This youthful spark is why, for this special “Survival” edition of Healing Our World, we have pulled together a group of our youngest contributors to date. These children and teens will talk about their food choices and how they will impact the future of planet Earth.

When kids are told the truth about where food comes from and how it affects the environment, they often choose to exclude all animal products from their diets. Their conscious message is one that other generations would be wise to heed: no matter how much someone may love chicken nuggets or milkshakes, they should love the earth and the

animals on it (including humans) even more.?— Will Burson

Thaddeus A. Zalavarria, age 3

I have always been a vegan, thanks to my mommy. She ate a vegan diet of mostly raw foods when I was growing in her belly and when she nursed me. My first “taste” of food was when I teethed on celery and carrot sticks. I was mostly breastfed as a baby, but my mommy also gave me green juice, green smoothies and nut milks. She would also reward me with chlorella tablets when I would use the potty. As I grew up, I started sharing whatever my mommy prepared for herself. I would “help” her by standing on my step-ladder and tasting all the food. I ate (and still eat) mostly sprouts, leafy greens, all kinds of vegetables and fruit, as well as gluten-free grains, like quinoa. Now at 31?2 years old, I know how to use the juicer and blender. My mommy is also teaching me how to cut fruit using a small knife and a fork to hold the food so that I stay safe. Being included to help prepare my food makes me feel grateful for what I eat. I feel good and have lots of energy eating vegan raw foods. I rarely get sick, and when I do, I get better really fast. My mommy tells me that sprouts are making me grow up healthy and strong. I have friends whose dogs and cats love to eat sunflower sprouts like I do. These animals are my friends too. So I don’t want to eat animals. I am also a vegan because it is the best way to conserve water. I hope other people will choose to eat vegan so they can feel their best and so animals can live free. Then we can all live happily together and save the earth!

Thomas Burson, age 5

I stopped eating animals when I didn’t want to eat them anymore. I don’t want to eat them anymore because

I don’t want to kill them for us to eat.

Eating animals makes the earth dirty because their poop goes into the rivers and everything then the fish get sick and die. Animals make the inside of your body dirty when you eat them, too.

It’s healthier for people to eat plants. I like avocados and spinach and broccoli. The best plants to eat are green, green, green, green, green. They have chlorophyll.

I want to be a farmer when I grow up. I like plants and want to grow sweet potatoes and green plants and avocados. I want to have animals, too, but not to eat them. And there will be bugs on my farm.

Brielle Naneff, age 9

My name is Brielle and I am a home-schooled child. I have been raw vegan since I was born and by being raw I do not get sick very often. This way of eating is just normal to me and I don’t want to change at all. When we travel on the plane we just bring our own snacks and I really don’t like the smell of the smelly plane food. If there is a raw food restaurant when we land we go there and then we go to the health food store and make our meals from the food we buy there. Some of my favorite foods are guacamole, green salad, coconuts, carrot pecan burgers and onion dip with veggies. When I go to a day camp and I bring my lunch some people look at me and say, “You’re eating salad!” If they would only taste it they would realize that it actually tastes really good.

My whole family is raw and my two year old brother just eats and eats and eats — all raw food, too. We make our own food all the time and it is always fresh. Some other families are getting interested in what we are doing. Once when I was at camp two girls said to me, “Too bad you can’t eat candy.” I said “I choose not to eat candy.”

I really love being raw and I wouldn’t change it for anything. If everyone would become vegan the world would be a much healthier place.

Amanda Hedrick, age 14

In 2007 my mom and I watched the movie Eating and became vegetarian immediately. My eyes were opened to what was really going on in the world and how I had been made to think it was okay. Then I became aware that I must make a difference, no matter what my impact. Eventually we became vegan, eliminating all animal products from our diets. My friends would cringe at the sight of my fresh vegetables, but fortunately I have always loved them. I expected the comments, but it was difficult telling my father and stepfamily. They were against my lifestyle, and constantly tried to persuade me to eat animal products. I wouldn’t be swayed. My dad would tell me that I was underweight, unhealthy and needed animal products to survive. I knew it wasn’t true. Eventually he realized he couldn’t change my mind and accepted me the way I was. I still get comments from my peers, but I don’t let it bother me. I know what’s right for my body, and feel healthier than I did when I was on the Standard American Diet. Sometimes I want to eat something with dairy products in it, but I remind myself that it will harm me. My mom and I enjoy going to Susan Lerner’s Raw Vegan Potlucks every month to try new delicious creations. I don’t eat perfectly all the time, just like any person, but I know I’m doing my best.

Blake Clement, age 15

Clinton was president, the economy was booming and I was born into a vegan family. Little did I know that my health minded parents and siblings were the exception to the “norm.” When my fourth birthday came I ended up in school where I watched other children consume a wide variety of foodless fare. At the end of that year — and all those following — I always received a gold star for attendance. My fellow students unfortunately missed a lot of school due to their constant series of illnesses. At times my friends would look at what I ate with wonder. In their homes, commercial non-nutritious “food” was the norm.

By the time I was eight I watched the brother of one of my best friends die from cancer. Many of my other peers were taking a variety of drugs, and a big part of this was psychiatric prescriptions. Nights and weekends, when I was with my family at work (my parents direct Hippocrates Health Institute), I watched people reverse disease and regain their health by eating plant-based, raw food.

As much as I acted as an example, my classmates and their families were still falling to illness and death. Listening to my father and mother speak and reading their books and magazines also made me understand that meat, dairy, and processed “foods” not only destroy human health, but also the planet that we all live on. I hope that in the future, like some of my friends and now former president Clinton, all people will respect life and the earth so that we can halt the craziness that we are now creating.


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The Survival of the Fittest Fossils Lessons from the Past, Directions for the Future