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The back of a hooded man at a bonfire

Chance Bonfire Meeting Sparks a Raw Food Transformation

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Stories from Arnold's Way by Arnold Kauffman - Fruit-Powered Digest

It was one of those happenings that wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. The day was short—if such a thing exists. The hours were passing by. The daily routine of work ended.

Within that void of what to do and ready to go to sleep, I was feeling ready to go home and chill—not excited about being in the moment and not really excited waiting for the next moment to happen within the frame. I was invited to a bonfire—not my favorite thing to do.

By the time I got there, it was just past dark but not quite black. It was at this moment that I came to be in another dimension, as I sat by a bonfire eating, drinking and listening to the music. I was there for what seemed like hours, listening to the music, watching the fire and being by myself with my own company.

A bonfire roars in the evening

What appeared to be everyone’s being mesmerized by the flame of the fire was actually everyone’s waiting for a signal from anyone to have enough gumption to quietly stand up and say, “I am ready for bed.” It was during such a moment that I made my move, not realizing that as I was ready to call it quits for the night, so was everyone else. As I was leaving, in the corner of my eye, I noticed a big, bulky man making a strenuous effort, not just to lift himself but to place his legs in the proper position so that he could use his arm strength to rise. I stated to myself, “Poor guy—he doesn’t stand a chance.”

With that thought, I left, politely saying goodbye to everyone else who, at the time, were faceless souls in the dark. Within minutes I met the guitar man who I knew from a while ago. We spoke briefly and, me being who I am, I invited him to my store, though we barely knew each other.

The darkness of the night brings words of truth, light and letting go. The guitar man thanked me for the offer. I offered him a green smoothie for old time’s sake.

We shook hands, and as I was searching my way through the darkness back to the road, the burly man who was struggling to rise caught up with me. To my surprise, he knew me. He knew me from years ago, six to be exact. Although we had never met, his girlfriend and I had. She was, for a time, my housemate, and I shared my ways of the raw lifestyle with her. She persuaded him six years ago to come into my store. He grudgingly came through the doors as she tried to share with him about why one should stop eating meat and why one should become a vegan. At the time, Chuck wasn’t interested. He was having his fun. He could not see changing his lifestyle. He was not ready, even though at that time he had almost died of an epileptic seizure and was way overweight. Chuck could not, in his wildest imagination, change his ways.

Charles Schmidt and Arnold Kauffman smile while hugging
Charles “Chuck” Schmidt Jr. and Arnold Kauffman enjoy a moment at the September 21, 2013, potluck at the raw vegan café Arnold’s Way in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Six years later, he decided that his way of life was not working. He, now a man of 30, was in a body of a man twice his age. He was on and off—in a state of depression, was taking seizure medication for all the seizures he had been experiencing over the years and had cellulitis to such an extent that his legs were always in pain. Added to these major health issues were other serious side effects: sleep apnea, aches and pains all over and living in a world where there was no hope. Chuck had reached a point where he had enough.

He wanted to change, and he remembered our first meeting at the café, six years prior. His thoughts were of my words and presence. For whatever reason, all these thoughts that were hovering in his mind came to an abrupt halt on the night of the campfire.

On the night he saw me. On the night he saw me walking away.

Chuck knew what he had to do. He followed me, stopped me and began sharing. I, at the time, wasn’t sure what to expect, and to be perfectly honest wasn’t quite sure whether it would be a pleasurable encounter or a heated discussion of who is right.

Recipe for Green 'n' Clean Smoothie from Brian Rossiter

Chuck’s excitement to finally see me calmed my initial trepidation of “What does this big man who I haven’t seen in six years want from me?” Within the first few sentences, I knew that Chuck came to me seeking help. I felt Chuck’s passion for a better world, better self and, most importantly, better health. It is on this note, knowing what I know about the possibilities of how being on a raw lifestyle for just 30 days can create change and knowing that I had the tools—green smoothies, which are the backbone of transitional change in that they are nutrient rich, calorically rich and require little time for digestion—I offered Chuck to come in for a free green smoothie.

Chuck knew deep down that his health was on a downward spiral and also knew that, in life, there are no accidents. He took me up on my offer. He came in, grabbed a green smoothie and was mesmerized and overwhelmed. He was also not sure what his next step should be.

At the time, the café was very busy, and I could not chat, but the circumstances really did not matter because Chuck had the driving force to get better and become healthier. He had given up alcohol two years prior, started changing his diet but was now in somewhat of a dilemma. Like many Americans, he was receiving so much information from various sources that he did not know who to believe or what to eat. He remembered his days working at a meat-packing place that kills 10,000 pigs a day. He remembered the smell of death. It not only permeated throughout the building he worked in, but this literal death stench could be smelled from more than a half-mile away.

A pig penned up in an enclosure

He remembered truck after truck, full of pigs, arriving as if there were a holiday parade. Each pig knew of the death that awaited them. They were helpless and hopeless with families of brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, but not yet their children. Their time, however, would also come.

It is horrific for those who are killed as well as for those who realize that what they have been eating has affected so many lives. On this note, Chuck had become affected by where he worked, what he ate and what his body was becoming. As he was in the café, drinking his green smoothie, he realized in that moment that he must return to Arnold’s Way day after day to find the solution to his health.

My ex-fiancée used to say when I came home from work that I smelled like murder. You know what? She was right! How horrible!

—Charles “Chuck” Schmidt Jr. writes in his transformation story.

Chuck came back a second time, and it was then that I had a chance to talk to him. I explained the benefits of a raw vegan diet. I explained that the magic begins when one incorporates more fruit into their diet. In the body, very little energy is spent on digesting fruit. Fruit takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to process in comparison to meat, which takes about 100 hours.

I explained that uric acid, which is essentially the urine of another animal, is a destructive acid that can destroy the heart and that the infinite wisdom of the body has to neutralize it before it does just that. The body releases calcium from either the blood or the bones, becoming calcium uric crystals.

It was barely a 10-minute talk that we had, but Chuck heard my words and had a deep feeling of relief that there was now hope. He no longer had to feel imprisoned by the slow digestion of his body and knew there was another option to the 10 pills he had been taking each day.

That day, Chuck went home and became partially raw vegan. He began eating fruit and veggies during the day and, for dinner, had his traditional meat meal. He did that for two weeks and began seeing the difference. During this time, he was still coming to Arnold’s Way and buying green smoothies.

Panels featuring a rainbow of fruits

I saw his persistence and integrity to change his lifestyle for the better, so I offered him my 30-Day Raw Challenge for free. As part of the program, participants receive a 16-ounce green smoothie and an entrée every day for 30 days. It was a no-brainer on Chuck’s part. He took me up on my offer beginning August 1, which was two weeks after he came into the store and after meeting briefly six years prior.

Chuck took to his raw food transformation like a baby duck to water. It literally was his calling. During the program, he began weaning himself off all his medication. Inch by inch, step by step, within six weeks he was off all his medication, which included pills for epilepsy, depression, cellulitis and bipolar disorder.

What happened next was miraculous. Chuck regained his life! He hadn’t felt this good in so many years. His cloud and shroud had been lifted. Chuck could see the blue sky, the still water and experience the rejoicing of life as it renews itself. Chuck became a new man.

Now that a couple of months have gone by, Chuck is now up to a 47-pound weight loss, has a job he enjoys and regained his family of two children, who were previously taken from him. Chuck is now a happy person.

Know that that life is worth living once you give the body the right material to process. I thank you for your time.

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