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Starting my Baby on Solid Foods

By October 28, 2014Uncategorized

mango island mammaI often get asked how and when I started Elvis on solid foods, and what foods I started him on. So in this post I will share my experience and my thoughts on bringing babies into the glorious world of eating!

I waited until Elvis showed true desires to EAT the foods we were eating. Babies sometimes show in early ages (of 4-6 months) the desire to PLAY with the foods that surround him. But this does not mean the baby is ready to start eating solid foods. It is totally fine and wonderful to let your little one hold a banana in their hands and mash it with delight. This is merely a sign of their development and enjoyment in learning in a tactile way of what foods feel like.

It is not uncommon for mothers and fathers to be encouraged either by doctors or respected family members, such as the grandparents, to give tiny babies solid food before they are ready. The reason for this is often an idea to help babies sleep longer at night. (By this I am referring to my friends whose doctors recommended the mother give their 4 month old baby rice cereal at night.) I do not recommend this at all, as rice cereal is not an optimal food for children, nor is it healthy for the baby to be given food before the child’s digestive system is ready.

Elvis was exclusively breast fed until he was 8 months old. His first bite of food was avocado. This does not mean that every child should be started on solid foods at 8 months old. Every child is unique and might be ready for solid foods at different times. I once spoke to a mother with her healthy toddler whose first bite of food was at one year old. I’ve also spoken to women whose babies showed clear signs they were ready to eat solid foods at six months old. Go with your intuition and there is no need to rely on an exact date to give your baby solid foods.

mango island mamma mango island mammaPictured left: Elvis’ first try at avocado. Pictured right: The time I experimented in the kitchen and blended raw carrot, avocado and breast milk. It was more effort than it was worth. Better to give the child breast milk and then let him or her eat the avocado and gnaw on the carrot.

The first foods Elvis enjoyed were sweet soft fruits like banana, peaches and mango. He ate coconut meat and avocado with gusto and enjoyed gnawing on peeled cucumber chunks. Tomatoes were a favorite for him as well. I gave him celery to chew on once he had some teeth. I also gave him little spoonfuls of my green smoothies. 

When Elvis was around 10 months old I taught him how to sip from a straw so he could drink his own green smoothies! I thought this was going to be a difficult task but it was actually fairly easy. To encourage your babe to suck from a straw, first show him or her that delicious liquid comes out of straws by sucking up liquid yourself until the straw is filled. Then hold the top end of the straw (the side you just sucked out of) closed so the liquid does not fall out. Then bring the straw to your child’s open mouth and let go of the top of the straw, so that the liquid pours out of the straw into his or her mouth. Keep doing this every day to remind your child there is sweet food coming from the straw and let him or her try sucking up the smoothie from the straw. Show your child how you drink it and share the smoothie together. Within a few days Elvis quickly learned to suck from a straw and he has been drinking smoothies ever since then.mangoislandmamma

If you find yourself not wanting to go through that process you can of course just give your child a cup (wooden or plastic) filled with smoothie to sip on. Just be warned that this method is extremely messy! Here are a couple examples of healthful smoothies to make your little one, but really, the possibilities are endless:

mango island mamma Blend all recipes until smooth

1 SPOTTY BANANA-2 LETTUCE LEAVES-1 TSP HEMP SEEDS-A LITTLE WATER 

 2 MANGOS- 1 STICK OF KALE- 1 TSP BARLEY GRASS JUICE POWDER-THE JUICE OF ONE ORANGE

 1 SPOTTY BANANA-HANDFUL OF FROZEN BERRIES-COCONUT WATER

It is important to seek out the highest quality organic fruit and vegetables available to you for your family. Today, most of the fruit people purchase across the U.S. are not nearly as nutrient dense as they once were and are designed to be, due to the food agricultural business. Fruit contains the most nutrients when ripened properly on the tree and organic or wild-grown. But most of the fruit shipped to grocery stores these days are picked way before peak ripeness. Shopping at farmer’s markets, and living in a location where local tropical fruit is abundant (a location where one can easily live in a house with a beautiful mango tree in the backyard), makes having access to quality fruit much easier. But this is not attainable for everyone. So to boost the child’s nutritional intake, the addition of nutrient rich organic greens and/or barley grass juice powder in smoothies can be a very beneficial addition to the child’s diet at the proper age. Consider starting your own garden. Even if you only have a small space, it is worth growing some quality produce in nutrient dense soils (by adding veggie compost) like kale and tomatoes! Homegrown tomatoes no doubt taste loads better than store bought tomatoes. Giving your child the highest quality fruit and vegetables will not only ensure satisfaction and delight in the child’s eating experience, but will also greatly benefit their health.

18 month old Elvis enjoying tree ripened organic mango from our neighbor's tree

18 month old Elvis enjoying tree ripened organic mango from our neighbor’s tree

I have heard the advice to not give children sweet fruit as their first foods, in fear children will become addicted to the sweet flavor, and wont desire the savory taste of vegetables. I have not found this to be the case at all, and in fact, I’ve found the opposite to be true. But first of all, let’s talk about the natural desires for sweetness. We are by nature, fruit eaters. Is it no surprise? Breast milk is naturally sweet, where cows milk is not. Cows are physiologically designed to eat grass, a diet which does not naturally have a high sugar content, which explains why cows milk is not sweet. The sweetness of human breast milk gets children ready for the sweet fruits that are to come. Humans thrive best in tropical environments. And if my family lived in nature, in a tropical location, we would be reaching for the easiest access of calories that we are naturally drawn to, which is tropical fruit. If we came across a giant rack of 90 bananas, or a mango tree that was going off with hundreds of sweet red gems hanging off the branches, you better believe we would sit down underneath the tree and eat until satisfaction. Killing, skinning, and dismembering an animal is MUCH more work, and less appetizing of a process. Humans have zero carnivorous instincts. A true carnivore/omnivore has instincts to chase and kill animals for food. To understand this with a clearer perspective, conduct a test for yourself. Place a baby in the crib. also place in the crib, an apple and a live bunny rabbit. If the baby eats the bunny rabbit and plays with the apple, give me a call. 

“If it were left to instinct rather than learning, meat would hold little appeal. What is a child’s natural instinct on seeing a little squirrel; not to kill it like a true carnivore…A kitten could not pick a Mango any more than a child could rip the throat out of a rabbit. In my experience I have found that all young children love fruit, Camlo’s friends would always want to share his grapes. Over time, a processed diet can introduce many addictive and stimulating foodstuffs that can impair what foods a child would be naturally attracted to, however a ripe Mango or sweet Grapes reach out and appeal to just about anybody. Bringing up a child is a joy, a beautiful experience that can only be enhanced if the child is happy, healthy and balanced. If a child is raised on good quality fruit combined with human milk then I believe that these three requisites will be there in abundance.” -Anne Osborne on her experience raising her sons, Camlo and Cappi, on a raw fruit based diet.

Anne’s words are stated beautifully. My experience has been quite the opposite of what we are told about children “getting hooked on sweets” if given fruit for their first foods. Elvis enjoyed sweet fruit and breast milk all day, so by the end of the day, the simple flavor of vegetables and non sweet fruits were extremely satisfying to him! He devours plain tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, lettuce and even kale with delight. It isn’t natural fruits that hamper our children’s tastebuds. It is the processed unnatural foods we often force on our children that make the taste of plain vegetables less appealing to them. A child who has a taste for processed foods filled with sugar, oils, additives and salt, no longer finds cucumber and raw snap peas very exciting. I have seen children at their first birthday parties with cake all over their faces. The parents are always the ones trying to get their child to eat the cake so they can take the classic picture. And this experience is often the child’s first encounter at sugary, fat-laden junk food. Every single time I witnessed this, the child was unenthused and barely interested in the cake. Why should we force the desire of junk food on children when they don’t inherently desire it to begin with? Why start the process of addiction when it is 100% unnecessary and isn’t needed to create a happy childhood for our young ones? We should not succumb to peer pressure simply because it is socially acceptable and is the norm, when it has been proven by science time and time again that these unhealthy foods promote disease and illness.

mango island mamma mango island mammaPictured above is Elvis’ two year old birthday party filled with loads of delicious raw vegan foods that were fun and exciting! Elvis was overjoyed to have a giant table of all his favorite foods for his party. No need to sacrifice health for fun. Foods served were fresh watermelon juice, raw vegan carrot cupcakes, raw “caramel apple pops”, mushroom pizza bites, crisp corn salad with avocado and tahini dressing, and a giant fruit cake made out of only fresh fruit! The kids at his party devoured the food and nobody missed the junk food traditionally served at birthday parties.

Whenever I come across men or women who were raised on strict diets and now resent their upbringing, choosing to raise their children with the opposite mindset, I always inquire what types of foods they were raised on. Every person I’ve come across with this experience was raised on plain, bland, non sweet foods (like plain rice, chicken, steamed veggies and tofu). Often their parents had a fear of sugar, including sugar from fruit. So if they were given any fruit it was fruit on the lower end of the glycemic index like berries or apples. WE ARE SWEET EATERS BY NATURE. So a child who is raised on non sweet foods will inevitably and eventually feel deprived. A child who is raised on sugary sweet organic fruit in abundance, fresh orange juice (NOT watered down) and delicious plant fats like coconut, walnuts, and avocado will not have feelings of deprivation, because their sweet tooth, which is a good thing not a bad thing, will be satisfied. That being said, some children as they get older and gain more independence (and are old enough to truly understand the difference between healthy food and unhealthy food and why their family does not eat animals), desire to explore the other foods their friends are eating in social situations. And at that age of understanding, we must honor their desire for their own experience and sense of self worth being able to make independent choices at a party. But lets save that topic for another day.

mango island mammaIt is important to note that most of Elvis’ calories came from breast milk for well over the first year of his life. And he continued to drink a large amount of breast milk for quite some time after that. Solid foods for babies in the first year should mainly be for fun, and most of their nutrition during this time should be coming from human milk. He loved breast milk and I nursed him every time he asked. He self weaned from breast milk at 26 months of age. I always advocate nursing as long as children desire. Their little bodies know how much and when they need mother’s milk-which is nature’s perfect food for babies AND toddlers.

“Breast milk is the most natural choice. Most people think that breastfeeding a four year old is a bit strange and weird, yet they would support the belief that milk is important for the child. Giving a four year old cows’ milk is seen as acceptable whilst breastfeeding a child of this age is regarded with suspicion. Which is the more natural however?” -Anne Osborne

“The human body has no more need for cow’s milk than it does for dogs’ milk, horses’ milk or giraffes’ milk.” -Michael Klaper, MD

It makes absolutely no sense to feed a child breast milk from a cow. Please check out my blog post “MOOOOO Milk is for Cows” for compelling info.

mango island mammaAs Elvis got older, new ways to enjoy food entered into his diet. Once he had a good amount of teeth and was able to chew well, I started giving him salads!

Elvis devouring a salad of 3/4 an avocado, 3 leaves of lettuce, shredded zucchini, cilantro and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

Elvis devouring a salad of 3/4 an avocado, 3 leaves of lettuce, shredded zucchini, cilantro and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

My favorite tip to give parents when introducing greens in the form of a salad is this: Get a hold of a creamy soft avocado and mash it until guacamole texture. Finely chop, and I mean super finely chop into confetti size pieces, the lettuce and other greens and mix into the avocado mixture very well so that the greens are very easy to chew. Mix it so well that each lettuce piece is very well coated in the avocado mash. Then top with other non sweet fruits like cucumber and tomato and mix into the salad. The goal is to make the salad extremely palatable and delicious to the child. Once the child gets used to this amount of greens in the salad, you can then start gradually adding a little bit more greens at a time to your child’s salads and find the right amount that they enjoy. Be sure to use only mild greens so it is not a harsh flavor to them. Super spicy dandelion greens are not likely to be a favorite to a child.

I have also come in contact with some mothers who have told me, “But my child doesn’t like fruit! I’ve tried and tried, and he simply wont eat fruits or vegetables.” I will emphasize again, when processed foods and animal foods loaded with salt and oil are introduced in the child’s diet, often fruits and vegetables don’t taste quite as appealing as they should. But there are also other reasons that your child (or yourself!) might not be enjoying fruit as much as you could be! Check out this lovely video by my friend Kat Green:

“4 Reasons You don’t Like Fruit-Low Fat Raw Vegan Diet Tips”     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxemBq0fIAw&list=UU6d2zscQ3_pB7QZzfwb_kVA

If we want our children to love raw fruits and vegetables, we must be the example ourselves. Children who’s parents eat donuts, hamburgers, and chips will likely not last long eating only healthful foods and LOVING it. Contrary to popular belief, this lifestyle is about abundance, not restriction! Give your child as much sweet fruit as he or she desires. Give them coconut meat, fresh coconut water, creamy avocados galore, garden tomatoes, fresh salads, delicious sweet smoothies and of course, breast milk. Share in the delight of healthful eating with them. Find places to forage fruit where your children can see where their food comes from. Even if you don’t live in a tropical place, most places across the world have some unique types of fruit trees you might be surprised to find. My cousins in Indiana get to pick apples and pears from grandma’s tree when the season is right. And my sister is very good at sourcing local fruit. She lives in California and last summer found a couple mulberry trees in the neighborhood she runs by. She simply knocked on their door and asked if they had any extra mulberries she could take off their hands, and suggested that she was willing to help pick up their lawn for them as thanks. As a result, she has gotten baskets full of beautiful, rich, and sweet mulberries. And more recently she spotted a white sapote tree in someone’s yard. She is now helping with the house owner’s garden work in exchange for sapotes! What a beautiful thing.

mango island mammaSome people are curious, taken aback, critical, or they question why my husband and I feed Elvis raw vegan foods. We respect our son. And part of respecting our son is respecting his body. At his little age, it is 100% our duty to take care of and nurture him. It is our responsibility to treat him respectfully. Our outlook is that if something is unhealthy for our child, that we should not give it to him because it is disrespectful to his body. We respect his body by feeding him the healthiest foods, giving him the healthiest happiest start to his life that we can. He can make the choice to be unhealthy later, if he wants to, and experience life as he chooses. But right now, it is our duty to respect his wholeness- and to us, that includes food and health. That is why we feed him raw vegan foods, because it’s much easier to be happy when you are healthy. Also worth mentioning: both my husband and I are passionate about eating a raw vegan diet with an emphasis towards a minimalistic compassionate lifestyle. EVERYONE raises their children upon the passions and lifestyles they value. Some say we “force” our lifestyle on him. But I could easily say the same thing to every parent out there “forcing” their children to eat the diet of the parents choosing, or “forcing” them to be involved in whatever religion they believe in, etc. Just because our lifestyle is not the NORM, does not mean our child is deprived of a happy childhood. In fact he LOVES the foods we feed him and enjoys his food with gusto! He loves the waterfall hikes we go on and adventures we seek. He loves our lazy beach days and raw family dinners, and so do we!

I hope you find my experience helpful. If you would like to see another post going more into depth on how a raw vegan diet is optimal for raising healthy children, answering questions like the most common ones, “but where will they get their protein? And what about B12?”, please let me know.  I encourage you to do your research in regards to raising healthy children. But I also want to encourage you to go with your instincts. Our instinctual parenting has helped us raise one beautiful, healthy, happy boy. There is A LOT of misinformation out in the world about how we ought to feed ourselves and our children. Try to be mindful of where the information is from and who stands to gain from you believing whatever information they are trying to pass off as truth.

mango island mammaElvis is my little light and I’m going to let him shine. I mean, seriously, he’s just such a cool, rad, loving, compassionate dude! If you are a mom or dad who is trying to feed your kids healthy whole plant foods, and are surrounded by negativity and discouragement to do so, I encourage you to press forward. You are not alone. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.

Mango Island Mamma, Ellen Fisher

 

Author Ellen Fisher

More posts by Ellen Fisher

Join the discussion 57 Comments

  • Latifah says:

    Thank you for sharing

  • Sarah Shore says:

    Loved reading your blog about starting solid foods. I have just had my third baby and will definitely be using your advice when I start solids. You should do an ebook with recipes for smoothies and salad ideas for babies and toddlers. I will be the first to buy it. I’m not very good at thinking up ideas on what to make I always use recipe books.

  • shay says:

    Hi Ellen,

    Thank you so much for the information last post.
    Id really like your opinion on a few points. I have a gorgeous 4 month old baby girl. She’s definitely not ready for solids just yet but in regards to breast feeding, i wasn’t able to since she was about 2 weeks old. i have been vegan for over a year now but was advised against soy formula and from personal experience, don’t find it easily digestible. I started with a lactose free formula and then after seeing doctors because of her bowel habits, was guided to an organic cows milk formula. Im not sure what a better option is when breastfeeding doesn’t work out. Would really appreciate any suggestions because I’m not happy with the choice.
    Id also really like to hear about your opinion regarding b12 in children on a vegan diet.

    Congrads on the wonderful news of your pregnancy 🙂 seeing the amazing lifestyle you have created for your family is very touching and i hope, god willing, one day i will be able to do the same.
    Thank you for sharing your journey,

    Love, Shay

  • Kristina says:

    I honestly couldn’t agree more!
    I’m only 16 but I am highly considering raising my future children to be vegans.
    Just seeing how healthy and happy Elvis is, is just so amazing!
    My family don’t agree with it as they think you become “malnourished” and you need supplements for all your nutrients but if they listened and saw how healthy you, Andrew and Elvis are living this life style then I guarantee they would change their mind!
    But I don’t care what people think, I am to do what I believe it healthy and you showed me that!

    • Victoria says:

      I loved this post! I have no biological children of my own but I have a nephew, two stepsons and a new neice or nephew due in July. I want to start steering my two step sons toward first, a vegetarian life style and gradually work towards vegan but I anticipate many challenges as we share custody of the boys and their diet is mainstream, processed sugary American at their mother’s home.

      Also the example of the baby in the crib with the Apple and the rabbit made me literally lol. Too funny and of course true! I would be horrified if my little 9 month old nephew tried to eat the rabbit!

  • Tiffany says:

    You are an absolute shining light Ellen. XO

  • Ariella says:

    Wow, thank you!

  • Sinead says:

    Such an incredibly accurate post, Ellen! Absolutely adore reading about your lifestyle. Keep up the good work!

  • Sandra says:

    Hi Ellen! Thank you for this wonderful post. I just have one question; I’ve been vegan for approx. 2 years and I have a B12 deficiency, so I have to supplement with that. I’m just very unsure whether or not my future child will be B12 deficient as well if raised as a vegan.. I need information on this topic since I honestly have no clue. I would really appreciate an informative post on B12. Thanks 🙂 x

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi sandra, thank you I’m glad u liked the blog post! keep supplementing with the methylcobalamin B12 lozenge while pregnant and this will help your baby to get the right amount of b12 while you are pregnant. and keep supplementing while nursing for the same outcome. as the child gradually gets older, drinking less breast milk then you may want to get your child tested for b12 deficiency (its just a urine sample that u send in the mail) through don bennett at health101.org. he is a wealth of information and the best health guy. he is my go to health guy. i got tested for b12 through don’s recommended lab and after being vegan for 8 years, found i am NOT b12 deficient. the only time i supplemented with b12 was when i was pregnant with elvis. so i am supplementing with b12 while pregnant again to ensure my raised b12 needs are met. cuz my test shows that my body makes enough for adequate amounts of what i individually need, but i feel better safe than sorry for when my needs of b12 are raised while pregnant to supplement. i never have gotten elvis tested as he hasn’t shown any b12 deficiency signs (nor any ill-health signs) and i am not worried about him since we source mass majority of our produce from local nutrient rich soiled fruits and veg. and he’s been healthy since birth so i have reason to believe his needs are being met. but that doesnt mean he won’t ever need to supplement in the future so if i ever feel he should get tested for b12 than i will.
      check out don bennett’s website i mentioned above and read his “Everything you need to know about B12” article in the article section. its a really important informative read. if you child ends up being deficient then u can just supplement for him and all will be taken care of 🙂
      hope u find this helpful

  • Stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing! Great blog! I will like to know more about B12.

  • Treena Toney says:

    This blog couldn’t have come at a better time I’ve been so lost my baby has been raw up until resently she tried some cooked vegan food but thanks a many and looking forward to many more similar to this. Trying to transition and keeping it mostly raw!

  • Krystal says:

    Hi Ellen. I love your blog and this post has given me a lot of good tips. I have a 21wk old baby boy. I have a question. What if you weren’t able to breastfeed for as long as you did? Unfortunately I was only able to for 3.5 months. It breaks my heart that I can’t any more. My milk just started diminishing after Luka was 3 mths old. I tried everything. Herbs, tea, kangaroo care, etc. Nothing worked. I went from having leaking breasts and pumping 150mls to less than 20mls per session…so now Luka is on formula. The best baby formula I could find, it’s organic and biodynamic. But I still wish I didn’t have to give it to him. So what would your advice be in this situation??

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi krystal, i’m sorry for your experience with breast feeding. don’t beat yourself up as you are doing the best you can! remind yourself daily that u are a wonderful mother capable of raising a healthy happy child. The BEST alternative for women who cannot breast feed is to get human milk from another mother. In today’s world it is often frowned upon which is extremely sad and shouldn’t be so! It is the most natural choice and healthy choice and there is NO NEED to have shame in this. There are lots of women out there who have loads extra breast milk and share it with those who are in need of it, its just not common practice and is not broadcasted. my sister in law currently does this. she saves her extra milk and gives it to friends in her mamma’s group who needs it. every extra ounce of human milk your baby can get, the better! Check out Facebook natural mamma’s groups and La Leche League! I will definitely be donating my extra milk to mothers in need once the next baby is born and i plan on pumping extra to share. We have to realize that sharing our milk with others, was once a common acceptable practice and was looked at in a healthy way of helping other mom’s out in community and as an act of love. we all know human breast milk is the healthiest choice for all babies. we shouldn’t be weary just because it comes from another mother. obviously its important to check up and meet the mother and find out what kind of lifestyle she lives (like making sure she is not drinking lots or doing drugs, but in all honesty, any mamma who is drinking alcohol and doing drugs would likely not be the ones nursing, nor would those moms be the ones producing extra milk). Much better for a baby giraffe to drink milk from another mommy giraffe that is not their own mamma, than for a baby giraffe to attempt to drink milk from a mommy tiger, or even a mommy monkey. correct? i hope u find this helpful love. there ARE mothers out there who will help you if you search for it. AGAIN, REMIND YOURSELF YOU ARE A WONDERFUL LOVING MOTHER AND ARE DOING EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL AND OUT OF LOVE FOR YOUR CHILD. don’t put yourself down as a mamma. being a mom is hard enough as it is. xoxo

      • Krystal says:

        Thanks Ellen. At first I did beat myself up but then I told myself that I did all that I could and this was only a small part of his life. I was at least able to give him 3 full months of only breastmilk and for as long as he is in my care he will be getting the best food this bountiful earth has to offer. Unfortunately I live in a small town in Denmark and I have not been able to find any breastmilk from others. My hope is to stop him on the formula as soon as I can. I don’t use any dairy in my house as Luka’s dad is lactose intolerant and well, dairy is just poison really. So I can’t wait to get my baby boy off of it!! Thanks again for you kind words! Moms need to hear them more often, like you said, it’s tough enough as it is! Love and light!! Xx

  • Bo says:

    I soooo appreciate this article. I came upon your youtube channel a couple of days ago – my baby is now 6.5 months, and I was searching for information on raising a vegan/raw vegan baby. There’s very limited amount of information on the web, and you are heaven sent!
    I live in Finland where fresh organic fruits are very limited, so I like to eat superfoods such as raw cacao, goji berries, chia seeds, maca, and spiriluna etc.
    I love that you live in Maui – I’ve been telling my husband that I wanted to move to Hawaii, and I decorated our home with a few Hawaiian themed pieces! I enjoy looking at the pictures you post, so I can imagine what it would be like living in a tropical place with my family someday.
    I also love that you talked about how to response to criticism from others- your answers feel compassionate and intelligent.
    I am excited to be your fan!
    Love,
    Bo

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      wow thank u so much for such uplifting and loving words. i feel very loved thank u very much! if you have an instagram, that’s where i do most of my posting. its @ellenfisher 🙂 blessings to u and your family!

  • wes says:

    Very well written Ellen. You are spot on about it being 100% your responsibility to nurture Elvis. Everyone forces their views. Even those who say “don’t force your view” are trying to force the view that you should not force views! You encourage us to raise our kids even healthier.

  • Erika says:

    Loved this!! Thank you so much for sharing. You are very much an inspiration for me and this life style.

  • Emily says:

    Love this!!! So helpful! Would love to see more about raising children, what you’re doing now in your pregnancy, etc. Any pregnancy related topics would be great! 😉 You’re the best!

  • Jaimee says:

    Hi Ellen!

    I must say that every single word of advice and facts of information that you have posted have been so real, honest, and inspiring! I show pictures of Elvis to my little girl Lala and she just smiles every time! Now this might be a touchy subject but I was curious to see what your thoughts were on vaccinations and do you take Elvis to the doctor for frequent check ups??

  • Ragnhild says:

    I absolutely love this Ellen! I hope you will write more about Elivis` `diet´.
    I give my 14 month son a vegan diet too. Not 100% raw, but not far from either. He eats steamed potatoes/sweet potatoes often, but besides that, its almost only raw food. He loves it. I still breast feed, and Im so thankful that I have chosen to raise my son as healthy as I possible can.
    <3

  • Laura says:

    LOVE this! You are 100% doing the right thing by Elvis, he is thriving. Beautiful words, well done x

  • Amee says:

    Would you mind sharing the recipe for the birthday cake? I would love to do something similar for my daughter’s third birthday. Also, what kind of sling are you using in the picture above? Yours looks sturdy and comfortable whereas many made with the same design do not. I LOVE this BLOG!!!!! So, inspiring. I am currently pregnant and am just now starting the 80/10/10.

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      the recipe for the cake made entirely of fruit is not a recipe actually. It’s just a watermelon with the rind sliced off and cut into a shape of a cake. Then i took a toothpick and stuck fruit slices like starfruit, strawberries and grapes on the watermelon. voila! look up “cake made entirely of fruit” on youtube to find demonstrations how to do it. the raw carrot cupcakes are “fullyrawkristina”‘s recipe u can find on her youtube channel. and the sling is a Sakura Bloom Ring Sling! love it

  • Anna says:

    Wow, I’m so glad I read this! Lately I’ve been feeling more and more ready to become a mother and I have always known that, when the time comes, I want to raise the healthiest, happiest baby I possibly can. I live in Sweden and although breast feeding is pretty mainstream here (nursing rooms in malls etc) it’s generally frowned upon If you extend the breast feeding beyond 6 months. You inspire me to one day be a mother Who follows her own heart and gut and dares to stand up to those Who think a 2 year old “deserves” a treat in the form of a chicken nugget or candy bar. Lots of love, and congrats on your newest blessing!

  • carolina says:

    Hi Ellen! Thanks for this amazing post!
    How did Elivis self weaned from breast milk? Did he ask not to have milk anymore o did you gradually stop breastfeeding? What were the signs he gave for not wanting to be breast fed anymore?
    Many thanks for the lovely words!

  • Hi Ellen! I love your blog and love this post. Thank you!! My kids both began enjoying smoothies at 7 months. My second began by stealing his brothers so I said ok I guess you are ready to have some. haha They both LOVE smoothies and I make them every day. I am very curious what brand of Barley Grass Powder you recommend and what age is ok to give to kids and how much? Do you give to your babe daily? Also, which B12 supplement so you use. Also, I am very curious what blood type you are? Are you A blood type? I only ask because I am a health coach and passionate about helping others and love seeing correlations between what they eat and their blood type. Do you think that EVERY person should be raw vegan or do you believe in the concept of bio-individuality at all? I know some people who thrive on this kind of diet and met others who thrive on other ways of eating too. What do you recommend for people who feel like they need more protein in their diet? What types of plant based protein do you recommend? I am not a fan of protein powders but I know many vegans use some. Do you ever use protein powder? It seems like you don’t but just thought I would ask. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into responding and your posts. I love what you are doing. Keep up the great work. And congrats on your pregnancy. I am so excited to follow you on this journey as I am passionate about maternity wellness and natural birth too!!! I also had a homebirth. Do you have your homebirth story on your blog anywhere? Would love to read it!! Thanks!

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi love I’m so glad u found this helpful! the barley grass juice powder i recommend is Daily-Green-Boost found at dailygreenboost.com and i also recommend sunburstsuperfoods.com to order barley grass juice powder from. Don Bennett says the daily green boost is the highest quality. Yes i add about 1 tsp to elvis’ smoothie almost every day. And i personally add 2 heaping tbsp of barley grass juice powder to my smoothie every day. but for little babies under 2 years old id probably say even a little less than 1 tsp will be sufficient. try just 1/2 a tsp to start. I recently got tested through Don Bennett at health101.org for b12 deficiency after being vegan for 8 years, and found out that i am NOT b12 deficient. The only time i supplemented with b12 in the last 8 years was when i was pregnant with elvis. So i am also supplementing while pregnant with this second baby as well, just to be safe as b12 needs rise while pregnant. The brand is not super important, they are all pretty similar so long as u are taking Methylcobalamin B12 (i take the lozenge). We have not given Elvis any b12 supplements thus far at the age of 3. It really depends on the child, if the child was extendedly breast fed, and if the mother is also not b12 deficient. I don’t know my blood type, and i personally don’t believe the blood type diet has any truth to its foundation. I believe we are all physiologically designed as herbivores, and are more specifically designed to thrive on fruit/veg. Just as all cows are physiologically designed to thrive on grass, so humans are also ALL physiologically designed to thrive on a species specific diet. A cow can SURVIVE on grain, but will thrive best on grass. Now, humans can incorporate some cooked vegan foods in their diet and still be pretty healthy, so aiming for perfection in a world that so discourages health is often tough. But we still will be our healthiest on a fruit based low fat raw vegan diet. I also think there is a lot of confusion about protein. if someone feels they need more protein in their diet, it is often that they simply need more calories, calories in general. there is protein in every food, including fruits and vegetables. in fact fruits and vegetables contain the exact amount of proteins that our bodies need, when eaten in sufficient quantities. A good way to understand protein is this: when a child is age 0-6 months old they have their most explosive growth and live exclusively on breastmilk. and breastmilk has only around 5% of its calories from protein. We truly shouldn’t be worrying, in this day and age, about if we are getting enough protein, we should be finding out if we are eating TOO MUCH protein. often when one is having health issues (often complaining of tiredness), they don’t need more protein to fix the issue, they need to change the foods they are eating and eat ENOUGH of the right foods. The american diet is sooo much higher in fat than the average person realizes, and eating a high fat diet is a major reason why people have poor energy levels.so no, i don’t advice protein powder as a health food. just like i don’t believe processed sugar (isolated carbs from a whole foods) is a health food. i also don’t believe oils (isolated fat from a whole food) as healthful. So then i also don’t believe protein powders (isolated protein from a whole food) is healthful either. we should focus instead of eating an abundance of WHOLE plant foods, that are not isolated. hope this helps with my thoughts for you! and yes i loved my home birth too! i haven’t done a post about it yet, but i will soon hopefully so stay tuned! xo

      • Josefa says:

        Hi Ellen,
        Thank you so much for your response!! This all makes a lot of sense. I am not vegan but definitely live a plant based lifestyle, lots of raw foods and I want my kids to love their fruits and veggies as well! Thank goodness they do so far. I am thankful for your heart and non judgmental attitude and for sharing your life with us. I so love your videos, ig account and blog. You are an inspiration. I totally think you should write an ebook with tips, recipes, etc for starting solids and feeding our children, tips for living a healthier lifestyle when at parties with kids without making them feel excluded and building healthy habits etc. I would totally buy it!! I try and help a lot of moms with this as it is a passion of mine and I am always looking for great resources to share with them. I will definitely be ordering some of that barley grass juice powder to try out. I am so with you on the protein powder. I do not like and don’t like to recommend it. So many people ask me for recommendations though so it’s hard. Some people just love their protein powder! I look forward to reading your birth story at some point!!

        PS I will be visiting Maui in October for a little vacation with my family (husband, 2 boys age 4 and almost 2 at that point. We are staying in Kahana. Any tips, good food spots, fun things to do with kids? I would love to visit the farmers market while I am there too. We will have a kitchen and I am bringing a blender! 🙂 Would love to know your favorite farmers market and what day and time it is so hopefully I can make it. Thanks so much!!

        • Ellen Fisher says:

          Im glad u found my response helpful thanks for letting me know you read it 🙂 fun places with kids: baby beach in paia. baby beach in lahaina, seven sacred pools in hana if u do the road to hana! (though lots of littles don’t like the long drive to hana). best farmers market on island is on saturdays in pukulani. u can get directions at upcountryfarmersmarket.com also makawao market on wednesdays is good too! xo

  • Alexa K says:

    Ellen. Thank you so much for this post. And your sisters post on being married to a non-vegan. Both of these subjects are very close to me. We live in Indiana and are only starting our life together as a family. No kids yet. We are dealing with juggling school and work and paying off new mortgage, but I draw inspiration from posts like this one (and families like yours) to stay on the path of a healthy (alternative and correct) lifestyle and to dream that there are so many, unknown to me yet, ways my life can and will change. I imagine it wouldn’t be a surprise if in a couple of years I end up with a mango tree in my back yard and a raw vegan husband who wants his kids to adopt this life style, too. It would be a surprise to realize how easy it was to achieve though, because right now it seems like a scene from a movie or a favorite book that will never come true. So I want to thank you again and send you and your family lots of love and gratitude for putting your lives out there. I would also absolutely love it if your sister had a chance to write about how her outlook on alcohol and other people drinking it.

  • Angelina Kleyn says:

    Ellen, I am currently pregnant with my first baby and actually became vegan during my pregnancy. I am so glad I found your website and videos because I was really worried about feeding my child a vegan diet, as I am still fairly new to it myself. My question to you is; did you ever run out of breast milk when you were breast feeding? I really don’t want to feed my baby the formula, and most definitely not animal milk. I didn’t even think a woman is able to run out of milk until a friend of mine brought it up. Do you know anything about it? I would really appreciate your insight on this.
    Again, I am so happy to have found you! You are truly an inspiration 🙂

  • Tasmia Kabir says:

    Ellen What should we then feed them before they can eat solid foods like what did you do with Elvis?

  • Donna says:

    I just recently came across your youtube channel you’ve inspired me to research a more raw vegan diet for my family! My family and I have been vegan for almost 5 years. I am still getting bombarded from people with the standard “but where will they get their protein? And what about B12?” With Christmas and family gatherings coming up I was wondering you have any tips on how you have or would handled this type of situation?

  • Camilla says:

    Love this post!!
    I have a bit of an odd question however.
    I had a breastreduction a couple of years ago and when the time comes, I don’t know if I’ll be able do breastfeed. A decision I kind of regret now! What are your thouhts on baby formula?
    Much love!

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      The BEST alternative for women who cannot breast feed is to get human milk from another mother. In today’s world it is often frowned upon which is extremely sad and shouldn’t be so! It is the most natural choice and healthy choice and there is NO NEED to have shame in this. There are lots of women out there who have loads extra breast milk and share it with those who are in need of it, its just not common practice and is not broadcasted. my sister in law currently does this. she saves her extra milk and gives it to friends in her mamma’s group who needs it. every extra ounce of human milk your baby can get, the better! Check out Facebook natural mamma’s groups and La Leche League! I will definitely be donating my extra milk to mothers in need once the next baby is born and i plan on pumping extra to share. We have to realize that sharing our milk with others, was once a common acceptable practice and was looked at in a healthy way of helping other mom’s out in community and as an act of love. we all know human breast milk is the healthiest choice for all babies. we shouldn’t be weary just because it comes from another mother. obviously its important to check up and meet the mother and find out what kind of lifestyle she lives (like making sure she is not drinking lots or doing drugs, but in all honesty, any mamma who is drinking alcohol and doing drugs would likely not be the ones nursing, nor would those moms be the ones producing extra milk). Much better for a baby giraffe to drink milk from another mommy giraffe that is not their own mamma, than for a baby giraffe to attempt to drink milk from a mommy tiger, or even a mommy monkey. correct? (same goes for baby humans drinking human milk from another mamma is much better than drinking milk from a cow, or a giraffe or a pig). i hope u find this helpful love. there ARE mothers out there who will help you if you search for it.

  • Nina Matavao says:

    Hi Ellen !CONGRATS on your new baby !! and thank you for this post… been wondering and waiting on your experience on solids with Elvis and I am glad to you posted this because it just answered many questions for me. I have been reading your blogs since my son was only 30 weeks in my belly..now he is 6 months and I just did not know how ready he will be for solids ,but after this I plan to wait a little longer now . I know for a fact he is not ready yet and that is okay at this age… Now I have the confidence to believe that what I decide is what is best for my son…. tired of people bashing me and stating that I am being cruel for ” not letting my son eat what he wants” or for them telling me to my face “he is ready ” like I don’t know what I am doing…It got to the point that they would do things behind my back without my consent such as give him FORMULA.. or starve to make him hungrier for real food… I Just do not understand that!?!?! but I had my ups and downs with this … because no one ever in my family ever breastfed and ate naturally to fully understand the type of lifestyle I am trying to make for my family… so it is tough I am sure you understand.. But just want to say thank you for knowledge and sharing . It is a blessing to have this source from you. P.S. I hope you make a recipe book of for babies and children!! would most def buy that! pls pls pls!!! Faafitai lava ! and Mahalo plenty Ellen and family!

  • Haley Macklin says:

    Ellen, this is epic – thankyou! My little guy is 7 months, and has been eating whole foods for just over a month now – mostly through Baby Led Weaning, along with my own human juice of course 😉 . We are raising him veg and, at the moment, most of what he eats is raw. It’s tough, as we don’t have a lot of support from family (Dad and step mum raise cattle….) but we know in our hearts it’s what’s best for him. Reading your post makes me giddy with excitement for the future. I can’t WAIT to let him have a go at our raw smoothies each morning, and mixing fruit with my milk is such a great idea for his own! We grow most of our own food, so taking him to the garden and picking a snow pea for him to teeth on is heaven – I can’t wait to follow in your footsteps with more foods as he gets older. Much love and light to you and your beautiful family (and bun in the oven!!) X

  • Victoria says:

    I loved this post! I have no biological children of my own but I have a nephew, two stepsons and a new neice or nephew due in July. I want to start steering my two step sons toward first, a vegetarian life style and gradually work towards vegan but I anticipate many challenges as we share custody of the boys and their diet is mainstream, processed sugary American at their mother’s home.

    Also the example of the baby in the crib with the Apple and the rabbit made me literally lol. Too funny and of course true! I would be horrified if my little 9 month old nephew tried to eat the rabbit!

  • Leah says:

    I find your lifestyle to be amazing and so interesting and you are right when you say you are lucky to live in Maui! I live in canada and it’s just not possible to get amazing tree ripe fruit year round here in the north! It must have been so difficult to make the initial switch to raw vegan with your tastes so altered by junk! It’s amazing that you have a partner who is equally as committed my boyfriend would never go for it!

  • Kylie says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 8. Before that, my parents kept forcing meat on me, and finally one day I told them that I didn’t want to eat animals and that I would never eat meat again. I somewhat recently found out that I’m gluten intolerant, so I no longer consume gluten. A couple months ago, I stopped eating processed food for good. But I had yet to become vegan. Honestly, I just wasn’t educated on how much healthier (for myself, as well as the environment) being vegan is, and while I was vegetarian, I hadn’t thought about the fact that by eating animal products, I was still promoting animal abuse. One day, I happened to stumble upon your instagram, and after spending a long time reading your posts and looking through all of your beautiful photos, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t gone vegan years ago. This was around the same time that I had started to notice that dairy products were giving me an upset stomach, and after doing much research, I realized that the cause was likely Casein, a protein shaped very similar to gluten that your body can easily mistake for it. I didn’t want to eat dairy anyway, but I use that as an excuse when people ask me why I also don’t consume dairy products anymore, because I’m afraid of offending them somehow otherwise. Lastly, I removed soy from my diet because of the effects that it has on your hormones, and I already have hypothyroidism, so I don’t need that. I’m 18 and in college, living on campus as a student-athlete. At this point I don’t consume animals or animal products, gluten, soy, or anything processed or unnatural. It’s hard to deal with everyone’s judgements, especially being an athlete and constabtly being told that I’m not getting enough protein. NO ONE believes me when I say that I can get all the protein I need from raw fruits and vegetables, and my mother is telling me that I’m limiting my diet too much and that it’s unhealthy. Also, people are telling me that there are essential things that I’m missing by not eating meat and dairy, such as B12. I haven’t done enough research yet to know HOW and in exactly WHAT I’m getting all that I need… I just know that I am. Could you help me in telling me some things I can explain to people so they believe me? I know I need to become more educated on the subject so it no longer appears that I’m “blindly limiting my diet,” but I haven’t had sufficient time to find the most reliable websites with all of this information. Also, what do you recommend I tell my mom? She is also vegetarian (but only because she doesn’t like the taste of meat, not for ethical reasons), but she calls my vegan lifestyle an “unhealthy obsession with food.” I have a good relationship with her, but I’m worried that this is getting in the way of it, and that the only thing keeping some big blowup from happening is my being on the other side of the country. Any advice that you could give would be very much appreciated!
    Also, I have a couple more questions, as I’m trying to be as healthy as I can…
    1. What is your take on olive oil, coconut oil, etc. (the “healthy oils”?) Are they okay? It doesn’t seem like you use/consume any oils, so I’m assuming I don’t need them, or that they’re bad… But as of right now I do consume olive oil because I’ve been told and read that it’s good for you.
    2. What is your opinion on dried fruit, like raisins? I know eating the actual fruit is better, but sometimes I’m so limited on my options living on campus and not having a car. Are they only bad in that they’re harder to digest? Or should I consider them “processed”?
    3. Is adding salt to your veggies or rice bad?
    4. Besides fruits and veggies, I eat seeds, nuts, and legumes. Is there anything else you recommend I make sure to include or take out of my diet?
    Thanks for everything, and for being such an inspiration and positive influence to so many people!!!

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi kylie,
      yes u are right that the more you research the easier it will become to be informed and confident in your lifestyle choices. please read my blog post “mooo milk is for cows” so that your mother’s ill informed notions that a vegan diet is extreme will help you have the best responses and know the truth. Also read my blog post “lets talk oil” to explain everything on my thoughts on oil. I personally avoid salt and feel my best without added salt. instead i eat celery, tomatoes and green leafies for natural sodium. to learn how to get exactly what you need, watch the documentary “forks over knives” found on netflix. read the books “the china study” and “whole” by nutritional biochemist scientist T. Colin Campbell. And read “the 80/10/10 diet” by dr. graham. also there is a wealth of information to be learned about b12, vitamin D and iodine on Don bennett’s website health101.org xo

  • Kylie says:

    *correction: I also eat grains that don’t contain gluten, such as quinoa.

  • Sylvie says:

    Hi Ellen,

    I’m an adoptive mom of a nine-month old. I’ve recently heard about milk sharing and have been looking into it. I’m hoping to find a vegan donor, but was wondering if it really matters whether the breast milk comes from a vegan or non-vegan, as long as they are healthy. Would really love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Love your Instagram account, btw. So inspiring! Would love to move someplace tropical one day. 🙂

  • Tina says:

    Hi Ellen, I’m getting more and more inspired by you. Thank you for these in depth blog posts. So helpful.

  • victoria alexandra says:

    this is a beautiful site, your story is so heart warming, thank you for sharing. I am 22 year old from massachusetts. I can’t wait to share raw veganism with my future child. love & peace

    VA

  • […] the health benefits of breastmilk past the first year are incredible. I have a blog post called “Starting my Baby on Solid Foods” if you are interested. Babies should be breastfed from at least two to four years of age for […]

  • Renée says:

    So grateful for your words of advice. I can’t wait to read another one of your posts. Thank you!

    xoxo

  • Ronja says:

    You and your family are so inspirational! I’m honestly touched, and want to join the vegan movement myself…been cutting out meat, and only eat dairy occasionally. I’m on my way. Thanks for sharing.

  • Laszlo says:

    Graceful, wise article Ellen, you are helping MUCH to people who are expecting the little one. Thank you so much!

  • Tania says:

    This is such an incredible eye-opening article. So glad I found it. Thank you so much for sharing this and your knowledge with us!!

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