My Raw Food Journey
My first introduction to raw foods came when I was a teenager. I got a summer job in a fresh juice bar in downtown Los Angeles. At the juice bar I learned, for the first time, that foods had some kind of effect on people’s health. People with different ailments would come in for the juice that was healing them. Those with ulcers took cabbage juice; those with kidney ailments called for watermelon juice; people with urinary infections asked for the potassium drink – a combination of carrot, celery, cucumber, parsley and spinach. And there were many others.
The juice bar was located on one side of a small health food store. All day long, while I was serving the juices and making smoothies, I would look across the juice bar into the health food store, intrigued by what I saw. There were all kinds of fascinating foods and books that piqued my curiosity. I didn’t make much money that summer, because as soon as I got paid, I would amble over to the other side and buy books. Some books by Dr. Ann Wigmore were among those I purchased. In these books, I learned that people didn’t just get well by drinking fresh juices but that they could also get and stay well by eating raw foods. “No cooking”, what a concept!
I wasn’t ready to accept the raw way of life at that time, but I did start to introduce healthier foods into my diet and included lots of fresh juices. I also discarded the foodless foods, like white flour and sugar, and all processed foods. Years later, after a lot of experimentation with many styles of eating, I finally embraced the raw food lifestyle 100%.
Because I have been health conscious since my teen years, I avoided many of the illnesses that have plagued many members of my family. My father tragically died of a heart attack at a young age. I have often wondered what would have happened if I had been introduced to this information on healthful eating just a couple of years earlier. Could I have influenced my father? Judging by my poor record of influence on other members of my family, I would say no. But as I did have a very special connection with my father, I don’t really have the answer to that question. Since my introduction to healthful practices in that juice bar/health food store, I have never been to see a doctor for any illness, because I haven’t had any.
Through the years, I have occasionally seen holistic practitioners for advice on preventing illness. I did not go to these doctors because I was feeling ill, but because I wanted some verification of the status of my health, beyond what I already knew. After becoming a raw food enthusiast, I knew that I rarely had colds anymore, my skin was clear and I always felt good and had lots of energy and stamina.
I have had iridology diagnoses to get an idea of what my inherited body weaknesses might be. Iridology can reveal your genetic predisposition’s. It can also tell you the condition of your various organs and the locations in your body where toxicity has accumulated. I’ve had live blood analyses to see how my blood was doing. Live blood analysis is very useful for determining the cleanliness of your blood. From one drop of live blood, which is projected onto a video screen, a practitioner can tell you many useful things, for example, if you are anemic or whether your body harbors fungi, molds and parasites. I highly recommend these tools for exploring the status of your health.
I have also utilized various healing modalities, including occasional enemas and colonics, in order to stay well. I regularly perform hatha yoga and deep breathing exercises, use saunas, and engage in fasting, gardening, singing and dancing. These are my own choices, but there are hundreds of other effective, health enhancing and health preserving tools, which may be explored. The raw food diet is basic for vibrant, glowing health. Beyond diet however, many healing modalities serve as aids to help one either to regain or maintain health.
Although my health has been one of my most treasured assets, sometimes events affecting health can occur without warning. Something happened to me, unexpectedly, on September 11, 2001. I live in the World Trade Center district in New York City, just 10 blocks north and dead center of the former twin towers. As many people died that day, I consider myself fortunate just to be alive. Nevertheless, I know my health was impacted negatively by the heavy and unprecedented pollution that was unleashed that day, and that continued for many months afterward. The mix of pollutants floating in the air, as coarse to fine particulate matter, included asbestos, PCBs, dioxin and other chemicals, as well as heavy metals from the vaporizing of thousands of computers, lead from the toilets, fuel, plastics, fiberglass insulation, sheetrock, concrete, human dust and smoke. Unfortunately, the list is even much longer than this. At no time in history have human beings been exposed to a synergistic mix of all of these pollutants. It was unprecedented! And possible future health damage to workers and residents have been largely ignored or swept under the rug by the authorities.
The emotional impact of seeing the whole tragedy unfold from my window was also devastating, and it took a very long time to recover from it.
In the month after 9/11, I noticed that a few tenants in my building had to leave the area, because they were not feeling well. I also learned that many people around the neighborhood were suffering all kinds of negative effects, like respiratory problems, coughing up blood, nosebleeds, fatigue, skin problems, eye problems, loss of hair, trouble with concentration, and more.
My partner Leigh and myself did not suffer any of these effects. However, for the first time in years, we each had a cold. My cold came on approximately three months after 9/11 and his came six months afterward. Before I got the cold, I was feeling some heaviness in my chest and when I took a deep breath, I felt congestion.
We had four air filters, two carbon block ones, one Alpine ozone generator, and one Patrick Flanagan ionizer. After 9/11 I went out and purchased six more air filters. The new ones were Ionic Breeze Quadra’s, sold at Sharper Image. The Quadra’s have a cylinder that pulls out at the top for cleaning. The cylinder contains three metal panels, which collect the polluting particles through ionization. The directions recommend washing the cylinder panels every two weeks or so. I was washing the cylinders every three days and observed that the blackest, gookiest stuff would come off those panels. And, that is with 10 air filters running all the time. I knew that some of that horrible stuff had slipped by the filters and had gotten into my chest.
Along about that time, I heard Christine Todd Whitman, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, say on TV that the air in downtown NYC was OK; it was fine – nothing to worry about. “Oh yeah, Christine, that’s the truth allright”, I said to myself, as I washed those six filters every three days. What a crock! But the sad thing was that some people believed it, people that perhaps could have left the area for a while, if they had been told the truth. We unfortunately, could not escape because we had returned from a trip just 2 weeks prior to 9/11, and were not in a position to leave again.
A cold, of course, is a detoxification that happens spontaneously when a body is excessively polluted. With the first cold, I expelled a lot of phlegm from my chest but the cold dried up on me too soon. I felt that more stuff needed to come out. The second cold came about a year later; this one was a doozy. A really heavy elimination that followed a 10-day juice fast at a health spa. At the spa I was also snowshoeing everyday, breaking a sweat. I was fine during the fast, but when I came home and broke the fast, even though I broke it correctly with fruit for a few days, the elimination came fast and furious and it lasted for weeks. I’d never experienced a detox like that one in my entire life, even though I had gone through some amazing detox crises when I first converted to raw.
At this time I was scheduled to do a speaking tour and yes, I arrived at my first lecture still in this detox condition, so much so, that I thought I might not get through it. I was scheduled to give one more lecture before Leigh and I could get away to the warm beaches of Hollywood, Florida for 10 days of rest and relaxation. After that, we would continue with the tour. It would have been easy to stop the detoxification right then by eating some cooked food, but I was committed to getting my health back to what it was before.
On the trip, Leigh and I stayed briefly with someone who introduced us to a biologist friend, who offered to do biological terrain testing on both Leigh and myself. The test results showed that, though we had a good pH and high energy, we had endured massive free radical damage. Our bodies had absorbed asbestos and heavy metals. We are now using supplements that help the body detox recommended by the biologist.
We are also going to be doing a Purification Program in NYC, offered by the Church of Scientology, which is based on L. Ron Hubbard’s book Clear Body, Clear Mind. We heard that many of the WTC rescue workers have gone through this program and it has brought their health back to normal. The program lasting two to three weeks, in brief, consists of 1/2 hour of jogging before going into a sauna for 4 to 4 1/2 hours per day. Of course, you can go in and out of the sauna, shower, and rest and go back in again. One needs to take extra mineral supplements during the entire program, as you will lose minerals, along with the heavy metals. Daily vitamins and a recommended quantity of a special oil combination are advised. The Purification Program, according to the author, also works to eliminate drug residues, radiation, chemicals, anesthetics, pesticides, insecticides, etc. A significant part of the program is the gradual increase of niacin, a B-complex nutrient, until large doses are taken, which helps the body release toxins.
This procedure was not new to me, since I had read David Steinman’s Diet for a Poisoned Planet, in which he describes how he discovered one day that his body was polluted with PCBs, DDT and other contaminants from eating fish caught off the coast of California, near Santa Monica. Steinman studied his options and found a clinic called HealthMed in Los Angeles, which utilized the sauna and the taking of niacin, among other things, to eliminate pollutants from his body. He had himself tested regularly and was able to reduce some of the pollutants by 90%. Of course, no level is acceptable; but with all the contamination around us, we all have some traces of metals and/or chemicals/pesticides in our bodies. The key is to always keep eliminating them by both adhering to the raw food lifestyle and when necessary by using some of these powerful healing modalities.
I am extremely grateful that I have acquired the knowledge and experience with the raw food diet and lifestyle that has blessed me with health in the past, as well as to use these other powerful detox tools, to see me through my unexpected crisis.