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HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES

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Disease-Free Living Through Fitness and Nutrition

BOOK REVIEW


Raw Family: A True Story of Awakening
by Victoria, Igor, Sergei, and Valya Boutenko.
101 Pages, Paperback, $14.95
Reviewed by Ray Coffey

Many immigrants have come to this country in search of "the American Dream." Some have found their dream, and have embodied the true delights of capitalism, democracy, and freedom. Some have had altogether different experiences.

The Boutenkos arrived from Russia more than ten years ago, when the children, Sergie and Valya, were pre-school age. Pursuit of the American Dream led them to open six successful businesses which reaped them untold wealth and the privileges it brings.

It also led to gastronomic orgies at the most exotic restaurants and an acquired taste for the standard American diet: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, Dunking Donuts, candies, cakes, pies and ice cream.

After a few years the family was becoming a physical wreck. Victoria, a "normal" Russian weight of 184 lbs on arrival, gained more than 100 pounds in less than two years. She stopped weighing herself when the scales tipped at 334 lbs. Diseased, depressed and disillusioned, she lost her will to live and was often suicidal.

Eight year old Valya had severe Asthma and was unable to run and play with her friends. Ten-year-old Sergie was overweight, rebellious, had rotting teeth, and was diagnosed with insulin-dependent Diabetes.

Father, Igor, was struggling with crippling Arthritis, high cholesterol, thyroid problems, and a dangerously high pulse that climbed to 178.

But it was the prospect of Sergeiís dependence on insulin that pulled Victoria out of her fog. She found Sergei unconscious on the bathroom floor after an orgy on Halloween candy. The doctor who examined him diagnosed Type I Diabetes and said it was incurable.

"The Raw Family," written by each of the four family members, recounts his/her own experiences, perceptions, resistance, and finally, total resolve and motivation to remain on nothing but raw foods.

On being diagnosed with Diabetes, Sergei writes: "Rivers of tears poured from momís eyes. She cried all that night, and when I was leaving for school she was still sitting in the kitchen with tears in her eyes."

Valya writes how she learned of her brotherís illness: "She (Mother) told me Sergei had an incurable disease which would cause him to lose his eyesight, and kidneys. Later he wouldnít be able to use his legs and heíd possibly die in a coma. He would have to give himself shots daily. After this conversation, I had thoughts that Sergfei might die! My brother, die!"

Victoria, an educator by profession, buried herself in endless research and finally determined the answer was for the entire to go on a totally raw diet, and with no animal products.

The narratives take readers through the decision to change diet, to change sleeping habits, to change from the typical materialistic American lifestyle into one that is much closer to nature. It includes their monumental 6-month long hike on the sometimes treacherous 2,700 mile-long Pacific Trail that begins in California and ends in Washington State.

Along their journey, the narrators tell of re-juvenated health, weight loss, disappearing Arthritis pains, an asthmatic child who can run and play with ease, and a Type I Diabetic who actively pursues life with no insulin injections, and who went from being a school disciplinary problem to the top student in his class. (Now 16 and 17 respectively, Valya and Sergei have been taking college courses for the past two years.)

All four of the Boutenko family members prepare meals, and each has provided favorite recipes in the book.

The warm, loving family is unique and interesting, and in person they are lively, articulate, well-educated, and dedicated to spreading the word about the healing powers of oneís body when given the right circumstances.

The Boutenkos may not have found the American Dream, but they have found abundant health, and their dream of being wealthy has indeed materialized, for "Health Is Wealth!"

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