a book that would be an important resource for families moving toward health in all areas of life, Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods. I felt empty when my children left home to follow their own passions, and the book gave me an adventure that fueled my love of living, and provided me with a vehicle for getting out into the world to deliver a very much needed message.

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I eat my last meal by 6 pm and I start with loads of fresh fruit. In the fall I have been loving grapefruit so I begin with two of them. Then I have a couple each of local apples and delicious juicy pears, and then I have my heavier meal, a large salad with lots and lots of crispy Romaine lettuce, half an avocado today (other days I might switch and have a nice scoop of seed pate or a special nut or seed dressing), lots of sprouts (I especially love sunflower sprouts), thinly sliced cucumber, soaked unsalted sundried tomato halves, and lemon. Yum!

I pay attention to the time I finish eating so I am not eating late into the evening and I have plenty of evening time to digest my food. I’ve noted that since I have been living this way I feel more rested and energetic the next morning because my body can focus on sleep at night instead of digestion. All who practice this powerful health and rejuvenation technique extol its virtues.

I go to bed around 11pm. At that time I express my gratitude for a full day – one in which I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to facilitate others, both adults and children, in their quest to nourish themselves and improve their lives. In the process of reaching outside myself to help others, I have truly enriched my own life – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Karen Bergen Shot-1









*Karen Ranzi is an award-winning author, internationally renowned lecturer, mother of two children raised raw vegan, a raw food consultant and raw food chef, and speech therapist. Karen travels world-wide to deliver her passionate message on the benefits of the raw vegan lifestyle and raising healthy families. Karen was presented the Peer-to-Peer Award for Service to Children’s Health and the Best of Raw Award for Top Professional Simple Raw Food Chef with 5+ Years Experience. Her book Creating Healthy Children was awarded the bronze metal of the Living Now Book Awards in the area of Health and Wellness.

For more information about Karen’s books, Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods and Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families: 115 Easy Recipes and Health Tips for Energetic Living, her upcoming book tours and events, and her classes, visit and and


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Raw Vegan Food and Anti-Aging

A raw food diet is considered by many to be the key to longevity. It has shown the power to detoxify the body, reverse degenerative processes, and deliver all the nutrients needed to sustain optimal health. Just look at what raw foods contain: vitamins, minerals, live enzymes, fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-carcinogens, phytosterols, plant hormones, and many other compounds with high healing potential.

fruit and vegetables heart









Once you transition to a fresh raw food diet, there is a detoxification process. Following this period, which can be different for each individual depending on history, the body will regain the ability to absorb nutrients. Most people who have experienced success on a raw food diet longterm will notice visible changes in the way they look and feel.

Karen Ranzi









As we age, our bodies need support. Food rich in vitamins, enzymes, bioflavonoids, and other vital nutrients helps us heal, regenerate, and reverse aging. It is believed that human cells are designed to live about 120 years. Raw foods contribute to anti-aging due to the higher nutrient content and higher fiber content. Fiber is essential for blood sugar control and keeping the digestive system working properly, and increased nutrient content of raw foods is beneficial for the entire body. You can obtain these benefits by gradually adding more fresh raw plant food to your diet. Just by adding raw foods to your diet in the form of fruits, juices, salads, nuts, and seeds, you can improve your physical and mental state and reverse some effects of aging.

green soup with blueberries









Fresh raw vegan food is the natural way to nourish your body. We are designed to eat raw foods. Food in its raw, natural state cannot be nutritionally improved upon. Packaged raw food is often dehydrated of its necessary water content, so it’s best to eat your food fresh.

Anti-aging benefits include a sharp mind and an energetic body, elimination of aches and pains, and a sense of vitality. The nutrients in raw food are delivered to your tissues and cells efficiently with minimal energy sapped for digestion since it’s kept in its natural form. One of the main reasons aging has such a huge impact on the body is due to a decrease in metabolism. Boosting your metabolism keeps all your body systems working, as well as quicker repair and replacement of damaged cells. Raw fruits and vegetables are the best metabolism boosters and great anti-aging foods.

green juice for hhi







The body is designed to heal itself with proper nutrition and rest. There are many who can confirm that a fresh raw vegan diet delivers regenerative benefits. The raw food lifestyle is a refreshing contrast to the fast-food and high stress lifestyle typical of mainstream society. The majority of Americans feel a lack of energy due to inadequate nutrition and rest. The raw vegan diet contains anti-aging properties which could turn this situation around.

When our cells, tissues, and organs get the proper nutrients and are given time to rebuild, they become stronger and healthier. Eating raw foods helps our bodies do just that.

Below is a photo of myself with age 60+ raw food goddesses presenting at the London VegFest. From left, Victoria Moran is 64 and the author of Main Street Vegan and 11 other life-changing books. The blonde, Mimi Kirk, is actually 76 years old and totally raw! She is author of Live Raw. Third from the left is Dr. Linda Joy Rose, author of Raw Fusion Living, and is age 60, only a few weeks older than me. Then I’m all the way to the right, and just turned 60 in September, author of Creating Healthy Children and Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families.

London Vegfest 2014- Victoria, Mimi Kirk, LJ and Karen #2








Below is my recent youtube video of the “Four Raw Goddesses Defying the Myths of Aging” at the London VegFest 2014: 



Jacoby, Jesse. The Raw Cure: How self-empowerment, a raw vegan diet, and change of lifestyle can free us from sickness and disease. Fort Bragg, CA: Soulspire Publishing, 2012.

McCabe, John. Sunfood Diet Infusion: Transforming Health and Preventing Disease Through Raw Veganism 2nd Edition. Santa Monica, CA: Carmania Books, 2012.

By Karen Ranzi, M.A. and Intern Nicole Ramirez

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Avoiding Low Energy on A Raw Food Diet

Sometimes when transitioning to a raw food diet, my clients express they are experiencing a lack of energy. Others clearly say increased energy is the first sign of the raw vegan lifestyle benefits. If low energy is short-term, this is usually a detoxification symptom during the beginning of a raw food diet. Lack of energy can be attributed to the body working hard to expel toxins which have accumulated over the years of eating processed and refined foods, animal flesh and products, and other highly proteinaceous and chemical-laden substances.

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The following are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you are getting energy from your food sources, or if some of your food sources are depleting your energy:

Are you eating enough calories from fruit?

Margrieta shopping with children









We need to be getting enough calories from fruit to get the glucose we need for our energy needs. Low fruit diets often mean that we are getting our energy from high fat sources such as nuts, seeds, and avocados. As much as we require some of these overt fats, we want to make sure not to overeat them as their complicated digestion can rob us of our energy.

Are you limiting your intake of nuts, seeds, avocados, and other fatty foods?

To better understand the overt fats we need in our daily lifestyle, I refer you to chapter 6 on All about Fats in the Raw Vegan Diet in my book Creating Healthy Children. The detailed explanation covers the amount of fat appropriate for different individuals, both adult and children. Children, however, should not be on a low fat raw vegan diet as they experience growth spurts and are often more physically active, requiring them to listen to their own needs for fat sources in their diets. Adults do well with a low fat raw vegan diet, getting their energy needs met by the simple carbohydrates in ripe raw fruit.

Are you getting in your greens?

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Leafy green vegetables, abundant in protein, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are excellent to balance the sugars in fruit. I recommend a high-green diet to keep us highly mineralized.

Are you limiting your intake of dried fruits, nuts, and other low water raw foods?

Our blood and cellular tissues are 72% water. Dried fruits are extremely concentrated in sugars and have had the water content removed. Nuts and other low water content raw foods are difficult to digest and are acid-forming, other than almonds. We need a small amount of these foods but most people coming to the raw food diet tend to overeat these complex fats, which often result in decreased energy.

Are you paying attention to other health factors, like exercise, sleep, stress level and sunshine?

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A healthy water-rich raw vegan diet is only one factor among many for increasing energy in your life. Other health factors equally important are getting sufficient daily exercise, sleep, a low stress lifestyle, and sunshine to give us adequate levels of vitamin D. Further information on these topics and how to improve your life and gain the desired energy levels you want are discussed in detail for adults and children in chapters 7, 15, 26 and 34 of Creating Healthy Children.

It’s best to ease into the raw food diet one step at a time. Start with 50 percent raw and go from there. If you are already eating a lot of raw food then you can move to a higher place from where you are. You can focus on a high raw or 100 percent raw diet as the eventual goal, but putting on that kind of immediate pressure when beginning can end up backfiring. Instead, find the balance that works best with your lifestyle and consider it an evolving process.

Most important is to get the animal flesh and products and processed and refined packaged foods out of the diet first. These are not meant to be our food sources and have no place at all in our diets. To understand more about why animals are not meant to be our food, please read The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle. Keeping even small amounts of animal food or processed food in a primarily raw food diet will still lead to intense cravings and bingings as well as rob us of our energy.

Try to find simple well-combined recipes with few ingredients and make meal plans, especially as you begin. There are food-combining charts in both Creating Healthy Children and Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families. Don’t allow yourself to go many hours without eating. Make sure to eat a variety of fresh ripe fruit, leafy greens, sprouts, other vegetables, and smaller amounts of nuts, seeds and avocado.

Some raw foods that increase energy are:

1. Fruit – As discussed, fruit is energy food. Ripe fruit is easily digested, moving quickly from the stomach to the intestines and then distributed efficiently into the bloodstream and cells for quick energy. What isn’t utilized can be easily eliminated. So many fruits are loaded with antioxidants necessary for our energy and our survival.

For example, blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fruit, quite a bit of heart healthy fiber and are a natural brain food. Blueberries are easy to add to your diet, especially if you pick up some from the farmers market or local grocery. Please make sure all berries are organic. In the wintertime, frozen organic blueberries can be used in green smoothies to boost nutrition. They’re versatile, ready to eat and you can never have too many!

2. Coconuts – are one of the most naturally hydrating foods, especially the young varieties. The natural electrolyte composition of coconut water is better at re-hydrating the body than any other sport/nutrition drink and is the best match to what your body already produces. Coconuts are also packed with healthy fats that help lower cholesterol, fuel your brain and heart function, and have natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

3. Seeds – are high in fiber, vitamin E, and healthy unsaturated fats that can help keep your brain and heart healthy. Raw seeds are also a good source of protein, zinc, which is excellent for your immune system, and have been linked to lower levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. Again, because this is a fat source, we are talking here about small amounts to get the benefits.

Chia Seeds – they have more omega 3s and antioxidants than flax and have been used for centuries as a life sustaining food. In addition, Chia seeds are an easily digested food, provide easy access nutrients to the body and are one of the most complete plant-based sources of protein available.

4. Leafy Greens – it’s almost impossible to get enough greens. If given the chance, you could ingest greens for every meal and see only benefits from it. Leafy greens like kale, chard, beet greens, collards and spinach, are high in chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant, vitamins C and E, fiber, enzymes and amino acids.

5. Seaweeds – such as kelp and dulse, have an estimated 10-20 times the average nutrients in land plants and are one of the richest sources of chlorophyll available. Seaweeds are extremely high in minerals and are said to be one of the most easily assimilated sources of minerals for the human bloodstream. They are also a good plant based source of iron, calcium and iodine.

6. Sprouts – the dormant energy of any seed is the source of life and growth potential that it contains. As the growth process begins during sprouting, food enzymes are activated, nutrient levels increase and new vitamins and minerals are taken on. In fact, per calorie, sprouts are said to provide more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins than any other food. Sprouts are also high in phytonutrients and chlorophyll, which play an antioxidant role in your body. I love sunflower greens, and we grow them here year round in our home.

Work Cited

Ranzi, Karen. Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods. Ramsey, NJ: SHC Publishing, 2010.

By Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Nicole Ramirez

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Toxicity of Iron Supplementation

Iron is a mineral that is naturally present in many foods, added to some food products, and available as a dietary supplement. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Iron supports metabolism. Iron is also necessary for growth, development, normal cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones and connective tissue. Intake recommendations for iron and other nutrients are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies (formerly National Academy of Sciences)

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%–98%) healthy individuals.

  • Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA; intake at this level is assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
  • Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): average daily level of intake estimated to meet the requirements of 50% of healthy individuals. It is usually used to assess the adequacy of nutrient intakes in population groups but not individuals.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

Recommended dietary sources of nonheme iron include nuts, beans, and vegetables.






Fortified grain products have been used as a way of meeting daily iron needs. In the United States, about half of dietary iron comes from processed grains, including bread, cereal, and other grain products.

10 worst foods - glutinous grains









Iron depletion and deficiency progresses through several stages:

  1. Mild deficiency or storage iron depletion: Serum ferritin concentrations and levels of iron in bone marrow decrease.
  2. Marginal deficiency, mild functional deficiency, or iron-deficient erythropoiesis (erythrocyte production): Iron stores are depleted, iron supply to erythropoietic cells and transferrin saturation decline, but hemoglobin levels are usually within the normal range. In addition, plasma iron levels decline and plasma transferrin concentrations (measured by plasma total iron-binding capacity) rise, resulting in decreased transferrin saturation. Serum transferrin receptor concentrations also increase.
  3. IDA: Iron stores are exhausted; hematocrit and levels of hemoglobin decline; and the resulting microcytic, hypochromic anemia is characterized by small red blood cells with low hemoglobin concentrations.

Breast milk contains highly bioavailable iron but in amounts that are stated not to be sufficient to meet the needs of infants older than 4 to 6 months.

Important to know, frequent breast milk feedings will increase the amount of iron the baby receives through breast milk. Doctors often recommend that babies be breastfed on a schedule every three hours. I breastfed my children on demand, and as infants they often nursed every hour. Babies nursing on demand will be ingesting at least twice as much iron, and since the body can store iron, there will be more iron kept on reserve. I encourage mothers to nurse their babies on demand. Only your baby will know what nourishment he or she needs and how often it’s required for optimal health and development.

For nutritious breast milk, mother needs to make sure to include iron rich foods such as plenty of leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, mulberries, watermelon and more.

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The most common form of iron supplementation for infants is grain cereal such as rice cereal. This refined product has little to no nutrition and is an acid-forming food. The iron in these cereals is poorly absorbed, and this is an unnatural food choice which may be linked to cancer. We want to give our children their first foods to maximize their nutrition and minimize their toxic load. Nourishment should be in the form of whole plant food, extremely nutritious, instead of supplement pills and drops.

Soon after your child begins eating solid foods such as bite-sized pieces of ripe raw fruit, green smoothies and green juices should follow. Green smoothies are a fun and delicious way to get the iron rich leafy green vegetables into your child’s diet. Parsley has a high iron content and can be used in green juices. Later, it can be chopped finely in some raw recipes such as the middle eastern dish called tabbouleh.

Because Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, including Vitamin C rich foods at the same meal with foods containing high amounts of iron is wise. Berries and orange in a smoothie with leafy green vegetables insures this excellent combination.

Acute intakes of more than 20 mg/kg iron from supplements or medicines can lead to gastric upset, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and faintness, especially if food is not taken at the same time. Taking supplements containing 25 mg elemental iron or more can also reduce zinc absorption and plasma zinc concentrations. In severe cases (e.g., one-time ingestions of 60 mg/kg), overdoses of iron can lead to multisystem organ failure, coma, convulsions, and even death.

iron supplementation




Overdosing on iron supplements may cause gastrointestinal symptoms within the first six hours after ingestion. You may also experience a weak and rapid pulse, low blood pressure, fever or difficulty breathing. If the illness does not subside, the symptoms can elevate to failure of your cardiovascular, kidney, liver or central nervous system, and leave long-term damage.

Symptoms of an iron overdose include nausea, diarrhea, black stools, vomiting blood, a metallic taste in your mouth, stomach pain, fever and headache, which sometimes but not always occur within an hour of taking too many iron supplements. If you don’t get treatment, more severe overdose symptoms may include dizziness, chills, drowsiness, pale or flushed skin, fast or weak pulse and low blood pressure.

Iron supplements need to have “strong warning labels” because of the harmful side effects. There have apparently been deaths from iron supplementation as well.
“FDA currently requires that iron-containing dietary supplements sold in solid form (e.g., tablets or capsules but not powders) carry the following label statement: “WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.”

The federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes that, “Nutrients should come primarily from foods. Foods in nutrient-dense, mostly intact forms contain the essential vitamins and minerals that are often contained in nutrient supplements.”


Ranzi, Karen. Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods. Ramsey, NJ: SHC Publishing, 2010.

By Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Nicole Ramirez

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment