Are You and Your Children Getting the Right Amount of Sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep? In today’s plugged-in, contently busy society, sleep is harder to come by than ever. However, sleep is essential and affects all areas of our health. During sleep, the heart rate slows and blood pressure lowers. Cerebral spinal fluid cleans our brain more quickly while we sleep, literally giving us a fresh start upon waking. Our lungs receive a much-needed rest as we establish a regular breathing pattern when asleep. Our muscles release growth hormones that repair our bodies while we sleep. Healing sleep boosts immune function, metabolism, memory, and learning.

Sleeping family

From birth to adulthood, we require a different amount of sleep. A recent, two-year study by the National Sleep Foundation updated the guidelines on how much sleep a person needs at every age. The new sleep guidelines are:

Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Children age 3-5: 10-13 hours
Children age 6-13: 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

Newborns have no sense of day and night, and have not yet developed a Circadian Rhythm of sleep. By about 6 months, babies are becoming more social and begin to develop sleep patterns near those of adults. Children still need half-hour – two-hour naps until they reach the age 2-5 years old (the ceasing point for naps varies for each child). Parents should develop an enjoyable bedtime routine beginning at infanthood. This could involve a warm bath, pajamas, or a story. Research finds that the activities of a bedtime routine don’t matter as much as the pace. It is important to slow children down about 30 minutes before bed; they cannot be running around one minute and then plopped into bed. Children build strong associations with bedtime.

Children age 6 to 13 require about 9-11 hours of sleep. At this age, children begin to express an interest in television, computers, and other devices with screens. Research consistently shows that watching TV close to bedtime contributes to bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep, and lack of sleep. Sleep problems and disorders are abundant at this age. Poor sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems affecting learning in school. During this age, it is important to teach children about healthy sleep, to avoid screen time before bed, and to keep the child’s bedroom cool, dry, and consistent: perfect for a good night’s sleep.

The Sleep Foundation’s new research indicates that teenagers require more sleep than previously thought. However, this stage of life is possibly the hardest time to get a healthy night’s sleep. With social pressures, heavy school workloads, and extracurricular activities, many teens are not getting the 8-10 hours of sleep that their bodies need. Some things teens (and adults) can do to improve their sleep are exercising regularly and avoiding coffee. Some people even report penciling in a time to sleep on their calendars. Don’t wait until everything else is done before sleeping; plan out your sleep to ensure you receive enough hours. It’s also beneficial to finish eating at least 3 to 4 hours before going to sleep. Deep, sound sleep is essential to good health. When we eat at night, we force the digestion of the food to happen during sleep, thereby diminishing the sleep’s focus on cleansing and healing. We can eliminate waste more perfectly in the morning when not eating the night before.

No matter how old you are, we all require enough sleep in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Since children require more sleep than adults, it is important for parents to establish proper bedtime rituals from a young age. There are still many mysteries about why we sleep, but we know a proper rest should be a top priority. You can read the full study here:

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

Written by Jessica Santulli, Ramapo College Intern with Karen Ranzi, M.A.

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Vegan and Raw Vegan Manhattan Tour

On April 24th I took a group of raw food lovers to the Big Apple for a fun day of visiting some of the best vegan and raw food establishments in the plant strong movement. It was wonderful to spend the day getting to know the vegan cafes, restaurants, and stores available to us in New York City. I’m always happy to set up this event twice a year to give the support to all who are on a health journey. We went to some fabulous raw food and health spots! Here are the places we visited along with some extras in other parts of Manhattan and also New Jersey.

I hope you enjoy all these resources for your entertainment! And for those who do not live in the New York Metropolitan area but have always wanted to visit the Big Apple, now you have a listing of some of the excellent stops to make on your own tour. Enjoy!

Lasagna Raw at Veggie Heaven



East Village Vegan and Raw Vegan Tour:

High Vibe Health & Healing
138 East 3rd Street (between Avenue A and First Ave.)
New York, New York

Caravan of Dreams Restaurant (Vegan Raw and Vegan Cooked Menu)
405 East 6th Street (between Avenue A and First Ave.)
New York, NY

Live Live & Organic
261 East 10th Street (between Avenue A and First Ave.)
New York, NY

Quintessance Restaurant (Mostly Raw Vegan but Some Vegan Cooked)
263 East 10th Street (between Avenue A and First Ave.)
New York, NY

Raw Food Manhattan Tour April 2016 at Quintessance

Flower Power Herbs & Roots Inc.
406 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10009

Juice Press (Green Juices and Raw Foods Organic spread throughout Manhattan)
201 East 10th Street
New York, NY

East Village Organic
124 First Avenue
New York, NY

Peacefood Cafe (Mostly vegan cooked but also has several really nice raw food options)
41 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003


Uptown West Side Vegan and Raw Vegan Hotspots:

Peace Food Cafe (at 82nd street)
460 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY

Blossom Cafe (Mostly vegan cooked but has a couple of raw vegan options)
507 Colombus Avenue (between 84th and 85th)
New York, NY
(212) 875-2600


West Village Vegan and Raw Vegan Hotspots:

Rockin Raw Cafe (Mostly raw vegan with a couple of vegan cooked items)
171 Sullivan Street
New York, NY


Ginger Snaps’s Organic (A raw food deli style cafe and takeout)
113 West 10th Street (between Greenwich and 6th Avenue)
New York, NY

Blossom Cafe
187 9th Avenue
New York, NY


Jersey Shore Vegan and Raw Vegan Hotspots:

Seed to Sprout (Vegan Cooked and Vegan Raw Restaurant. Fabulous tall green juices for great prices!)
410 Main Street
Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ

Seed to Sprout Fairhaven
560A River Road
Fair Haven, NJ

Kaya’s Kitchen (Mostly cooked vegan but great salad)
1000 Main Street (corner of 10th & Main)
Belmar, NJ

Juice Basin
805 4th Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ

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The Easiest Way to Open A Young Thai Coconut

For the raw food aficionado, a Young Thai Coconut is an absolute divine drink. I prefer to get mine in cases of 9 organic coconuts but we do occasionally get them from an international market. If you continue reading below, you’ll see how my daughter Gabriela brilliantly opens a young coconut so that you can also get them open quickly.

Some people feed coconut water to their babies but it’s important to limit the amount because of reports that conventional coconuts imported to the United States are dipped in fungicides.

The fleshy part of the coconut is high in fat, and so, should not become a major part of the diet. Coconut water is lower in fat than coconut flesh and can be easily digested, and babies and young children love it as much as I do.

According to the Nutritive Value of American Foods in Common Units, U.S.D.A. Agriculture Handbook No. 456, the percentage of calories from protein in coconut water is 5% and coconut meat has 4%.

My favorite places to get true local young coconuts are Costa Rica and Florida, but then again I haven’t yet made it to Asia where the Young Thai Coconut comes from. I hope that will be a trip in the next year! The Woodstock Fruit Festival in August in New York boasts coconut parties that I look forward to every year.

In his book, Raw Foods Bible, Dr. Craig B. Sommers has a chart titled “Thermal Properties of Foods.” This chart includes warming, neutral and cooling foods. Coconut meat is listed under warming foods.

I never used to buy coconuts because I found it intimidating to open them, but my daughter Gabriela, a top raw foods chef and manager at Turtle Lake Refuge Cafe in Durango, Colorado, recently showed me a brilliant way to very easily open these precious gems:

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The Tropical Fruit King of Southern California

I went to California in March to experience the abundance of raw fruits and vegetables, and to speak on the benefits of raw vegan nutrition and the mistakes to avoid on March 20th at Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa. I was excited to be greeted by a full audience of motivated listeners.

However, I did see throughout the week, that even though there are plentiful amounts of excellent fruits and vegetables available in Southern California and more of a health and environmental consciousness there than in my state of New Jersey, there is still much education needed about the importance of returning to our most natural foods.

That Tuesday, March 22nd, I went with my husband and two of my favorite raw foodie friends, Alicia and Dr. Kinga, to the Tropical Fruit Farm of Barry Koral. Barry’s farm is not only lush with the best of tropical fruits, but it’s serene and spiritual through the beautiful art, calming music, and color everywhere. It’s the rare farmer like Barry Koral who upholds the need to follow a path of compassion combined with health through growing the most nourishing of tropical plants.

When we arrived, Barry had prepared a tropical fruit drink of blood oranges infused with navel orange, the color of which was a unique bright red and almost too gorgeous to drink, and the following tastes were like a divine nectar of the Gods. We guests were ecstatic to enjoy such splendid tastes of Barry Koral’s trees, tastes which could never be found in the processed drinks and pesticide-laden fruits of most markets.

Next was a fruit dish of scrumptious cherimoya and citrus. All the colors and bites were pure ecstasy to the tastebuds, dancing and shouting for this wonderful nourishment. This is the birthright of being a human being, to live healthfully and with great joy eating the food from the tree and garden.


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Guiding Our Children to the Truth about Health, Compassion and the Environment

A new mom authored a vegan recipe book and an article I read. She wrote her recent blog article responding to the main question she’s been receiving since she gave birth to her first child: “Will you raise your child vegan?” Surprisingly, she expressed that it’s more important for her daughter to have open options than to teach her compassion and principles of optimal health from an early age.

This strikes a similar chord for me as in 2015 I took 16 participants on a raw vegan retreat to Costa Rica called my “Love Raw Food & Yoga Eco Retreat.” While there, we went to visit a longtime friend who has been raw vegan for many years and has lived sustainably on the plants of her tropical farm. However, while joining my group, she explained that she now feels we shouldn’t insult anyone when being offered food, that we should love them and eat their food with them even if it’s not our choice. I was surprised at her change in thinking that would have us abandon our true values to please others.

Should we passively accept our children eating everything and anything that comes their way, even if it means ignoring the truth about health, life and the environment?

I see only one choice here: Is it to be Sickness or Health? Love and Compassion or Violence and Oppression? When my children were young, I knew that I, as their mother, was the center of their universe and they believed my message of truth about vegan living. My son healed from a severe asthmatic condition through green juicing and the raw vegan lifestyle. When my children grew into their teenage years and chose to experiment with non-vegan foods due to their perceived need to “fit in” with their peer group, they still had an early foundational base of knowledge as to which foods would sustain health and which would destroy it. This early information eventually brought them fully back to a vegan and raw vegan lifestyle, completely on their own. Our children need us as parents to be wholly responsible for their health now, so they can take over that personal responsibility in the future.

Karen Mommy and Kids Feb 2009 007

After nursing and weaning our children, there is no need for animal food. However, there is a vast commercial industry push to advertise and sell animal milk. Milks of different species vary according to how big and fast the newborn of the species needs to grow. The bovine calf grows four times faster than the human baby, which explains why cow milk is 20% protein and human mother’s milk is only 5 to 6% protein, a true indication that cow milk is for calves and not for humans. Cow milk is meant to make a calf into a 1,000+ pound cow in a year. Is this what we want for our children? And should we ignore this truth so that our children can feel accepted by others who are ignorant of these laws of nature?


Although someone may seem healthy while living on animal flesh and products, eventually allergies, mucus and later degenerative disease often come into play. When the kidneys and liver become overloaded with food toxins from indigestible animal foods, toxemia levels rise. At a certain point, the toxemia level reaches toleration, and then symptoms appear. We’d do best to nurture and care for ourselves and our children and avoid this toxemia toleration level and enjoy the health we desire for our families.

The primary carrier of toxic environmental chemicals is dietary fat, especially from meat, dairy, eggs and fish. Grazing animals eat plants tainted by industrial poisons. Usually, these toxins originate in polluted rivers, soil, rainfall, or farm runoff. These toxins accumulate in the animals’ fat cells after they eat grass and other plants. Animal fat is then eaten by humans as meat and animal products. Should we blindly disregard this information so that our child can “fit in?” Should we ignore the fact that animals spend part of their lives on feedlots, eating genetically engineered corn, soy and wheat, which in nature would be impossible? The animals get sick, so they’re injected with antibiotics.   Those antibiotics find their way into our children’s intestines, killing their friendly or probiotic bacteria. An important aspect of their immunity gets compromised.

Our children want to know the truth. When my daughter and her friend were 9 years old, as we were driving to an event I overheard them talking about breakfast at the girl’s home the day before. My daughter had slept over at her friend’s house, and told her that the bacon she ate for breakfast came from a pig that was murdered so she could eat it. The 9 year old friend got angry and argued with my daughter, insisting that wasn’t true, that the bacon was made at the supermarket, as this is what her mother told her. I was shocked that this 9-year-old child had not heard the truth about where bacon comes from.


Should we show our children that we eat plant food of gentleness and compassion, or that we eat animal food of violence and oppression? Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, explains, “We cannot reap happiness for ourselves while causing misery for others.”

Children are so loving, pure and innocent. They feel connected to all creatures and that’s why so many children get upset when they find out that what they’ve been eating came from an animal. There was a boy who used to visit my home frequently when my children were growing up. He happily learned the names of fruits, leafy greens, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds while spending time with us. The boy loved eating all of our healthful and delicious fresh plant foods. He asked many questions about why we weren’t eating hamburgers, cheese and eggs. My children responded to most of his questions, and the boy decided he would no longer eat animals. He bought a t-shirt with a picture of a cow on it and exclaimed to his parents that he was no longer eating them. The boy’s parents became alarmed because they felt he needed animal protein for strong bones, and they refused to let him become a vegetarian. I saw the boy was saddened that his desire to stop killing was met with consternation. He stopped visiting us, as I believe it was painful for him to accept what he was eating while seeing a different, more loving way of living.

There is much information on protein in a healthful vegan lifestyle. We need to be eating high quality biological protein especially high in leafy green vegetables and sprouts. And for those who choose beans, they also contain abundant protein. There is protein in all plant foods when whole. Even a banana contains 5% complete protein. Only fractionated refined foods contain no protein: sugar and oil, for example.

Protein Sources

Dr. Tuttle says, “There is a psychological block demanded by the action of eating animals.“

To heal ourselves spiritually, we must become conscious and stop harming innocent creatures. We cannot have spiritually healthy families while still modeling violence. The Golden Rule of each religion teaches kindness and love of others as the essence. How can we let our children think that a breast or leg of chicken or a piece of cheese is an acceptable food source? As a vegan since 1989, working with families in vegan and raw vegan nutrition, I see healthy, happy and loving children grow up beautifully on a vegan and raw vegan lifestyle.

Why should we care for our dogs and cats while not caring about cows, pigs, turkeys, ducks and chickens?

Turkey and goat 1472838_450297141743496_1031780720_n

We teach our children history lessons on the cruelties experienced by our human relatives and ancestors. Are we not incurring the same cruel holocaust on animals and then teaching our children that cruelty to others is an acceptable part of life?

Our children’s future environment, Earth as it has been, is in great jeopardy. Dr. Tuttle points out: “In the past 25 years, more species have been forced into extinction than in the past 65 million years combined.” He says, “We eventually do unto ourselves what we do unto animals.”

The documentary film “COWspiracy,” which is an absolute must for every family to see and experience, shows us in very clear numbers that methane gas from the livestock industry is the number one cause of greenhouse gases and global warming.

Are we going to overlook the entire truth about health, compassion and the survival of planet Earth so that we can eat an animal or its parts to “fit in” or not insult someone?

I believe the children of the new generation, more than ever before, need for us as parents to be shining examples of health and compassion through veganism. This light will guide our children to be our future strong leaders, who will take control in reviving our environment and respecting the creatures who share our planet.

By Karen Ranzi, M.A

Award-Winning Author, Motivational Speaker, Holistic Health Coach, Certified Raw Food Chef, Speech/Language/Feeding Therapist

See my hundreds of youtube videos at:                     

Reach Karen at

Karen’s Raw Vegan Coaching Certification Course is at:                



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Athletes on Vegan Diets

Recently, Karen Ranzi did an interview with Matt Frazier for his radio podcast which focuses on all topics of nutrition. Matt Frazier wrote the book “No Meat Athlete” and he advocates plant- based diets, specifically for athletes. In the interview, Karen and Matt discussed raising children on vegan diets, making sure one has enough variety and nutrition in the diet, and how being a vegan can improve one’s energy, not only for reaching fitness goals, but also for raising children.

Karen Fruit-Powered Karen-Ranzi- Profile


matt frazier


There are a lot of confusing messages out there about how to be a successful athlete. I read in one place that in order to build muscle, one person should eat 3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That could be anywhere between 350 and 600 grams of protein! And where do they suggest this protein comes from? Animals and animal by-products. Whey protein—a by-product of cheese—has become more and more popular and it can be found in protein powders and protein bars. But while the artificially made high animal protein craze is rising, so is the awareness of its harmful side effects. Athletes like Matt Frazier are showing people that one can be a successful athlete on a vegan diet. Even more so, plant-based athletes are faster, stronger, and more fit than their meat and cheese guzzling counterparts.

Karen posted an earlier blog article about raw vegan athletes. Below are more athletes following a vegan lifestyle. A wonderful magazine on the topic which will blow you away on how vegan body builders are incredibly fit is Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine.

Here’s a list of successful plant-based athletes who reach for salads instead of steak:

  1. Rich Roll

He wasn’t always an athlete. Before competing in races, Roll was out of shape, overweight and living a life-threatening lifestyle. When he couldn’t make it up a flight of stairs without doubling over in pain, he decided to make a lifestyle change. Within only two years of becoming a vegan and dedicating himself to fitness, he completed in Ultraman, the first vegan to do so, and finished in the top 10 males with the second fastest swim-split. Since then he’s gone on to win countless fitness victories and was named by Men’s Fitness as one of the “Top 25 Fittest Men in the World.” To read his inspirational story, click here:

Rich Roll

  1. Venus Williams

In 2011, Venus was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease. In response, Venus switched to a vegan diet, along with her sister Serena who wanted to be supportive. The Williams sisters are two famous tennis players who are known internationally for their skill and athleticism. They have both won more Olympic gold medals than any other female tennis players. In their 30’s now and still playing, Venus and Serena prove that plants are better fuel than meat. Venus’ story can be found here:

Venus and Serena Williams

  1. Mike Tyson

Yes, the image of fitness, masculinity and strength is now a proponent of the vegan diet. As he got older, Tyson put on extra pounds, felt the pain of arthritis, and was inhibited by joint problems. His solution was a vegan diet. He lost over 100 pounds and, according to Tyson, he now has powerful explosions of energy. In an interview he did with ABC News, Tyson said, “I found out the greatest gladiators, the greatest ones in Roman times, they were all vegan. That’s fighting to the death! The best gladiators, I didn’t say all of them, when they looked at their bone marrow and did the research, they found that they were vegans. No meat particles in them.”

Mike Tyson

  1. Mac Danzig

A well renowned Mixed Martial Arts competitor, Mac Danzig wanted to make the switch because of his love for animals. When he was 16, he cut out beef and pork. When he was 20 he worked at an animal sanctuary and met other vegans who were passionate about the plant-based lifestyle. When training for MMA fights, however, he was told he needed animal protein. Against his ethics he ate chicken, though he wasn’t happy and didn’t feel like it was improving his athleticism. After reading a Mike Mahler article on animal rights, he decided to fully commit himself to the vegan lifestyle. After, he went onto a 12 fight winning streak. Mac Danzig said, “When I decided to go vegan, I was able to make the 155-pound weight class much easier, and I haven’t lost an ounce of muscle. I’m leaner than I used to be, and I have much more energy than I used to.” Read full article here:

Mac Danzig #2

Vegan athletes constantly face public criticism and doubt, and just like many vegans, it can be hard to stick to a diet that has yet to be fully accepted in society. However, with the movement spreading and the passion for a healthier world growing, we may one day see a society that perpetuates compassionate living. In a world that can’t seem to eat enough animals, vegan athletes demonstrate the power behind plant-based diets.

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

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Donated Mother’s Milk for Baby’s Immediate and Lifelong Immunity

Cover of Creating Healthy Children by Karen Ranzi

In my book Creating Healthy Children, Chapter 10 is dedicated to “Breastfeeding Is the Best Choice for Mother and Baby.”

Human breast milk is made for the human baby to digest. Human milk is perfect for the human baby’s digestive system, just as cow milk is perfect for the calf, and goat milk is perfect for the kid goat’s digestion. When animals suckle the milk of their own species, more energy is available for development of the offspring’s body and brain.

My father told me he encouraged my mother to breastfeed me. She breastfed me for two weeks, but then her doctor discouraged her, and she discontinued. My father emphasized this was one of the most important things I could give my children, and I listened to him very carefully, nursing my own children for years until they decided to wean. My children never had pacifiers or blankets to suck on, because in addition to milk, their mother’s nipples provided them with security, relaxation and bonding.

There are numerous benefits including lifelong immunity that come along with breastfeeding. Breast milk enhances baby’s immune system and protects against infection. Dr. John McDougall points out the risk of influenza and spinal meningitis for bottle-fed babies is as much as sixteen times greater than the risk for breastfed babies.

In Chapter 10 of Creating Healthy Children, I point out that studies link breastfeeding with intelligence and higher IQ, that breast milk is perfectly formulated for maximum neurological growth, babies nursed the first five months are less likely to suffer from obesity when they reach school age, and mothers who breastfeed have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer later in life as do the young who receive their milk.

The milk of the different species varies according to how fast the infant of that species grows. The bovine calf grows 4 times faster than the human baby, and that’s why cow milk is 20% protein and human mother’s milk is only 5 to 6% protein, a true indication that cow milk is meant to make a calf into a 1000 pound + animal and is not meant for human beings.

I recently did a youtube video with a mom in Florida who wanted to breastfeed her adopted baby but didn’t have the success she hoped for. She and her husband found breastfeeding mamas through a Facebook group called Human Milk for Babies, where donated breast milk is available.

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SunFood Diet Infusion by John McCabe

Sunfood Diet Infusion
I love John McCabe’s books! Sunfood Diet Infusion is, in my opinion, the most impressive book on the Raw Vegan Diet and Lifestyle in decades. It’s comprehensive, well-researched, personal, inspiring, filled with valuable resources, and the go-to book for anyone doubting the absolute benefits of becoming vegan and becoming raw vegan.

In Sunfood Diet Infusion, McCabe covers a variety of crucial issues, as to why so many people are turning to a raw plant-based diet. He explains early in the book that food is simply entertainment. When considering the ingredients, nutritional value, and advertising of foods that people purchase in supermarkets, they are buying nothing more than entertainment. They are buying the processed cookies and cakes, chips and processed dinners, which add up to foods that crush good health.

McCabe points out the reality that for every pound of beef produced in the industrial system, it takes two thousand gallons of water. It is evident that the Earth cannot keep up with the demand. McCabe states that in the United States, one acre is lost to development every minute of every day.

In a study involving 27,000 men over 14 years, scientists and the University of California discovered that men who consumed 2.5 or more eggs a week had an 81 percent higher risk of developing lethal prostate cancer compared to those who consumed fewer than half an egg per week.

A great point McCabe makes is that if you want to experience the miracle of vibrant health, eat foods as they are presented to us in nature- living raw fruits, berries, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, sprouts, mushrooms, edible flowers, and wild plants.

Raw plant nutrition can surely bring success through a life of wonderful health if we take advantage of John McCabe’s wise recommendations for getting all the nutrients through the offerings the Earth has to give to us. His book Sunfood Diet Infusion will be a classic forever.

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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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