I submitted this video to IIN for a chance to win a scholarship. Wish me luck!
One year is not really that much time in the grand scheme of things; it can blow right by us if we aren’t paying attention. Well, for those who don’t already know who I am, I spent all of last year paying very close attention…to everything. I started making hard choices for myself and never simply accepting what is “normal”. I became healthy by changing my perspective, eating well and changing the way I went about my everyday life. My 70 pound weight loss was really just one of a slew of “happy side effects” from the changes I made. Obviously, none of it happened overnight. But I’d say once my mind was made up, within 6 months time, most of the grunt work was already done. One year later, I have managed to continue on the same path, have kept all of the weight off and still feel just as good as when I did last year. Amazingly enough, it all “stuck”. When people ask me how I’ve kept it all up for this long, I just say “this is how I live now”. I’m not eating twigs…I’m not just drinking juice…I’m not restricting calories. With very little effort each day, I simply continue to eat healthy and have not gone back to any of my old habits. I have a few drinks (alcohol) on occasion, or have a coffee once in a while, maybe some sweets if I’m feeling in the mood. But I always come right back to real food. Doing away with as much of the processed/packaged food as possible is key. I actually don’t even exercise all that much; so, I can fully understand now how powerful food really can be and how powerful the mind is as well. Most of us don’t associate our cravings or feelings of hunger with our brains; we think it’s all in our stomach. And, of course, what you put into it matters; but the most difficult obstacle was NOT my 45 (total) days of only drinking extracted vegetable and fruit juice NOR my transition to a completely plant based diet NOR gathering up the courage to let some stranger stick a tube up my ass to clean out my insides NOR even riding my bike 20 miles every other day (even when I didn’t feel like it). The true roadblock was being able to look at my life in a very different way than I had previously; the struggle of letting go of beliefs and habits which did not serve me well on any level; to keep focused on permanently changing the way I live life, all while ignoring the skepticism and negativity of others. The hardest work was overcoming my own mind. And moving forward, still remains the hardest part of remaining healthy. But I didn’t always have this perspective.
In January 2014, came my first moment of clarity. I had not been feeling right for a long time; I was kind of like on auto pilot and too run down to even care or do anything about it. It was midnight, I was laying in bed watching TV with my headphones on as my wife slept beside me. I came across a bunch of documentaries on Netflix that I didn’t think I’d care too much about. They had to do with the world’s food, how we eat and how it is making us all sick. I’d been a lacto vegetarian for over 20 years at this point but I didn’t think I’d really be interested in some half-baked notion that refined sugar acts like a drug in our body or how raw fruits and vegetables can reverse illness or how animal based agriculture is one of the top contributors of greenhouse gases. I suppose that I cared just as much as the next jaded person who claims to care about health and the environment. In any case, there was nothing else to watch so I put one of these films on. It was called Forks Over Knives; and after I watched it I felt a pit in my stomach. I began watching a few more of these “food docs” and I started feeling like I was waking up from a long, deep slumber. I was getting really angry on the inside. All of these films were basically about different topics related to food and somehow were entirely connected to one another. It was like unlocking a mystery for me. I began to see the relationship of how we destroy the ecosystem to feed the masses, how the food supply is designed to make us sick, the manner in which the healthcare system treats us for the sickness and finally, how our sickness becomes even worse as a result. It’s really just one never-ending cycle run by the financially elite, who uses it’s own people to gain profit for their giant corporations. Drug and Chemical companies own our food? What?!?! How could I be the only one making this connection? This couldn’t have been kool-aid that I was drinking, could it? So, I began doing some research and finding out a great deal more on the subject of agriculture, big food, pharma, chemical additives and their affects on people. At this point, I felt like I wanted to DO something about it all…but what? I’m a lazy, 215 pound, half-assed vegetarian who drinks too much and just sits around and complains about shit. I am living proof of these very injustices and have been in the dark just as much as anybody else. That was the exact moment I realized that I needed to change to be in alignment with my own beliefs. Nobody likes the sinking feeling of being “wrong” for most of their life or having to change what they’ve been doing for years. But ignorance is NOT bliss…ignorance is suffering. EVERYONE wants to see the world change in a positive way but none of us actually want to be the ones doing the changing. I was so tired of living the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
I was over weight, under nourished and drinking alcohol often. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, constant fatigue (even though I work a desk job), soreness in my hips, knees and ankles. No focus, no energy, depressed for what seemed like no reason at all. I just over ate and drank constantly. My body was on a shopping spree and I was letting my mind push the cart. One morning in early February of 2014, I decided to finally make an attempt to do something about everything I was learning. The first thing I did on that day was force myself to go outside and start walking. I didn’t know or care how far I went, I was just tired of the excuses I always made for myself to get my ass off of the couch. As I left my driveway and began to make my way down the street, I felt myself huffing and panting; gasping for air even though I was surrounded by it. I wanted to turn around and go back home already. Complaining to myself that “it was a bad idea”, “I have so much work to do at home”, “I shouldn’t be walking too much because of the soreness in my knees or my heels”, “it’s too cold out, I may get sick”…etc…etc…etc. In any case, I decided to just keep on walking…ignoring all the garbage my head was telling me and just began enjoying my surroundings instead. After about 20 minutes, I found that I was not gasping for air any longer but was fully taking it into my lungs and exhaling slowly. When I witnessed this, I felt at peace with everything. I just kept on walking until I made it around the block (which is a few miles). When I got back, I drank a tall glass of water and made myself a giant salad. As I ate it, I remembered one of the documentaries I had seen on juicing called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I immediately looked it up online and found the website for Joe Cross (who had made the film). It seems like from that point forward, I was on a mission and was not going to let anything or anyone stop me; most importantly myself. But I’m not going to go into detail about my daily regimen, exercise routine, etc right now; you could find this information elsewhere on my blog. This article is more geared toward the single most important step in any life transformation; and that is: changing your own perspective.
The manner in which I achieved my optimal health goals had NOTHING to do with my waist size, starving myself, getting a personal trainer, running marathons, taking weight loss pills or trying fad “diet” plans. It had EVERYTHING to do with witnessing and changing my own destructive behaviors. Misconception, assumption, low self worth, arrogance, stereotyping, anger, greed, expectation, infatuation, dependence, envy, fear, stubbornness, selfishness; these things simply do not exist within us…these behaviors are nurtured every single day of our lives and have the ability to overcome our very existence if we choose to live life unconsciously. These behaviors are the thick, cold, steel bars of the prison of our mind. Am I saying we should not use our brains? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is that we should only be using our brains for what they are meant for (creating, building, knowledge, calculating, etc.); everything else is just background noise. Living in our heads is not living at all. Once this finally became clear to me, it allowed me to break down the mental chains I was bound by and begin tearing away the construct of my entire belief system. Letting go of the “noise” from my upbringing, schooling, domestication, mainstream media and my peers beliefs; I began to see a blank slate that could be filled with whatever I wanted to create for myself. I just began trusting in the power of real food. I didn’t visit my doctor, I didn’t look for advice from a “nutritionist”…I shut off all of the hype and sales pitches. I just knew, deep down to my very core that man made chemicals and animals were never meant to nourish us. Our body even tells us this by decaying at a faster rate, by making us ill, by making us sore, bloated and tired, by creating disease and shutting down earlier than normal. This is our body telling us “you’re fucking doing it wrong”. And when you finally begin doing it right, your body just seems to reverse the damage. You become more alive and full of energy. Vibrant.
If you’ve stuck with me this far, there may be hope for you yet! You just need to start getting angry about how you’ve been hoodwinked this long. Realize that organic, plant based food that is grown with care and love, can and will nourish everyone. Your body will reverse obesity and many other illnesses on it’s own. But if you keep feeding it the negativity of poisons, abuse and suffering, you will only become a reflection of this suffering and struggle until the very end. Everything in the universe is connected by the same energy…there is a balance. Our modern day world has thrown this balance off to the point of disconnection…we’re all unplugged from the source. The only way to plug yourself back into the infinite source is to realize that you, yourself, possesses just as much power as any other thing in the universe. It is there for you to use, if you let it. Realize that you are not lesser because of your financial or social standing. Take control of your personal world and the rest of the world will eventually follow. Start becoming conscious and present with everything you do; stop living in the dreamworld of your mind. By saying things like “that’s not me”, “I can’t do that”, “I could never live that way”, “yuck, that sounds gross”…you have already failed in your journey. You are simply repeating the same things you’ve always been told. Snap out of the comfort zone you’re trapped in. Do not be afraid to explore yourself and do things in a completely different way. You may say my ideas are “extreme”…but fighting extreme sickness takes extreme measures. For kicks, let’s take a closer look at what “extreme” is. You say I’m extreme because I don’t eat meat/dairy and I drink juices and smoothies everyday which make me healthy and full of energy. So what? If it makes your life better than why are you so afraid of it? I say you’re extreme for unconsciously eating whatever is put on your plate which, in turn, supports the continuing suffering and enslavement of animals, the effects of animal agriculture on the environment and the rampant production and overconsumption of man made chemicals, additives and preservatives. It seems this path would have you on the fast track to require man-made medicine (and possibly even surgeries). Now, I’d say all of that is EXTREMELY EXTREME. You’re only saying what I do is extreme because it is foreign to you; and the latter evils are the norm which most people have become accustomed. It is so normal that most refuse to see any of it as a bad thing. Or, they turn away and pretend they don’t know the evils (which is even worse).
We were raised to believe in our doctors, our teachers, our scientists, our government, even our own parents….to us, they are superior. So, if they tell us what to eat, how to dress, how to behave and how to “cure” illness, we should listen, right? Wrong. By putting yourself on the bottom, so to speak, you are confirming the underlying problem. We place too much trust on these people which we put up on pedestals. These people are not always logical or have your welfare in mind; in fact, they too once looked up to their “superiors” and are really just regurgitating the same stuff they were taught. It’s time to break yourself free of this box. Generation after generation; traditional beliefs passed down one to the other, in hopes of carrying on what many thought worked a long time ago. Times change, people have different prospects and priorities. The system of control has always existed to attain power and wealth; to grow exponentially and to hold onto this power for as long as possible. To do this successfully, they have to appear to be leading a people with intelligence, strength and with the well-being of the people as their main priority. Where this may have once been the “ideology” of a system, it has now manifested into the exact opposite. The corruption, abuses and cruelty toward all living things on earth is the reality of the severely broken elite who climb and climb…for MORE, MORE, MORE. Greed is at the helm of this sinking ship on all levels society. The pursuit of wealth has infiltrated every facet of our social existence. There is no care for “the people”. Only a clever and systematic way of killing us through lab food and drugs in hopes of thinning out our “out of control” reproduction habits and profiting (hand over fist) from our suffering. This is the worst kind of slavery because we don’t even realize that we are slaves. We have been so well trained by pretty words and pictures that our perception of our own world is completely false. Humans are capable of living much longer than the standard “life expectancy”. But if we’re subconsciously doing what we’ve been told since birth, we will only be one of the statistics. This is how they control an ever growing population; by making us sick with the food supply and then making us even more sick with the “medicine”. If we ignore this vicious cycle and just eat as simply as we can, from the earth, our bodies will recognize this and amazingly “fix” itself. You will regain your immune system and find that you won’t need to visit the doctor often at all (unless you just want a check up). Your aches and pains will begin to dissipate and your body will start transforming into it’s natural framework. It’s not a miracle or an “act of god”. It’s just nature. I’m not suggesting you eat dirt and grass and never allow yourself a “treat” again; but I am saying that you need to take extreme measures in order to snap out of your complacency. And once you have been reawakened and get yourself through the hard part, you will be strong enough to recognize the difference between real food (which feeds your body) and junk food (which feeds your brain). You will train yourself to accept new replacements to your everyday eating habits and eventually learn to strike a balance; with ease. You will be able to enjoy an occasional treat without the mental “attachment” to it and to never fall back into your old habits again.
So, now what?! You’ve changed your perspective, you’ve become healthy…but how do you stay that way? Thats easy, just keep doing what you did to change in the first place and never stop doing it. Stop convincing yourself you are “trying to lose weight” or “going on a diet” or “following a weight loss program”. The minute you believe that shit, you’ve lost. All of that crap is temporary and we all know most people fail within the first week. Every choice, every decision you make about putting food into your mouth should be done so consciously; each meal, each snack, each drink is a decision to be awakened or not. The good choices NEED to weigh out the bad ones 95% of the time. Stop falling into the trap of convenience foods. If you are constantly on the go, take ownership of your situation. Wake up earlier and prepare meals and snacks for your day. It is our laziness that also keeps us from changing anything about ourselves. If you’re looking for results with no work, I’m sorry, I cannot offer you that. If you’re still looking for that quick weight loss, you may as well not bother reading my blog at all and just go buy that chemical laden Slim Fast garbage. The secret to all of this is: there is no quick fix to weight loss, health or your overall well-being. You have to be completely open to change the way you think and live, otherwise, you will be running on that hamster wheel until the day you die and that is the sad truth. Throw out your stereotypes, throw out your misconceptions, throw out all the shit you’ve ever been told. Stop worrying about what others say or think about you. You can be whomever you want to be; there is absolutely NOTHING stopping you from becoming healthy, except your own brain.