My Story: How I Became a Raw Vegan – Part 3

For many years I was the “vegan, do yoga, walk and smoke guy”.

But, it wasn’t really enough. I wasn’t healthy, I was just pseudo-healthy by others standards. The vegan lifestyle as I was doing it did not work for me.

That’s where my good friend Woody comes in. Woody Harrelson, yes the one you are thinking of, introduced me to raw foods in 1998 in San Francisco. He was eating raw and so were many of his fiends and co-workers. They took me to Juliano’s, the first really successful raw food restaurant in San Francisco.

Did I go raw then? Nope, it seemed like too much effort. Even though I was already vegan, I thought the raw people were hard core and way too crazy for me. But, each time I saw Woody over the next several years, we always ate raw food together and I loved it!

Then life threw me a big curveball as it often does to many of us. In 1999, I was in 2 car accidents which permanently caused injury to my neck. I was in rough shape. I couldn’t even open doors for myself or carry my own groceries and was very weak and frail.

Enter a big coincidence. Shortly after that time a raw food restaurant opened in my home town of Winnipeg, Canada. The food was amazing but it took too long and was too expensive. Despite these shortcomings, I went every day for lunch and did takeout for dinner. Coupled with smoothies in the am I was about 90% raw that year and was feeling great. But, again, when it wasn’t convenient to go raw I abandoned it. After less than a year, it closed and I went back to being an unhealthy vegan.

I vascillated between veggy and vegan for a while, depending on who I was dating at the time. I allowed myself to be influenced by those around me to my own health’s detriment.

Case in point. In September of 2004, my ex-wife and I went to Toronto and spent a weekend with Woody eating raw foods. We both got totally buzzed from the food and felt great.

That was it for me. The watershed moment so to speak. Buoyed by her interest in it as well as my own I became a raw vegan. While my marriage didn’t last, this time being a raw vegan stuck. It continues to stick almost 6.5 years later. Adding to the new healthy lifestyle, I gave up pot too and have not smoked in years. Now I was just the yoga, raw vegan guy who looked great, for a while. Another life lesson, my raw diet was too much fat and high glycemic and I got Candida again and a stressed liver. I was not in balance.

At Woody’s suggestion, enter Dr. Gabrielle Cousens. I did his phase 1 cleanse for 6 months and my energy and vitality flew through the roof. I started running, biking, and doing weights, in addition to my daily yoga.

Fast forward to today. I am healthy, balanced, and way happier. I even look younger. My skin, eyes, hair and nails are flourishing. I am eating more simply, lower in fat and little high sugar fruits coupled with more greens. All my medical numbers are perfect and in range. In short my health is rocking.

That’s the short version of the story so far. The journey continues…

Created by Jeff Golfman of The Cool Vegetarian and The Raw Office

Also See : Part 1, Part 2

Dear Reader: Tell me what is your single biggest obstacle or frustration with living a vegetarian, vegan or raw lifestyle ?

Jeff GolfmanJeff Golfman

On Right– Me in 1990 at 175 Pounds as a SAD Meat Eater ( Don’t laugh too hard )

On Left – Me in 2011 at 141 pounds as a low fat Raw Vegan

Latest Comments

  1. Tanya says:

    Hi Jeff – thanks for asking this important question! My biggest obstacles of late have been strong, periodic cravings for meat and busy phases in my life that leave me depending on finding substandard food outside of the home because I fall behind on stocking groceries.

    Both obstacles are much smaller now that I consume 2 raw green vegan smoothies daily. I think this worked because I never had the energy to chew my food as well as a blender can, and making and ‘eating’ smoothies is faster and more nutritious for me than any other option. I’ve finally stopped succumbing to outside criticisms of my animal consumption because it simply feels necessary for me, and I consume ethically-grown animal products in careful moderation.

    I think the smoothies also gave my palette a chance to shift from craving salty/sweet/crunchy/fried things. Now I can taste the nutritional value in foods and I can ‘hear’ my body saying there is not enough nutrition in my belly after eating a bunch of starch alone (even if it’s a relatively natural starch like white rice or potatoes).

    I love your comment in one of the videos about rotating greens. And I just started sprouting at home with the BioSnacky and adding those to the smoothies…so easy! I’m sure there is always room for improvement so if you or anyone has any ideas to share, you’re welcome to contact me. The essence of my relationship with food is here –

    1. jeffgolfman says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this info. I believe that we each have to find our own balance point and what works and what doesn’t for our individual bodies. One thought I have on your starches is to try to reduce the “white” stuff and experiment with non stored grains like the ancient grains: spelt, kamut, quinoa and millet. Also try the local wild rices too. In the raw options you can get great carbs/starches in yams, beets, carrots and the like and sprouted grains and live breads.

  2. Irene Ling says:

    Hi Jeff, you have described your journey with such openness and honesty. And what a journey! You have really come a long way. Watching you run now, I can’t imagine that you smoked pot before!!

    The most challenging obstacle with living a raw lifestyle for me, is the thought of giving up the special meals that my family and I have shared together for all these years. There are certain dishes that my son loves and brags to his friends. Also, what would I eat now when I go to fancy parties and banquets? traveling overseas? on a cruise?

    Last evening, my son and his fiancée tried my raw flax crackers and almond butter balls and they both said they loved them! I thought to myself, hey! may be I can start a new tradition of sharing raw food with my
    family! In time, I may be able to deal with all these questions.

    1. jeffgolfman says:

      Irene: These are terrific questions and central issues for anyone making a lifestyle or diet change. I love your idea of replacing the current “comfort/party” foods with newer healthier options. For special occasions and events I also think that it is important to find what feels right for you and to allow that to grow and evolve over time. No need to be 100% over nite and no need to add any stress onto the moment.

      With travel i find it so easy to get better foods than what we have at home as there are thousands of veggy, vegan & raw stores, restaurants, potlucks, events, conferences and meets up on your travels. So if you tap into that you may find your travels to be a new exciting experience!

      Please send on the almond ball recipe. Sounds great!!

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