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More on ABC's Wife Swap

About 2 weeks ago we mentioned how ABC's Wife Swap was looking for raw families to be featured on their program.

A lot of readers had issues with the show's intentions and possible ramifications. Overall, the two primary concerns were:

  1. Raw food being portrayed in a satirical or detrimental manner
  2. Raw families accused of "nutritional negligence" by Social Services (see Andressohn's Case)

My personal opinion on the the matter is as follows: While Wife Swap may not be the best show in the world for raw foodist to be highlighted on, it still is an opportunity for millions to hear about the potential of the lifestyle. Especially if the family chosen is well educated, healthy and warm.

Would I want my family on the show? Yes! Unfortunately we're all little too old, but man, my family would kill. I can just imagine my mom setting the other house straight and educating them about the power of raw food. The other family's dad would have his mouth wide open as my mom would be throwing their frozen meat in the trash.

And you know yours truly, Mr. WLIR Editor, would have the visiting mom saying good-bye to her SAD diet. I'd teach her how to make a raw chocolate smoothie and have her meditating within the first 15 minutes!

At the same time I can imagine the editors cutting here and there to make us look like idiots, that's the nature of Reality TV. But, from my experience with marketing, I'm a firm believer that we live in an age where all press is good press.

As to the second aspect, the negligence issue, I do agree there is a real chance of it happening, especially to families with younger kids. However, I feel that it would be a non-issue to a family who's kids were vibrant and beautiful examples of young rawies. Kids that were educated and doing it not because their parents forced them, but rather because they loved how they felt eating raw. How great would it be to see a young son and daughter telling the visiting mom that they can't eat pizza because they don't like how they feel afterwards? Man, that would be some good TV!

Well enough from me. I wanted to make sure I gave Heather Teta, casting director from ABC, a chance to speak her mind too. Here is an email she sent me last week:

Dhru,

Thank you so much for posting my reply on your blog.  I have been in contact with Victoria Boutenko and have read her concerns about the show.  I’m aware that her e-mail has circulated throughout the raw foods community and I just wanted to take a moment to explain to you – as I explained to her – our approach to this topic.

I only found out about the legal battles involved with raw food philosophy after families started applying and telling me about them. My heart goes out to these families who are struggling to get their lives back to normal and I assure you – and anyone who has concerns – that our goal isn’t to depict the raw foods movement in a dark or demeaning light.  If I thought the raw food diet was even slightly harmful to kids I wouldn’t even pursue the topic – that’s not of any interest to us or ABC.  So please rest assured that our show isn’t out to make any non-cooked mom look like her kids are malnourished or neglected.  In fact, we have strong background checks in place that make sure families that would allow such a thing don’t make it on the show!

I know from my research that the raw foods diet has helped a lot of families live happier and healthier lifestyles.  With the unbelievable number of kids suffering from childhood obesity it’s refreshing to meet so many families who have their children on track for a healthy lifestyle at such young ages.  As to Victoria’s concerns about viewers who won’t understand the raw foods movement here’s what I can say…there are always going to be people that disagree with any philosophy we feature on the show – but there’s also a lot of people who will have their eyes opened to a new and life changing lifestyle.  Over the past 3 seasons we’ve featured a variety of families including ministers, ballroom dancers, side show performers, models, homesteaders, rockers, fitness instructors and Manhattan socialites.   Each group had their own unique outlook on life and introduced something new and interesting into the lives of another family.  But, I’m sure that along the way there were people that disagreed with each of their beliefs as well. That’s the beauty of free speech – we’re all entitled to our own opinions.   I can also tell you that our episode wouldn’t only be about eating raw – it would be about the whole family dynamic and how the family lives on a day-to-day basis.  Obviously eating raw would be a big part of the featured family’s life but we’d also focus on their parenting style, interests and hobbies outside the family, daily routine, etc.

Our program is about featuring different parenting styles and lifestyles across the country that work for the individuals involved. I feel that after this particular episode airs a lot of our viewers will be interested in learning more about the raw foods philosophy and trying it with their own kids!   We realize that not every family in the raw foods movement will be open to sharing their lives with us for 10 days and we do respect Victoria’s concerns about the program.  My request is that any family who is interested in learning more will contact me with questions and consider all of the information before making a snap judgment about the show.

Hopefully this e-mail has cleared up at least my approach to this topic.  I realize there are some opponents to the philosophy – as there are in every philosophy – but hopefully we will shed some positive light on the subject.

Best,
Heather Teta

Comments

AlicePhillips

omg those people are gross i do the raw food diet to lose weight but i don't eat raw meat that is gross i also don't force my husband of my children to eat what i eat i make there food then i make mine i think it is child abuse to force your child to eat raw meat and to live in a house that looks like that and to have some one who lives in a house like that complain because she can smell bleach is just stupid and then to complain that oh no there house is germ free what kind of parent would allow there children to live like that i know that the producers have to make some people out to be worse then the other but i saw the shower so even if they did make them look crazy i don't think the producers came in and said yea lets fuck this place up it takes years to make a home look like that

cat

I must say that the people that have posted over the past few years on this family and poking fun at them is ridiculous not only DO animals eat uncooked food but we started that way too. If it were not for us trying to test the laws of nature and making food last longer we would still be eating raw.

Shelle

The episode of wife swap worried me about the water intake and the washing the house.

they all have red cheeks but the mum starts to get better skin the longer she is away.

her gums are decaying, the brushing action is what cleans ure teeth more then anything else, water and a brush would do better then butter and clay.

i dont mind that she raises her own animals and eats it raw as they seem to have energy but i wonder abotu washing things down with water and/or vinegar, even lemon is a great cleaner. u dont have to use chemicals to clean.

i think the show was cut so that it looked bad, as they didnt show any vegies, and the father and son both seemed to have alot of trouble controling there temper. the daughter seemed sweet and happy.

i would consider a raw diet, i dont see a problem eating raw fish or egg when prepared right, but i couldnt have beef or chicken personally, but if i did it would have ot be washed with water, vinegar or lemon. these ppl didnt appear to be doing that.

i just think it was to extreme to be healthy, ok dont go commercial and chemical but to go so unhygenic there is a healthy middle u jus thave to find it and i dont believe that family had.

ThePlimp

This is insane... is there more than one family that will only eat food raw? What is the world coming too? I hope you all die from salmonella so this act of stupidity is erased from the human race.

Rinny

If one more person tries the "humans USED to eat raw meat!" plea, I will literally throw up. Who exactly used to eat it? Beethoven? Einstein? Plato? Are you seriously making an argument that it's okay to eat raw meat because CAVEMEN did it?

You do realize the fact that we live 5x as long as our raw meat eating ancestors is a step in the RIGHT direction, don't you? If these people want to permanently affect the health and physical well-being of their kids, they're doing a fabulous job. Unbelievable.

Hannah

Are you fucking retarded?

brittishbabe

I saw this on TV tonight - I have to say that it seems v.natural, the family looked great, and their health was medically confirmed!!

I actually want to go on the same diet. Does anyone know where i can get more information?x

brittishbabe

I think some people are judging this family way to harshly and only according to social supposition. -I'm not going to knock anything until i've tried it & found out the score my self.

Oh - and their bound to be a bit different obviously. I mean - the nearest city/human contact is like 90 miles away! That's just how it often goes in the countryside.

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