Closeup | Harley Johnstone on the Woodstock Fruit Festival Controversy, Changing Focus
Harley Johnstone is photographed at The Woodstock Fruit Festival
Closeup Fruit-Powered Digest Issues Issue 15

Harley Johnstone on the Woodstock Fruit Festival Controversy, Changing Focus

Harley “Durianrider” Johnstone is interviewed by Brian Rossiter on December 5, 12 days after the Woodstock Fruit Festival Board of Governors announced it voted to remove him and partner Freelee from the pioneers list and invited the couple, who co-operate 30BananasADay.com, the world’s leading high-carb raw vegan forum, as special guests.

“Sometime in the recent past they decided that the importance of a very high-carbohydrate diet was critically more important than the principle of maintaining a raw food diet,” a post from Michael Arnstein announced. “They now advocate that eating as many carbohydrates as you can in the form of fruit or processed and refined foods is a more sustainable option. The Woodstock Fruit Festival, being an organization that is governed by a Board of Governors, didn’t feel that this change was in line with how our Pioneers should represent themselves to the larger festival community.”


What was your reaction to your being demoted from pioneers at the 2014 Woodstock Fruit Festival to special guests and how did you learn this news? What are your thoughts about these classifications? Who, ultimately, is hurt by this division, and how can these splintered movements—vegan, high-carb and raw—join forces to reach more people?

Good question. Mike Arnstein called me up and basically said: ‘You got no friends, Harley! None! They want you out!’. Mike recommended we change our tune and not be so transparent on YouTube, etc. We didn’t want to as we had been getting more people over to the fruity lifestyle by offering them a bit of middle ground with the goal of going further into the fruitarian lifestyle. We found a niche audience that was being neglected and are feeding it rapidly. Who is hurt by this division? Well, all the people that talked sh–t behind my back despite us supporting them for years on end. We no longer promote them anymore. We are putting on a fruit festival in Thailand for free in 2014. It’s not in competition with WFF as it’s something different, [with a] different location and different time. Both have their role in this movement.


Watch Harley and Freelee Respond to the WFF Fallout


There was a time not too long ago when you both pushed nothing but a high-carb, fruit-based raw food diet. Was there a specific event or was there a realization over time, perhaps with the success of the Raw Till 4 Facebook initiative, to expand the focus of your lifestyle promotions to include cooked carbohydrates? Was the wholly raw food movement not growing quickly enough for you?

The raw food movement has pretty much died. The only forum that exists with a strong heartbeat is 30BaD. We don’t sell any powders or pills on there. Just focus on giving as much free information and support as possible. DTM [Dan “The Man” McDonald”] had a forum for a few weeks but had to close it due to him not making enough money on it and people not really [being] interested in it. I think people are finally starting to see what that guy is all about. $. There is a reason everyone has started calling him “ATM The Bank Account Regenerator!” LOL!

Anyways, we just want to end the purity mindset and help people make better dietary and lifestyle choices instead of trying to get them to go full throttle into something only a very small percentage of the planet can actually do due to finances and situational convenience. Most people can’t afford to spend $150 a day on organic mangoes when living in Australia. Most people don’t want to eat bananas and lettuce on thanksgiving. Most people don’t realize Kristina has a maid that makes all her food for meals, videos and photos. They just think that’s what they have to do—they try it for a week then fail and we never see them again. We have been at this in concentrated dosages for five years with our forum that just gets bigger each month. We have done the math and seen that people do raw foods for just a few weeks and that’s it. We never seem again. We want to prevent that. Even if it means we get “demoted” by people that also eat cooked foods but don’t make it public ’cause they fear a loss in book or festival ticket sales. That’s sad, though.

Only when we are truthful can we really make change I feel. Lasting change, I’m talking about. So yeah, we push fruit as much if not more than ever. We just have a backup plan for the people that can’t afford $250 [U.S. dollars] like I literally spent on food for one day last week in Adelaide, Australia. I ate watermelon, strawberries and durian. I did a YouTube video about it.


Watch Harley’s Recent Video on Spending $250 on Raw Food Meals for a Day


Based on some comments on your channels and Facebook, it’s clear some might not grasp your mission and lifestyle recommendations. Can you state what they are to dissolve any confusion?

We talk and walk:

  • 100 percent vegan diet.
  • No steroids or recreational drugs.
  • No weight loss drugs.
  • No calorie restriction.
  • No forced fasting.
  • No eating cooked nuts to “stay raw no matter what.”
  • No overtraining.
  • No undertraining.
  • 90/5/5 caloric ratios.
  • Minimal salt intake.
  • Minimal oil. (Ideally none especially if the person has heart issues or excess body fat.)
  • Drink enough water for clear urination at least 10 times a day.
  • 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight per day. If you are obese, this might be physically impossible. Just do your best.
  • Early nights. Sleep as much as you need.
  • Positive mental focus.
  • Unlimited sweet fruit calories.
  • Have a backup plan of high-carb vegan starch meals or tinned fruits.
  • B12 injections if one has slow metabolism or B12 issues.

Since you’ve served up alternatives such as potatoes, rice and vegan pizza to fruit- and vegetable-based dinners, can you provide any statistics as to the response you’ve observed in your subscriber bases as well as summarize feedback you’ve received—good and bad. 

Off the charts subscribers on all social media outlets. For December 2013, I will get over 3.4 million views alone on my main channel. That’s more in one month than I got in the first three years of YouTube! LOL!

Most who are mostly raw figure out in time that they feel their best when they eat wholly raw. Is part of your changed mission to give as many as possible an opportunity to even have this eureka moment? Or are you going at this strictly to give them backup options, as you put it, to fruits and vegetables, expensive in many places?

We are very hardline on our forum, 30BaD. We want to give people that absolute pure raw experience so they can work out what direction they want to head [in]. We say no raw garlic or onions. No salt or oil. Just fruit and veg. Maybe a handful of nuts and seeds a week, if desired. That way people can strip it right down and go from there. They can stay with that or add in other high-carb vegan foods. It’s up to them. Depends on their goals and current situation.

Is it fair to say that as longtime mostly fruitarians, you’re putting your bodies on the line by eating all this cooked food to help inspire and inform many about how making significant lifestyle changes can still be affordable and accessible—and allow them to eat more than just salad at restaurants in this real world we live in? 

I disagree as I know plenty of raw fooders that eat well but don’t sleep much and you can see it under their eyes. I don’t care how clean you are eating, you are breaking down your health from lack of sleep. Then there are the raw food gurus that socially are very backward. They have no real friends and are single despite being attractive. They can’t get a partner, as mentally they are on edge from eating too much fat, not enough fruit sugars, not enough water and/or not enough sleep. So we eat most of our calories from fruit. Count on it. We just like to have a backup plan, teach it and promote it. It’s pretty cool now having that option when traveling or doing big miles on the bike during January. We are never hungry anymore.

How long do you envision yourselves continuing to post ultra-transparent videos showing what you eat in a single day?

We are always going to keep doing it. People are loving it! They can relate to us more now. They see other raw food channels on YouTube, and they can see through the fake smiles or the sales hype. People go to YouTube because they want to connect. Sure, you can’t convince everyone they are being fooled, but you can convince some. Mark Twain said, ‘It’s easier to fool people than convince them they have been fooled!’ I totally agree! LOL!

Harley, how did you feel after eating those three pizzas for dinner? One might think you’re training for an eating competition to shine a light on veganism. 

I felt fine. I drank my water that day and ate early and went to bed around 8 or 9 p.m. I only ate around 3,000 calories from vegan pizza in that video. I normally eat 2,500 calories from fruits for lunch, so it’s not much more of a stretch. That video is almost 30,000 views now. That’s pretty much in just a few weeks. I’m not buying any views or subscriptions either. People are, though. Some people have marketing agencies they hire even! All our YouTube views, likes, comments and subscribers are 100 percent genuine.

Thai-Fruit-Fest-01-500px

There is talk on social media about a Thailand gathering you might head up. Can you share any details?

It’s called Thai Fruit Fest 2014. There is a Facebook link for it. I don’t have it as I don’t have a Facebook page I can comment on. I only have a fan page, and that doesn’t let me enter groups. So yeah, it’s a free event. Just get your asses to Chiang Mai, Thailand. All the details will be on that Facebook group and 30BaD this week.

Any final words before you go biking for the day’s fruit and carbs for cooking?

Keep the carbs strong. Keep the sleep high. Keep the hydration flowing. Train smarter vs. harder. Take advice from people who don’t want to rape your Mastercard! Take advice from people who walk their talk. Do your homework on someone before you commit much time and energy into applying their message to your lifestyle. Learn how to critically think. Learn how to judge wisely. Avoid the snake-oil sellers of the raw food movement! Above all, have fun and feast on some quality fruits! 🙂


Explore Harley’s main YouTube channel and website, Durianrider.com, for more!


Harley Johnstone, a.k.a. "Durianrider," photographed running and cycling Check out Harley’s transformation profile!


Harley Johnstone, a.k.a. "Durianrider," riding a bicycle Discover Harley’s Top 10 Tips to a healthful lifestyle!


Marang by Harley "Durianrider" Johnstone Hungry for more? Check out Harley’s simple directions for enjoying marang!

About the author

Brian Rossiter

Brian Rossiter

Editor of Fruit-Powered.com, Fruit-Powered Digest and Fruit-Powered Video, Brian Rossiter guides health seekers in creating supreme vitality through the Fruit-Powered Life Force Center’s natural health services: the Fruit-Powered Lifestyle Coaching Program and Posture Exercises Method. Brian, who enjoys a low-fat raw food diet and posture correction exercises and calisthenics, is also the author of the raw food transition and recipe books Alive!, A Taste of Raw Food: 7 Days of Smoothies ’n’ Salads and the four-volume Mouthwatering Recipe Book Series.

1 Comment

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  • “Then there are the raw food gurus that socially are very backward. They have no real friends and are single despite being attractive. They can’t get a partner, as mentally they are on edge from eating too much fat, not enough fruit sugars, not enough water and or not enough sleep.”

    Well, if putting “lol” in a professional interview wasn’t enough, then we have you judging people based on how many friends they have and if they have a significant other(s) or not? Wow. I have no words.

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