32nd in my series of interviews with fruitarians.
Sorry it's taken me so long, but thanks for letting me interview you!
OK, Could you please start with the usual stuff, just tell us a little about who you are, your age, where you are living/grew up? etc..etc..
I am currently 39years and living in SE Asia. I grew up in Oregon State in USA. I lived in San Diego, California 10 years before beginning my 'vagabonding' lifestyle in 2007. Currently I am in KoPhangan Thailand living in a 'raw house'. Harley, Freelea, Nick, Rich, and Choi and more are welcome to join!
Where do you hang out when you're online?
and of course your wonderful blog!
So, what prompted you to become a vagabonding vegan? What line of trade where you in previously, and when did you decide to quit that, and travel/live the life you're doing now instead?
I was buying and selling real estate in Oregon and San Diego for several years. I had purchased one house back in 1996 after saving up money for a down payment from working as a Youth Counselor. After that one purchase I began the pursuit of financial wealth through real estate, read several books, went to seminars, surrounded myself around millionaires and like minded friends.
After becoming Vegan in approx 2002, I began to become more and more aware of ethics and such through my new lifestyle and friends and readings and yoga. I was already a Surfer of 5 years by then and in love with the free, surf lifestyle as well.
So transitioning to my current 'vagabonding lifestyle' seemed to happen over a few years, until finally I went for it in January of 2007! I gave away many things and sold some. I now have income of approx $700US/month from a loan I made to a friend. I kept a large backpack and my surfboard and headed to Costa Rica for "Raw World" and to internship with Doug Graham's fasting retreat.
You got rid of pretty much everything you owned? How did it make you feel?
The 'real decision' to go for the vagabonding lifestyle seemed to happen a couple months before I did it.
It felt sooo liberating to give away so much stuff: tvs, radios, clothes, books, dvds, surfboards, hammock, two cars, etc...
I still feels so amazing that I have found this more minimalistic way of life and am grateful to live it.
Are you missing family at all? I see you on this photo from your blog, with you hugging your nephew goodbye at the airport, when was that taken? I guess you're emailing them regularly?
I do think of my family often. That photo was a while back. Mom and Dad came to visit me for one month in Bali, which was fabulous time. Brother and Sister and nephews are soon to come see me in Asia I am manifesting.
email weekly, phone monthly
Are you travelling alone there? - I know that you're living with others right now, but in general have you mostly just been doing your own thing?
I have been alone most of the time. Now I am fortunate to live with some Raw friends that eat like me, Raw Vegan fruit diet with occasional greens.
I am open to a girlfriend now and plan to attract one soon!
Growing up in the US, was your diet pretty typical for it's day? - Give us a brief run down of what you used to get through, foodwise, on a typical day.
Growing up in Oregon. Family of 5. Breakfast in the AM with my bro and sis and pops (french toast, eggs/bacon, cereal, a bit of fruit).
Lunch time was a sack lunch from mom made with love and intention (tuna or egg salad or pb/j, crackers, cheese, yogurt, apple, raisins, cookie, etc..).
scheduled dinner time at 5:30pm nightly. (pasta, rice and veggies, small portion of dead animals, biscuits made with baking powder and honey, salad, burritos, burgers, pizza, etc..)... We were not allowed sugar cereal, Hostess twinkies and products, Sodapop (accept weekend nights), other high artificially and flavoured products. It seemed we were healthy family compared to all of my friends.
And do that whole fast forward thing to the present for you in Thailand, what does a typical days food intake look like for you now?
Now in Thailand:
meal #1 2 coconut waters with some jelly, OR approx 150calories
meal #2 2kilos of mangosteens, OR approx. 300calories
meal #3 1 kilo of bananas, OR approx 600
meal #4 durian! , OR approx 1500-2000calories
(I seem to have a good idea of calories due to my past of weight training and fitness experience which I gained to be 215lbs (approx 105kilos), big muscular dude....NOW I weigh about 140lbs or 67kilos).
Neat, So when did things start to change for you? Did you progress slowly to vegetarianism, veganism, raw food and fruitarianism, or was it more of a sudden change?? What sparked those changes?
I was vegetarian for about one year. One day, I bought some videos and books on vegan at a vegan restaurant. I remember watching a dvd called "Eating", aka 'the rave diet', this inspired me so much that at the end of it, I told my girlfriend at the time that I am not eating cheese, dairy, eggs, or fish anymore (she changed to vegan two weeks later).
As scary as it seemed, I remember how good it felt in my heart to make this choice. As a vegetarian, I was primarily thinking about my health before the dvd. The dvd made me feel compassion for animals and want to make a difference.
Has anyone else in your family made such changes??
Recently I came up with an idea while meditating about how I can inspire my family to eat a vegan diet.
I decided to offer them $50 cash for each dvd they watch. I sent them several that I found online at amazon and the vegan store, etc... - 'Earthlings', The rave diet, 'peaceful kingdom', etc.. They each watched 20dvds! I paid them each $1000 cash from money i saved up from selling my house.
Now my brother and his wife are strict vegans and chose the vegan path for ethics. My sister and her husband became vegetarian, and are getting closer to veganism now.
Hey! That's very inspirational.. Good thinking there Darrick.. That was certainly money well spent!!
Can you tell us a little about your health before and after the changes you've made? Your weight must have dropped from 215lbs!
Before Vegan I was around 180lbs, lean and muscular from surfing daily, some running, some weightlifting.
After vegan, I became leaner over 6months, about 160lbs. It appeared I lost muscle, but I know now that it was hidden fat inside my muscles and other places.
After 2 years on the RAW vegan path, I am staying around 135-150lbs (depending on how much durian I am eating.... after eating durian for a meal over 500 times, I am still learning how to eat enough durian without overeating it.)
I feel my best so far when I am very lean and light around 135-140lbs (I am 6feet 1inch tall).
After having converted some of your family to veganism, what do they make of your current raw fruit diet?
My mom and dad seem open to it. My dad has read many books about veganism and raw and has attended Doug Grahams health and fitness week with me. He knows its the best way to live to eat raw vegan mainly fruit diet, but he doesn't feel like committing to it at this time. He is mostly vegan lately. I am sensing my Mom may think our bodies need some dead animals to get our nutrient needs met. Mom is very open to eat vegan food and does most of the time now. Especially because my vegan brother is creating many dishes for
my parents when they are together, and they live in the same town.
Do you sometimes get cravings for certain foods that you don't fully consider ideal, could you tell us a little about possible such times, and how you've dealt with them?
Lately I have had very little cravings for cooked food. I have found that by eating enough juicy fruits and durian each day I don't have cravings. When I eat less calories for periods of time, I get heaps of cravings. I do ultimately want to learn to eat less and be successful on raw vegan fruit diet, but for now I will eat enough or even more than enough in order to be well carbed and avoid cravings and stay on raw fruitarian path. Every time I went back to Cooked food for a few days or a week was due to eating less fruit than normal over a period of a week or two, and my body wanting more, until finally I was without durian for one week then had limited fruit available one day and became Ravenous, so I ate Cooked Rice mixed with my remaining bananas, and that led to one week of cooked vegan food.
Lately I believe the human body may survive and thrive even better with less food. I am experimenting with both ways and am not sure what is best. I really enjoy learning the beliefs of Nora Lenz as well as the more opposite beliefs of Harley or Doug Graham, I am suspecting somewhere in the middle may be best for me, but I need more time and experience.
It seems there are a few different schools of thought out there: overeating, undereating, eating enough, eating according to calories, eating according to 'true hunger', not eating, not eating or drinking water, etc.....
I believe DURIAN is the Key to being raw... what an amazing food... the ideal food for human... it satiates and fuels and feeds our mind, body and soul... is it for real? Its like so amazing to me that I can eat Durian and be a raw vegan, what a discovery... I am soooo grateful and fortunate.
Maybe I will publish a raw diet book, "Durian Diet" and recommend all transitioners to eat 75% of calories of durian daily for two years.
After this period, they can eat other amounts of juicy fruit, or work on eating a lower fat diet? heheheh.. it sounds funny, but I Believe it would work the majority of the time.
So when you moved over to a raw diet, what kind of foods did you find most difficult to leave behind?
whenever I was without durian for a couple days and went back to cooked, it would be baked potatoes or boiled potatoes.
Do you feel any needs to supplement your diet at all?
no. I now gratefully believe the body is perfectly healthy and thriving with raw fruits and gets all the nourishment it needs.
I'm guessing you are more than happy with the choice and quality of fruit you are getting now in Thailand?
Yes! I have been in the tropics approx 16months now, finding lots of variety and fresh and organic.
Any particular durian variety you consider a favourite??
I have followed your blog at times and Kveta's too. I love how passionate you both are about the "king". I love 'ANG HAIR" the most followed by D24, D2, D11, D15, D18, Capri KING, and many more.
Can you recall the first time you tried a durian?
At a raw food potluck in Southern California. Someone brought frozen monthong. I had heard many stories about durian from Harley a few months prior to this and was excited to try it. I loved it and I ate the people's portion that didn't like it too.
Hope you're enjoying the chempadek too!?
The chempadek season was excellent! I found that it is very inconsistent in quality there, but when you find the perfect one it is amazing. I was never able to replace a durian meal with chempadek or any other fruit. I had durian every night for 6weeks or so in Penang. Actually I have had durian most every night for about 16months (one-two months away while in India and Nepal).
What about back home in the States, were you happy with the choice of fruit there?
I lived in Oregon for some of my fruit loving years, many markets everywhere. Portland Oregon has so much fruit available. San Diego has as much too.
Any idea when you'll be back there?
maybe 2010, not sure though....am loving ASIA. and now I have a nice group of fruit loving peers around me. we are sharing a house in Ko Phanggan, Thailand.... 8 raw vegans there now and several more coming.
I posted an invitation on my Blog to attract more!
And what do you think of the whole fruit scene in Asia compared to things over in central america where I believe you started your vagabonding travels? Did you make it in to south america too?
I feel more drawn to Central American culture and the fruit seems even better there, but I am a durian addict and I haven't found it there yet. I suspect I can find it there if I start asking around in the Raw community, if you know please share.
I have explored BRASIL several times, but that was back in my Animal eating days... I am excited to return as a fruitarian.
Any plans to visit down under?
YES. I would love to. I have a few friends there on this path. Nick, Freelea, Harley, and more i am meeting on 30bananasaday.com. I am so excited to spend time with you and Kveta as well as others like Fruitarian Anne, etc...
Do you normally tell people how you eat? If so, what do you think is the most common question people ask you about your diet?
Most of the time I share a little and only continue if I get questions of interest. If I feel compelled to share, I Must. I love to share most of the time. In Asia I tend to tell most people that speak a hint of english about veganism. I always feel that I would have loved more vegans to share with me earlier in my life. I may have began my journey earlier if I was ready. Sometimes I actually feel selfish to not share, so I must.
The Protein question is most common.
How do you answer their questions?
I get my protein from fruit, and lately I am more worried about getting too much protein. Most of the diseases and cancers are from eating too much protein. Are you eating Too much protein?
Where and how do you see yourself living and eating in 10 years from now?
I see myself living 6 months/ year in a raw fruitarian community on an organic fruit farm in Hawaii, Australia, or Central American. For the remaining 6 months I may spend 2months in USA with family And 4 months exploring other tropical fruit filled destinations (being careful with my decisions of how to travel).
I plan to use my savings to buy a fruit farm that provides enough fruit for me and all my friends and family to thrive, and earns me some money to live a minimalistic style life.
Do you think you could improve on your diet at all??
YES. I am feeling like I can continually improve for the rest of my life. So much more to learn and grow and try and explore. I believe next in my vision is increasing my experience with mono eating. I can see myself enjoying mono meals of one fruit for each week of the year. For example: Mangos for one week, then bananas for one week, then papaya for one week, then Rolinea for one week. I thought it would be fun to go to the best area of USA for a certain fruit and stay on the best quality farm with the most abundance, and enjoy that area of the country and share the vegan message. For Example go to California and volunteer for The Date People farm and mono for one week on Dates. And/Or go to a Cherimoya farm for one week, then a Cherry farm etc....
(Before I do this I may need to practice mono eating for one day..but I am patient for now.)
Do you know any, or many, other fruitarians?
I know many on this path, some fruitarian and some mostly fruitarian.
At a very rough estimate, how many fruitarians do you reckon there could be on this planet?
How do you feel if people tell you that you must be crazy, and that you can't possibly survive eating the way you do??
I get pissed off and tell them they are a blood sucking predator. - NOT
really. I am practicing compassion more and more and remembering I used to think this way. This is helping me so much with my calm reactions.
Finally, is there anything you'ld like to add as words of encouragement to those that are aspiring toward fruitarianism?
Allow yourself many years to succeed and transition. be forgiving on yourself. Remember how many years of conditioning you may have to unlearn. Read lots of fruitarian books surround your self with supportive peer group. sign up to 30bananasaday.com and any other free fruitarian sites for support and education. visit organic fruit farms constantly. shop at outdoor fruit markets.
travel To SE Asia and get immersed in durian culture, and eat it every day for your last meal.
Come visit us NOW in Ko Phangan at our RAW House, see my blog or 30bananas for invitation and videos.
search youtube for 'vegantravelor' and 'durianrider' and see some durian videos and other travel related inspiration.
Minimize and practice more minimalistic lifestyle, its soooo liberating!!. sell or give away most of your stuff and use bicycle or feet for transportation.