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The first thing you will notice about this book is that it is stunningly lush and beautiful. From the cover photo of Evie looking so faeriesque, to the family photos to all the gorgeous recipes: Evie's Kitchen offers a feast for the eyes!
You might also notice early on that this is a book of love. Shazzie, the UK's most famous raw foodist, wrote this book with a mother's love for her daughter. She researched the content for four years with the passion that only a mother would feel about this topic. Painstakingly recording her daughter's food intake, staying on top of the lastest finds in the world of raw and vegan foods, researching supplements, and finding answers when people told her she had no reason to search for answers: Shazzie goes beyond a typical nutritionist giving stats.
For this reason alone, I would say that every vegan and certainly every raw vegan should own this book. Even if you never intend to raise children as raw vegans, you will find information in here that applies to adults as well. As a Medical Intuitive with a fairly large raw food following, I encounter many, many clients who already follow either a raw or long-term vegan diet. This way of eating offers amazing benefits: just look at the glowing skin, boundless energy and vitality in Raw Spirit Festival photos or YouTube videos. In my own life, I have found raw and vegan foods a wonderful support for mental clarity and energy, allowing me to function at higher levels than I did pre-"permanent"-brain-injury. So, yes, I am a fan. But ...
and this is a big BUT, in my work, among friends, and even in my own life, I have witnessed enough to know that this diet also requires quite a bit of knowledge. Depending on one's reserves of fat, B12, Vitamin D and minerals, someone might thrive on a raw vegan diet for years without much effort. Terrific! The problem I notice so often in intuitive sessions or just socially comes when someone has depleted reserves faster than they've taken them in. Green juices will keep you mineralized, but they won't give you B12, Vitamin D or significant levels of DHA. If you don't drink enough green juices, they may not even provide enough alkalizing minerals to keep your bones and teeth strong in the midst of so much sugary fruit. It's not just the sugar on your teeth; high blood sugar will leach minerals from your teeth and bones if you consistently fail to balance your intake. For someone with lots of reserves, not such a problem; for someone with few reserves to spare, huge problems can happen f-a-s-t.
Enter Evie's Kitchen. Shazzie includes charts with the proper amounts needed for each of these nutrients at different ages. She lists signs of deficiency and signs of excess, along with good sources for each essential building block of a healthy raw, vegan child. Her mama bear dedication comes through in assertive reasons to supplement. While she writes the book for children, much of her research applies to adults as well. I see WAY too many people who desperately need B12 and Vitamin D. While I cannot legally "diagnose" as a Medical Intuitive, I can recommend people ask their doctors for tests. Whenever I have strongly suspected a deficiency, it has always shown itself in blood work. By the time most people contact a Medical Intuitive, their symptoms have usually gotten quite severe. Trust me, you don't want to mess around with Vitamin D or B12 deficiency!
Evie's Kitchen arms you with the tools you need to avoid all deficiencies on a raw diet. More than that, Shazzie offers recipes! Unlike typical gourmet raw recipes that offer improvement over a SAD or SUKD diet without necessarily balancing all the nutrients, these recipes include superfoods, Omega-3's, phytoplankton and loads of mineral rich greens-all taste approved for kids.
With her usual creativity and kooky sense of humor, Shazzie includes recipes for things like "Shoelaces," "Russell Brand's Hair fell on my Plate," and "Monster Slime." If you have picky eaters, you can get them to try things for sheer fun and novelty. Oftentimes, they can even help you prepare the food.
Seeing photos of a cute little girl eating, smiling and loving raw food will go far in helping children relate to a healthy diet that might initially seem weird. I don't have my own children, but I am a proud aunt to four of the pickiest junk food eaters out there. I know that half the battle comes from clever marketing. Spaghettio's just look more fun than zucchini or cauliflower. Well, watch out kids, because Evie's mum knows how to make healthy foods appealing!
For those of you who got into raw foods by reading Shazzie's famous journals, Evie's Kitchen fills you in on "the missing years." When Shazzie decided to switch to "mupdates" (a.k.a. monthly updates), many people in the raw food world felt like they had lost touch with a trusted friend. I hear from clients all the time that "Shazzie got me into raw food. I just love her journal." Well, if you wondered what really went on in those early years from pregnancy to child birth to single mom, Evie's Kitchen provides more than hints. You'll get the full story from gleam (literally) to pregnancy cravings to natural childbirth plans and all the way through Evie's fourth year. If you don't want those details, you can easily skip that section and just read the recipes and science, but for those who like a personal touch, Shazzie gets very personal in Evie's Kitchen.
I have already recommended this book to everyone I know raising vegan kids-raw or otherwise. It's also a fabulous gift for anyone who loves cheese and can't eat dairy. She includes so many different recipes for cheese that she even makes a joke about it, but they're good, and dense, and chock full of things you no doubt need. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone contemplating more than a quick foray into raw and/or vegan foods. Many thanks to Shazzie for having the courage, love and dedication to create this beautiful book.
This review first appeared on my blog, but this is such a great book I wanted to review it here, too. Laura Bruno