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Glowing from the Inside: A Mother’s Journey Toward a Mostly Raw Diet and Lustrous Health for the Whole Family 

by Joli Forbes

photos by Sabrina Helas


Food has always been a passion of mine. I dove right into eating at the early age of two months old. My loving and nurturing mother began feeding me cereal and jarred foods at an early age just as her doctor recommended. Creamy white foods and saucy carbs continue to be my favorite things to eat! Food has been what gets me out of bed in the morning and the fullness from dinner puts me back to bed at night. Lethargic, clogged and full of bad habits that quell my fire and potential, I recently stood up to say, “I don’t want to live like this anymore!” My family and I deserve to eat healthy food and I want to lose extra weight … it’s as simple as that. The following story is for us mothers who are ready to relight our internal fires and help our families begin to glow!

I have two children: a four-year-old picky eater and a seven-month-old who eats everything. Between the two pregnancies I gained more than 30 pounds that I am working on shedding. Since my breastfed son is beginning to eat solid foods I figured I would try to mix all our nutritional adventures together. I wanted to learn how to feed both my children as many organic fruits and veggies as they will eat while I shed weight and detox on a mostly raw diet.

For me this change will build a new foundation for life on both mental and cellular levels. Plus, sharing organic fruit, whole grains and veggies with my family will help us live longer, happier, healthier lives together. It is important to note that every expert I interviewed for this story said to take it easy on transitioning to even mostly raw. Don’t go cold turkey and pay attention to your body. If you’re detoxing too much you’ll know from reactions in your skin or internal issues like nausea. Basically, if it hurts don’t do it! And as always, consult your healthcare practitioner before beginning any weight loss program or significant dietary changes.

The Journey Begins…

 First, my son and I had our health and environmental sensitivities monitored. I went to see Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) doctor Cathie-Ann Lippman at the Lippman Center for Optimal Health in Beverly Hills, CA ( She is a medical doctor who is also trained in psychology. Doctor Lippman takes a whole-person approach to treatment and preventive plans with her patients. She assessed me using a very in-depth questionnaire of my medical history, then we did Nutritional Response Testing and Electrodermal Testing (using an FDA-registered device that tests for infections, allergies, toxicities, deficiencies and sensitivities to chemicals, food and inhalants.)

When I told her my plan to do a detox weight loss program she told me to wait until I was done breastfeeding. She explained that when babies are getting their nutritional intake only from breast milk, they are in effect detoxifying their mothers. Think of it this way: all of a mother’s good and bad get filtered and flushed out through any process of elimination, breastfeeding included. She went on to explain that in order to protect us, our bodies store away toxins in fat tissue and stored waste, so if you begin to lose too much weight and therefor detoxing while breastfeeding, the toxins will release into your breast milk and your baby could be affected.

I was later advised by nutritionist and founder of the Raw Food Detox Weight Loss Program, Natalia Rose, that a non-rigorous detox (organic green juices and mostly raw food intake until dinner) while breastfeeding would be acceptable as long as the mother maintains the proper amount of caloric intake each day as well as makes sure baby is also getting nutrition from solid foods as well. I’m not sure it’s worth taking the risk, but she said it would be quickly obvious if baby were to have a reaction to anything because of visual symptoms like a cough, rash, and/or thrush, for instance. Always consult your physician first and have him or her monitor mommy and baby’s progress throughout!

Basically, if I am going to eat to live instead of live to eat, I need to simplify my menu down to as many nutrient-filled, water-based fruits and vegetables as I can handle, along with green juices and lots of quality water for as many hours per day as I can. Then I should have a light dinner full of vitamins and whole foods to round out the day. A diet such as this, along with supplements of probiotics and Chlorella will eliminate waste and toxins while feeding my body essential vitamins and minerals necessary to repair past damage.

Ayervedic medicine would agree with this idea. It teaches that most illnesses are born from bad digestion. Proper elimination and digestion are keys to healthy living because they help keep us balanced and help us to not be bloated, lethargic, or at worst, become septic. Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine originated in India that aims to provide guidance concerning food and lifestyle. So detoxing then, will speed up and intensify eliminations from the body causing our weight to drop, organs to become unblocked and cells to become better suited for regeneration and repair.

Through Doctor Lippman’s tests I found out what foods might keep me from achieving this fluid balance because of my own allergies and sensitivities. Now I know what to avoid if I wish to succeed. I also learned that root vegetables are very grounding and important to eat because they are full of phytonutrients and essential minerals that come from the earth in which they are grown and the sun that is absorbed into their leaves. During a cleanse or weight loss program, eating these vitamin-filled wonders of the earth is not usually advised because of their starchy, carbohydrate nature. However, boiling the vegetables into a broth and thus removing them maintains the vitamin content while helping to avoid the ingestion of the roots’ sugars and starches. In her booklet, “Staying Healthy in a Challenging World,” Lippman gives a wonderful root vegetable broth recipe and offers more advice on detoxification.

A New Baby Food Adventure

I decided my son was ready to begin solids at around 6.5 months because he was grabbing for my food and he sprouted two teeth. It is said that when the teeth come it triggers digestive acids in the stomach to become better equipped to consume solid food, so I figured he was ready to go! And though his pediatrician suggested we begin with rice cereal, I decided to start him on fruits and veggies. I just couldn’t understand why I should stuff my little guy up with a filler food like rice cereal. It is bland and lacks nutritional value. I was happy to find out I was not alone in my opinion. Dr. Lippman and Natalia Rose both agree that fruits and veggies should be baby’s first foods.

Steamed organic fruits and veggies are the easiest foods for babies to digest. The process of steaming them keeps most of the vitamins and minerals in tact, as opposed to boiling them, which allows the water to remove many nutrients. Some high-end baby food producers like Sprout are now offering roasted and steamed recipes in a convenient container, but most often jarred foods are over boiled for sterilization and are therefore lacking in nutritional value. My solution has been to steam and mush up my own using  a combination of the classic purees and Baby-Led Weaning, which is the concept of feeding baby just about the same things as the rest of the family. The theory goes that if you keep a watchful eye on the little ones as they grab and feed themselves the things you’re eating, baby will not become dependent and reliant on being fed or the texture of the mushy purees. At seven months my son is already feeding himself hardboiled egg whites, spoonfuls of soft yet lumpy gourmet mixtures and saucy noodles! Naturally, a mostly raw diet for mommy and organic fruits and veggies for baby and big kids means I’m shopping for extra produce at Farmers’ Markets. This helps me avoid all the packaging and processed foods found in the supermarket. The more water-based nutrition we all eat, the cleaner our bodies will be and the more we will all glow and be filled with energy!

Annabel Karmel is the UK’s maven for everything baby food with a new line of baby weaning kitchen tools made by NUK and an iPhone app called “Annabel’s Essential Guide to Feeding your Baby and Toddler.” She recently gave me a good idea for cooking for both baby and me that is healthy and convenient. She said, “If you are making a root vegetable puree such as sweet potato or butternut squash, bake a couple. One can be pureed for your little one and you can either stuff the potato or squash or add it into a salad for you.”

And the Journey Continues

Natalia Rose, in her book The Raw Food Detox Diet, debunks myths about going raw, teaches you how to steady your course on this mission when real life situations might try to stand in the way, and offers recipes, shopping lists, transitional foods and weekly menus. For mommy, this mostly raw diet will awaken toxins slowly so it’s not such a radical change. She also advises hydrotherapy as a method to aid in the elimination of the awakened toxins. Rose told me that a moderate detox would be best, recommending that I go through a daily ritual of getting a bit of sun, exercise then juicing until lunch where I can have a huge salad with avocado. Dr. Lippman’s advice then comes in as she suggested I have a root veggie broth for a snack before dinner, which should be as conscious as possible.

While cooking for mommy and baby, don’t forget about the spices. Not only do most spices carry medicinal value, but the use of spices stimulates the secretions of digestive enzymes which aids in digestion and elimination. Annabel Karmel recommends using any spices that are regularly eaten by mommy because baby has been receiving these spices in diluted form in mommy’s breast milk. “I love using things like cinnamon with apple, vanilla with peach, fresh thyme with chicken, chives or dill with fish and basil with tomato based purees,” she says.

In Rose’s online educational forum, Life Force Families, there is a downloadable PDF for 6-18 month olds I highly recommend. It discusses making nutritional shakes for baby to introduce them to some raw foods, too, once it’s well-established that baby is ready for solids of course. Here are some “Baby Shake” recipes mostly made from blending fruit with organic leafy greens and fat (like Udo’s Oil or coconut, etc.). Click on the following link to access the pdf:

My four-year-old will benefit from this culinary adventure as well. During my research I learned how to sneak baby’s veggie purees into her very limited menu preferences. I came across Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious, a wonderful read full of mommy wisdom. Seinfeld explains how to get picky eaters to consume more veggies by making extra purees, freezing them and adding them to “big kid” foods like spaghetti and pancakes. I highly recommend this book for any parent with finicky eaters.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned since beginning this journey are to not be afraid of my intuition and to move slowly through this life change. Cereal seemed bland and non-nutritious while real food is much more exciting and full of nutrition. Once my baby’s body was ready to ingest solids, we started him on three weeks of simple food introduction. Since then we have been giving him delicious flavors and pretty close to whatever I’m eating as long as it is soft and safe. Turns out babies like healthy, delicious things too!




Book Suggestions

Detox 4 Women by Natalia Rose

Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby by Annabel Karmel

Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby To Love Good Food by Gill Rapley

The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet and Lifestyle Revolution at Home by Judita Wignall

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Rememdies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements by Phyllis A. Balch

Juice Alive: The Ultimate Guide Juicing Remedies by Larry Trivieri Jr. and Steven Bailey 


Joli Selten Forbes is a freelance writer, photographer and poet based in Valley Village, CA. She is a mother, dancer, gardener and foodie who instigates change in her home and community for what she calls the “Revolution of Consciousness” currently underway. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and her professional bylines can be found at, Flaunt, Shape, Bon Appétit, the LA Times, Press Democrat, Orange Coast Magazine, Minnesota Law & Politics, URB, and many other magazines and newspapers. She is also a regular volunteer for local organizations like Food Not Bombs and music/art festivals like Lightning in a Bottle.


Reader Comments (1)

Cereal and jarred are best for a baby's health. Many parents use these as common baby foods. They are right. Foods are very essential for all living organisms; we found different foods available in market according to age. Generally baby foods are different from other. This blog is very useful for all parents, gives lots of information about baby foods which are really beneficial. I also follow these. In my point of view all parents should read this.
Jul 18, 2014 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrooksjames

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