Q & A Series: People, Products and The Health of Our Planet – Interview with Andrew Perlot (Raw Vegan Food)

For the second interview, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Andrew Perlot. I have never met him, but know him through his website that I introduced to by another raw foodie. He has great free information/articles on his site, so please do check it out. He backs up his info with research/ sources at the bottom of his articles, as well. I like his easy going style and the fact that he was able to overcome some serious health issues and looks like a shining example (at the age of 27) of living a raw vegan lifestyle the right way! Check out the before and after pictures below (ages 17, 23 and 25) – that is a great testimonial, in and of itself!

To access Andrew’s Website, please click on the link I have provided on the right-hand side of the page under the column titled blogroll

Namaste!
Chef Mindy aka Ageless Raw (low-fat) Vegan Beauty

Question #1: Tell me briefly about yourself and why you decided to get involved in the “health” industry?

I spent my youth overweight and fairy sick. I maxed out at 220 pounds when I was 17 years old, and although I started getting myself into shape after that, I suffered from increasingly bad colitis in my college years, a horrible disease that was ruining my life. Besides this, I suffered from chronic migraines, backaches and other problems.

Addendum to Question #1

Did You immediately go to raw food (and was it low fat from the start or did you try other ways first, too) or did you try other things first like macrobiotics, cooked vegan, etc?

I made the first small-scale improvements to my diet in 2001, when I was 17, such as drinking more water and less soda, eating less processed foods, and replacing some deserts with fruit. Soon after this I started drinking less milk, realizing that it had a very negative effect on my digestive system.

By the age of 20 around 2003, I was eating a low fat cooked food vegan diet centered around whole foods.

I spent much of 2005 suffering from ever-worsening colitis, and after being disgusted with the answers given to me by my doctor, I started fooling around with diets with no grains or starches, and although they helped, I couldn’t find one I could eat enough calories on without eating unhealthy levels of fat, until I learned that fruit was the perfect replacement to calorically-dense grains and starches that were aggravating to my system.

I started a low fat raw food diet based around whole fruits and vegetables in 2005 (at the age of 22) to see it it would cure my colitis – it worked like a charm, and also left me feeling better and possessing far more energy than I’d ever experienced in my life. I amazed myself by how much stamina my body possessed, and by 2009 I’d logged my first marathon. Over the years I’ve developed some effective weight loss strategies and dropped down to 158 pounds, for a total loss of 62 pounds, which is like shedding the entire body weight of a six year old boy from your body.

By the end of 2005 I was on my first 30-day low fat raw food trial, and my symptoms were hugely reduced by the end of it. After 60 days, I could eat a wide variety of fruit and some leafy greens. A year later I could handle raw cruciferous and harder-to-digest vegetables like broccoli with no problems.

Up until the beginning of 2007, I ate approximately 90 to 95 percent raw, and I would periodically try to eat cooked vegan foods to see if I could find some equilibrium between all raw and cooked vegan that would allow me to feel fantastic and keep my colitis in check. I failed to find such a sweet spot, and in 2007 I decided there wasn’t one.

I’ve been all raw since, and feel fantastic.

By 2008, I was fielding so many questions from people interested in how I ate that I decided it would be far more efficient to start a website and write articles that could be accessed by thousands. My goal was to make sure that no one had to suffer, like I did, for lack of life-changing health information. Raw-Food-Health.net was born to provide free information on a wide variety of raw-related topics, and it continues on that path today. Well over 90 percent of the content I produce is free.

By 2010 the site had grown enough to provide me with a bit of income, and I quit my job as a newspaper reporter to work on it full time. As of September 2011, it was averaging 69,394 unique visitors every 30 days, making it one of the most popular raw food websites on the internet.

Question #2: If you were stranded on a desert island and were allowed to take only 5 items with you (they can be food, books or specific products that are all health-related), what would they be and why?

1) An infinite bowl of Nam Dok Mai Mangoes: My favorite type of mangoes. They’re high enough in calories to support a strenuous life while being watery enough to keep me reasonably well hydrated, even if there wasn’t a ton of water around. I also never get sick of them.
2) Infinite Bowl Of Celery: I start to feel poorly and my health and athletic performance starts to decline if I don’t get some greens in regularly. Celery offers an array of minerals that fruit alone cannot provide.

3+4) My machete and a big box packed with a wide variety of low-water tolerant fruit and vegetable seeds and corms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corms): I’ve got a permaculture design certificate under my belt and a great deal of interest in growing fruit in arid environments, and my goal would be to pull a Greening The Desert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmk) on that island and turn it into an abundant paradise. You can’t live on mangoes and celery for years and be in great health, so I’d need to diversify. If a rescue party happened to find me 30 years down the road, they’d discover my island overflowing with dates, pomegranates, figs, citrus, and gardens of vegetables.

5) My laptop and a solar charger: I’m well aware that health is not confined to what you eat and how you exercise, but dependent on a wide variety of health factors, such as sleep, managing your mind, and many other pillars. These are topics I talk about at length in The Raw Food Lifestyle: http://www.raw-food-health.net/Raw-Food-Lifestyle-EBook.html#axzz1ZWXVsQJO
One of the critical aspects of a healthy lifestyle is creative expression. There is no one right way to do it, but writing is one of my passions. There are many books I could write, and doing so would be good way to enjoy myself and stay sane while isolated thousands of miles from other human beings.

Question #3: What one message do you want to share with the people of this world that is crucial for their ultimate well-being and longevity?

Got health problems? So did I. I was once miserable, fat, depressed, sick, and convinced these factors were outside of my control – I was just a bad throw of the genetic dice, I believed. When I learned to control my mind, eat a healthy diet, and take positive actions in all areas of my life, my situation changed dramatically. Today, I find my life is joy. I love my body, because it does everything I ask of it. It never gets sick, carries me through the activities I enjoy with grace and ease, and frankly looks a heck of a lot better than it did when I was trashing it at every meal. This is a far cry from the hatred I once had for it when I believed it a curse I could not escape.

If you think you’ll never get free of your challenges, know that there are ways forward.

For general health, the most effective diet I’ve ever found is simply consuming more ripe fruit than I’d ever considered normal or optimal, tons of vegetables, and relatively little fat. Ignore the salt, beverages (other than water) spices, supplements, vitamin pills, and other useless junk people try to sell you.

It works like a charm for me and many of those who read my website, and it can work for you.

Questions #4: If someone could afford to purchase only one product at this moment to start their journey towards better health (food or health-related), what would you recommend and why?

Considering that I spend so much time talking about diet, it would seem likely I’d choose something food-related to recommend, and there certainly are some great books in that category. But I think it’s naive to expect a single product to be all things to all people.

Everyone is at unique stages of development in the different areas in their life. For some, their diet or exercise routine is floundering or nonexistent and they feel the need to really boost that up. Others have their diets down pat and don’t need any help. Some are depressed, allow their mind to run rampant, hate their job, are in ridiculous relationships, or have some other weak point they need to address, all of which are factors playing into their health.

I prefer to suggest a product which offers a meta-solution, so to speak. It doesn’t address diet or exercise directly, but recognizes that improvement is the constant goal, and suggests a new way of looking at the world. If you start working on your life in the way that it suggests, health improvement will simply be one of the areas you embrace.

This audio program was suggested to me when I was a Freshman in college. After listening to it a few times I started getting a handle on why, although the weight loss and easing of my depression I’d experienced earlier had been great, I didn’t really see the connections so I could recognize why I’d had improvements or how I could build on them further. As time has gone on, I’ve come to appreciate this ground-level introduction to smart thinking and realized it’s a scaffolding from which I’ve gone on to learn more advanced ideas and formulate my own.

The material is actually quite old, but timeless in value. The speaker, whose deep gravely voice I initially found off putting, but which I now enjoy, is Earl Nightingale, who was famous in the 1950s for his motivational speaking.

“Lead The Field,” (http://www.nightingale.com/prod_detail~product~Lead_Field~audio~2144.aspx) The audio program I suggest, is from the 1970s, and was a synthesis of his many ideas in one compact form.

What I hope health seekers will get out of it is an understanding that having the most ripped abs in their town will not make them healthy if they don’t know how to think and solve problems creatively, a trait most people never develop. If your mind isn’t growing, you’ll never be at your best (note, you want the audio program, not the book by the same name).

Question #5: Tell me more about your business/company and/or products you offer to the public to help them achieve optimal health and well-being?

Raw-Food-Health.net exists to provide free information that people can use to revolutionize their health and understand the cause of their disorders and maladies. I want people to know that the vast majority of diseases and disorders humanity suffers from are caused our actions, not our genes, which are, despite what people like to think, of little importance in the grand scheme of health (http://www.raw-food-health.net/Genetics-And-Disease.html). This viewpoint may be annoying for those who like to blame outside factors, but I find it incredibly empowering, for it means that we have the power to improve our lives dramatically.

I also offer a one-on-one coaching service (http://www.raw-food-health.net/Raw-Food-Coaching.html), and two e-books for sale through the site.

The first is “Savory Raw Dressings And Sauces,” (http://www.raw-food-health.net/Savory-Raw-Dressings-And-Sauces.html). I created this e-book because so many people have no idea that you can make healthy dressings that avoid the oil, salt, vinegar, spices, and other unhealthy foods that people normally ruin their salads with. When you avoid these items, you can still have a tasty finished product that will delight your taste buds. Eating well does not have to be dolorous.

All you need is delicious raw fruits, vegetables, and herbs to make amazing salad dressings. I explain how in the book.

The second is “The Raw Food Lifestyle,” which tries to emphasize that while diet can change your life, food choices alone won’t take you all the way to health anymore than just exercising will. The book goes into detail about managing your mind, living in a cooked food world as a raw foodist, exercise, sunshine, sleep, and many other topics critical to health and happiness on this planet.

Discount Code: RawsomeRawLifestyle
The first 25 buyers of The Raw Food Lifestyle purchased by itself using this discount code will receive 25 percent off the purchase price. Code expires November 23, 2011.

Discount Code: RawsomeSavoryAndLifestyle
The first 15 buyers to purchase The Raw Food Lifestyle and Savory Raw Dressings And Sauces together will receive 25 percent off the purchase price. Both books must be in your cart at the time of checkout for the code to function. Code expires November 23, 2011.

Question #6: What are your hopes/aspirations/dreams for the future health of the people and the planet?
1) That people will realize the vast majority of illnesses are a choice, and that they can just as easily choose health, vastly changing the world.
2) That our streets will be lined with fruit trees, and food forests will replace the soil-destroying mono crops of annual plants that stretch across most of this world.
3) That polluting factory farms will disappear.
4) That because fruit orchards produce more calories per acre than animal husbandry and any other vegetative crop, that we can allow more land to return to wilderness, so the rest of the animals and plants on this planet can have a place to thrive, and the critical rain forests can return.
5) That one day, you’ll be able to eat 20 peaches in public without anyone blinking an eye, because it will be seen as the natural, responsible, tastiest way to eat.

Question #7: Who is your greatest hero and why?

I certainly respect many people, primarily pioneers, inventors, explorers, and others who have pushed past doubt and adversity to go after their dreams, but I can’t say I’ve ever embraced anyone as a hero. No one has ever fit my ideal mold closely enough, so I’ve tended to follow the beat of my own drum, which I find more rewarding.

Question #8: I know that there are variables as to how much food/calories each person consumes when eating raw vegan food (based on many lifestyle factors, etc), but is there a basic guideline you would recommend for everyone?

It’s true that caloric needs will vary greatly depending on size, activity level, and other factors, but the basic ideal diet for a 60-year-old sedentary house wife, a 25-year-old body builder, and a 40-year-old marathon runner are the same.

The only real ideas you need to embrace are to eat only whole, ripe, raw fruits and vegetables and to keep your fat intake under 10 percent of calories consumed. If you do so, you’ll find your protein intake is automatically in the ideal range of less than 10 percent of calories consumed, and your carbohydrate intake is automatically in the ideal range of at least 80 percent of calories consumed.

There are many caveats and individual questions that need to be answered, which I address on my site, but that’s the simple overview that applies to all. If a diet is too complicated, there’s probably something fishy about it.

Forget pills, supplements, and “cures.” Whole, raw, ripe fruits and vegetables are all you need to thrive like never before.

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