‘I Keep in Better Shape in My 40s Than I Was in My 20s.’
Among the very if not the strongest human being in the raw vegan world, Jeff Sekerak is pushing 50 and knocks out an astounding number of squats, push-ups and crunches daily. This 49-year-old Ohio native, who now makes his home in Cambodia, has achieved what he calls “eternal youth” and aims to preserve his forever-young ways the rest of his life.
Jeff went vegan overnight about 25 years ago after reading Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s Fit for Life. The longtime athlete had his eyes peeled for ways to raise his performance level, and the promise of the powers of clean eating resonated with him. The diet Jeff wound up eating, however, pales in comparison with the fruit-based and mostly raw vegan diet he’s eaten for about a decade. Jeff consumed lots of cooked and processed carbohydrates and only a small amount of fruits and vegetables. Jeff had indeed improved his lifestyle, but 15 years down the road on this vegan diet, symptoms of poor health began to manifest.
Jeff suffered from insomnia, headaches and low energy as well as nagging aches and pains. He also suffered from constipation. “I now know constipation is the primary cause of most long-term illness,” he said, pointing to the work of German health educator Arnold Ehret for more information. “Just when I was at the end of my rope in terms of patience with all my ailments, I discovered the raw vegan path.”
Jeff absorbed books by Ehret and Dr. Lorraine Day, who reversed terminal cancer on a raw food diet. He later discovered the work of Drs. Adam Dave and Doug Graham. “They all had an influence on me,” he said. “So I switched up my diet. I began consuming an exclusive raw fruit-and-veggie diet. I kicked cooked carbs to the curb!”
Jeff’s body released toxins, saddling him with “cold-like symptoms” during his first two weeks after adopting a raw food diet and then discovered “clear sailing,” he said. “I’ve now been eating a high-raw diet for about 10 years. My health has never been better.”
On this diet, Jeff reports that he sleeps deeply, waking “invigorated.” He also bounces back from demanding workouts far better than ever before. His skin has completely cleared up, whereas it once was “dull” and “lifeless” with “occasional blemishes.”
“Most importantly, the constipation I once suffered is completely gone,” Jeff said. “In fact, I believe that’s the most important benefit anyone can garner from a raw diet. The ability to keep your elimination cycle regular is the fundamental key to long-term great health.” Jeff also said that he has attained a “state of calm, cool stasis in terms of overall health.”
Jeff’s top-notch diet is complemented by challenging daily workouts—centered on calisthenics and running—lasting 90 to 120 minutes. He no longer lifts weights and hasn’t since going raw. “I believe I’ve proven over the past 10 years that you do not need ’em to build the body of your dreams,” he said. “My daily workout consists of a good, solid hour of squats, push-ups and crunches. I do them in sets of 50 to 100, and I do one set, right into the next, with no breaks. That’s a major key to their effectiveness. When you avoid rest during workouts, you build a strength, cardio capacity and mental toughness that’s simply unbeatable.”
Jeff said his workout model, which includes 30 to 60 minutes of sprints or running, is a fast, effective and proven way to burn fat and build “lean, ripped muscle from head to toe,” he said. “Basically, you forge the type of body you can be proud of, wherever you go!”
Jeff gets even more exercise by walking or running everywhere he goes. He no longer owns an automobile.
“It’s this simple protocol—along with the high to 100 percent raw vegan diet—that I attribute to my great condition at age 49,” said Jeff, who wakes at sunrise to work out. “If I were wandering from machine to machine at the gym and if I were eating a high-cooked diet—or worse, a standard American one—there’s simply no way I could maintain the level of fitness I now enjoy.”
Jeff said his workout would appeal to anyone because it requires no equipment, no gym membership and no coach. “You need nothing but your own body weight and a few square feet of space,” he said. “and you can build the best you of your life.”
When it comes to personal bests, Jeff sets them often and achieves them every time. A recent triumph was a 15-mile run along with an extraordinary, Herschel Walker-like 1,500 squats, push-ups and crunches. “It was a tough one,” he said. “Yet, believe it or not, I was back to my regular exercise protocol the very next day. It’s good to have fast recovery time. And that’s what a super clean diet can do for you.”
On an average day, Jeff drinks water throughout the morning and enjoys a large fruit salad loaded with bananas, dragon fruit and papaya, for example, about 1 p.m. A few hours later, after a handful of bananas or a green smoothie, he eats a large salad containing lots of greens such as spinach, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. In these salads, he eats half a handful of almonds most days and, other days, chooses walnuts or an avocado. Jeff makes a simple dressing with a minute amount of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Almonds, walnuts, avocado and olive oil comprise Jeff’s consumption of overt fats. He then fasts until 1 the next afternoon unless he’s still hungry, in which case, Jeff eats a bowl of boiled potatoes or a serving of organic beans. He limits these cooked foods to two or three times a week.
“The bulk of my calories comes from fruit, with veggies as a supplement,” he said. “I believe potatoes and beans pose no threat whatsoever to your long-term health. Quite the opposite, in fact! Beans are botanically a fruit. They fall generally into the 80/10/10 category, and they’re loaded with nutrients. Potatoes are about 90/5/5. They’re supernutritious and satisfying, and they contain a full amino-acid profile.”
Jeff said he believes potatoes or beans are very useful additions for anyone on a vegan diet as well as for transitioning raw fooders. “They’ll keep you on track when going 100 percent raw might seem like an ‘impossible feat,’” he said.
Jeff’s favorite fruits are bananas, which he points out contain a full profile of essential amino acids, dragon fruits and papayas. Living in Cambodia, Jeff is able to buy all these fruits, especially the latter two, for far less money than they cost in the United States. With greens, he gravitates toward spinach, kale and bok choy.
Even though Jeff relishes Cambodia’s selection of fruits and other raw foods, he aspires to grow his own foods. “There’s no replacement for growing your own produce,” he said. “A garden of your own offers a sense of independence you can’t get any other way. … I’m looking forward to getting that project started soon.”
Jeff takes no supplements and has never had a blood test. “I generally fall into the camp of doing things naturally—100 percent! The longest-lived folks on earth don’t take supplements, and they probably don’t even know what a blood test is.”
John Robbins’ book Healthy at 100 exposed Jeff to the lifestyles of some of the longest-lived people. “I try to mimic the lifestyle of these good folk,” he said. “So I keep my fruit and veggie intake high. I keep my physical activity level high. I try to minimize stress. And I keep my dependence on technology to an absolute minimum.”
Jeff said his view on supplementation, which, he notes, is shared by Drs. John McDougall and Adam Dave, is that they are a “waste of money.” This said, however, he still would advise only one supplement as an “insurance policy”: Vitamin B12. “B12 is produced naturally in the human digestive tract,” he said. “It’s only man’s poor lifestyle habits that can compromise healthy B12 levels. Other than that? Save your money. Eat healthy. Include plenty of mineral-rich greens into your diet. These are the most nutrient-dense foods known to man. And you’ll enjoy a health unknown to the standard Western diet-eating masses—even those who take supplements.”
Jeff’s advice for those wanting to go raw is to stock up on the world’s most popular fruit: bananas. “The banana is your best friend,” he said. “Load up on bananas before each meal. You’ll get nutrients and fiber. You’ll naturally crowd out other foods. And you’ll give your body a full amino-acid profile. Ever wonder how the great apes, chimpanzees, and gorillas of the world stay so strong? Well, they don’t load up on meat, but they sure like bananas!”
Fledgling raw fooders should also consume plenty of greens, rich in minerals, Jeff said. “You’ll get so much in the way of good nutrition that cravings for toxic, bad foods will go by the wayside—sooner than you might think,” he said. Finally, he suggests those shedding old dietary choices may also include some cooked carbs such as boiled potatoes or beans.
Jeff is the author of Confessions of a Super-Fit Vegan, which he wrote “as an answer to many of [his] friends on social media.” Many wanted to know exactly what I ate and how I exercised,” he said. “And how I keep in better shape in my 40s than I was in my 20s. I knew these folks wouldn’t settle for anything less, so I reveal every ‘secret’ I know of in my book.”
In this book, Jeff outlines what and when to eat as well as how and when to exercise. Photos complete the picture and are especially helpful in demonstrating how to perform Hindu push-ups, for example. Jeff also includes mental techniques he utilizes to keep his motivation high. “If you’re looking to build the body of your dreams, download Confessions of a Super-Fit Vegan,” he said. “Read it today, and you’ll put yourself on a precision path to the best ‘you’ of your life. No guesswork required!”
Jeff will soon announce on his website, JSekerak.com, word about the launch of his second book. On this site, Jeff publishes self-penned articles about diet, exercise and other lifestyle components as well as behavior patterns, among other topics.
Jeff is a decade into leading a high-quality lifestyle, and a decade from now, he envisions himself doing just what he’s engaged in now. “Performing brutally tough workouts,” he said. “Maintaining a 100 percent natural, superhealthy diet. Writing about the value of both. And enjoying life to the best of my ability, from moment to moment.”
Jeff will also continue sounding an alarm on humans’ need to turn back the clock. “The world’s ‘gone mad’ with complication,” he said. “Let some of that go. Embrace a streamlined diet. Exercise in a way that’s totally natural yet ‘brutally’ efficient. And you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.”
“Given the state of modern man, I’d say he needs to reassess—or totally eliminate—some of his allegedly ‘advanced’ ways and return to a more harmonious way of living,” Jeff continued. “The vegan diet and bodyweight exercise are a big part of that return, which I believe is just now gaining some real momentum. I plan on being part of it for years to come. You may as well join me and get into the best shape of your life while you’re at it. I can tell you from experience, it’s worth the effort.”