|Sent on:||Wednesday, August 10, 2011 1:55 PM|
I'm 21 years old and I live in Santa Rosa, California. I'm a full time musician. I play electric and upright bass in several bands, and teach bass lessons privately. I'm investing energy regularly in my raw food website, which is a blast. Aside from that, I'm doing some modeling, doing organic produce demos part-time, and enjoying my amazing life.
I grew up eating a pretty standard American diet. I loved candy and dessert, hated vegetables, and ate animal products every day. I remember my sophomore year of high school I would come home from school, eat 8 Foster Farms corn dogs, and watch the Brady Bunch.
Below: Josh's movie snacks.
My health was pretty mediocre. I wasn't 'sick' in a way that our culture recognizes, but I was overweight, had acne all over my chest, face, and back, hated the way my body looked, and had really poor fitness. My junior year of high school I had a fit of tachycardia, which to me indicates that all those corn dogs were hanging out in my arteries!
Below: Josh Before
Basically. I don't think I had a very long vegetarian phase. My first move was towards organic and a 'whole foods' approach, which of course is not really whole foods since it involves a lot of cooking.
I tried being a vegan for 90 days and I hated it! I ate pepperoni pizza after the 90 days were up. In retrospect, I was eating WAY too much fat in the form of nuts, seeds, and oils, and not satiating myself with high carb foods, which would have made me a lot happier, I think.
But of course I couldn't settle for the level of health that pepperoni pizza affords us, so I kept moving with my diet, and eventually committed to being vegan after reading the first chapter of Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, which is a very compelling logical argument against the torture and killing of animals.
Being a vegan dramatically improved my health. I lost excess weight, my acne improved, and I starting cycling, as well as doing yoga and pilates. But I still felt that my health could be better, which led me to discover raw food diets.
My introduction to raw food was through the typical high-fat gourmet approach. I would go raw for a week at most before 'giving in to cravings,' which I now interpret as my body crying out for sufficient calories from carbohydrates! Trying to be satiated and eat enough food when every dish is 70%+ fat is just absurd. I felt confused. I stumbled my way through various authors and supplements/superfoods they recommended, with no tangible improvement to my health.
Lucky for me, I stumbled across a thread on Give It To Me Raw (an online raw food forum) where people were discussing some wacko Australian called the Durianrider. I watched his youtube videos, and they made a lot of sense to me. I read The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug Graham and decided to try it out for 30 days.
I hated it! I missed curry, vegan pizza, burritos, and other 'comfort foods.' But I kept moving, finding how I could make it work for me, and eventually found that I could enjoy my diet even more than I used to, without abusing my body to hide from my feelings with heavy foods.
I've been transitioning to a low fat raw diet since December 2008, and I've been 100% raw since February 16, 2010.
The most challenging piece of the puzzle was cravings. I was actually 100% raw for over 6 months in 2009, and ended up crashing back onto cooked (vegan) food until February of the next year.
For most people starting out a raw diet, I think that cravings are most directly related to not eating enough calories from sweet fruit. I say this all the time, and I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but I am constantly reminded how important it is to eat enough, having grown up on a diet where I need less food volume to get sufficient calories. I think counting calories to ensure sufficient nutrition is pretty crucial for beginners.
The other place that cravings arise is when we're trying to meet our emotional needs with food. It never works, but we try and try and try, and keep giving cooked food chance after chance, hoping that somehow we can make ourselves happy with food. My experience is that it simply does not work.
And that's what made me crash back in 2009. I was unhappy in some ways, and I still had unconscious beliefs that cooked food would somehow give me what I felt I was lacking, which was love. But I was afraid of cravings, and denied to myself that I had them.
So like anything we suppress into our shadow, it built up, and finally surfaced in my falling off the wagon. This was really a blessing, as it called me to confront these cravings, and really be willing to acknowledge their presence. I learned that I could allow cravings to exist without reacting foolishly by eating cooked food. I used a simple process of increasing my awareness, and understanding what emotional needs I was trying to meet with food, and from there I could decide intelligently how to meet my emotional needs without abusing my body like a bad parent. I wrote an article on how to eliminate cravings that goes into more detail on that.
I am 100% raw. I always want to do what's best for my body, and cooked food is never the best.
It was an immense challenge! I recommend against it. I did stay 100% raw, which resulted in unwanted calorie restriction, since despite my persistent efforts I could not get enough fruit for myself every day. Many nights I couldn't sleep, since with inadequate nutrition the body can't properly produce serotonin or melatonin. The fruit I did have on the ship was not organic, fresh, ripe, or good tasting most of the time.
In retrospect, it would have been better for my health to eat some cooked vegetables, especially yams and potatoes, to get a sufficient calorie intake. Calorie restriction is the worst idea ever. It has taken months to recover from the 5 months I spent on the ship eating a calorie restricted raw diet.
So many! I can't imagine going back to any of the other diets I've tried, seeing how much more fun it is to eat this way long term. My acne is better, my skin is super soft, I smell nice without needing any hygiene products, I don't get sick, and apparently kissing me always tastes like bananas.
On the creative side of the spectrum, it's really improved my artistry to be a raw foodist. I have more energy to rehearse/perform/compose, even when I have 2-3 gigs in the same day. I'm emotionally stable and consistently present, in part thanks to my body and brain having adequate nutrition. I don't miss gigs due to illness. My creative process is never interrupted by addictive food-related thoughts, fantasizing about gourmet meals or whatever.
So much fruit! Yesterday I juiced a bunch of organic navel oranges for breakfast, and ate organic khadrawy dates the rest of the day. I have 60lb of cherimoya coming soon from Southern California that I'm really excited about.
I generally eat between[masked] calories a day, never less, unless I want to be hungry and sad. I only eat greens when they're appealing to me, which varies from every day to every week to every month. I trust my senses, since I know I'm not unconsciously sabotaging myself with guilt about eating 'too much' or otherwise 'shoulding' on myself.
It varies lately. I injured myself being stupid last month, so once my wrist is fully recovered I'm going to get back to cycling. Lately I've been doing some light strength training 3-4 times a week, and that's almost it.
Honestly, I'm still getting back on the exercise wagon since being on the cruise ship. The calorie restriction really destroyed my fitness, and I'm excited to get pumped back up, hopefully in time to keep up with the guys and gals at the Woodstock Fruit Festival this August!
Ha! I don't care about drinking or smoking. If I want to hurt myself, I can just hit my head against the wall and save some money on beer and cigarettes. I can still party when I want to without harming my body. That said, I don't really go out and party anyway, I'm always in the band while other people are partying!
We do so much damage to our bodies with cooked food, especially animal products. It takes time to repair. However, I don't really regret my life. It's my unique journey through health and disease that allows me to help other people in my unique way.
Definitely. Most of my friends are not raw or even vegan, but the type of people who think veganism is stupid are not the type of people I interact with regularly.
My sister really got into veganism thanks to my militancy in my early days as a vegan. Perhaps the one person I ever convinced of anything by being rude! Now she's interested in raw food big time, and I'm excited for her.
My parents did start eating a more plant-based diet as I transitioned to veganism, but there's definitely still a gap between what I think would be best for their health, and what they choose to eat. And maybe there will always be that gap, and that's okay. I love them ridiculously, and I will always support them in making healthy choices.
In my Zen tradition, sacred stewardship and conscious embodiment are both critical practice elements, and in my view that means the way we eat is an indicator of our embodiment. To eat an unhealthy diet out of ignorance is understandable, but once we become aware that a low fat raw vegan diet is optimal for humans, nonhuman animals, and our planet, it is absolutely unimaginable to me to live in willful ignorance.
So at this stage in my understanding of nutrition, eating a raw food diet is the way that I show my compassionate, deep heart in the world. I care deeply, and I refuse to act like a fool and hurt myself or my loved ones.
There are definitely moments where I think of a vegan burrito, a vegan pizza, a curry, and the memory of it appeals to me. I had one of those moments today! And I'm totally okay with that.
I'm not afraid when those thoughts arise, because I recognize that I am not thoughts. I observe them. From this perspective how could a craving control me? At this point I can look at cooked food, even enjoy the smell of it (though the smells are increasingly repulsive the longer I eat raw!) without feeling triggered to eat it, because I know what I want, which is health, and cooked food does not allow for the level of health I choose.
I haven't taken any supplements since I started transitioning to low fat raw in December 2008. I had some blood work done in mid 2010 in preparation for my cruise ship gig, which looked great, but didn't include B12 or other nutrients I'm curious about. I'll probably get blood work done relatively soon out of curiosity, and I would be willing to supplement B12 if it seemed like an intelligent response to a low B12 level. But I have no reason to suspect any nutrient deficiencies at this point.
My teeth are healthier than ever, I feel wonderful, I'm able to make athletic gains (though I'm admittedly still frustrated about all the fitness I lost on a calorie restricted diet on the cruise ship), and I'm happy with my diet.
They taste good! For the first time in my life, I can actually trust my senses, and eat the foods that really excite me. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and as much as I want. It's awesome.
I suppose the most challenging thing for me lately is looking at how many people in this world are willing to participate in the torture and killing of nonhuman animals, who I consider to be extended family members. It's a challenge, but also an imperative, for me to continue to find compassionate, playful, constructive ways to address that issue. Our world cannot survive if ignorance stays as widespread as it does now.
But I'm optimistic.
Socializing on a raw diet is the best. I am a man with many social selling points - rock star, tall, handsome, friendly - and being a wacky raw foodist is yet another one. Being happy with my choices, I'm just thrilled to share my health and excitement with others. Eating raw in social situations is an opportunity to spread awareness of true health and sustainable eating.
I don't really go to restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants where I could order what I call a 'rock star salad' - tomato, lettuce, avocado - or eat at the salad bar or something, but I just don't find myself in a lot of situations where I need to go to a restaurant. I like to spend time with people when they aren't sedated and intoxicated by poor food choices. Communing over food is great, but it's not the only way, or even the best way, to connect with other humans.
The raw food diet definitely does come up in dating and relationships. Your partner might not have to eat the same way as you, but they definitely need to respect your choices, or the relationship is absolutely doomed.
Personally, I want a close, long-term partnership with a woman, and I imagine that will happen with another low fat raw vegan. I'm currently dating a girl who is eating a standard American diet. I accept her choices, and also recognize that she could make choices that would better serve her health.
It's a delicate balance for sure, to see possibilities for someone without getting attached to changing them. I'm finding that balance right now, and it's working really well. We watchedEarthlings together last week. I appreciated her willingness to do so. I've been making lots of fun low fat raw recipes for us as well. I introduced her to mangoes. I couldn't believe she hadn't eaten a mango! What a fun thing to share with someone. Mangoes are super sexy.
I'm excited about it! Life is the best, and it just gets better. I think that low fat raw has a big future.
As I'm aware of it, the gourmet raw scene is really in its death throes. The high-fat diet simply doesn't work, so all of its followers are either going back to cooked food or eating dead animals, and have decided that raw food doesn't work.
But raw food does work. You just have to do it right.
The guitar is not the problem, it's the lack of skill. Similarly, raw food is not the problem. Calorie restriction, high fat intake (as a % of calorie intake), consumption of animal foods, spices, salt, vinegar, oil, etc., are the problems. If anyone is willing to just try a low fat raw diet, they can see for themselves how awesome it is!
I think that as people come into health crises from their western diets, more and more people will come to raw food because they want something that works for them, and raw food can actually give them what they're looking for.
My dashing good looks.
Ha. I think the biggest factor is this: I am absolutely willing to face myself. I look into myself deeply, relentlessly, lovingly, and leave no stone unturned. The reason people give up hope, crash and burn, or think raw food doesn't work is that they are not truly willing to change, to give up their ideas about who they are.
I'm willing to be wrong. I'm willing to screw up. And I'm willing to surrender to truth, and the ever-spiraling complexity of life unfolding.
That's all it takes to succeed on a raw food diet. Willingness to do it. Are you willing to look deeply into your psyche, face your shadow, your cravings, your fears? Are you willing to embrace and release those parts of you that you most push away? Are you willing to come into this physical body and hear what it is communicating to you?
There's no magic involved. Just be willing, and you will succeed. I'm confident that you have what it takes.
Eat more fruit! Have fun! Find your favorite fruit to eat and eat as much as you want!
Don't worry. Make mistakes. Listen to your mind, but do not be defined by or limited to it. You are not your cravings, your past beliefs, your traditions, or your history.
You are this light, and you can absolutely succeed with raw foods.
Raw food has changed my life so much, and I believe it can improve anyone's life who's willing to take it on.
Starting Raw Food Freedom was a way for me to continue spreading awareness of how to take on a proper diet and lifestyle, and the benefits of doing so. In the remaining months of 2011, I'd like to see the site continue to grow, both in the amount of information available and the amount of people accessing the site.
Eventually I'll write some e-books to package info in another accessible format, as well as continuing to make recipe videos with ridiculous songs, like my banana smoothie recipe video.
Ultimately, music is my main time investment, but spreading health, and veganism especially, is so important to me, and will always be part of my life. At least, until everyone is already vegan and I don't need to talk about it anymore. That might take a little while though.
Raw food is not an alternative, it's the imperative. We are all humans, and we all deserve to eat the diet our bodies are best designed for. It's always the right time to move towards health. You deserve it. Your loved ones deserve it. Your animal friends deserve it. Earth deserves it. It's time to rock!
That concludes this fabulous interview on raw food eating with Josh. Loads of inspiration here! And definitely do check out Josh's awesome new raw food diet website Raw-Food-Freedom.net for lots of great information. You can also check out his music on JoshFossgreen.com.
This email message originally included an attachment.