Healing Chronic Disease with the Raw Food Lifestyle

I have been filming fascinating individuals with inspiring healing stories from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and multiple sclerosis through the raw food lifestyle.

It’s important to know that we can be in control of our own health and not subject to taking medicine and doing procedures that work against the human body. I hope you will learn here that even advanced disease conditions can heal when we decide that they can and get out of the way. Please comment on the three videos below.






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Testimonial on Experiencing A Vegan and Raw Vegan Lifestyle

Like most people, I wanted to be healthy. Over the last year I went through many different diets, never happy with one: a diet that was only counting calories which lead to highly processed foods, a diet high in protein which lead to high meat intake, and a diet low in sugar and carbohydrates which lead to unhealthy binges. When I saw this opportunity to work with Karen, I not only thought about the benefits it would have in my search for a career, but also the benefits it would have on my health.

I was right about both benefits. Working with Karen allowed me to express my creativity (I am a creative writing minor) in many aspects: social media work, creating flyers, writing blogs, preparing food, advertising events. These opportunities improved my marketing skills. I got a great inside look on what it is like to publish and advertise your own work. In addition to practicing job skills, I also learned about nutrition in a non-judgmental, encouraging environment. There is so much false information out there and, like myself, it is so easy to get lost and discouraged. But this raw food support group is full of optimistic energy. If you don’t know Karen, you should know that she is nothing but positive towards everyone, no matter where they are in their life journey. In her classes and events, I met so many people (plant-based, vegetarian, aspiring vegetarians, vegans, raw vegans…) who simply wanted to help and support one another in healthful, mindful, and spiritual ways.

This fall internship was enlightening in more ways than one. I learned how to make low-fat raw vegan meals. I helped prepare the most delicious carob mint pie (all raw!). I heard the most inspirational and intelligent nutritionist speakers. I met amazing people who were passionate about improving their lives. I met people who have healed themselves from crippling diseases. I went to a fair and met many plant-based enthusiasts. I learned to make flyers and improved my marketing skills. And, very importantly, I have incorporated high amounts of leafy greens and fruits into my diet. So much so, that my family is starting to pick up on my healthy habits. I have never been happier with the way I eat than I do today. Karen has touched the hearts and lives of so many people and I am forever grateful that I could be a part of such an experience.

Heather Debel, Ramapo College Intern to Karen Ranzi, M.A.


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The Myth of Manliness and Meat

Recently I watched an Arby’s commercial and realized something. In the commercial, an unseen chef holds up four different meats for the camera while a deep, manly voice describes what they are and why they are delicious. The commercial then ended with the same manly voice saying Arby’s catchphrase: “Arby’s, we have the meats.” Soon after, I saw a commercial for a salad at Wendy’s. This commercial featured a girl walking through a field in a wedding dress. Since when did salads become a female thing and meat a man thing? In American culture, steak and hamburgers have become a staple in the man’s sphere, and no male section of any home store is complete without a barbeque kit. But, we as plant-based eaters know that there is nothing manly about eating meat! Here’s why:

1. Meat Contains Hormones which cause “Man-Boobs”

Meat and dairy contain estrogen hormones that will cause a hormonal imbalance in anyone, male or female. Animals are injected with hormones so that they will grow at a faster rate. They are also injected with hormones so they produce more milk. Meat eaters ingest these hormones. Eating an excess amount of meat will also cause fat tissue storage in unwanted areas. Meat and dairy often have high levels of saturated fat, the type of fat which leads to high cholesterol and weight gain. With the imbalance of hormones and the excess fat, fat tissue in the breast area will appear.

man boobs

2. Gladiators, Some of the Toughest Fighting Machines in History, were Vegans

Forget the idea that athletes run on meat. Archeologists found a cemetery of gladiators buried together in what was once a Roman town, now in Turkey. After analyzing their bones, they found that the gladiators were meat-free and most likely vegan. The carbohydrates they received from their plant-based diets would have given them energy to fight while meat might have hindered their performance. Some of the best athletes today live on a high-plant, low-meat diet while some are totally vegan. Venus and Serena Williams support the vegan lifestyle, as does Mike Tyson, Mac Danzig, Rich Roll and so many others.

serena williams

3. Meat Consumption Harms Others

Sadly, violence is often associated with masculinity, especially in America. Animal abuse is often rationalized or dismissed as overblown. The effect it has on the environment is often hushed by the meat industry. Sustaining so many farm animals means starvation for other parts of the world, but this is never talked about either. If everyone in America lived on a plant-based diet, we could feed most of the world and we could stop environmental devastation. The truth is, eating meat not only hurts animals but it also hurts the environment, the people who eat it and the hungry people whose food is being fed to animals.

That manly voice I hear on the Arby’s commercial saying “We Have The Meats” seems to suggest that eating meat is brave and admirable. Maybe he should say something more like “Save the World. Eat More Plants.” Now that’s admirable.

fruit and vegetables heart

By Heather Debel, Ramapo College Graduate Intern to Karen Ranzi, M.A.

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Have A Toxin-Free Holiday

The following Infographic is from Heather Von St. James, a 9 year mesothelioma survivor. She was doing some blog hopping and found Super Healthy Children while looking up raising healthy kids and wanted to make us aware of the serious problems with asbestos. Thank goodness this is a blog about raw food nutrition, because there are pots such as teflon and crock pots that also have asbestos leaching from them.

Heather is working on a campaign to spread information about household toxins, especially ones relating to holiday decor and gifts, like vintage decorations that may contain asbestos, and how to protect your family and friends by being vigilant in learning more about the products in your home. She designed the infographic below to spread the word.

Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body (www.mesothelioma.com). Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common anatomical site for mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).


It’s important especially at this time of year to think about toxic exposures before re-using holiday items and purchasing decorations and gifts:


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Raw Veganism and Weight Loss

There are many reasons to go on a raw vegan diet: moral reasons, health reasons, environmental reasons, and there are many benefits to reap. Some people go on a raw vegan diet to lose weight, or they are at least interested in losing weight during their transition to raw veganism. The question is often asked: Will I lose weight and will it stay off?

Rosanne Before Photo(This is Rosanne Ponchick’s Before photo. She attended Karen Ranzi’s raw food coaching program 4 times, and See her After photo below.)

The answer is “yes,” it is highly possible and you will lose weight on a low-fat raw vegan lifestyle. And, if you stick with healthy raw food and a healthy lifestyle, unlike diets, the weight will stay off! This might come as a surprise. Mainstream media diets are all about high-protein, high-animal food, and high-fat meals. Some weight-loss diets suggest cutting out ALL carbohydrates, including fruits and vegetables. Some suggest that anywhere between 40-80% of your diet should be animal protein. Some diets suggest that the majority of the food you put in your mouth should be meat. Who are the sponsors of these diets? If you look hard enough, it’s usually the meat industry.

For some people, these diets are a quick fix to a lifestyle problem. People on the Atkin’s diet or the Paleo diet will lose weight in days. The problem is that these diets aren’t sustainable for a lifetime. Diets high in animal protein lead to heart problems, kidney problems, lung problems, cancer, and other deadly illnesses. Dieters who choose these programs also don’t keep the weight off. This is because meat and dairy consumption will eventually leave you unhealthy, sick, and sluggish. And when you feel sluggish or sick, you will not have a healthy looking body and you will not have the energy to lose weight.

Raw vegans as a group are clearly healthier than meat and dairy eaters. You probably already know about the problems of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), processed foods, unhealthy additives and chemicals. Well, most processed foods are not vegan, and most certainly aren’t raw living foods. Most packaged foods have milk derived ingredients. When food is cooked, anywhere between 35-85% of nutrients are lost depending on how long and how high the food is heated. So, when a person says “no” to meat, dairy and highly cooked meals, they are saying no to processed foods that are rich in deadly chemicals that hinder the body’s ability to burn fat.

The Standard American Diet is hard on the digestive system. Meats and dairy products slow energy and inhibit clear thinking. Raw vegans eat meals high in plant-based nutrition. And, when these foods aren’t cooked, they retain all of their nutrients. Fruits and leafy greens, when combined correctly, are extremely beneficial to the digestive system. They also help the body run efficiently. Fruits and leafy green vegetables are great sources of energy for exercising. When the body is running correctly with living nutrition and is active, unneeded weight will certainly come off.

Rosanne After Photo(This is Rosanne Ponchick’s After picture upon completing just one of Karen’s 5 Week Raw Food Coaching Programs.)


If you eat too many calories for your body, you will put on weight. Meat is high in calories. So are foods made from cow’s milk—a liquid meant to turn a baby calf into a 1000 pound animal. Leafy greens and vegetables, however, are considerably low in calories. Fruit, although complete with quality calories, is also comparatively lower in calories than food on the typical American diet and it is full of fiber to keep you full. However, there are still vegan foods, when eaten in excess, which could prevent weight-loss. Olive oil, vegetable oil, and other oils are high in fat and highly processed, not part of a healthy weight-loss plan. Nuts and avocados are also high in fats and calories and mustn’t be eaten in excess. However, a raw vegan should simply eat these foods in moderation. When nuts and avocados are eaten in small amounts, they are very beneficial. There is no debating that raw vegans live healthy lifestyles and fill their bodies with the best kinds of food.

In her classes, Karen has seen many people lose weight. But they don’t simply lose weight. They gain happiness, energy and power. She has watched countless clients give up their meat-based diets for meals filled with nutrients, vitamins, and life. When one chooses life-giving foods, many bad things will fall off—bad habits, bad energy, sickness, and yes, unneeded weight.

Heather Debel, Ramapo College Graduate Intern with Karen Ranzi, M.A.

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Brainwashing Children to Eat Animal Foods through Toys

As my own children were growing up, there were many products, toys, and commercials focused on marketing to them with the intent to get them to purchase and consume animal flesh and products. It became even more intense when they became teenagers. I believe now, a decade later, that the word “teenager” is a marketing word for the meat, dairy and processed food industry.

Many children are right out lied to about where their daily foods originated. When my daughter was nine years old and I was driving her and a nine year old girlfriend to an event, I had the opportunity to experience an eye-opening reality….that the torture and truth of factory farming and slaughterhouses are hidden from most children. This nine year old girl disagreed with my daughter that the bacon she ate over the weekend came from a pig, insisting instead it was made at the supermarket. Many children have no idea where their food comes from.

Children today are targeted by much meat, dairy and junk food advertising, and many countries have adopted these foods which go along well with accompanying medications. This is often seen on television, a commercial for meat, dairy or processed foods followed by all the medications that will be necessary at some point if eating this toxic diet. Consequently, children’s health and nutrition worldwide is worse than ever.

My recent video takes you on a tour of one of the largest toy stores in London, looking at some of the toys there focused on “Brainwashing Children to Eat Animal Foods.”

Click this link:


Brainwashing Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 2.37.30 PM






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3 Daily Practices to Achieve A Healthier Lifestyle

We’ve already explored on this blog the benefits of a raw vegan lifestyle. Karen’s whole website, in fact, goes in depth about the seemingly unending rewards of an uncooked plant-based diet. But whether you are 100% raw vegan or aspiring toward it by incorporating more plants into your life, your diet isn’t the only ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. No matter where we are in our journey to a better version of ourselves, here are three other important health factors we can practice to improve our overall wellness.

  1. Get Enough Sleep


It seems simple and you’ve heard it many times before. But, not enough of us are getting the recommended amount of sleep. Our culture is fast-paced and society expects us to continually produce, produce, produce. But there’s only so much our body can do before it needs rest. Anyone who has ever stayed up late only to get up early in the morning knows the immediate effects of not getting enough sleep: headaches, dizziness, soreness, impaired mental ability, and of course, drowsiness. But continually not getting enough sleep can lead to other side effects which we don’t always associate with our sleeping habits. Hormone stability, for example, or even weight control, moodiness, brain cognition, risk of injury and immunity are all linked with sleep. Think that’s a lot? Well, sleeping can also curb inflammation that can lead to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and premature aging. It will also lower stress and help you avoid depression. The benefits of sleeping are many and not all of them have been explored yet. But it is known that diet and sleeping habits are closely linked. If you improve one, you will help improve the other!

  1. Exercise

Rebounder Karen 20140731_170636_resized

Exercise has many of the same benefits as does healthy diet and sleep: It improves mood, combats sickness and disease, controls weight and boosts energy. If you aren’t athletic or you dread the idea of hitting the gym, don’t panic! Exercise includes any activity that gets your heart rate going. Maybe for you that’s running, maybe it’s joining a local sports team with your friends, maybe it’s dancing the night away or running around with your children at the park. While rest is important, so is getting off of the couch and exerting your body. Your body is strong and meant for physical activity. Get your heart rate up and not only will you release endorphins which will improve your mood within seconds, but you will strengthen all the systems responsible for body and brain function. If you are working to improve your diet and your sleeping habits, you will also find you have more energy to work out. After an activity filled day you will also sleep better and feel encouraged to fuel your body with better food.

  1. Meditate

happy face

Meditation can mean many things to many people and this blog isn’t going to argue what meditation is or isn’t. But it will explore its benefits. For many people, meditation comes with yoga or something similar to yoga. Yoga is a great way to incorporate meditation and exercise into one’s life. It improves strength and flexibility while also promoting a peaceful state of mind. Meditation can also be something spiritual, a way to connect one’s soul and mind to its surroundings or to a higher being. What are the benefits of meditation? The same as sleep, exercise and a healthy diet: reduces stress, lowers risk of sickness and disease, improves brain function, releases endorphins, slows aging and increases overall happiness. A society or a person encouraging meditation (and healthy eating, and sufficient sleep, and exercise) will also encourage acceptance, love and peace—benefits that surpass personal goals and contribute to the healing of our planet.

By Heather Debel, Ramapo College Intern to Karen Ranzi, M.A.

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Food and Medicine

Advil, Tylenol, Benadryl, Aspirin—most of us living in America have taken over-the-counter medication for headaches, backaches, muscle aches, colds, fevers, you name it. Any sickness out there has a company claiming it has the cure. And this only briefly covers the common household medications. Let’s not forget the many prescription medications, individualized for each person’s severe ailments. Living in the Western world, we’ve been bombarded by so much medicine that when we think of medicine, we think of little pills wrapped up in a box or a prescription bottle.

On the contrary, when it comes to food, we’re shown images of a cheeseburger served at chain restaurants, a cheeseburger we all know too well will leave us sluggish and bloated. The food we are served makes us sick and then companies sell us pills to make us better.

But what if we prevented sickness instead of just treating it with pills? What if there was a way to put only good things into the body as a way of perpetuating life, energy and happiness? Well, there is a way and not many people know about it, or are willing to try it. When most Americans think about veganism, they think of restricting their diets that they think they love. They think of all the “don’ts”: don’t eat meat, don’t eat dairy, don’t eat animal products.

10 worst foods - cheese


But this lifestyle isn’t about the “don’ts” at all. It’s about health, morality, a longer better life, and for so many people, it’s about healing.

Edible plant foods contain healing properties. This is nothing new. Before the many pharmaceutical options of modern medicine, civilizations for thousands of years used plants to heal life threatening diseases. Today, we have a more difficult time with that concept. GMO’s have been introduced into our food supply, the soil isn’t as enriched with nutrients as it one was and chemicals are found all around us and in the foods we eat. However, organic leafy plants are as close as we can get to healthy, natural medicine.

kale salad with fruit serving spoons photo taken by rosanne #2

Meat and dairy products on the other hand, are treated with hormones, ammonia gas, additives, and other chemicals and can lead to many diseases. It has been proven to harden blood vessels, lead to diabetes, and cause cancer. That being said, uncooked greens have unlimited benefits. Generally, vegans live longer, they get adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients that can do everything from maintaining healthy eyes, hair and skin to reduce heart disease and prevent deadly diseases. This is only speaking generally. Many books have been written about the specifics.

Kale, for example, is packed with calcium and potassium. Turnip greens are full of vitamins A, C, K and calcium. Spinach contains foliate and cabbage has its own cancer-fighting compounds. Instead of splurging on the typical American diet which has been shown repeatedly to cause life-threatening illness, we should try eliminating meat and increase fruits and greens, or should we just call them medicine? If we want to dedicate ourselves fully to our body’s health and wellness, then we should do what many people have done to heal themselves in the past—choose the low-fat raw vegan lifestyle.

By Heather Debel, Ramapo College Intern for Karen Ranzi, M.A.

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The Iodine Issue

At our last raw food coaching class, we were able to Skype with the director of the Health 101 Institute and Disease Avoidance Specialist, Don Bennett. For a half hour Don Bennett talked to us about the importance of Iodine and Iodide in our diets. As some of you may know, Iodine is important for the thyroid. In the early 1900’s a lack of Iodine in the American diet lead to a rise in goiters. To fix the situation, Iodine was added to table salt and health officials stressed the importance of iodine to the public. As a result, goiters became almost non-existent. However, the problem of iodine deficiency has not been fixed.

Iodine is used for so much more than goiter prevention. The thyroid needs sufficient iodine to balance hormones which prevents both hyper- and hypo- thyroidism. It is also required for a normal basal metabolic rate. A slower rate results in overweight. Don Bennett says:

“Enough iodine is also required for proper brain development, to fight infections, to protect from and to deal with cancer, for healthy skin, and to prevent fibrocystic breast disease and mental impairment as we age. After the thyroid, the other glands, organs, and systems with high iodine uptake are the breasts, ovaries, cervix, blood, lymph, bones, stomach mucosa, salivary glands, adrenals, prostate, colon, thymus gland, lungs, bladder, kidney, certain areas of the brain, and the skin.”

In even simpler words, the entire body depends upon sufficient iodine intake. Doctors are now using iodine in the treatment of children with Down Syndrome and Autism with positive results. Also, there may be a connection between Parkinson’s disease and iodine because Parkinson’s is associated with a certain section of the brain where iodine concentrates. And Iodine also helps support the human body’s natural cancer fighting mechanisms, called apoptosis.

In our class we discussed why the Western world has such high levels of iodine insufficiencies. Our soils are no longer iodine rich. This could be from overpopulation and overuse of the soil, or it could be another reason. Either way, our plants aren’t as enriched with iodine as they once were. We come into contact everyday with elements that interfere with the proper utilization of iodine, like chlorine, fluoride, and bromine – a chemical element used as a flame retardant, gasoline additive, pesticide, vegetable oil additive and as a swimming pool disinfectant. Bromine is also used to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants. And it’s in most products that contain flour, like bread.

There’s a long list of symptoms which suggest an iodine deficiency, including fatigue, brain fog, cold hands and feet, sore joints, sub-clinical depression, weight gain, difficulty becoming pregnant, dry skin, muscle weakness, constipation, and other symptoms associated with hormone imbalances. These symptoms are so common, yet it seems no one associates them with iodine. The information was hard to hear. However, the issue of iodine should no longer be avoided.

But before you jump into a do-it-yourself iodine fix, Don Bennett says that you shouldn’t do this on your own. Because there are so many supplements out there, so many misunderstandings about iodine and so much false information, it is best to talk to an iodine literate health professional. You can start by being more conscious of the importance of iodine and don’t believe everything you hear in society. There are ways to heal an iodine insufficiency. That’s the beauty of the body, its ability to heal.

More information on iodine can be found on Don Bennett’s website at http://health101.org/art_iodine.htm

Article by Heather Debel, Ramapo College Intern to Karen Ranzi, M.A.


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Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Nonmeat-eaters often get hit with the question: “Where do you get your protein?” With the rise of the heavy-lifting workout fad, more nutritionists and fitness experts are stressing the importance of protein. Diets like the Atkins Diet focus on the so-called dangers of carbohydrates and push for diets high in fat and protein. Flexible dieting says that people need to eat, at minimum, 35% of protein in order to build muscle and any kind of protein is acceptable, as long as it keeps within the ratio.

Protein is important. Protein builds and repairs tissue. It makes enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. All in all, protein is a building block and it is essential for bones, muscles and skin. As a result, you may hear from many people: “Eat your lean meats – fish, turkey and chicken – and occasionally have some fatty meats – ham, steak and burgers.”

But before you listen to that advice, know that animal protein is harmful. According to a Healthline article*, a diet of animal protein can be as harmful as smoking. They found that “people who ate moderate amounts of protein during middle age were still three times more likely to die of cancer later on than low-protein eaters.” This wasn’t their only find. They also noticed that it was the animal protein, not the protein from vegetables, which caused the harmful effects.

kale salad with fruit serving spoons photo taken by rosanne #2

Among other effects, high animal protein diets have been linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney problems, constipation, stomach pain, heart disease, liver problems and cancer. While not delving in here on the extreme abuse of animals, animal protein bought from stores and farms are treated and processed with unhealthy additives and cooked processed meat contains HCAs and PAHs (cancer causing elements) and will clog the bloodstream with other unwanted compounds.

But don’t dismay. As vegans will tell you, many vegetables are packed with protein. The protein in vegetables will not harm your body the way animal protein will. Not only are vegetables packed with essential vitamins and minerals, but they will reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes – the very illnesses caused by having diets high in meat.

Protein Sources


Many don’t even know that vegetables contain protein. One cup of kale has 3 grams of protein. So does 100 grams of spinach and 100 grams of broccoli. One head of cauliflower can have up to 16 grams of protein. Legumes and seeds such as lentils, peas and pumpkin seeds are all packed with healthy, disease- fighting protein.

And let’s not forget about our nuts. Nuts are also full of protein and healthy fats. Small amounts of nuts, such as almonds, have the kind of protein that improves energy and health. However, unlike vegetables, too many nuts can lead to a diet high in fats. This can also be dangerous. So, while we stress the importance of a handful of nuts over a slice of steak, we also stress the importance of a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

So, where do vegans get their protein? In their plant-based diet of course! The real question we should be pondering is: Where is a better place for meat-eaters to get their protein?



Article by Heather Debel, Intern and Karen Ranzi, M.A.

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