I used to eat the deep-fried wings of a chicken, coated in ounces of sodium-spiked hot sauce—enough to give me a runny nose, turn my face beet red and burn my tongue for beer to wash down. I used to eat a big bowl of chili—chicken or cow parts, beans, onions, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and, of course, plenty more hot sauce plus other seasonings—and cool the fire down with a large glass of milk. I used to eat a hunk of a cow, oozing with blood, drizzled in sauce and dotted with salt and pepper.
I used to eat plenty more stuff like this. Bacon cheeseburgers. Hoagies. Cheesesteaks. Tacos. Nachos. Soups. Stews. Pasta. Eggs. Cereal. Ice Cream. Chips. Candy. Soda.
Animal, cooked and processed products. Fat, salt and sugar.
Oh, yeah, and every week, a few pieces of fruit, a couple of small salads and some cooked vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and broccoli, too.
Looking back on all this, after being raw vegan for almost three whole years, I am stunned I was this person, eating all these products that just weren’t right for me or are right for anyone—save for the fruits and vegetables, in raw form. I’ve done a complete 180.
I ate these foods because I was raised on them, and everyone around me ate these foods, too. Eating these foods didn’t give me adequate nutrition, though, or make me feel my best. They sure enabled my body and mind to suffer from headaches, stomachaches, fevers, colds and flus and sent me on rides down Mood Swing Drive. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I recall for the first time not feeling “alive,” as I called it, at times—completely disconnected from myself and the world. I felt adrift in a dream world.
Really, when you’re not feeling your best, it doesn’t matter how good any of these foods might’ve tasted.
I was told doctors are the experts and drugs are cures, but everyone I knew got sick, and America was getting fatter and sicker, it seemed.
Ironically, it was about the time I met Arnold Kauffman, owner of Arnold’s Way, a raw food café in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, in 2002, when I instinctively discovered something was missing in my life. I found that I was never able to achieve deep inner peace, freedom, stability and satisfaction in life. I found that, in some ways, I excelled and that, in others, I constantly let myself down. I could never hit my stride because I always tripped myself up.
Perhaps, in the back of my mind, I knew Arnold was onto something good, and I sure was not, eating worse than ever while working a full- and part-time job and recording a rock album. In any case, he most definitely planted the raw veganism seed in my mind.
My energy level plummeted in my late 20s, but by my early 30s, friends, one especially, chatted up green smoothies. I blended bananas and other fruit with kale, which I couldn’t ever recall eating, and watched my zest for life return and desire to consume more fruits and greens skyrocket. I went back to Arnold’s Way, this time prepared to learn. In time, as I read and heard more about a low-fat raw food diet and adopted this way of living, following Dr. Doug Graham‘s guidelines in The 80/10/10 Diet, I watched my health soar and began to find the peace, freedom, stability and satisfaction I craved with all my heart. Moreover, I waved goodbye to the headaches, stomachaches (as long as I ate ripe, well-combined fruit!), fevers, colds and flus, and mood swings.
I began to lead a life of greater simplicity even as my ambition to spread the word about this life-changing lifestyle ascended like an eagle in flight. I began to accept nothing and question everything, and I found such remarkable beauty in nature and its design. I began to chuckle from time to time over how good it feels to have become a mostly fruitarian as if I’d found the secret to it all—along with the other thousands of folks around the world living by this same code.
Some secret. I and the rest are shouting and showing that this is the way to paradise within!
These days, I eat food that is grown, not born. I eat bananas—lots and lots of these sugary-sweet treats from Mother Nature. I eat oranges—brightly colored orbs of pure, sweet, juicy deliciousness. I eat watermelon—big green tubs bounding with treasures of pink-colored sugar water. I eat grapes, mangos, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, peaches, apples and plenty more rainbow-colored fruits.
I eat celery, chomping on sticks while I eat fruit. I eat lettuce, blended with fruit and as a bed for the mountain of nonsweet fruits—cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers—I build in my heaping evening salads such as Pizza Salad with Savory Marinara Sauce and Sunflower Seed “Cheese,” photographed in this story’s featured image. I eat avocados, walnuts, flaxseed and sunflower seeds, whipped into rich, creamy dressings with tantalizing herbs such as cilantro and parsley and accented with a citrus fusion of lemons and limes.
I love the food I eat, and this food loves me back, implanting in me inexhaustible energy and a clear mind, bringing me closer to what I wanted to be.
Society might view the way I eat—fruit for my meals, capped by an evening salad most nights or fruit the others—as extreme, but I say it’s very extreme to eat your way to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and thousands of other health conditions. It might be inconvenient to pay more money for my food compared with merely existing on the standard American diet, but I say it’s very inconvenient to find out you have a potentially terminal disease and tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
I feel alive eating this way, and I’ve found life for the very first time by doing so.
Eat your way to health!