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.

margrieta. attachment parenting







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

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Woodstock Fruit Festival 2014 Excitement

The Woodstock Fruit Festival 2014 took place in Diamond Point, New York at the gorgeous Camp Walden on Lake Trout. It’s hard to believe that 800 different activities and speaker events were offered during a two week event. Approximately 450 attendees were present for Week 1 and 300 attendees for Week 2.

The pioneers of the Woodstock Fruit Festival are those leaders and speakers in the raw food movement who support a low fat raw vegan lifestyle. Below are some of the photos of the pioneers. I feel honored to be sitting amongst a group of such knowledgeable individuals. The highlights for me this year were to make a close connection with Janette and Alan Murray who ran raw around Australia after Janette healed from breast cancer through a raw food lifestyle based on raw fruits and vegetables. The second picture below shows my introduction during the Pioneers Ceremony on the first evening of the Woodstock Fruit Festival.

WFF 2014 All Pioneers


WFF 2014 Pioneers with Karen standing

WFF Wedding Anna and Raini

Below, we had our first wedding down by Lake Trout. Anna of Brazil, and Raini of the U.S., became husband and wife at the festival on Saturday, August 23rd. Pioneer Anne Osborne led the wedding ceremony. Pineapples, coconuts and flowers lined the path for Anna to walk and meet Raini. I love the wedding words “I promise to be true to you in good times and bad, in health and in health.” To the left are pictures from the wedding. There is a small picture of me at the top. What a thrill to be present at this wonderful joining of two beautiful people.


WFF 2014 Marco, Harvey, Ludo, Gabriela











Above, my family attends the Woodstock Fruit Festival (My son, Marco, husband, Harvey, nephew, Ludovic, and daughter, Gabriela).

Below, mealtime at The Woodstock Fruit Festival:

WFF 2014 Marco and food

WFF 2014 Karen with Amy & Pepper



















Here I am with Amy Hager and her beautiful daughter Pepper. I loved meeting a mother who believes in healthy food for raising her children and attachment parenting.

On Presenter’s Night, the pioneer speakers presented their books and t-shirts to offer to the attendees. Below I am with Diana Cardona at Presenter’s Night:

WFF 2014 Book signing



























The most amazing part of the Woodstock Fruit Festival 2014 was the chance to meet so many like-minded, health-conscious spirits from all over the world. Here I am with Evan Rock and friends:

WFF 2014 Karen, Evan & Friends

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Eliminating the Cause of Illness for Physical and Spiritual Wellbeing

There are so many situations in which disease could be avoided if people understood the true nature of the workings of the human body. Parents who bring their children to fast food restaurants are viewed with acceptance today, whereas parents who provide healthful natural foods are often frowned upon.

In The Cure Is in The Cause by Dr. Ruza Bogdanovich, she states, “Interfering with Nature isn’t good, but when we go against her, that’s where our problems are difficult to turn around. The damage is done in so many ways we aren’t even aware of any more. Today microbes and viruses can affect us differently from the way they used to because of our general weakening. Our bodies are overloaded with debris. The increased amounts of free radicals (cancer-causing agents) and growth hormones in the dairy foods to which we’re exposed cause uncontrolled cellular growth and suppressed immunity.”

The Cure is in The Cause










“We have become weaker than our ancestors. We have to pay the price now for becoming too dependent on antibiotics to knock out drug-resistant bugs our immune systems can’t handle. Antibiotics have also invaded our food supply. Animals are routinely given massive doses of drugs to get rid of infections due to poor immune systems.”

“This is all related to a confused mind/body to the point that we do not function with chemical correctness to certain impulses that are sent from the brain into the organs and glands. This is why it is so difficult to help people with multiple illnesses without looking to the real cause – the originator of the problem.”

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. Cornell University scientis and researcher, and Thomas M. Campbell II, is the most comprehensive longterm nutritional study ever done. T. Colin Campbell states:


The China Study









“The inescapable fact is that certain people are making an awful lot of money today selling foods that are unhealthy. They want you to keep eating the foods they sell, even though doing so makes you fat, depletes your vitality and shortens and degrades your life. They do not want you informed, active and passionately alive, and they are quite willing to spend billions of dollars annually to accomplish their goals.”

“The genes you inherit from your parents are not the most important factors in determining whether you fall prey to any of the ten leading causes of death. Breast cancer is related to levels of female hormones in the blood, which are determined by the food we eat. Consuming dairy foods can increase the risk of prostate cancer. Type 1 diabetes, one of the most devastating diseases that can befall a child, is convincingly linked to infant feeding practices. The war on cancer and heart disease, which has continued for decades, is no more advanced today than it was at the beginning.”

From the article “Diet and Violence” by Edwin S. Douglas, he states: “What man does to animals, he does unto himself.” Douglas relates the killing and consumption of animals to human aggression and violence. He also details the mood changes that can result from refined sugars, fast foods, processed foods, wheat and other glutinous grains:

“No matter how much cooked, processed foods we eat, we still feel severely depleted and dissatisfied. Since our emotional and physical states are closely linked, this physical dissatisfaction communicates itself emotionally through frustration, anger and irritability. A toxic person generally has an acid pH level which results from the ingestion of animal proteins, refined sugars and cooked fats.”

“Recent experiments with living food dietary intervention in relation to physical and psychological illness have been conducted on a small scale and produced amazing results. When the amount of cooked, processed food is decreased and amount of fresh, raw food is increased, many chronic or non-responsive mental and physical symptoms can often be significantly reduced or even reversed.”

I hosted Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, for an event of the New Jersey Raw Food Support Network,

Dr. Tuttle and his book The World Peace Diet expose the truth about the sufferings of animals today in slaughterhouses, factory farming, as well as grass-fed animal exploitation and cruelty. Here is my recent video of the summary of Dr. Tuttle’s presentation on “The World Peace Diet: Being Healthy and Saving the Planet.”


The World Peace Diet









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Raw Food Support for Teenagers and Young Adults

I have lived the raw food lifestyle for two decades. I raised my two children, Gabriela and Marco, through the raw vegan lifestyle and was able to heal Marco from asthma, chronic ear infections, and multiple food allergies when he was 3 and Gabriela was 5. They are both young adults now, 26 and 24.

I have watched both Gabriela and Marco grow up healthy with raw food, and then decide to experiment with processed and refined foods and animal products as vegetarians during the teen years to fit in with their peers.

Then I later witnessed Gabriela return to vegan and raw vegan as a junior in college as she became fed up with being sick and watching her friends living unhealthy lives. She began to view the vegan diet as the primary path to healing our world and she saw the raw vegan lifestyle as a door to healing the human body. This vision motivated her to major in Global Environmental Studies while in college. This close look at what was happening to our environment gave her an even larger view of the real situation occurring in the world today.

Gabriela Screen shot 2011-07-22 at 12.49.04 PM









At age 21, Gabriela listened to her inner wisdom rather than simply following the crowd. She compared how she felt on raw vegan foods when growing up at home to the standard dietary indoctrination surrounding her away at college. Questioning what she observed of everyday standard lifestyles, she came to a conscious realization – resolving to return to raw vegan foods. She also learned the truth about the torture of animals in factory farms and profoundly understood being vegan is fundamental toward reducing global warming and healing our planet. Her return to always feeling wonderful on raw foods has given her a deep insight – fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds are the optimal “species specific” foods for humans.

During her later college years, Gabriela interned at Auroville Ecovillage in India and was able to remain eating raw vegan foods for the entire semester even though green leafy vegetables were not plentiful when traveling there. Coincidentally, an Indian woman named Anandi lived at Auroville and had studied at Dr. Gabriel Cousen’s Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona. How wonderful for Gabriela to spend the semester with Anandi, preparing raw food meals together, sprouting, growing greens, and talking about the benefits of the raw food lifestyle.

Another semester, Gabriela interned at Turtle Lake Refuge in Durango, Colorado. I had met the Founder of Turtle Lake Refuge, Katrina Blair, at the 2007 Raw Spirit Festival, and asked her if she took interns to work with her. Katrina and Turtle Lake Refuge have been another model of natural living through wild foraging, raw food, and environmental education. Gabriela has remained there as an employee. The mission of Turtle Lake Refuge is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands.

Internships such as these provide support for young adults wanting to return to their natural roots. Raw food lifestyle festivals and expos, such as The Raw Living Expo and The Woodstock Fruit Festival, provide much needed support for these young people desiring to learn about the healing power of raw foods, raising healthy children, creating delicious simple raw food recipes, and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle as they move away from societal pressures to live with conventional processed and refined foods, animal products and medications.

In my workshops at these events, many of the attendees are single young adult women who are fascinated with the topic of raising healthy children through attachment parenting and raw foods. So many of these young women are grateful for the valuable information focused on following the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of children from the time of conception throughout the growing years.

Marco, now, 24, who also experimented with vegetarian junk food in college, returned to a high raw vegan lifestyle upon graduation as he also wasn’t feeling his best. Through the return to natural food, he is also spending more time in Nature, sprouting beautiful sunflower greens, enjoying the abundance of fruit and vegetables he’s always loved, and spending much more time outdoors replenishing vitamin D from the sunshine.

Marco & Karen at Camp K








Gabriela, who is 26 now, has gained much confidence in maintaining this healthy lifestyle over the past years, through being raised raw vegan and then later, given support through volunteer work, internships and raw food events.

In this sometimes very confused world we live in, we must teach our young adults, the future parents, how to nourish the next generation with the superior raw living foods.

Karen Ranzi, M.A.
Author: Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Food

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Essential Fatty Acids from Raw Plant Foods

Numerous raw plant foods contain essential fatty acids. This includes dark leafy greens, avocados, soaked nuts and seeds, and nut and seed butters.








There is some fatty acids in first cold pressed oils, but these are fragmented and refined, removed from their whole food source, and high in omega-6 fats. Dr. Joel Fuhrman writes in his book Eat to Live: “Our modern diet, full of vegetable oils and animal products, is very high in omega-6 fat and very low in omega-3 fat; the higher the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, the higher the risk of heart disease, diabetes and inflammatory illnesses.” A diet high in omega-6 fat intake contributes to a DHA (docosahexaenois acid) fat deficiency, a fat necessary to ensure optimum health.










Sufficient amounts of leafy green vegetables (especially spinach), which are quite high in omega 3 fatty acids, and some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and chia seeds, will provide these beneficial fats. The darker leafy green vegetables such as Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuces, kale and spinach have an abundance of omega-3. There are also omega-3 essential fatty acids in pine nuts, cabbages, squash, and all sprouts. Purslane, a wild green plant, is particularly high in EFAs and natural vegetable DHAs.








Herbalist Brigitte Mars explains in Rawsome: “All cells, including those involved in the production of hormones, need essential fatty acids. These nutrients improve skin and hair, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of blood clots. EFAs are found in particularly high concentrations in the brain.”

Copyright 2010 Creating Healthy Children

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Raw Vegan Athletes

What makes raw vegan athletes stand out against the rest? Is it their compassion for animals? The fact that they eat only whole, natural plant-based foods and are able to build a fit, muscular body? Or that they are not nutrient deficient? Many raw vegan athletes state that their main reason for turning to vegan is because it is a direct way to help support animals. Although this may have been the initial thought of many athletes, the benefits that came with a raw vegan lifestyle could not be ignored.

Dr. Douglas Graham, a raw food athlete and the creator of the 80/10/10 diet discussed with us some of our questions regarding a raw food lifestyle.

Dr Doug Graham exercise


Dr Doug Graham holding banana

Dr Doug Graham with books
















1) What do you think of raw protein powders?

I recommend a diet comprised strictly and only of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, preferably organic fruits and vegetables. Isolated protein, separated from its associated nutrients as would be found in a plant, qualifies by everyone’s definition as “empty calories.” We all know empty calories are the worst for our health.

2) How many calories do you feel a raw athlete should be consuming?

The calorie question depends greatly upon the athlete and the type of training. Some top male athletes can easily get by on 4 or 5K calories per day, others need 10K or more. Ladies traditionally consume about 50% fewer calories than men in order to maintain their weight.

3) What is an example of a pre/post workout meal?

I rarely eat before training, and never before cardio. There is simply no need, and in the case of cardio, eating would be counterproductive.

Post workout the best is fruit, or fruit mixed with vegetables, as in a salad or soup. Training uses carbs, and the sooner those carbs are replaced, the better.

4) Do you think eating six small meals a day is important?

I eat twice daily, as a rule, but when training intensely will often go to three meals per day, especially if I am eating upwards of 4K calories per day. Grazing, or eating many small meals, works against the athlete. For the body builders and such who recommend such eating, I’d say they are simply not eating enough carbs to meet their needs.

5) What differences do you see in a raw athlete vs. a non-raw athlete?

I note faster recovery, better endurance, fewer injuries, and better neurologic abilities in athletes following the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet than in any other dietary program, cooked or raw.

6) What criticism have you faced being a raw athlete?

I’ve been told my health won’t last. It has, as I haven’t been sick in almost 35 years.

I’ve been told my fitness will be a flash in the pan. I’m fitter now, at 61, than I believe I have ever been, overall.

I’ve been told nutritionally I will fall apart. Any thing but, I’d say.

I’ve been told, of course, that I should eat like them. I suggest that they try eating like me before they judge me.

7) What would you say is the perfect 80/10/10 meal?

80/10/10 is exceptionally flexible. We humans have well over 300 readily available different fruits from which we can choose, and most of those have hundreds if not thousands of varieties. Eat the fruit or vegetables that are most appealing to you.

A perfect meal is one where you can eat fruits, and if you wish, vegetables, until you are completely satisfied, and will remain satiated until the next meal time rolls around.

8) If you only eat two meals a day, what is a typical meal for you? How big is it?

I’m really fond of bananas, and whenever there is nothing else in season, 15-20 bananas are my lunch of choice. For dinner, I usually have as much oranges and mangoes blended as I care for, or fresh berries, or whatever fruit is in season, followed by as much salad as I care for. The lunch meal is the larger in terms of calories, but the dinner meal is the larger in terms of volume.

I enjoy preparing foods for my family, and coined the concept of 80/10/10 Simply Delicious Cuisine, the first raw cuisine specializing in low-fat vegan fare that anyone can make at home.

A common concern with raw vegan athletes is their protein consumption. But, what many do not know is that dark green leafy vegetables provide an abundance of protein for an athlete. For example, Broccoli provides 45%, Collard Greens provides 43%, Spinach provides 49% and Kale provides 45%. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables should not be missing any major nutrient. Just as Dr. Graham stated, it is more important to replenish carbs after a workout instead of protein.

Another incredible athlete, Michael Arnstein, also gave his input on the same questions. Michael Arnstein is a fruitarian and long distance runner who has experienced optimal athletic performance on this diet.

Michael Arnstein finish line


Michael Arnstein


Michael Arnstein running no shirt















1) What do you think of raw protein powders?

I think they are completely unnecessary. Is there a medical term for being protein deficient? Protein powder is something ‘new’ in the world of diet supplements, and before they pushed this nonsense on us people seemed to be ‘ok’ without it. I’ve never taken protein supplements and have achieved incredible fitness with no injury or muscle problems. If protein is supposed to grow muscle then how do all the wild animals in nature that don’t eat it get so muscular? They eat raw plants.

2) How many calories do you feel a raw athlete should be consuming?

It’s highly variable based on the level of activity they undertake. I know raw foodists who look great eating 2000 calories a day and exercise lightly, and I know raw food athletes who eat over 6000 cals a day. I was eating about 5000-6000 cals a day when I was training hard for marathons and ultra marathons. I generally tell people if they are eating high water content fruits and vegetables they should eat as much as they desire; I’ve never seen a truly overweight raw foodist who eats low fat fruits and vegetables as a diet, regardless if they exercise or not.

3) What is an example of a pre/post workout meal?

Lots of fruit, usually one type at a time. Watermelon, papaya, oranges, melons, there are so so many options throughout the year that come into season. I usually eat one thing at a time until I’m satisfied.

4) Do you think eating six small meals a day is important?

I graze for most of the day, I don’t normally eat ‘meals’, unless it’s an evening large salad which can take some time to eat. I like to eat how animals do in nature, slowly all day long.

5) What differences do you see in a raw athlete vs. a non-raw athlete?

Raw athletes are usually leaner and they don’t smell! Eating fruits and vegetables keeps you looking better, and you don’t have body odor which is anything close to people who eat cooked and processed foods which usually are filled with all types of stimulant tasting things like garlic, onions, salt, etc.

Raw athletes don’t get sick as often because the food they eat keeps the immunity functions very healthy.

I think people who eat a fruit based diet are generally happier, more friendly and more connected with nature, and the athletic pursuit they are participating in.

6) What criticism have you faced being a raw athlete?

That my diet is too expensive to maintain, that it’s protein deficient, that I’m going to get sick and fall apart; all of it is nonsense other than it can be expensive if you don’t know how to shop at the right places for food. It’s similar to buying clothing at designer showrooms versus at the discount shops. You can get nearly the identical clothing if you shop for it with a little extra effort.

7) What are your responses?

I respond by telling people they should watch the videos I’ve made on youtube where I’m winning competitive 100 mile running races year after year. I tell them to look at my physique; I’m at peak performance and health for almost 7 years eating this way. I also point out others who are living this lifestyle for over 30 years and they are doing extremely well.


If these two amazing athletes have not convinced you, possibly a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and lifelong athlete, Chris Kendall, can. Since the age of 5 he has pushed himself athletically as a skateboarder, and is currently a competitive raw vegan athlete / amateur skateboarder.

Chris Kendall skate boarding



Chris Kendall The Raw Advantage



Chris Kendall yoga pose










1) What do you think of raw protein powders?

In honesty, not much. Protein powders run off the assumption that we need more isolated protein for building muscle or to make up for a lack perceived in a plant based diet. This simply isn’t the case. All whole plant foods contain Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, Fruits roughly being 4-8 % per calorie and Veggies From 15 -25%. While we may need more total protein if we work out vigorously the true answer is to eat more whole foods thus getting the required protein as well as all of the micro and macro nutrients that come with them.

2) How many calories do you feel a raw athlete should be consuming?

I do not believe in any arbitrary number for caloric consumption. Rather a decent estimate that can be used is based off of body weight X 10 plus calories needed per activity level both in sport and regular life. Caloric needs fluctuate based on a wide variety of factors. This in itself can be overcomplicated. Eating when hungry till fully satiated of Fresh Raw Ripe Fruits and Veggies, meal by meal and day by day I find does the trick.

3) What is an example of a pre/post workout meal?

Depending on the duration and intensity of the workout, I may choose to simply drink water. Typically if it’s more than 2-3 hours, I will have a small snack of sweet fruit, such as banana or mango, as a pre-workout meal. For long workouts over 2 hours, I make a sports drink of water with raisins and presoak for a few hours. Within one hour after the workout, I find sweet and juicy fruit to be my number one choice, say a 14 banana smoothie or a bunch of ripe mangoes.

4) Do you think eating six small meals a day is important?

Personally I prefer to have 2 – 3 large fruit meals per day followed by a large veggie meal after the last fruit meal.

5) What differences do you see in a raw athlete vs. a non-raw athlete?

I find raw athletes smell fresher, have more of an attitude of play, have quicker recovery time, and with that consistent PBs (Personal Bests).

6) What criticism have you faced being a raw athlete?

I personally haven’t had any criticism being a raw athlete. I have been asked about protein a bunch, asked if I am a Monkey or have a monkey, that too much fruit is dangerous. That said, I take it more as concern and confusion than criticism.

7) What are your responses?

With the constant protein question, I often say its simply not a concern and flex. Otherwise i go into the science of our protein needs and how raw foods supply more than enough. I consider myself a Monkey so I usually make monkey noises and hop around or just say I am a Frugivore! On concerns about fruit, I simply share that fruit is our most natural food, that after 5, 6, 7 and 10 years on a fruit- based diet, my blood work has consistently been the best my doctor has ever seen and that I keep feeling better and better the more fruit I eat!

8) What’s your favorite thing about a high fruit raw diet?

I love the fact that I can eat all of the best tasting fruits and veggies I could ever desire and feel as amazing as we are designed to feel. This is the diet of abundance, one that asks you to dig deep and let go in order to grow in physical, emotional and spiritual health!


All three athletes live a similar lifestyle but at the same time, go about it differently. Each body is unique and no one can tell you what is right for you, but there is one similar outcome to the low fat raw vegan diet and lifestyle: higher energy and better performance.

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


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Juicing: Joys and Benefits

green juice #5









Juicing fruits and vegetables offers us an excellent way to absorb their nutrients. It helps us by “pre-digesting” nutrients, which results in our receiving more nutrition. During juicing, the fibers are removed, allowing the nutrients to be absorbed more quickly than if the fruits or vegetables were eaten whole. Fresh juices provide a major source of enzymes — protein molecules discovered to have enormous health benefits. Enzymes are the body’s life force that are constantly breaking down substances and rejoining substances to rebuild and repair tissues. Cooking at high temperatures destroys many enzymes and vitamins, but immediately after drinking fresh juices, the nutrients enter the bloodstream and are directed into the cells. Drinking green juices will quickly normalize iron levels. Green juices will build the blood supply, carry oxygen to the tissues and irrigate the system, removing stagnation.

When my son was ill with asthma and chronic ear infections, I began giving him green juices to see if they would have healing benefits. Within eleven months, my son’s asthma and painful ear infections were healed. The following juice we called “The Healing Asthma Green Juice,” and it’s one of the recipes in my new book Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families:

The Healing Asthma Green Juice

1 to 3 carrots
1 or 2 cucumbers, sliced down the middle lengthwise
1 large bunch celery
4 to 6 leaves of kale

Juice the carrot, cucumber and celery, then juice the kale. As a variation, some days we use one Granny Smith apple instead of the carrots, or one small lemon and a small piece of ginger. Sometimes we also add pea shoots we get from the local organic farmer.

Juicing gives the digestive organs a needed break from their hard work, liberating our energy, freeing it to be directed toward healing. During the juice cleanse, cells recover through the rejuvenating process of detoxifying and repair. Juicing allows the stomach to get a good rest. The easy availability of nutrients, minerals and enzymes results in anti-inflammatory benefits. Further benefits include increased energy, a clearer complexion and mental clarity. Juices are easily digested, which requires much less processing by the stomach, granting the gut needed time and space for rest and repair. Toxic foods, medications, and even stress can compromise intestinal functions. Following a phyto-nutrient-dense rainbow vegetable juice regime for three days will allow nutrients to be assimilated quickly through the intestines.

Juicing also gives a good rest to our principal detoxifying organ, the liver. Every molecule of food that is absorbed through the intestinal wall moves into the liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the other tissues. Often, there is too great a toxic load for the liver to handle, and some pass unchecked into the general circulation, wreaking havoc on distant cells. An organic juice cleanse offers the liver the chance not to have to deal with toxic overload. A three-day juicing period helps us make the transition toward eating healing organic fruits and vegetables. Live juicing allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and rebuilding processes, allowing the mitochondria to create energy without having to deal with free radicals. In this way, live juicing prevents inflammation.

Here are some juice recipes to permit healing of common ailments:


Recipe: Carrot 6 oz + Celery 2 oz + Pineapple 2 oz + Beets 1 oz.

Explanation: Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which is approved by the German government (Commission E) as a treatment against inflammation and swelling of the nose, ear, and sinuses.


Recipe: Carrot 6oz + Beet 2 oz + Celery 2 oz + Lettuce 2oz + Apple 2 oz

Explanation: In Europe, beet juice has been used as a treatment for anemia. It contains iron, folic acid, Vitamin B1, B2, B6, and vitamins A & C.


Recipe: Carrot (6) + Celery 3 oz + Pineapple 3 oz + Lemon 1 oz

Explanation: Fresh pineapple contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which works as a natural anti-inflammatory substance to avoid swollen and painful joints.


Recipe: Pomegranate 6 oz + diluted with 2 oz of water.

Explanation: Pomegranate contains powerful anti-oxidants. Researchers at The UCLA Center for Human Nutrition demonstrated that pomegranate juice suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells due to ellagitannins – shown to have superb anti-inflammatory capacity.

Celiac Disease

Recipe: Carrot 4 oz + Kale 2 oz + Aloe (fresh) 1oz

Explanation: Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., conducted a 10 patient study using aloe vera juice. He reports that aloe “promotes great gastrointestinal comfort and improves digestion/absorption”.

Cold, Fever and Flu

Recipe: Carrot 4 oz + Orange 4 oz, + Lemon 1 oz

Explanation: Carrots, orange and lemon are great sources of natural form of vitamin C.

Colitis, Crohn’s Disease and IBS

Recipe: Carrot 6 oz + Cabbage 4 oz

Recipe: Carrot 6 oz + Wheatgrass juice 2 oz

Explanation: Wheatgrass juice removes toxins and harmful bacteria from the colon. According to the late Dr. Ann Wigmore, “Wheatgrass chlorophyll is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and oxygen. It has been used to treat peptic ulcers and ulcerative colitis.” Scientists studied 23 patients with active ulcerative colitis. Patients were divided into 2 groups: one group consumed from 20 ml (2/3 of an ounce) to 100ml (3.5 ounces) of fresh wheatgrass juice for 30 days, and the other group consumed a placebo. Nineteen patients completed the study. Patients who drank wheatgrass juice had less rectal bleeding/abdominal pain, and more vitality.


Recipe: Soak 1 cup of prunes in 3 cups of water overnight. In the morning, drink 8 oz of the prune water on empty stomach. (Organic bottled prune juice can be used.)

Explanation: Prune juice promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and contains iron, which helps those who are anemic, or deficient in iron. Prunes are also much safer than over-the-counter laxatives.

Cystic Fibrosis

Recipe: 5 Carrots + ½ cup of fresh cubed pineapple + 1 lemon + 1 clove of garlic

Peel carrots, lemon and garlic. Juice all and drink right away.

Explanation: This juice effectively dissolves mucus, improves resistance to lung and sinus infections. Also, fresh pineapple is high in the enzyme bromelain, which can literally digest not only protein but also old, sickly cells. This juice can help CS patients to thin and expel thick, nasty mucus, thereby reducing the frequency of lung and sinus infections and the constant need for antibiotics.


Recipe: Bitter Melon 3 oz + Celery 2 oz + Lettuce 3 oz

Explanation: Bitter melon is widely used in Chinese cuisine and medicine. Scientists from The Garvan Institute of Medical Research isolated 4 compounds from the juice of bitter melon, which lower blood sugar in diabetic patients. Those compounds activate an enzyme responsible for glucose transport into the muscle cells.

Kidney Stones

Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Juice 4 oz + Water 4 oz (3 times daily)

Explanation: Researchers from The University of Cape Town investigated the effect of cranberry juice on kidney stone formation. The first 10 participants drank 500 ml (1/2 liter) cranberry juice diluted with 1500 ml (1.5 liter) water for 2 weeks while the other 10 participants drank only 2 liters of water. At the end of the study scientists concluded that daily drinking of cranberry juice significantly decreases the formation of kidney stones (especially calcium oxalate).

Prostate (enlarged or inflamed)

Recipe: Pomegranate 8 oz

Explanation: Researchers from the Jonsson Cancer Center tested 50 men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, but whose cancers were still progressing. Drinking 8 oz of pomegranate juice a day slowed the progression of cancer almost four-fold in 80% of the men. The researchers speculate that the results are a cause of the combination of antioxidants, polyphenols, and isoflavones found in pomegranate juice. Drinking the juice may also delay or counter the need for very stressful hormonal therapy.


Ranzi, Karen. Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families. Ramsey, NJ: SHC Publishing, 2014.

Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Nicole Ramirez

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Avoiding GMO Varieties of Nutrient-Dense Papaya







Caribbean Red papayas from Belize are not Genetically Modified. Reading the label will tell you if produce is GMO. Four-digit numbers indicate that the produce is conventionally grown, as Caribbean Red Papaya are. Five-digit numbers that start with 8 indicate that the fruit or vegetable is GMO. If the number starts with 9, it means it’s organic.

The Institute for Science in Society, an anti-GM (Genetic Modification) organization, published a Web article entitled “GM Papaya Scandal,” by Joe Cummins, stating that a transplanted protein in GM papayas might provoke allergic reactions in humans, but that the Environmental Protection Agency had allowed them to be released without investigating that possibility.

Papaya ringspot (PR) viruses are a major problem in papaya cultivation and can lead to a drastic loss of yield. In Hawaii during the 1990s, half of the papaya harvests were lost due to papaya ringspot virus infections. This problem resulted in scientists of the University of Hawaii introducing genetically modified papayas with the development and cultivation of virus-resistant papayas. The first GM virus resistant papayas were commercially grown in Hawaii in 1999 and they were so successful that by 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya plants were genetically modified. The long-term health effects of GM papayas have not been studied and will only be known after decades of consumption by mass populations. The biggest problem with the claims of GMO safety is that there really isn’t any proof.

This new breed of papaya, the “Sun Up Papaya,” was bred with the standard papaya to create the “Rainbow Papaya,” which is genetically engineered, a manmade unnatural hybrid.

Widespread contamination from GE to organic papaya is becoming a huge problem in Hawaii, with many farmers unintentionally ending up with GM seeds either by cross-pollination or by purchased seeds from the University of Hawaii.

Compared to other fruits, papaya has the most health benefits, from cardiovascular to colon health. Papaya fruit is a source of nutrients such as provitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folate and dietary fiber. If you want to boost your metabolism, eat papaya as it contains vitamin B in the form of folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1 and riboflavin. Papaya skin, pulp and seeds also contain a variety of phytochemicals, including lycopene and polyphenols. In preliminary research, danielone, a phytoalexin found in papaya fruit, showed antifungal activity against Colletotrichum gloesporioides, a pathogenic fungus of papaya.

One of the main risks associated with transgenic virus-resistant papaya involves a loss of plant diversity. Since the majority of papayas now grown in Hawaii are the transgenic line 55-1, emerging diseases capable of affecting this variety of papaya may cause widespread damage. New varieties of papaya are being created with a greater range of pest and disease resistance. The main papaya that is genetically modified is the Rainbow Papaya. Other types of papayas that are not genetically modified include Tainung No 1, the Solo Papaya, the Mexican Red Papaya, Singapore Pink Papaya and Higgins Papaya.

The Tainung no 1 grows up to 36 inches tall. The inner flesh is normally bright orange and about 1 inch thick. This papaya GMO free variety is known to have moderate tolerance to ring spot virus. The Solo Papaya is one of the most common variety of papaya. It was crossed with the Betty Papaya variety of Florida. The Mexican Red Papaya is very sweet and has a red colored flesh. The Singapore Pink Papaya is a large elongated fruit that weighs about 1 to 3 kgs. The flesh is bright orange and very firm. Lastly, the Higgins Papaya is sweet, with dark yellow flesh. The shape of this fruit is pear shaped. This tree requires high rainfall or irrigation, or the fruit remains underdeveloped.


By Karen Ranzi, M.A. with Intern Nicole Ramirez 6/6/2014


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MSG in “Healthy” Food

As consumers are becoming more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies, marketing companies are growing savvier. Most of us already know that MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a harmful chemical found in many fast and prepackaged foods. “MSG-free” has become a popular label on packaged foods geared toward the health conscious consumer, but some may not yet know that products touted as being free of MSG may not necessarily be free of this neurotoxin. Moreover, many products contain MSG-like ingredients known by various other names. L-glutamic acid and glutamate, both producing the same effects as MSG, are considered safe salt alternatives by the FAO and WHO and are found in products labeled “MSG-free.” In truth, these are both alternate names for free glutamic acid, and are simply additives whose amino acids have been separated from the sodium component. As such, they need not be explicitly labeled as “monosodium glutamate.”

10 worst foods- Processed foods









The surest way to avoid MSG is simply to abstain from all packaged and processed foods. Pick up any food item in a package or can, or just about any meal at a fast-food restaurant, and you are sure to find at least one of the additives below in the list of ingredients. For that reason, it is best to steer clear of plastic, tin, or cardboard packaging, as it will almost always be questionable. The more ingredients listed, the more likely the food item is to be contaminated with glutamate. If any item contains more than 5 ingredients that alone would hint it contains a form of MSG. MSG is an addictive compound. For those who do choose to consume processed foods, the next best option would be to become familiar with the usual suspects that either contain or result in MSG and avoid them. Careful examination of ingredient lists is critical. There are 50 different ways MSG can be labeled. In addition, tin cans are often coated with chemicals containing MSG.

The following ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid should wave a red flag:

Glutamic acid (E 620), glutamate (E 620), monopotassium glutamate (E 622), calcium glutamate (E 623), monoammonium glutamate (E 624), magnesium glutamate (E 625), natrium glutamate, anything “hydrolyzed,” any “hydrolyzed protein,” calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, yeast extract, Torula yeast, yeast foods, yeast nutrient, autolyzed yeast, gelatin, textured protein, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, anything “protein,” anything “protein fortified,” soy sauce, soy sauce extract, protease, anything “enzyme modified,” anything containing “enzymes,” anything “fermented.” Gluten is always processed and broken down into free glutamic acid. Processed gluten-free foods also generate MSG.

10 worst foods - glutinous grains









Oxygrow, containing MSG, is sprayed on conventional fruits and vegetables. It penetrates the cell walls of the membranes of the produce.

The following ingredients often contain or produce some glutamic acid in their processing: Carrageenan (E 407), bouillon and broth, stock, any “flavors” or “flavoring” (including artificial or natural flavorings) maltodextrin, citric acid, citrate (E 330), anything “ultra-pasteurized,” barley malt, pectin (E 440), malt extract, seasonings, baking powder, lecithin, xanthum gum, molasses. Raspberry and banana flavor are associated with MSG. All chicken broth preparations contain MSG, as well as chicken flavor.

The following ingredients are highly suspected of containing or creating free glutamic acid which can trigger MSG reactions: Corn starch, corn syrup, modified food starch, Lipolyzed butter fat, dextrose, rice syrup, brown rice syrup, milk powder, reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%), most things “low fat” or “no fat,” anything “enriched,” anything “vitamin enriched,” anything “pasteurized,” annatto, vinegar, balsamic vinegar. Any pasteurized milk contains MSG, which is created during the processing. Casein, the protein in milk, generates free MSG in milk, cheese and yogurt.

10 worst foods - cheese









Unfortunately, even seemingly healthful items found in health food stores are often laden with processed free glutamate. Although vegans tend to consume fewer processed foods than their omnivorous counterparts, they are not left out, as many frozen dinners and packaged snacks, although free of animal products, will still be high in preservatives and artificial flavorings. Vegans would do best to be wary and avoid the following frequently purchased food products: Tamari and soy sauce, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, seasonings, salad dressings, veggie broths (yeast extract, maltodextrin), nutritional yeast, store-bought nut milks (most contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum), vegan protein bars and protein powders (hydrolyzed proteins). Gluten-free soy products also contain MSG.

Be aware that “No MSG” does not mean “No MSG.” This is a major marketing gimmick. The inclusion of MSG in processed foods results in financial benefits for the manufacturer, and MSG is FDA approved. Everybody will experience symptoms from ingesting MSG, and the amount needed to result in disease depends on the individual’s toxic threshold. This is reason enough to prepare meals and snacks from unprocessed, organically grown foods.

Sources:­1 Stop MSG to End Autism

By Karen Ranzi, M.A. with intern Stephanie Vasquez Adames

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Safe Non-Toxic Cleaners for Your House

My son had asthma, multiple food allergies, and chronic ear infections as a young child. I learned that in addition to providing my children with a healthy vegan lifestyle, I also needed to clean my house with non-toxic cleaning solutions. Because I read everything I could get my hands on about the health of our body and the health of our environment, the research I found directed me to change to the following cleaners. The following safer substitutes for household hazardous cleaners will create a toxin-free home. I love vinegar and baking soda, and you can see below just how useful they are as cleaners for your house:

Vinegar and Baking Soda







Dip a damp cloth in baking soda and rub it over stains. Make a paste and allow it to set on stains.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Use baking soda or white distilled vinegar and a brush.

Drain Cleaner

Use a 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar and boiling water.

To Replace Ammonia Based Cleaners

Use baking soda and water

Wallpaper Remover

Use a spray or roller with a solution of white vinegar and hot water.

Air Freshener

Leave an opened box of baking soda or vinegar in the room, use fresh flowers or herbs, or set out a small dish of pure vanilla extract.

Chemical Fertilizer

Use compost or organic fertilizer free of animal products

Furniture Polish

Use lemon oil.

Glass Cleaner

Use a solution of 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and 1 quart of warm water.

Cleaning Tile or Linoleum Floor

Mop the floor with 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 2 gallons of water or Ecover Dish Cleaner mixed with water.

Porcelain or Other Counter Top Cleaner

Use a baking soda paste to remove stains.

Instead of Moth Balls

Use cedar chips or lavender

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