I’m a graduate of Penn State University, and one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever gotten to witness is, during football games in Happy Valley, hearing half of Beaver Stadium shout, “We are …”, with the other half roaring back “Penn State” with all the gusto folks can muster.
I once thought while a student that if 100,000 people can get their minds focused on a single chant for a minute or two, then why can’t we make strides in achieving world peace? It wasn’t until I returned to the Lansdale, Pennsylvania, raw food café Arnold’s Way in 2010, thanks to my success with daily consumption of green smoothies and transitioning over a natural pace to a fruit-based raw vegan diet, that I learned how this desired peace can be achieved. Owner Arnold Kauffman would sometimes talk about how, if we had a world full of raw vegans, we’d have peace because folks who lead this lifestyle are healthy, happy and satisfied as well as value all life forms. Violence and wars aren’t tolerated by raw vegans the same way they are by some leading other lifestyles.
I love this idea that raw vegans indeed want to take back the earth from forces bent on pushing forward with greed, corruption, lies, violence and war! If there were many more of us and we get truly organized, we’d have a say in how things work! We’d have a seat at the grand table, and we’d be eating mangos, not steaks, working to help rejuvenate the planet while exposing how the existing game works. We wouldn’t tolerate subsidies on animal agriculture to enable people to eat $1 cheeseburgers, to the detriment of their health, animals’ lives and the environment, and we wouldn’t tolerate earmarking a half-trillion dollars on defense spending.
A growing movement of raw veganism is sweeping our planet earth, and it’s a special thing to behold. Twenty years ago, there were only pockets of raw vegan communities in California and some big cities such as New York. When I met Arnold, shortly after moving his café and health food store from the chic Philadelphia neighborhood Manayunk to blue-collar small town Lansdale, where he lived and continues to maintain a home, he told me his was one of just 12 raw food cafés in the entire United States. Thanks to his influence, now four raw vegan spots are within a 25-mile drive of the Raw Food Capital of the World. Dozens of more raw food cafés and restaurants have opened across the country and around the world, and plenty more are bound to spring up to meet the demand of a global population shifting to health-conscious lifestyles at the same time as another part of the population literally eats its way to obesity, sickness and death.
I’ve published, as of today, 101 transformation stories in Fruit-Powered Digest, and I think it’s an appropriate time to reflect on some of the other lifestyle characteristics I’ve observed in person and online that portray a swath of vegans, particularly those leading fruit-based diets. Below is a small sampling of these characteristics I’ve seen on what matters to us raw vegans.
- We eat more fruit in a day than most people eat in a week. Today, I’m having 27 bananas and half a boat-size seeded watermelon—plus 1½ pounds of lettuce and celery. Save the watermelon slices—give us the whole melon please! 🙂
- We often like to eat just one food at a time, and this simplicity spills over to the rest of our lives, leading some of us to give away or sell many possessions and reside in minimal quarters.
- We embrace the notion that food is fuel and is not the center of our lives and social occasions. We eat to power up and for nourishment, not for entertainment, at least most of the time.
- We tell everyone who’ll listen (and some not) about how our lifestyle makes us feel and encourage folks to start having smoothies for breakfast every day as a way to get healthier. We even start photographing our fruit hauls and some of our meals, sharing these colorful images on social media.
- We make time to exercise our bodies and minds, in workout and meditation practices. We become in tune with ourselves and what we need to feel off-the-charts great all the time!
- Immersing ourselves in the moment instead of the trivialities of life becomes a wondrous thing. We learn to allow ourselves the time and space to connect with our higher self, to our place in the universe.
- We accept nothing and question everything. We start thinking—really thinking. We stop doing things the way we were told, the way everyone else does them and start doing things the way we think we should do them.
- Our idea of fun isn’t the bright lights of a city but the mesmerizing experience of a walk deep in a patch of woods. Late nights in loud clubs can’t match the comfort and insight that envelops us on quiet trails and places where no footprints are visible.
- Our primary work must be our passion and mission, even if it means making major sacrifices. Spending 40 or more hours a week working in a factory, sitting in a cubicle or the like offers little to no satisfaction if the work doesn’t stimulate us and represent an extension of our core values.
- We are motivated to clean house—ourselves and the environment—because our very future depends on it. We understand that giving freedom to animals and sea creatures is a moral imperative. We live with compassion and lead with action.