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Having Healed Much with Raw Foods, Joy King Is Looking to Pay It Forward

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‘I Feel So Much More Vitality, Energy, Love and Zest for Life.’

Joy King created her own “personal recipe” from the teachings of many health educators to regain her health after suffering from a range of health challenges for most of her life. Now at the age of 41—about a decade after she thought she “wasn’t going to make it much longer”—she’s thriving on a low-fat raw food diet and traveling the United States, loving life’s simple pleasures, visiting friends and meeting people along the way and dreaming up big plans to give back and help others heal.

As a young child, Joy was on many medications, which she describes as seemingly “normal” to the health-care model such as fluoride and antibiotics. Then she was prescribed the acne drug Accutane when she was 19. “My health started to show signs of exhaustion,” she said. “I lost moisture in my life—my eyes could no longer tear. They had to plug my eye ducts in the hopes that they could build some moisture. Certain parts of my skin dried out completely. I was always thirsty—it became an issue of dehydration.”

Joy discovered Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s classic health book Fit for Life at 20 and, upon following its recommendations, started thriving but, a year later, turned many of her meals into cooked foods. She didn’t grasp the notion of a raw food diet at the time, she said. For her, the next 15 years were a “roller-coaster ride,” with allopathic and naturopathic doctors’ solutions leading to worsening symptoms. Joy would not connect with Natural Hygiene again until 2007, when she embarked on her first of four water fasts, at Victoria Bidwell’s home. Joy also fasted at Tanglewood Wellness Center in Panama and on her own.

Joy King smiling in front of a tree

“Luckily, I didn’t spend too much time in the high-fat raw world,” she said. “I really couldn’t as my [digestive system] wouldn’t allow it.”

The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug GrahamJoy, who leads a low-fat raw food lifestyle, which, she said, “saved my life,” learned from many who espouse healthful diets such as Dr. Doug Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet. “There are so many different raw food camps now, and they all have great aspects to them,” she said. “People seem to take them all or nothing. I found my success and results in taking all of the good from each of them and creating my own personal recipe for me.”

Joy said that in her experience, she found there is no perfect health guru or program. When she tried following a person’s formula and didn’t get the results she desired, she would feel “dejected” compared with freeing her mind for more information. “It was more about the mindset than the program,” she said. “Everything I did helped to unpeel the layers of toxicity to some extent—and then the answers started to appear naturally.”

Joy credits many teachers along her health journey. The videos of ultramarathoner and Woodstock Fruit Festival founder Michael Arnstein and co-founder and cyclist Harley Johnstone, a.k.a. “Durianrider,” impacted her and acted as “remote coaches,” she said. Arnold Kauffman, owner of the raw vegan café Arnold’s Way in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and Dr. Robert Morse are educators Joy was privileged to learn from in person after learning from them afar as well.

Arnold Kauffman talks to guests at the December 2013 potluck at Arnold's Way
Joy spent summer 2011 at the home of Arnold’s Way owner Arnold Kauffman. She credits him with helping her advance on her journey to health.

“Arnold’s message of our body giving us love at every moment in time—even if someone is given a horrible diagnosis of cancer, it is love—was powerful,” said Joy, who spent summer 2011 at Arnold’s Greater Philadelphia home. “This was a turning point for me to love my body and listen to it versus feeling like I was struggling to turn things around with the false concept that my body was working against me.”

Dr. Morse helped Joy understand the body’s mechanics and the power of herbs. “Being trained in Natural Hygiene originally, I was very anti-herbs or anything other than fruit,” she said. “After taking his herbs and understanding the basics of the body and how it works and how the kidneys must be properly filtering, my healing catapulted to a completely new level. Sure, many people can heal with just fruit alone; however, when the damage is deep in the organs, sometimes a boost is really required—and that is the power of the herbs. This information was a game changer for me.”

An iridology analysis, which looks at the iris of the eye, also revealed to Joy which foods to consume. “There are certain fruits that do better in flushing kidneys and others that do better breaking up lymph,” she said. “… Learning about how fruits and herbs can help with different organs has really helped me stay far more balanced than ever before.”

Closeup of Joy King's eyes

Joy pays close attention to what her body tells her. “If my skin starts to break out a bit, then I know my kidneys are struggling,” she said. “I may be detoxing too fast for them or they just need an extra boost. I adjust accordingly. I have found that the cleaner my diet gets, the more I can ‘hear’ these signals.”

On a fruit-based diet, Joy has overcome eating and digestive disorders, constipation, dry eyes, headaches, exhaustion, weight gain, acne, dry and oily skin and skin rashes. She’s found that her body demands that she eat raw food exclusively.

“If I eat cooked foods or high-fat raw foods—even just one meal of them—many of [my conditions] can return,” she said, noting that she’s consumed cooked foods occasionally in recent years while out eating or if she doesn’t have enough fruit on hand. “Sure, my body bounces back quickly, but for my true health right now, 100 percent raw is the option.”

Joy considers eating without pain to be the No. 1 benefit she’s experienced on a low-fat raw food diet. Beyond this incredible benefit, Joy has discovered a feeling of sheer liberation.

Joy King is photographed eating a melon at a playground

“This lifestyle has given me freedom,” she said. “Freedom to live the life I want—any life I want. I believe it has cleared my mind to believe that anything is possible … . The freedom waiting on the other side [of healing] is the biggest gift one can receive in this lifetime.”

All this, and Joy said she’s feeling “exponentially better” with each passing year. “I feel so much more vitality, energy, love and zest for life,” she said. “It is not a perfect road—I still have healing to do, yet now I have tools with this knowledge: herbs and fruit.”

Lately, Joy is focused on healing something new: a tooth for which one dentist recommended a root canal. She’s healing it naturally with the help of a holistic dentist and through oil pulling, wheatgrass shots, herbs, ozone treatments, eating simply and natural toothpaste applications.

“So far, it is working great,” she said. “Traditional dentists said I needed an emergency root canal almost four months ago, and I have had hardly any pain or symptoms since I took over my own care.”

Joy King in her RV with her cat, Harley, on her lap
Joy and her cat, Harley, are set to go for a ride.

She gets her blood tested about once a year through, or Joy takes a vegan Vitamin D supplement after blood tests showed she was low in this vitamin.

Ultimately, for Joy, healing and living a raw vegan lifestyle is about returning to her roots. “My learning has been about removing the layers blocking me from hearing my body’s signals and moving into a state where I am guided intuitively by my body,” she said.

Joy’s childhood home is Portland, Oregon. She has traveled throughout the United States and considers Austin, Texas, her spiritual base, Florida her tropical aspirations base and Lansdale, Pennsylvania, home of Arnold’s Way, her raw food community base. 🙂 “I consider my home the ‘open road,’” she said. “I am currently a full-time RV’er.”

Joy prefers to exercise in nature and walks, jogs or runs—or a combination—three to five days a week in addition to doing yoga stretches daily. “I do a lot of body-weight exercises now, including squats, pushups and rebounding,” she said, adding that skipping, jumping rope and activity on playground equipment such as jungle gyms enter her workout mix.

Joy King photographed on her rebounder
Joy King is photographed on her rebounder. She enjoys a range of physical activity to keep fit.

Joy enjoys “anything in season” buts lists her favorite fruits as Adriatic figs, white juicy nectarines, white grapes and papayas. “For me, papayas are the perfect food,” she said. “They are hydrating, extremely healing and detoxifying, grow year-round, are easily accessible by most people and are oooooh so yummy.”

Joy also enjoys durians and their “celebratory aspect.” “It’s such a wonderful fruit to bring people together in exploration and curiosity and melt into the joy of eating it,” she said.

Bananas with spotsOn an average day, Joy enjoys two fruit meals such as a smoothie made from bananas and frozen fruit and a few melons. She enjoys eating monomeals, or meals made from a single food such as fruit, especially in spring and summer. For her final meal, Joy gravitates toward greens, eating celery, arugula or herbs—sometimes doing wheatgrass juice shots or imbibing juices made from green powders. She also doesn’t eat past 4 to 5 p.m., preferring not to have a “traditional dinner” in favor of being an “intuitive eater.”

Joy eschews oils and cooked fats and avoids the irritants salt, garlic and onions. “The latter do sneak in from time to time, but I always say the next day, ‘I am never going to do that again,’” she said.

Joy advises transitioning raw fooders to keep it “simple” and “fun.” “Eat as much ripe fruit and greens as you like—all day long,” she said, adding that it’s wise to be patient, throw out your scale and mental barriers and find something to laugh at daily. “… Create a like-minded community online or locally and tell yourself you love yourself and are worthy in the mirror every day. If one does all of this, their life will change. Guaranteed.”

Joy learned something else from Kauffman: the 100th Monkey Effect. Based on Lyall Watson’s foreword to Lawrence Blair’s book Rhythms of Vision in 1975 and has since been popularized by Ken Keyes Jr.’s book The Hundredth Monkey. The story goes that once a critical mass is reached, a behavior—in Kauffman’s case, the adoption of a raw food diet—will grow exponentially and spread like wildfire.

“His desire to have the 100th Monkey Effect and the community he has created in Lansdale is … very instrumental in creating my vision for what I want in the future,” she said.

Joy King is photographed standing in front of her RV
Joy King takes a photo of herself in front of her RV. She has a dream of converting an RV park into a healing center.

Joy, who owns the blog, website and YouTube channel PapayaJoy, aspires to create a healing-lifestyle center open to all walks of life—where no one would be turned away. She’s thinking about converting an RV park in Florida or Puerto Rico, where tropical fruits can be grown, into this kind of center. “Guests can experience the lifestyle, heal or just be around like-minded positive people, similar to a year-round Woodstock Fruit Festival or an Arnold’s Way, where you stay the night,” she said, and that daily healing services, speaker presentations, regular events and movies would be featured. “I envision it to be a community-based utopian destination.”

“Many healing centers are cost-prohibitive for many people or are outside of the country and more difficult to get to,” she said, adding that it’s a dream of hers that this center be a model for many more of its kind to open across the country. “This would be a pay-it-forward place where we all come together to give back and help the world progress forward in a positive manner.”

Let my alignment with well-being be first and foremost, and let everything else be secondary.
Joy King inspired the June 15, 2015, Fruit-Powered Quote.

Closeup of Joy King, wearing a black shirt

Discover Joy’s Top 5 Tips for health!

Lymph-Moving, Circulation-Stirring Tomato Salad by Joy King

Hungry for more? Check out Joy’s Lymph-Moving, Circulation-Stirring Tomato Salad recipe!

Joy King in her RV with Harley by a window

Check out Joy’s guest story on living and traveling in an RV as a fruitarian and working from the road.

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