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Raw Vegan Living-Food Lifestyle

Back in the 70’s, a friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. We were in our 20’s. This was something that wasn’t supposed to happen — if at all — until much later in life. Weren’t we young and invincible and immortal?

He went to doctors and got their recommendations for treatment; chemotherapy and radiation. He was told that his prospects were good. That with successful treatment, he could expect to live a normal life span. Just before his chemo was to begin, he heard about The Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston. We went to visit during a Sunday open house. There was a talk by a polarity therapist and a buffet dinner of vegetables, sprouts, nut cheeses and other unfamiliar items. Now, I was already a vegetarian at this time, but had never seen this fare before — what they called raw living food. The food was definitely different and interestingly tasty.

During dinner I talked with people who were staying at the institute. THIS was the mind-stopping experience for me. I met people who had been sent home by doctors to die who were recovering their health in a few weeks. I met people who had been bed-ridden for years that were out walking around Boston after weeks on this uncommon dietary program. I met people who had reversed cancer by changing their diet!

Healing by changing one’s diet was not new to me. I had become a vegetarian as an experiment and discovered that my allergies disappeared. I had lived for years on pills and shots to counteract my body’s reaction to some of life’s bounty. This however was way outside of anything I’d seen or even considered possible. I knew that whatever they were doing — no matter how odd it seemed — they were on to something. They understood something about the way the body worked that the rest of the world didn’t.

My friend decided to do the recommended doctor treatments. I decided that I wanted to know more. I went to the Sunday open house for months. I was convinced that this was my next step in creating health.

I went home to New Hampshire and built shelves in all my windows. I bought seeds and trays and dirt. I grew my own wheatgrass, buckwheat greens, sunflower greens, and sprouts to supplement the food from our quarter-acre organic garden.

The first thing I noticed with my new raw living food diet was that my chronic constipation went away. That took about a month. Then my ever-present sinus congestion cleared up. Then I started sleeping less. I was hooked. I felt great and I was on a crusade and I was obnoxious! I told everyone that they were eating wrong. I told them what they should be eating. LOOK AT ME!!! It’s an amazing testament to my friends that they didn’t disown me! After that true believer fire cooled down, I discovered how to co-exist with my fellow humans once again.

Over the next 30+ years the raw vegan diet has been my baseline diet. During those years I struggled with various food addictions and went off the raw diet many times. I always went back. It has been my frame of reference since the early 70’s. Every time I got sick, I returned to raw vegan to get well.

In 1999 I went for a vasectomy to try to save an unhappy marriage. (Go figure that logic out...) The urologist asked how long it had been since I’d had a prostate exam. I said never. He discovered a lump in my prostate. The biopsy was positive. Of course he wanted to operate the next week! NO THANK YOU! I went right back to the raw vegan diet. In a subsequent checkup — about a year later — it was gone.

Before going raw, my wife, Cynthia, was on thyroid medication for 13 years. Her blood tests are now normal. She was on anti-depressants for 10 years. Her mood swings are now normal. Of course, she’d been told that she’d need to be on these medications for life.

We currently run a small intimate raw vegan retreat in Ojai called The Raw Retreat where we share what we’ve learned with people wanting to live this Raw Vegan Living-Food Lifestyle.

Stay tuned for how one raw vegan thinks about the world of health, our relationship with food, and how those intersect with the rest of life.


Love the personal stories! How did your friend do with conventional treatment?

People get well on a Vegan diet because of what they STOP eating, as much as the Vegan diet itself. A long term Vegan diet is not the answer, that is why it is so hard to maintain. So much damage has been done by the type of thinking, that if a little is good, alot must be the answer. A balance is required, including some raw, unpasturized, and grass fed animal products for active people. Vegan as an "ism", creates as many problems (albeit different problems) as it solves.


I don't claim to understand what diet works best for any individual's body, even my own. I can say that a vegetarian diet works well for my soul, my ethical being, and I think a vegan diet would be even better for me on that level. So while it might be problematic physically (and truthfully, I think it is great for me physically), vegetarianism solves many ethical/spiritual problems for me.

I agree with Jeff's main point. The main factor in healing is what we stop doing. I'd say it's hard to maintain - not because it's not healthy - but because of all the assumptions we've been brought up with.

What's the first thing you get asked by people when they hear you've become a vegetarian? "Where do you get your protein?" That's such a non-issue! The only people who have a protein deficiency are in a severely malnourished - near starvation condition. Yet the meat and dairy industry has us in fear about protein.

The other issue is our addictions. We are a culture that is built on addiction. It's the basis of the economy. When people go from a standard american diet to vegetarian or vegan, they take their addictions with them. So they over eat on foods that are not the best for their health. And in time those addictions will lead them back toward or to their original diet. This is the same reason that most people fail changing diets to loose weight. They haven't dealt with the addiction.

As for what diet is best? Here's what I can say with certainty. First, the one that most people are on is not it. Look at the results as they are manifest in the people around us. Second, the one that I've seen amazing healings take place on is a raw to mostly raw vegan one.

Each person has to find their own balance. How much addictive behavior are they willing to live with? How much physical discomfort, or dis-ease, are they willing to live with?

I've been a vegetarian for the past 26 years because of ethical reasons. Now I've entered the world of raw veganism for health reasons. Daily chronic migraines, allergies and fatigue have driven me to trying something new. It's been three weeks now and I'm experimenting with stopping all of my meds for the headaches. Thus far the pain has been mild, my mood is definently happier and I'm feeling a slight increase in energy. Living in Ojai I imagined being able to find others living the truth of being raw vegan, yet I haven't been able to find anyone. Anyone have any ideas?

There are tons of folks living the raw vegan lifestyle in Ojai! If you email me - heather at ojai healers dot com - I can try to hook you up with some folks.

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