The Raw Deal: Incorporating Raw Foods Into Your Child’s Diet

>Italian-born food lover and Toronto-area chef Francesco Comito admits that just a few years ago he would have been the last person on earth to consider scrapping the pasta-maker and pizza dough in order to adopt an all-raw, all-vegan diet. 
In 2005 however, Francesco’s fast-paced lifestyle and poor eating habits caught up with him and he found himself plagued with low energy, liver problems, colon sensitivities and chronic bronchitis, to name a few of his persistent ailments. 
The compounding illnesses added up to a medical scare that proved to him that he needed to change his lifestyle – and fast. Francesco quit smoking and drinking and opted to change his eating habits entirely – eating only vegan-friendly (no meat or dairy), uncooked meals. He happily reports that his energy levels and overall health have increased dramatically.
He even took his lifestyle change a step further and started his own company. “Make It Raw” creates nutritious and family-friendly raw food options available to clients, health food stores, cooking classes and weekly local organic markets. He emphasizes that even without the help of a chef, raw food is accessible to the masses. 
Why raw food and not just vegetarian? “Cooking the food essentially takes away most of the nutrients,” says Francesco. His no-bake recipes use a dehydrator to make crackers and flats (you can use your oven set on about 200°F with the door ajar) and require a powerful blender to mash uncooked vegetables into submission. It may seem like a lot of work, but the trick to incorporating a raw food diet into your everyday life is all in the preparation.
“You can make food preparation a family event,” he says. “Once per week, make a plan to buy, wash and chop your veggies and fruit so that you can use them quickly and easily when you need them.”
And despite protests that kids just won’t go for a raw-meal option, Francesco knows a few secrets to make meal-time pleasurable instead of a painful experience for parents.
“Kids love foods that are interesting colours and shapes; by making your vegetables into spirals or by incorporating colourful fruits and vegetables into your salads, kids will be more likely to eat them.”
For tips on how to incorporate raw foods into your family’s diet, visit