Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Kamea and Our Potty Training Saga

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, kids, Motherhood

Princess on her throne

Potty training in our home has been, oh, I’d say… well, we’ve attempted a variety of things from (various) potty stools to sign language to elimination communication to organic cotton training pants.

I had dreams (big dreams) about doing the elimination communication thing, but I gotta say, I wasn’t cut out for it – at least for the most part. Humbled for sure. However, we did implement some parts of it. Maybe you could call me a part-time EC-er. Part of my problem, I think, is that I read the book while pregnant – with plans to reread my highlighted parts when the time came – but that time never came (I read this book on the topic).

So, basically, it goes like this. I’m home almost all the time with Kamea, and after she started walking (I’m guessing that’s the time but who knows, might have been earlier), I started having her go diaper free in an attempt to potty train using the groovy Elimination Communication method. It never really worked as great as I’d hoped, most likely due to user error, but I suspect it’s helped us a bit. At least Kamea was able to move around without a diaper on all the time, which I imagine is nice for her.

The thing about elimination communication is that it takes diligence in constantly watching your baby for cues before she’ll pee or poo. For the life of me, I couldn’t pick up on any, and after time went by with me staring at her non-stop, I’d go do something and moments later…. we’d have a “miss” where I missed the cue and she went on the floor. Kamea never had set times when she’d go to the bathroom. Some babies always go potty upon waking or while breastfeeding, for example, making elimination communication a bit easier to manage. Not our girl, though. Kamea has never had any designated times for it, which makes EC a bit challenging for me. I admit, I probably didn’t give it a long enough (or concentrated enough) go at it, but for the times I have (and still do)… there’s no magic formula for us yet. I haven’t totally given up, but it’s not the only training option in our arsenal.

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Monday, October 31st, 2011

Happy Halloween!

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, kids

Fairy Kamea - 16 months.

Kamea - vegan Chipotle burrito - 1st Halloween at 4 months


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Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Supplements – Will I Give Them To My Kids?

by Kristen Suzanne in baby, kids

I was recently emailed the following question…

Hello Kristen,

I want ask a question about your plans on raising your child if you do not mind. I am not sure how you feel about supplements for your child when the child gets older. People like VIctoria Boutenko, Jinjee Talifero, Julie Pitcher, Ka Sundance and I am sure the list goes on, but they do not supplement and they do not supplement their children. Then there is Shazzie and a few others who believe supplements are important. The people who say supplements are not necessary say that if we eat a variety of veggies, fruits, tropical fruits especially and wild edibles and live in a climate where they get to enjoy the sun majority times of the year say that supplements are not necessary. How do you feel about supplements when it comes to raising your child? I just want to know your opinion if you will.

It’s a great question. Here is my plan… 



As most of you know, I’m not anti-supplement. I’ve been pretty diligent for years regarding vegan DHA and B12 supplements in my diet, and I will do the same for my kid(s). I think the Raw Vegan (or high raw, all vegan) diet done correctly, and thoroughly planned, can provide much of what we need instead of supplements; however, there are a couple of things that can be difficult to adequately get with foods alone (i.e., vegan DHA and B12). And, to be honest, I don’t think I’ll always be able to safely rely on foods to provide my family’s needed nutrition in all instances (examples below). Therefore, I play it safe and supplement from time to time to ensure everything is taken care of, and I’ll do the same for my (future) kids. In my mind, it’s like, “Why not?” I’m certainly not doing any harm by consuming high quality, non-synthetic supplements, and, in fact, I get peace of mind when I do take them.

Getting adequate nutrition goes deeper than just getting a balanced, seasonal, and organic diet. What about possible deficiencies that were created from the past, or from other issues such as our depleted soil, toxic environment, varying stress levels, different backgrounds, different geography, experiences traveling abroad, varying athletic levels, etc? As a result, I find it impossible to prescribe one way of living for every family. It’s dependent on the unique situations for each family, and what is warranted not only changes from family to family, but within each family as well. For example, our family is going to travel a lot (including overseas travel). As a result, I’ll pay extra attention to what foods will be available to us and noting whether we can get a balanced array. Perhaps there will be some places around the world where we won’t get a lot of greens or we can’t eat organic. It would be smart to bring supplements such as green powder and other nutrients to make sure we get everything we need. 


The key for me is that we won’t rely on supplements (with the exception of B12 and vegan DHA – and even these I don’t always take daily), and we won’t use them as a crutch in place of getting an optimally balanced diet of whole, plant-based foods. We’ll get our nutrients from foods as much as possible. Here are some examples: We consume organic citrus, kiwi, and/or colorful bell peppers to get vitamin C and other powerful phytonutrients. We make sure our diet has vitamin E, iron, and zinc from sprouted / dehydrated, organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds. We ensure selenium is our my diets from Brazil nuts. We get adequate iron and calcium from leafy greens (as well as some cooked vegan foods). We get vitamin K1 and K2 from greens and fermented foods, respectively, although I’m not opposed to a vitamin K2 supplement from time to time when we’re not consuming enough fermented foods. We consume plenty of superfoods such as hemp foods, goji berries, wheat grass, etc. I could go on and on… but you get the point. I will follow the same protocol for my kids, and I will take an even harder look at their diets to really ensure they’re getting everything they need for strong, growing bodies. If this means some extra supplementation, then bring it on!


Regarding the two supplements that I do rely on: vegan DHA and B12. 

Both of these can be more difficult to get through food. Moreover, with DHA, even if my family did get plenty of the nutrients (omega 3s and 6s) required for us to assimilate DHA, we’re not guaranteed that we can all convert it efficiently. And, it’s a similar story for B12. Perhaps there was a time when people received adequate B12 from the soil on produce, but that’s not the case anymore. The general consensus among doctors that I respect is that we need to supplement a vegan diet with B12.


How about vitamin D? Fortunately, my family lives in a climate with plenty of sunshine for this vitamin. However, if we travel for extended periods of time and we don’t get enough vitamin D, then I will look into having my family supplement.


Bottom line: The raw vegan diet rocks and it’s full of nutrition for my family. It takes careful planning to do it successfully, which I’m willing and happy to do. And, in the process, when I see that we might not be getting enough of something via our food intake, I’m grateful to have supplements as an option. We will also tap into the expertise of two kinds of doctors for our family (more specifically our children). If needed, we will visit both an M.D. (although I suspect we won’t use this person very much), and we’ll see an N.D. (naturopathic doctor) to consistently get our blood levels checked and ensure we all have optimal levels of nutrients, and then make necessary changes accordingly. 


As a final note, don’t take what I’m going to do for my family as gospel for your loved ones. I think every family needs to address this topic on an individual level and speak with a professional when necessary to ensure everything is getting taken care of.

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Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

My Interview with Revvell of Rawkin Radio

by Kristen Suzanne in exercise, kids, Kristen Suzanne

I had a fun interview with Revvell of Rawkin Radio, which is now available here.

Just a few of the things we chatted about…

~my bodybuilding experience and how I found vegan and then Raw
~tips for eating Raw in the winter

~getting kids and family into Raw

~supplements
… are they important? who should take them?
~exercise
and my latest endeavor
~changing one’s mindset

~digestion (poop is important!)

and more!

Enjoy!

Oh! And if you haven’t entered for your chance to win the Lexen Healthy Juicer, you can do so here.

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Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Get Your Family’s Support for Raw – Including Kids!

by Kristen Suzanne in ebooks, family, kids, Kristen Suzanne

Are you trying to get your family (and kids!) to eat more Raw Vegan? Here are some fantastic tips from my latest ebook, Kristen’s Raw – The EASY Way to Get Started & SUCCEED with Raw Food:

1. Show your family great Raw recipes from books and the Internet. Then, let them take turns picking out which recipes you make for them. This will really get their taste buds overflowing with anticipation.

2. Make one Raw dish at every dinner (or every other dinner), and don’t even mention it. They probably won’t even realize they are eating so much Raw food.

3. Introduce your family to Raw with Raw desserts. When kids get to eat dessert after every meal, that is exciting, especially when they can have second helpings of it.

4. Make certain meals Raw. The easiest way to do this is to make breakfast 100% Raw. You can start by drinking fresh organic smoothies for breakfast or having creamy cinnamon nut milk with crunchy Raw granola. It’ll greatly help if you let your family take part in choosing what flavors to make. So, the night before you make a smoothie, ask your kids which flavors they would like. Make it fun by talking about the different colors, too. I love getting my nephews excited about drinking Green Smoothies. I give it a much cooler name, however: “Dragon Smoothies,” or, make a strawberry and banana smoothie and call it “Pretty-In-Pink Smoothie.” Trust me…these things help!

5. Give your kids choices so they don’t feel forced to eat just one thing. You can do this by offering them something really tasty compared to something that might not be as tasty, thereby making the tasty option seem that much better. For example, offer your kids a choice between blueberries and celery. They will probably pick the blueberries and be happy about it because they had a say in the matter and blueberries taste good (imagine how different this is than offering them blueberries or Oreos!) Or, make it a choice between carrots and zucchini. They’ll probably pick the carrots and be happy about it because of the alternative.

6. Another super tip is to cut your children’s fruit and veggies into fun shapes and sizes using inexpensive kitchen tools. They’ll be sure to show these off in school!

7. Include your children in the experience of shopping and preparing the food. This helps them feel more connected to the food and it makes them feel proud to have helped. Have fun while you’re doing it and be sure to thank them for their help.

8. Here is another great way to get children excited about eating fruits and vegetables. Tell them that they get to eat a “rainbow of colors” each day. Get a piece of construction paper for every color of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Then, have your children cut out a big, fun shape for each color. On one side of each shape, write the word “DONE” and draw a smiley face. Stick them on the front of your refrigerator door with the word “DONE” side down. Each day, as your kids eat a fresh fruit or vegetable that is a color of the rainbow, flip over that color’s shape so the word “DONE” is face up and you can see it. It’s a great way to motivate your kids and get them excited about eating all the colors of the rainbow, because they get a challenge and a sense of accomplishment.

This is just a sample of the tips and tricks I offer in my ebook, Kristen’s Raw – The EASY Way to Get Started & SUCCEED with Raw Food available at KristensRaw.com. Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 28th, 2007

Luminaria Holiday Lights & MicroTrends

by Kristen Suzanne in kids

The holidays have been WONDERFUL! I’ve been having such a lovely, relaxing time.

One of the things my boyfriend and I did to celebrate the holidays was to attend the Luminaria Holiday Lights at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. It was gorgeous fun. Basically, you walk through the gardens at night where they’re lit with fabulous holiday lights. Along the walk at different spots they have live music playing and snack/drink bars. The highlight of my evening was when we were drinking a sassy Hot Apple Pie made from warm apple cider and tuaca liqueur beverage (not Raw, but definitely festive). The drink normally comes with whipped cream, which we passed on since we’re vegan. We took our warm drinks and sat by a fire with some other people and we were “oohing and aahhing” about how delicious our drinks were. This caught the attention of others and they inquired as to what we were drinking. We told them what it was and made sure to tell them it was without whipped cream, because I’m always looking for a reason to talk about being vegan (hoping it conjures up vegan conversation)…which it did! Here’s the highlight…a teenager joined the talk and volunteered that he was vegetarian. When I inquired as to why, he replied, “because eating animals is mean.”


I’m continually inspired by our youth. There is an interesting book called MicroTrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, which details the importance of small groups and their profound impact on our economy. One of the groups he writes about is vegan kids and how they’re on the rise. Very exciting!

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