INTERVIEW WITH RAW GODDESS RHIO
Lindy: How did you first learn about raw foods and why did the information resonate with you?
Rhio: My first summer job as a teenager was in a fresh raw juice bar in downtown Los Angeles. As I worked at the bar, serving fresh juices and smoothies, I got to talk to the people that came in and I realized that there existed a whole world of information that I hadn't previously understood. I started making a connection between the food that we put into our bodies and the profound effect that it could have upon us. People with ulcers came in for the cabbage juice. Others with kidney disease were taking home watermelon juice, and still others depended on a combination high in potassium, which consisted of carrot, celery, cucumber, spinach and parsley juices.
Directly across from the juice bar, on the opposite side, was a small health food store. All day long I would serve juices and smoothies, and between customers, I would look across at this fascinating store with intriguing books and strange products. Every week, when I collected my check, I strolled across to the other side and bought books. Some of the books were by Dr. Ann Wigmore. That is how I was introduced to the raw food diet.
Lindy: How many years have you been eating raw foods?
Rhio: During my early years, I went back and forth between raw and cooked food. I knew that raw was better, because I felt better when I ate it; but I was young, experimenting and learning. Later, after a traumatic experience, I gained a lot of weight from using food unwisely to try to tamp down my emotions. Eighty-eight extra pounds heavier, I realized that I had to get control of myself. Finally, I went on a fresh raw juice fast with lots of exercise and lost the weight. A powerful incentive had been provided by my boyfriend, who booked me at a club where I used to work as a singer before I gained weight. The booking was six weeks away and it helped me to focus on losing the weight. Of course, I didn't lose all the weight before the gig started, but I did lose half of it. Afterward, I just kept going.
Lindy: Did you go through an emotional and spiritual detox when you first embarked upon this path?
Rhio: For me it was more physical than emotional or spiritual. In the beginning, usually after fasting on fresh juices or on green coconut water, I would go through a detox and expel lots of mucous from my chest. Twice I had the experience of detoxing a perfume that I used to wear. The perfume smell just started coming out, and it was really annoying. The first time it happened, the smell came out for approximately three weeks, before it went away. I thought – "Oh, I'm clean!!" Then two years later, on the second day of another fast, this one on pomegranate juice and herbs, the smell came back again. I couldn't believe it. And I thought I was clean!
On the spiritual level, this diet and lifestyle provide me with clarity, insight and closer touch with intuition and higher consciousness. Lots of moments of clairvoyance occur spontaneously.
Lindy: Were you always an activist or did the raw food lifestyle inspire you into action?
Rhio: I was always an activist. When I was a pre-teen, I was influenced by a schoolmate who was very feisty and always fighting against some injustice or other. I was pretty docile and passive at the time, but I admired my friend. Then, when I got out into the working world, I found that I was getting fired a lot and it was because, following my friend's example, I wouldn't put up with injustices, without at least voicing my opinions. And those opinions lost me lot of jobs.
Lindy: Do you think it really is possible to fully create a healthy, raw food lifestyle in a city fouled with bad air?
Rhio: In our homes it is possible to artificially create a healthful mini-environment with the help of many plants, some air cleaning machines, water purification machines and good vibrations from the people who live there. It is also important to remove from the home all products which are toxic, such as chemical cleaning products, solvents, paints, synthetic rugs, pressboard furniture, etc. These pollute the air with their toxic out-gassing vapors. It is very important to avoid using wood that has been treated with poisonous preservatives around your property. You can recognize such wood because it has a greenish tint that indicates that it has been treated with CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate). This type of wood, extensively used for picnic tables, outdoor decks and children's playsets, leaches arsenic even after many years of use, and the arsenic will contaminate your body and your land. Some communities have moved to phase out the sale of this wood. Unfortunately, many people are still not aware of the dangers of CCA treated wood and so do not connect its use with any illness they may be experiencing.
The raw food diet, which includes lots of greens and green juices, like wheatgrass juice, replaces some of the oxygen that is lost in polluted cities. But why don't we just replace the missing oxygen by planting lots of trees and shrubbery? Why don't we just clean up the air in our cities and return it to what it should be? Now that I live mostly on a farm, I realize more than ever what people lose living in cities with bad air, especially in New York City, which has so few trees. Last year (2002), on a visit to the city of Toronto, I was delighted to see lots and lots of trees, shrubs and plants everywhere. They even recycle their green waste using heavy duty PAPER bags. All cities should have an abundance of trees and shrubbery to remind people of their true home, and to provide the much needed, life-giving oxygen. So yes, it is possible to live healthfully, but it takes some effort.
On the other hand, cities like New York, also give energy. I've heard it said that New York City is sitting on quartz rock and that might have something to do with it. Or, it might result from the pulsing energy of so many diverse groups of people who live there, most of whom are of goodwill. I'm not sure what causes the energy, but I can feel it in New York.
Lindy: You are a great inspiration to many. Who inspires you?
Rhio: First I have a great faith in God and the power of kindness and good will, although I am not very religious. This seems like a contradiction, but it isn't. I just go straight to the source, without religion as a middleman. However, I do not criticize those who choose religion. We each have to find our own way, and our own path, to the light. I also get inspiration from experiencing Nature, from being out in my garden and from many people. I love people. I see the cooperation, common sense, goodwill and humanity of everyday people and it inspires me to believe in the possibility of a very different world in the future, a world that reflects our most heartfelt, innermost dreams.
Lindy: Are you planning to hold raw food retreats on the land you recently purchased?
Rhio: Once I get the farm organized and the orchard planted, I will open it up occasionally for use as a retreat and also for people to come out and pick fruit and berries in season and to just spend a day in the beauty of Nature. I'll be growing many unusual and hard-to-get items like wild leafy vegetables (more commonly referred to as edible weeds) and many types of berries, including one of my all time favorite berries that is never sold in the marketplace: mulberries. Mulberries are hard to get because they don't keep well, but you will not find a more delicious berry. It has to be eaten within a day or two of picking. People will be able to come out to the farm, get the mulberries and eat them there or take them home for the next day.
Lindy: Do you think the exceptionally high infertility rate is influenced by the toxic diet we see in the world today?
Rhio: Oh, without a doubt. To my mind it was proven back in the 1930's by the Pottenger Cat Studies that I covered in my book, Hooked on Raw. These studies, which compared the health of cats eating raw food with the health of cats eating the same food, only cooked, proved the toxic effects of eating cooked foods. The cats on the cooked food diet suffered from diseases similar to those of humankind, and by the third generation, they could no longer reproduce. Whatever happens to animals can be used as a barometer to indicate what may occur in humans. Today, the situation has worsened. Most people eat a cooked food and processed food diet, and, in addition, are exposed to numerous toxic substances present in their daily environment. When you add all of this together, it is really no surprise that we are getting sicker. The statistics are not good, but there is hope. For me, that hope is fueled by truth and enlightenment. When we're able to hear some truth, enlightenment follows and things start to change.
When I cite the Pottenger Cat Studies, some people have told me that their cats eat cooked, canned food and live to be 12,14 and 16 years of age. Why are these cats living longer? What makes the difference? I've thought about this and there are two answers that come to mind. First, a lot of these cats may be living longer but they are also sickly. Their diseases are being "managed" by veterinarians and kindly caretakers. But the second and more significant point is that I believe these cats are sustained by love. Most of us with cats love our cats, and they love us back, and that will make a difference in how long a cat will live.
Lindy: What is your favorite thing to eat?
Rhio: I absolutely love greens. Spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collards, and wild greens like purslane, chickweed and lambs quarters are my favorites when they are prepared with a tasty dressing or marinade.
Lindy: Longevity is the name of this game so how long do you see yourself staying on Mother Earth?
Rhio: I'd like to live to at least 200 years, if I could maintain my health and vitality at current levels, but I see another problem with living that long. Who can you convince to come along with you? I definitely feel it is more than possible, but, as humans, we do get attached to people – lovers, family and friends – and when they die off, we are left without these lifelong associations. I believe this is one of the main reasons that people don't live to their full potential lifespan. When everyone we love and who has been in our life for so long is gone, we feel we might as well go along too and see what they are up to. If I could convince at least one loved one to come with me on this 200-year journey, I'd like to give it a try. . . But longevity is not the most important aspect of living the raw life. The most important result is having a clean body and a clear mind and the ability to live to your fullest potential in every moment.
Lindy: If you have any further thoughts please include them.
Rhio: Thank you for allowing me to share a little of my journey with your readers. I enjoy disseminating information about the extraordinary raw food lifestyle.
Lindy: I feel very blessed that you have honored me with this interview! Big hug,
Rhio: Hug back
Rhio's Raw Energy