Kristina Carrillo Bucaram (IG: @fullyrawkristina), also known as “FullyRaw Kristina,” has been widely recognized by many in her backyard, as well as across the globe, as the most popular raw and vegan celebrity and digital influencer of her time. Over the last 13 years, she has inspired a lot of people.
At the age of 18, Kristina overcame Type 2 Diabetes (Hyperglycemic) by eating a FullyRaw Diet. This diet is now more widely recognizable as strictly fruits and vegetables in their raw and unprocessed states as found in nature.
In this episode, we discuss:
- What is FullyRaw?
- Eat the rainbow
- Thoughts on the celery juice trend
- How Kristina developed type 2 diabetes at age 16
- Who inspired Kristina’s raw vegan transformation?
- Be the change
- Rewire your brain and taste buds
- Eating raw in cold climates
- The origin story of Kristina’s co-op
- Creating a community
- The negative impact of big corporations
- Support your local farmers
- Growing your own produce
- Mind, body, and spirit healing
Breville <== The Breville Super Q Blender
Sunwarrior <== 20% off all Sunwarrior products & free shipping over $50 (US only)
Organifi <== 20% off all Organifi products
Four Sigmatic <== 15% off all Four Sigmatic products (free shipping on orders $100 or more)
Kristina Carrillo Bucaram – The FullyRaw Diet (book)
Kristina Carrillo Bucaram’s website
Follow FullyRaw Kristina on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Subscribe to FullyRaw Kristina’s YouTube channel
Download the FullyRaw App
Dr. Norman Walker – Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices (books)
Whole Foods Market
John Rose – Why I Had To Save FullyRaw Kristina
Colin Campbell & Thomas Campbell II – The China Study (book)
Marshall Rosenberg – The Center for Nonviolent Communication
Dr. Garth Davis – Proteinaholic (book)
Jesse: Hello and welcome to The Ultimate Health Podcast, episode 301. Jesse Chappus here with Marni Wasserman and we are here to take your health to the next level.
Marni: Each week we will bring you inspiring and informative conversations about health and wellness, covering topics of nutrition, lifestyle, fitness, mindset, and so much more.
Jesse: And this week we are speaking with Kristina Carrillo Bucaram, also known as FullyRaw Kristina. She’s been widely recognized by many in her backyard as well as across the globe as the most popular raw and vegan celebrity and digital influencer of her time over the last 13 years. She has inspired a lot of people. At age 18 she overcame type two diabetes, she was hyperglycemic by eating a fully raw diet. This diet is now more widely recognizable as strictly fruits and vegetables in their raw and unprocessed states as found in nature.
Marni: We are super excited to have Kristina on the show as she truly is the queen of healthy, raw food eating and there really isn’t any other superstar other than her and you don’t have to be raw or vegan to get a lot out of this episode, we get into so much with Kristina so here’s what we talk about. What it means to be fully raw, how to rewire your brain and taste buds, how you can eat raw in colder climates. The origin story of Kristina’s Co-op, creating a community, the negative impact of big corporations and how to grow your own produce. A beautiful episode from a beautiful person. Here we go with FullyRaw Kristina.
Jesse: Hello Kristina. Welcome to the show. How you doing today?
Kristina: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy to be here. I’m just elated.
Marni: We’re so happy to have you here and Kristina, we’re so excited to introduce you to our audience and have you on the show, but for those people who don’t know you and don’t know what fully raw means, why don’t we start there. Explain what FullyRaw is all about.
Kristina: I would love to explain. So I have been a fully raw vegan for nearly 14 years. July 15th will be 14 years, and that means that I have dedicated myself to a lifestyle where I only consume fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, no animal products as much organic, fresh, ripe, whole plant based fruits and vegetables as possible. And many people say that it’s a diet, but for me it’s become a lifestyle because it really is more than just about the food for me. It is a mind, body, spirit journey and that’s what fully raw means and it basically means being the healthiest, most authentic version of yourself and living in the purest way of possible.
Marni: I love it. And to get more specific, can you give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you in terms of food?
Kristina: I would love to, so I like to keep things simple and nutritious. I don’t do a lot of mock or junk foods or things like that, but a typical breakfast for me looks like 32 ounces of green juice. Green juice it would have maybe celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, kale, spinach, romaine in a big jar. Lunch would be a big plate of fruit or maybe perhaps some kind of a smoothie. Today I had a smoothie was you know, four, five, six bananas, something like that with some berries, coconut water, you know, very simple but also nutritious and spirulina, things like that. I’ll add in some super food and my dinners are usually really large rainbow salads and every time I say the word salad, people think, oh that looks so boring. But no, my salads are pretty massive. I put as many colors in as I possibly can and I usually make my own dressings each night. I love my salads to be very filling and savory and creamy and all these delicious things. So yeah, basically I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Marni: And you said color, your stuff is so beautiful for those people who don’t follow you on Instagram or haven’t seen your videos. Color is just popping out everywhere and it’s so inspiring for a lot of people cause no matter what people are eating, whatever diet they follow, eating the rainbow is a hundred percent part of the prescription for good health. But I want to go back to juicing. And you talked about having a green juice in the morning and I’ve heard you speak or someone asked you before in a recent interview about your thoughts and celery juice and I loved what you had to say because you have very similar response to what we do in terms of how we approach juicing and think it’s very inclusive to just drink healthy juice and it doesn’t necessarily have to be celery juice. So let’s just talk about that since this is so trendy and such a big topic right now, why juicing in general is so good.
Kristina: I hope I don’t get myself in trouble for this. You know, I’ve been doing this a really long time. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 so you know, 14 years of seeing a lot of people come and go into this movement. People creating trends around things that sell easy. I mean, trying to get people to juice is difficult enough already. People were like, ah, I got to go buy the vegetables. I gotta go get the juice or all these ingredients. But telling somebody that they only have to juice one thing and it’s the magical fix for all their problems. It’s a genius marketing trick, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than all the green juices out there. I truly believe that celery juice is no more beneficial than, you know, celery, cilantro, lemon, ginger, kale juice, right. Actually, I really believe that we should be trying to get in as much variety as possible when it comes to a plant based diet. I dunno if you know Dr. Norman Walker was, but he wrote one of the first pioneering juicing books that there was out there back in the 70s and he talked about the benefits of celery juice. He talked about the benefits of combining different vegetables with it and the effects that it had on your body. It’s not new information. It’s pretty recycled at this point, but I’ve seen so many people talk about the benefits of celery juice, and I don’t think it’s just because of celery juice. I think it’s because of what they’re taking out and what they’re replacing with it. That’s just my personal take on it. I just don’t believe that celery juices any more beneficial than any other green juice out there. I believe that there’s so many beautiful and beneficial juices out there. For instance, I’ve recently discovered that fennel juice is amazing for hormones and headaches, and adding that into a juice or drinking that alone is beautiful and powerful in and of itself. So I guess that’s just me. I’ve seen a lot of things trend in the past 14 years of the raw and the vegan lifestyle, and I think it’s a beautiful thing because it is getting more people onto this lifestyle. However, I don’t know how true it is. You know, we don’t have studies to show that celery juice is more powerful than all these other green juices combined.
Jesse: That makes a lot of sense to us. And Kristina, I want to take things back to when you became fully raw. So I know it’s been, I think you just said 14 years. So let’s go back to that point and talk about where your health was at and how you first heard about the raw food diet.
Kristina: I’d love to, I was diagnosed with type two diabetes, hyperglycemia when I was 16. Hyperglycemia means having high blood sugar. So I grew up in a Lebanese Ecuadorian household. You want to talk about meat, chicken, beans, rice, everything fried, balaclava, (inaudible) like raw meat all these ridiculous Middle Eastern dishes. That was my childhood growing up. Oh my goodness. It’s like even me thinking about these foods, I’m like, well that seems like light years away. I didn’t grow up eating fruit at all. I barely grew up eating vegetables. It was a lot of carbohydrate, a lot of oil. I’ll give you an example. Like when we were sick growing up, my mother used to make us drink a cup of olive oil before we went to go to sleep because that’s what her great grandmother told her to do. And my grandmother and then her, and she passed this down as a tradition, you know, drink olive oil when you get sick. Lo and behold, that made everybody in our family sicker and nobody knew why. Right? So when I was 18 I had hit my biggest rock bottom physically at the time I had just gone into the hospital and had massive relapse. And, and for me, type two diabetes, hyperglycemia was characterized by everything from high and low blood sugar spells, chronic constipation, dehydration, vomiting, nausea, insanely bad migraines like blackout, migraines, and being faint, dizzy spells. Near the end of me being 18 I had just lost a lot of weight because it wasn’t that I wasn’t eating, it was just my body was not absorbing anything. It was really bad. I’m 5’7″ right now and I was 87 pounds at the time, at my lowest point. And I got out of the hospital one day and I went to Whole Foods to go and get everything that doctors had told me to get. Their like, okay, you can’t have any sugar, you can only have sugar-free this and in the package this, it must say for diabetics. It’s interesting because all of that advice just made me feel even worse because they weren’t directing me to eat more vegetables. They weren’t telling me to eat fruit. They are actually telling me not to eat fruit that you know, it would spike my blood sugar and just throw me into a downward spiral. So I remember I had just gotten out of the hospital one day and I was snitching, sugar-free, diabetic approved granola out of the bin and a man named John Rose walked up to me and I still had an IV patch in my arm and my arm was kind of wrapped up in the gauze and he taps me on the shoulder and he’s like, excuse me, are you raw foodie? And I just kind of popped up and I just remember being so frail at the time that I was like, what is this? Is this guy hitting on me? I was like, I don’t look good right now. Why would an older man, you know, 30 years older than me or something? Why would he even be talking to me about this? But then he started opening up to me about how he juices every day and how he eats all these vegetables and how it’s going to save the earth and how he loves it so much. And I just listened. And when he got to the point where he said that he doesn’t eat cooked food, I was very confused. I had never even heard of such a thing in my entire life. I mean, granted, I’m a Lebanese Ecuadorian girl who’s just spent, you know, the past 20 years or so in Texas, 14 years ago in Texas, calling somebody a vegetarian was just starting to kind of become popular, right? Telling somebody that you were recycling was like the go green movement. It was like, oh yeah, we recycle. Like that was the movement telling somebody that you were vegan. Nobody knew what that was. That was like unheard of telling somebody that you were a raw vegan, that’s like, oh, somebody go done call her mom and she’s gone off the deep end. There are cattle ranch steakhouses on every corner in Texas pretty much. Not to mention now with so much commercial real estate happening, just Mexican restaurants on every corner chain restaurants. It’s nothing original but everything, very much franchise owned. So I remember he told me a lot that day I wasn’t feeling well, so I only absorbed a little bit, but I took his card because I remember thinking, okay, I just need to stay open to this. And I went home and I remember at dinner that night, my parents, I remember trying to tell them, I was like, I think I met a rabbit man today I was like he only eat raw vegetables. And I just remember my mom hushing me and she’s like, oh, eat your food. I was like, okay. So around midnight or one o’clock that same evening I ended up having another spell like a horrible spell where I just like woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful. My Dad rushed me to the hospital and I came out three days later at just my lowest point yet. Like I was 18 and I was like, I can’t believe doctors are telling me the rest of my life is going to be this way. I don’t want to live like I was so broken. At that point I was so confused. I was supposed to be Valedictorian of my high school and then here the school’s telling me I’m not going to graduate because I’ve taken too many sick days and it was so much. I just remember thinking, okay, I’m desperate. This is what desperate looks like. I need to change. And I ended up calling John Rose and the funniest part about that is when I called him up, I wasn’t expecting him to remember me. I just dialed the number on the card he gave me and I said, hi Mr. Rose. This is Kristina. I just got out of the hospital and I’d be really open to, you know, learning about anything alternative that you have to share. I’ve never tried anything alternative before, but I’m open to learning and the first thing that came out of his mouth was, do you squat when you poop? And I would just started laughing. I was like, do I have the right number right now? Am I in the right place? But low and behold, he ended up becoming my best friend for years and he taught me so much about everything. And he’d been doing this for 18 years at the time when I first met him. Now he’s been doing it for what, 32 years or something. So he’s, I say to him like, I can’t do math clearly right now, but he’s been doing it a really long time.
Jesse: Are you still in touch with him?
Kristina: Yeah, I am. We do talk frequently. He’s been, you know, one of the primal forces in me taking on this lifestyle and I probably really studied under him and he was my mentor for a good six months. And then after that I found Dr. Graham and then I ended up going to work with Dr Graham and studying under him for a period of time. Fell in love with that community and that was the beginning of my journey in regards to my health. There were a lot of other subsequent stories sidelines going on there because I had just graduated from high school, went to Vanderbilt on a full ride for ceramics, but ended up not staying because I realized it wasn’t the environment for me. So moved to Costa Rica, lived there for a little bit, studying the lifestyle, ended up transferring over to Rice to finish out my triple major in kinesiology and ceramics and music as well, but then ended up starting the first farmers market on campus, which ended up turning into my co-op or my farmers market that I ran in Houston for 11 years, which ended up being the largest farmer’s market or at least one of the biggest ones, organic for produce in the United States for a good long period of time.
Jesse: Wow. So much to get into here, Kristina, but I want to take things back to that phone call you had with John. So you’re on the phone with John and this is after you come into the hospital. What happens next?
Kristina: He offered to meet me at Whole Foods and just talk to me and tell me what was going on with my body. And so we did that and I remember we had met in person and we were there for three hours and he was trying to tell me why I needed to eat fruit, why I needed to eat vegetables and I’m sitting there, my mind completely blown and I’m saying, you know to him, but I can’t eat fruit. I’m gonna die. I’m diabetic, don’t you understand? This is what doctors are telling me. And he’s like, no, no, no. He’s like, you need to be eating fruit, you need to be eating vegetables. He’s like, stop eating that stuff coming out of a package. You need to be eating more whole plant based things. And the craziest part about this story is he challenged me to go raw vegan and I accepted the challenge and he said, all right, I want you to pick one fruit that you like. And I said, I don’t know. I, I don’t have a favorite fruit. I didn’t grow up eating that much fruit. I watched my grandfather eat watermelon all the time, but that was about it. So I remember out of the corner of my eye, it was July peach season, Whole Foods had this like huge mountain of peaches over in the corner. So I just looked at him. I said, okay, peaches. He’s like, all right, you’re gonna eat peaches for two weeks straight. And my jaw just dropped to the floor. I was like, are you trying to kill me? And he said, no, let’s just do this together. We’ll count out your calories, we’ll make sure you’re eating enough and we’re going to have you doing mono meals for this time just to see if you feel a little bit better doing this. It ended up happening that I was 87 pounds at the time and I walked out of that Whole Foods with about 90 pounds of peaches or 80 pounds of peaches. So I basically walked out with my body weight. I’ll never forget the girl at the grocery counter. It was like are you starting a restaurant? Like she just looked at me and I’m sitting there with my cases of peaches. I was like, no, these are for me. Like, so I just remember after the first three days of eating peaches, I actually began to feel better. Now, granted it took me a little bit of time to understand how much I needed to eat because for me, I’m thinking like, okay, I’ll just eat five or six peaches in my day and I’ll be fine. Like, no. John was like, no, you need to be eating at least 1600 calories of peaches, which is like 16 peaches. I had to learn how to eat a lot of it, but I was having the time of my life because I had never been told that I could eat that much fruit. And it was so good at the time and I loved all of a sudden my digestion was kicking in. I used to go poop once a week if I was lucky, and then all of a sudden it was like I was going three, four times a day. Like my body responded so well to having a fiber rich diet. My blood sugar levels did not spike. If anything, I was able to walk without fainting for the first three days I noticed my energy went up. I noticed my headaches went away immediately as well. After two weeks of eating peaches, I started incorporating other things like lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers and you know, other fruits and vegetables. But I was learning along the way because what does an 18 year old know about preparing fruits and vegetables? Pretty much nothing. So it was simple for me at the time. Super simple. I don’t even think I had a blender. It was all about just chopping up things and eating the fruits that I could find, you know? It was fun. Like I look back at those days and like those were the good days. You know, those are the best days because I know a lot of people fear detox and transformation in those things. But I look back at that and it was such a beautiful time for me. It was my body literally went from being completely ill to revitalized and being born again in a different way. And I look back at it and I’m like, I don’t have moments like that anymore where I experience huge detox or shifts because I’ve been doing this so long, my body just kind of runs like clockwork. Yeah. It was a very special time, me to feel like I was being awakened to this new way of living, this new way of like conscious living that was compassionate and kind and very much connected to mother nature and the earth and it changed me. It completely changed me from the inside out. Everything that I thought that I knew, I realized that I had no idea. I also had felt like I’d been lied to a little bit growing up my whole life, you know, because you’re like, wow, I’ve been fed so many lies and so much of that wasn’t true. And then you begin to, you know, have compassion and forgiveness and then dedicate yourself to unlearning so much of what you’ve been told and figuring out new things that may be perhaps might work. So I feel like you asked me a question and I went a mile with it.
Jesse: Now we’re going to take a quick break from our chat with Kristina to give a shout out to our show partner, Breville.
Marni: I’ve been working with Breville for so long and using their appliances and their stuff is so amazing. Everything looks so good in the kitchen and everything works so well. They really do know how to make a good appliance. And one of my favorite ones is the blender and they have just come out with their brand new, super cute TM blender, which makes blending. It’s so easy. So simple. So whether blending is already part of your routine or you’re inspired by today’s episode, you’re going to want to get your blending on this blender is super powerful. It’s high speed. You’ll be able to do everything from smoothies to soups to dips, nut butters, salad dressing, sauces, you name it. And one of my favorite ingredients to add into my smoothies is frozen avocado and it’s so hard in the blender and the beautiful thing about this blender is that it totally masticates it, blends it up and every smoothie is super thick and super creamy and the best part is this blender is super quiet. Another thing about this blender is that you’re going to get the standard jug and you’re also going to get a personal blender to go a smaller one that you can make your little smoothie in and bring it with you, pack it in your bag and bring it with you to work. Another feature this blender is that it’s got different settings, things like green smoothie, soup, and frozen desserts, so whatever you are making, this blender is going to make it super simple.
Jesse: To take a peek at this incredible blender, go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/blender again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/blender. I’m a super lucky guy, Marni uses this blender each and everyday to make us delicious smoothies. I know you’re going to love it.
Marni: And now a shout out from other show partner Sunwarrior. Kristina actually happens to be a fellow Sunwarrior Ambassador as well as myself. We both contribute articles and love representing the Sunwarrior brand and today’s featured product is the Berry Warrior Blend. I think it fits in really nicely because it’s a great protein powder that you can add into a berry smoothie and it’s perfect for the summertime. So it’s got the base of the warrior blend ingredients, which includes cranberry, hemp seeds, pea protein and MCT oil and it’s got some berries infused in there. It’s super delicious. Go and add it to your blender with a whole bunch of other fruits, even some vegetables if you’d like, some banana, some coconut milk, some almond butter and make a delicious smoothie. We’re big fans of the Warrior Blend go and give it a try.
Jesse: And as listener of our show, you get 20% off the whole Sunwarrior lineup. And it take advantage all you need to do is go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/sunwarrior. Again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/sunwarrior. Also, if you spend $50 more, you get free shipping, go and get yourself some of the Warrior Blend today. It’s a staple in our house and I know it’ll become a staple in yours as well. And now back to our chat with Kristina. I want to take things a step back here. I know when you came home after meeting John and you told your parents about the rabbit man, your mom told you keep eating your dinner. So I’m just curious, when you come home with 80 pounds of peaches, how does your mom react?
Kristina: Great question. You know, my parents were not supportive of me taking on this lifestyle in the beginning. However, around the time I was just graduating high school and so when I first started doing it, they thought I was crazy, but they just thought I was trying something new. I don’t think it actually began to scare them until I finally graduated high school, which was just, you know, a couple months later, whatever. And then the day that I decided I was going to be raw vegan throughout college and basically forever after that was in high school, there was this raffle. It was the yearbook raffle. This will be funny to you and out of all the kids in the school, they like pick names out of a bowl and you win a prize to take with you to college. So they pull my name out of the bowl and I’m one of the raffle winners of the whole high school. And guess what? I won, I won a microwave. I just remember walking up to the stage and I took it and I sat back down and I was like, I don’t want this. I took it back to Walmart or Target or wherever it was that it came from. And I exchanged it for my first blender and I got one of those little Ninja blenders to take with me to my dorm room. And I told myself, alright, I’m going to do college raw vegan. I’d never drunk before, but I just told myself I wanted to be the best version of myself. No drinking, no drugs, just fruits and vegetables I’m like I want to rock this college thing. I did in my eight by eight foot dorm room. I did that. I made that possible. So when it came down to my family, me making that choice to do that, my parents didn’t understand, my sister, and my brother so supportive of me, even though it’s so different. My sister actually went raw with me for about six months. I mean my sister loves me more than life itself. She’s the closest thing to me. So she had a lot of fun and she lost weight and she ended up looking really great. And then she met her husband who is also Arabic and then that was the end of that. They ended up creating their own life together. But I just remember her telling me that, you know, she didn’t have a reason to go raw. She did it because she didn’t want me to feel alone. She didn’t realize how sick she was until she went raw because she had so much cleansing that happened to her that kind of woke her up. My Dad. I would say my dad was pretty easy to convince. My mother was, I’ll get into this in a bit, but my mom didn’t talk to me for four years. So my dad, I just remember coming home one day from college and I was making a smoothie in the kitchen and I was making a smoothie with mango and kale and coconut water and he walks in and he was like, (inaubible), why are you eating poor people food? And I looked up at him and my eyes just went bright-eyed. I was like, what these mangoes were 2.99 at Whole Foods. This is not poor people food. Then I realized, you know, my dad grew up in Ecuador where there were mango trees in his backyard and they had to eat those because they couldn’t afford what wealthy people were eating, which was meat and dairy, you know, for him that was poor people food. When I started kind of talking to my dad about it, we ended up reading The China Study together by T. Colin Campbell and going through that my dad was an easy sell. He was like, are you telling me mangos are good for you now? I’m like, yeah Dad. He’s like, okay, make me a smoothie. He was just in it, you know, and now my dad loves his smoothies. He loves his salads because he’d had his gallbladder removed years and years ago. Him being lactose intolerant and doing these diet changes has helped him ridiculously. So he’s been an advocate. However, my mother was a difficult egg to crack, no pun intended. My mother is Lebanese. So for her food is not just food, it’s culture, it’s a way of showing love. It’s a way of accepting somebody’s love. And if I’m not eating her food, I’m rejecting her love. I’m rejecting our culture, I’m abandoning our culture. And it was very offensive to her for a long period of time. Also, the fact that you know, she didn’t understand what I was doing and she thought I was already skinny enough that this was going to kill me in some way. And she had a lot of fear, a lot of fear based mentality around this for me and no trust. So there were a good four years in there where my mom and I didn’t talk because she couldn’t handle it. However, what ended up kind of shifting her mindset was when my dad would step in and be like, Sandra, I don’t understand why you’re still upset. We don’t pay her medical bills anymore. 0 dollars compared to like the 30,000 a year or whatever they we’re paying before and then he’s like, she’s put on weight, she looks good. She’s making straight A’s in school, she’s doing good. What’s the problem? I showed them, I was like, this is how good I’m doing right now. I just remember I did my first raw vegan challenge on my YouTube channel 21 days and I was working on the project and filming it and I just started putting it out on youtube at came home and there were two separate things that had happened. I made a smoothie for myself that morning and I put it in the fridge and I went to go walk around and go do something else. And I came back and my smoothie was gone and I was looking for the smoothie and thinking to myself, did I drink my smoothie? Where did it go? I’m still hungry. I must’ve not had it. I walked into the other room and my mother was sitting there drinking my smoothie and on her computer and I just started laughing to myself. I’m like, my mother just took my smoothie and drank it. It was like, okay, I’m not gonna touch this. And just like slowly backed away from that one. Later on that evening, she came up to my room or came to see me. She walks in and she goes, I’m going to do your challenge. And she pointed at me and she goes, but you’re not going to tell me one word. And I looked at her, I was like, okay, cool. So you’re just gonna follow my YouTube videos and do my challenge? And she goes, Yep, I’m going to see what this is all about. Six years later. Here we go. Right? We couldn’t believe this was happening. She did it all by herself and I think two weeks into the challenge she had lost like 14 pounds. She’d gotten off of her anxiety medication and she was like a different person and after that it completely transformed our relationship together. We ended up taking a course by Marshall Rosenberg nonviolent communication and we ended up doing a lot of healing between me and her and it wasn’t just between the past four years but basically my whole life in the way that we communicated with each other and how we understood one another and it was powerful. So my mom and I are very close now and it’s definitely been a journey. I always tell people, you can’t expect to be a prophet in your own home. And I’m definitely an example of that. It’s taken a lot of patients for me to be able to share this message with my family. But I’ll say this, it’s changed my life and the relationships with my entire family at this point. It just took a lot of patience and not pushing agenda on them. Just sharing with love and being an example, you know.
Marni: Such an important message because I think so many people try and impose their new values or eating habits on their family and it just doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to be the change, live it, be it, and then by default or by osmosis they’re going to get inspired. But Kristina, I want to go back to something just about your family in general. What’s so unique is that you grew up with a family that had these cultural traditions that were eating wholesome foods, although cooked and maybe not what you would classify as healthy with your standard right now today, but compared to most people growing up in North America, eating fast food, processed food, eating Lebanese food is way better, you know, cleaner, more wholesome cook from scratch, olive oil versus canola oil. So what’s so interesting is that that way of eating and that diet is, you know, something that didn’t work for you and potentially caused health problems. But I just want to talk about the transition and also talk about the person who is maybe growing up on a North American diet and what that change could be as well, like how drastic that can be from switching onto a raw food diet, whereas you came from a somewhat wholesome diet and then your health went to a whole other level on the raw diet.
Kristina: I want to touch on that for a second because a Lebanese diet is not necessarily a Mediterranean diet. Lebanese food, so I’ll just break this down for you just a little bit because a lot of people do have this thought that food overseas is a lot cleaner than ours, but it’s not always the case. Like Ecuadorian food is basically chicken, beans and rice every night. There’s no vegetables in that. That’s, it’s just pure carb and meats and oil sometimes fried. In my mind, I don’t think I’ve ever considered that to be healthy. I just call that like substance food. In Lebanese culture, the more you get into it, like yes, there’s tabouli, yes, there is fatoush salads and those are always on the table. But in every situation that I’ve been to in my Lebanese family, there’s also raw meat on the table. Like there’s something called [inaudible], there’s [inaudible], there’s you know, rice and vermicelli. It’s just a lot of meat and everything is coated in oil. As much as people think that oil is healthy, I truly believe that it was this high oil diet that I was on for the majority of my life that ended up making me ridiculously sick and, and the sweets are in pretty intense as well. So I guess I just want to share that with people because there is this misconception that it’s really healthy. But if you go to Lebanon and I’m there every August, I just, right now from what I see, they’re using the absolute worst kinds of oils there. People are unhealthy. Like there’s so much political corruption there that people laugh at you when you are eating like only vegan. They love, like when you go to market and you pick up a bunch of fruit and you have it there, no problem. But the main course of every meal is always the meat, or at least that’s just been my personal experience and having been to Lebanon several times. So I would say the contrast of how I eat now versus then. Right, like that was your question. I would say me having to learn what healthy looks like as compared to what I thought was healthy before was extremely drastic and the only way that I was able to fully experience that was how my body reacted to it. And I would say the number one, you know, signs that I experienced were no more migraines. The me getting rid of my constipation completely, my skin looking better, weight getting put back on me, which most people lose weight when they go rob. But for me I gained because my body just soaked up all of these important vitamins and minerals that my body needed.
Marni: It seems like a lot of people go from the North American diet, either stay there or maybe, I’m sure you’ve experienced so many people who’ve been following you for many years. Go from meeting a North American diet and then switching over to raw vegan, and that’s a super drastic change. Just more of a commentary on just kind of the different levels of the ways of eating. But yeah, what is most fascinating to me is that yeah, you did grow up with a traditional or somewhat wholesome diet compared to a lot of people and then you still didn’t find that satisfactory for where your health was at.
Kristina: Yeah, I didn’t. And something else I want to add into that is that I have noticed that Americans tend to eat the same thing every day of the week or every Tuesday’s Chinese. Every Wednesday’s, Italian for lunch, we’re always going to Subway, you know, they tend to eat the same things or the same places frequently over and over again. But ever since I’ve been raw vegan, I have never experienced more variety and excitement in regards to produce in my life because there’s always something new in season. There’s different varieties of every fruits and vegetables to try. There’s always new things. I’m learning about new fruits and vegetables. Even now, and I’ve been doing this 14 years. You know, especially when you start traveling and going to different countries and trying the exotic fruits that are native to those places, there is just so much variety out there for your body as opposed to eating the same processed chemically induced foods that do exist in America. And I have a lot of people approach me about addiction and cravings when it comes to eating American food. They’re like, God, I just can’t get off this. I just think about it. It’s all I want. I’m like, well, there’s a good chance that that food may be chemically induced with something that makes you addicted to it. It does take a little bit of time to kind of rewire your brain and your taste buds to having fruits and vegetables taste good to you again and to get into that mode. But once you do, it’s so interesting. Like fruits and vegetables taste way different to me now than they did when I first started. When I first started a peach was just a peach, right? But now I eat a peach and I’m like the rat from Ratatouille. You know, my eyes are swirling and I, my throat salivating, my body gets hungry for something different now because I’ve kind of retrained it to appreciate fruits and vegetables more. And also I know how to pick ripe things better into, I get local organic things. There’s definitely a contrast there for sure.
Jesse: And we talked about how your family reacted when you made this dietary change, but I know you’ve been in a relationship now for a year and a half and I’m just curious, does your partner eat similar or does he support this way? I’m sure he at least supports the way you’re eating, but how does that all mesh together?
Kristina: Yeah, Cash is amazing. Actually. It’s funny because I just put out a video on my YouTube channel talking about how I’m still a 32 year old virgin, which I am. I spent most of my twenties working and not really putting relationships first and also the relationships that I had. I dedicated, you know, I just wanted to feel safe and that it was the right choice or either save myself for marriage and me only having three boyfriends in my life. It just didn’t work out that I was married with kids or anything like that at the time. And Cash has been so patient and kind for me. And I mentioned in the video that being vegan for me wasn’t a requirement because all of my exes actually went vegan for me and I was like, okay. So I put it out there. When I first met Cash, he had no idea who I was. He had no idea what the word vegan meant, none of this. And we were friends for a year and a half before we started dating and I introduced him to this way of being and he loves it now. Like he doesn’t like to associate himself with any kind of name, but technically he is plant based, but he loves juicing, he loves salads, he loves eating this way. Like we’ll go out to vegan restaurants and he’ll just order a whole a plate of food and just have fun with it with me, which has been amazing. And I feel really grateful that he shares that with me. He’s, he’s really just a good human. It’s been fun. It’s been fun.
Marni: And something I’m really curious on. You are definitely thriving on this diet. You feel great on it. What do you say to people who are living in northern climates who want to try raw vegan but they don’t find that they can sustain it? It’s cold in the winter. They’re not gravitating towards smoothies and fruit all the time. How do you give advice to people who are in culture climates?
Kristina: Yeah. I have a friend who actually lives in the coldest part of Canada. Many friends who live in the coldest parts of Canada who are still doing this lifestyle and they’ll still do smoothies in the day, but they’ll also do maybe like warm soups in their Vitamix or they’ll add a little bit more fat into their diet. Like more avocados, more tahini into their salads. They’ll make more vegetable based raw vegan dishes like raw lasagna is and stuff as opposed to, you know, keeping it light and hydrating. So when you live in a hot climate, you really just want hydrating things like think about it on a hot day, you’re just like, oh, I need watermelon juice it’s so hot outside. You crave those things because your body’s naturally perspiring, but when you’re in a cold climate, you want something a little bit heavier so you know, I recommend like, hey, still do your salad. Still do smoothies, but add a little bit of extra fat on there and if you need to stay warm. I’m really into bathing. I’m really big into cuddling and really big into keeping yourself warm in other ways it doesn’t always have to be through food.
Jesse: But do you think a big part of your success longterm on this diet has been the fact that you do live in Texas and you do travel a lot to a lot of warmer climates?
Kristina: The past two years I’ve traveled a lot, but that’s only because I closed my co-op. Before that, I never left Houston for about 11 years. I only stayed here because I was running my farmers market and I never had the opportunity to travel every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday I had to be at my farmers market and so I was very dedicated to that and Houston can get cold in the winter. Granted it doesn’t like snow or anything, but it can get cold. I mean for me, I just, when I dedicate myself to something, I do it. It’s like, okay, if theres a grocery store that has fruits and vegetables, it’s like we’re gonna make this work. For me it’s more so about I want to operate at my best. I want to feel my best. Not being a vegan isn’t an option obviously for like ethical choices, but being raw could be, but I know that I still feel my best when I eat raw, so I’ve always just stuck to that and my health is perfect right now. I’ve done a few blood tests with Dr. Garth Davis and they’ve came out great every single time, you know, even after 14 years of doing this. And I really do believe that my secret has been eating enough and getting in enough variety, not having like restrictive based diet in regards to that sense, but also really making sure that I’m getting the most out of what I’m doing. Like I do eat a lot. I come to this lifestyle with having the right intentions for my body and purity and if something ever goes wrong or if I’m having a bad emotional day, I don’t blame it on the food. I sit down and I meditate or I journal and I do the work. And for me the work is the inner emotional part that needs to kind of be shifted so that I can free my mind and move forward in a healthy way. And that’s the thing about is I like to tell people it’s not always just about the food. There’s so much more that goes into this lifestyle and to making it successful and healthy for you. Emotions can affect your health as well.
Jesse: And where did you live before Texas? Where did you grow up?
Kristina: You know, I never stayed in a school for longer than two or three years. I’ve been everywhere from Mexico, Dominican Republic, Spain, Tennessee, Texas, Lebanon, Ecuador. The first time I actually really rooted myself was in college when I ended up transferring back to Rice and yeah, deciding to start my co-op. And it was so special for me. At the time because I never felt like I had roots in a place like that and I felt like I had so much purpose and community and um, you know, I closed my co-op two years ago and ever since I closed I kind of feel like I’m back to this place of trying to find my roots again. And traveling has been amazing because it’s helped me heal and to move forward and to catapult myself into new ventures. I do miss that feeling of having roots to feel a sense of purpose and belonging somewhere.
Jesse: Now we’re going to take another quick break from our chat with Kristina to give a shout out to our show partner Organifi.
Marni: Today, I have to give some love to the red juice powder from Organifi as it’s loaded with fruit. It’s so colorful and so beautiful and if you’re feeling like you’re not getting enough fruits in your diet, this is definitely great insurance as it comes with strawberries, blueberries, cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry. It’s so loaded, so beautiful, so filled with antioxidants. It tastes great on its own with a little bit of coconut water or you can add a scoop of it to your smoothie. So if you haven’t tried the red juice powder, I highly recommend it and get your berries on.
Jesse: And as a listener of our show, you get 20% off the whole Organifi lineup. All you need to do to take advantage, just go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/organifi again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/organifi. Upgrade your hydration today by incorporating the red juice powder from Organifi.
Marni: And now a shout out from our other show partner Four Sigmatic. One of the products that I love from Four Sigmatic is the Matcha Latte mixes to-go because they’re so great for traveling. It means you can bring matcha with you anywhere you go. Sometimes you don’t have access to a blender or a place to make a fresh matcha latte from scratch. So these packets are filled with coconut oil powder, maitake mushrooms, a little bit of moringa, and a little bit of stevia. And of course matcha. They’re delicious. They’re organic and they are ready to go.
Jesse: And they’re 15% off as a listener of our show. And all you need to do to take advantage of that deal is go t ultimatehealthpodcast.com/foursigmatic again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/foursigmatic. Also, if you spend $100 more, you get free shipping. Go and get yourself some of the Matcha Latte mix today. You won’t regret it. And now back to our chat with Kristina. Well you’ve touched on the co-op here a couple of times and starting that when you’re in college. So let’s get into the origin story there. Why would you decide to start a co-op?
Kristina: It’s a very sweet story. I always felt like the co op was something that God had just placed in my lap, like a miracle or something and I just picked it up and I ran with it for real. I ran with it. So when I had transferred to Rice University my junior year of college, somehow I ended up on the environmental committee and I think I was like president or something. I honestly don’t remember how I even got on the environmental committee. I don’t remember running. I don’t remember like asking to be a part of it. Maybe they just elected me cause they knew that I was the girl walking around with bananas on campus all the time. So it was me and a group of other students who ended up starting the Tuesday farmers market that still runs there today and I remember one of our first markets, we only had four farmers show up and one of these farmers, they showed up with a table of figs, peaches, tomatoes and greens. And they were called the Gundermans and I just fell in love with their family. Mama Joan became a second mother to me and she had, you know, two boys my age, Garrett, his now his wife, but his girlfriend at the time, Stacy, we all became like family. I would go and spend the weekends there picking peaches and just, I just fell in love with their family. Even me spending a lot of time on their farm though I realized they only had one acre of land at the time. I was like, gosh, this isn’t even enough to grow to feed me. I was eating so much at the time and at the same time I realized I was still going to the grocery stores to supplement fruit and things that I couldn’t get everything from the farm, you know. So and at the time my family was starting to eat some more produce with me, you know, my dad and my sister [inaudible], my second mother, so I was ordering cases of produce from Whole Foods every week, which ended up turning into whole paycheck for me. I was in college, right. I don’t know how I was pulling that off at the time. I ended up doing this mix between having cases being delivered from Whole Foods or me going to pick them up and then me going to the farms and picking up produce there and it was from there that I decided that me being a college student, I just wanted to have access to organic, fresh, local ripe produce at a discounted price and I wanted to get everything in bulk. I was like, all right, I’m going to start a co-op for my family. It wasn’t even intended to be for anybody else, but I ended up doing a bunch of research and tracking down some distributors in Texas and at the time, the biggest one was a man who, I won’t give names here just out of respect for that. But he was the distributor for Disney World, Randall’s, Kroger’s, Albertsons. I mean he supplied every major grocery store at the time. And I would call his phone line three, four times a week trying to reach him because I wanted to just get in on this and maybe after a couple of months, finally the secretary answers. She goes, Oh, is this Kristina? I was like, yes. I was like, is he there? She goes, let me patch you. So this man gets on the phone and he’s like, hello darling I hear you been calling the office an awful lot. How can I help you? You know? And I just unveiled my whole story to him. I was like, oh, my name’s Kristina. I go to Rice, I run the market. I just overcame my diabetes. And oh my goodness, and blah, blah, blah, blah. I would love to order cases of produce from you and have them delivered to my house and he started laughing at me. He said, you do know I only deliver to local grocery stores, right? I said, yes, but I can eat about six cases of produce a week. I’m juicing, I’m smoothing. I got my family on it, Yada Yada. At first he said no, and then a little bit after in the conversation he was like, you know what? I find you cute and endearing. He’s like, I’ll make a deal with you if you can order a minimum of 40 cases a week. He’s like, you pick the day and I’ll deliver my trucks to go drop it off at your house. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just immediately said, yes. Okay, perfect. He’s like, all right, I’ll send you the list and I’ll see you Thursday night. So he sends me the list and the list is apparently every morning when a distributor sends out, you know their inventory and their stock. The list goes out to the most important person first, their biggest buyer, and then the smallest buyer gets like the last one and then at the end of the morning I get the last one and I’m looking at it still. He still had a pretty good inventory, but I’m just looking at one case of lettuce had 24 heads of lettuce in it. One case of cantaloupe had nine cantaloupes, one case peaches had 64 peaches, and I’m looking at it, I’m thinking to myself, oh my God, I’ve just dedicated myself to 40 cases a week. What am I going to do with all of this produce? I was like, I can maybe do six cases if I really stretch my stomach. So I ended up calling some friends and a family, seven people ended up saying, yes, you know, got them on the phone. Hey, it’s Kristina. Do you want to split up some cases of produce with me on a Thursday night? It’ll be fun. Come on over. So I got seven of our closest family and friends. John was one of those people came over and I will never forget that was the most abundant night of my entire life. This huge 18 Wheeler shows up at the front of our house and unloads 40 cases of produce into the living room. We couldn’t even see out the windows. There was like so much stacked produce and everybody went home with maybe $200 worth of produce that was hundreds worth at Whole Foods. And I realized this was 40 to 50% off of what I was paying in the grocery store. And it was fresher. It had just been picked. It was, you know, and granted it came not from the local farm at the time, but from the distributor and I was just in heaven. And um, well what’s interesting about this is that that 18 Wheeler parked in my front yard created such a commotion in my neighborhood that throughout that whole week I had neighbors knocking on my door being like, what are you doing? Can I be in on it? So the next few weeks I kept getting deliveries to my house and before I knew it, a couple of weeks later I had 40 people splitting up produce with me in my garage. It grew so fast. Some of the older women in my neighborhood, knowing that I was still in college helped me to organize the produce until I got out of class and to like come and fill up boxes with them. And we ended up calling the co-op Rawfully Organic because the boxes were full of raw fruits and vegetables and everything was organic and everybody was getting everything wholesale. Nobody was making any money. It was a real community effort and it was just beautiful.
Jesse: And where did it go from there?
Kristina: Before I knew it, I would say a couple months later I had a hundred people picking up boxes out of my garage and it legit became a full time job for me while I was in college. But more so a passion project because I was, you know, taking orders from people. People were coming to pick up their produce. And then before I knew it, six months later, I get a call from the neighborhood association and they actually kicked us out of our house because we were creating so much of a commotion with all this. So we ended up moving the co-op to a parking lot near our neighborhood and it grew even faster. The next thing I knew, we had 300 people picking up in a day boxes of produce. Every Thursday that was my routine for a good long period of time. And before I knew it, I had met my 40 case quota with a distributor and I started commissioning our local farmers to grow for our boxes as well, which helped them incredibly. And so they started dropping off produce as well. And then we ended up creating this beautiful mix of boxes. A funny evening that happened, which I thought was like the end of the world for me. But now I look back and I laugh at, it was one day I get a call from the neighborhood that owned this parking lot and they’re like, well we’re getting complaints from this grocery store down the street that you know you’re taking away their business. I’m so sorry but you can’t be in our parking lot anymore. You know you’re going to have to just close it down. I was so devastated. I was like, you can’t close this down. This is a movement. We are supporting our farmers, people are getting healthy, this is our community. So most girls when they get like depressed about something or like go off the deep end, end up sitting on the couch with a tub of ice cream and watching romantic comedies. Right. I mean I had spent so much time in parking lots sorting boxes of produce at the time when depression looked like for me that evening was me in the middle of a vacant parking lot crying with a crate, a freshly picked corn. And I just remember I had like overindulged myself in corn. I had like 22 ears of corn cause I was like sobbing my eyes out and like force feeding fresh corn into my body. I got a little like weird on corn and I just remember I got onto Facebook and I put out all these SOS is like co-op is closing everybody. I’m so sorry blah blah. But you know I just so sad ranting on Facebook. I woke up the next morning with maybe 15 voice messages from different organizations around Houston saying oh my God, we love you. We want you to take our parking lot. Houston Arboretum being one of them and few other places near Rice University. And we went from having one co-op day a week to three co-op days a week and we went from having 300 people a day to over a thousand people a week picking up produce and supporting our local farmers. And that continued for a good nine, 10 years after that. Through the period of time that the co-op was alive. We had 52,000 active members picking up boxes on a weekly, on a monthly, however you want to put it. One of our local farmers, the Gundermans, they started off with one acre when I first met them and by the end of the 11 years now that they sit on 500 acres and they grew for us full time, we really supported them and now they’ve, you know, kind of moved on and are growing from many different places. The whole journey was really beautiful the way it brought together a community and yeah, it just, it changed a lot of people’s lives in Texas because Texas is the last place you would think that a vegan movement would take place.
Jesse: Yeah, most definitely. And what one incredible story, Kristina, and I’m just curious, during this time, was this all volunteering on your part or were you being paid at all or what did that look like? This was all volunteer. Yeah, actually I worked as a calculus and physics tutor on the side and I made really good money, which allowed me to do my co-op full time and do that. So I started tutoring when I was in college. Like I realized very quickly me being in my art classes and stuff that a lot of my friends weren’t passing. So I started tutoring them and then people’s mothers would start calling me, asking me to tutor their kids. And before I knew it I got picked up by Rice and other agencies to just be a tutor. And I mean there were times where I was making $175 an hour just to give kids SAT tutoring or calculus tutoring for a test exams. I was making really great money and that was all I needed. Like all I really cared about was my co-op. And eventually when I got to the point to where I was moving into health coaching, I let go of my tutoring and I gave that company to my sister. She took over and I just started doing this full time. It was because of the co-op that I started doing all my social media and then wrote my first book and whatnot. But yeah, I didn’t actually start doing social media till about five or six years ago. I was doing my co-op and my tutoring for a good five, six years before I even put myself on the world wide web. That’s kind of how I supported myself in the meantime.
Marni: And you mentioned the co-ps closed now. So what happened?
Kristina: I can’t disclose full details but I will just say that I didn’t really have a choice. It ended up being an accumulation of many different things that had happened at the time when Amazon bought Whole Foods. It really affected us and we ended up losing a lot of people during that time. You know, not to mention so much had changed and I think I was having a separate awakening at the time, not just with losing some members over that, but I just, I realized, you know, within the past three years before it closed, we had three, four farmers that went under. I mean they weren’t growing for us full time or anything. They were like in Austin or out in a different area, but they were just having a hard time growing and selling because efficiency and cost won every time, very few people want to wait for that one time of the week where they can go to a market and support a farmer whose selling a $5 tomato. Most mothers who are trying to eat healthy for their family or prepare healthy foods, they like, they got to get to Walmart fast and get some tomatoes like or whatever it is that they think. I just, I remember I had one woman in my co-op for since it was in my garage and she always came every Saturday and picked up a crate of produce and juice and two Saturdays before we closed, she shows up and she’s like, Kristina, I don’t need my crate tomatoes or produce today. I just need some of your juice. And I was like, well, why? And she said, ah, I, she’s like, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you know, on our way home from school the other day we had to stop by Walmart and they had organic tomatoes and they were only a dollar and even though they’re not as good as your tomatoes, it’s just got the job done. It hit me then and there that like we’re battling something way bigger than we think we are, like costs and efficiency and corporations are really hard to win over. That in combination with some other things that were happening with Amazon taking over Whole Foods legally, I was asked to close down because I didn’t want to move out of the city. It was just very devastating for me because one day it was like I had everything that I had consciously created for 11 years and then the next day I had none of it. And I had a bit of an identity crisis happen for me because so much of my life had been apart of this and so much of how I’d seen myself was from this co-op. And yeah, that’s what inspired me to start traveling is that I could kind of learn to move forward from this. And I do miss the co-op still to this day. And every single person who was a part of it, they message me all the time and tell me how much they miss it. You know, they miss sorting the produce together and rocking out to jams and getting excited for all the farmers trucks that would show up with all the fresh goodies every time. You know, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday showed around and I miss it too. I haven’t completely negated the thought that it could come back one day. It wouldn’t be able to come back in the same way, but whether it came back as a brick and mortar or something along the lines of that I’m open, I just, I’m kind of taking my time with it.
Marni: And you were so lucky to have that physical community experience and through that you built your online and worldwide community. So you had that support with that transition, which is so amazing. But I also want to ask you for people who are committed to this lifestyle eating lots of organic produce, what suggestions do you have for them to keep on a budget or find resources that aren’t Walmart? What options are out there? Is it joining other co-ops? What else is available to people?
Kristina: Well, it almost breaks my heart to talk about, but like I just tell everybody, please go support your local farmers. They need you. I mean we’re talking about people who are cares of the soil. Like our soil is the most important thing we have right now when it comes to creating nutrient dense food. There’s just not enough people doing it anymore. We’ve got companies like Monsanto really messing up, messing up the game and messing up our health and you know, we expect people to grow all this produce for us and work 18 hour days, you know, growing produce only to make $2 off of a head of lettuce. We’ve got to support our local farmers. It matters so, so much. So at any given chance you can find your local market and just go spend all your money there. That’s what I do. And at the very least like find some other grocery stores or find a local distributor in your area who can supply wholesale produce for you. Unfortunately I think that many co-ops have kind of become a thing of the past as far as I knew, I am maybe the only one or two others in the states right now that are kind of thriving, but I don’t actually know how they’re doing. I really do believe that so many grocery stores have come out since that time. I mean think about it now. We have Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Publix, so many of these places carrying organics and they’re only selling commercially based, commercially farmed produce. What about our local farmers who are actually putting in the work and creating these beautiful perma-culturally farmed fruits and vegetables. We need them, support them, make deals with them, go work on their farms, go pick their produce, go create that connection and relationship with them. It’s important,
Jesse: and I know another thing you’re doing is growing some of your own fruit and you actually have 14 fruit trees in your backyard. So tell us about that.
Kristina: I do. I do. I have papayas, Avocados, grapefruits, lemons. I used to have bell peppers and tomatoes, but I haven’t been home enough to, to do the smaller things. I did have some date palms that grew. I had a mango tree that actually produced a mango that’s right I had a mango tree that grew a mango in Texas. People told me it wasn’t possible and I made that happen. Persimmons, I have an olive tree that’s never fully grown out, but oh and I have a ton of papaya trees. My papaya trees when it’s season, they just go off the chain. So yeah, those are the trees that I have.
Marni: That’s amazing. And that’s truly the ultimate way to save money is grow at home. Whether you have access to tropical fruits or a vegetable garden, Jesse and I are big on growing in our Ontario soil.
Jesse: Or even sprouts.
Marni: Yeah even sprouts in your kitchen. There’s so many options and you can go big or go small, but had growing at home and are big fans of that.
Kristina: Yeah, I don’t think people realize how easy it is to compost your seeds. It’s so funny because I used to just have a bucket and I would just throw it out into my soil in the backyard. I wouldn’t even shovel dirt over my compost. I would just let it be there. It’s amazing just throwing out some cantaloupe seeds, some watermelon seeds from the things that you eat or papaya seeds. They grow, they harvest again, they will grow when the time is right and it’s pretty cool to see that happen that anything can grow from a seed.
Marni: So you mentioned earlier that it’s not just about diet and it truly isn’t, there’s so much more that goes into living a healthy life and you’ve dropped a couple of little hints throughout the interview that you’re into journaling, meditation, managing your emotions. Give us a little bit more about how you live your life.
Kristina: I would love to, you know, when I first got into this journey, I think I’ve expanded a lot on it. I got into it for physical and health reasons, but what has kept me going was the discovery that there’s been so much more about this lifestyle than I could’ve ever possibly imagined. So for me, once I healed my physical ailments, I realized the next and deeper level for me was healing some emotional trauma that I had had happened to me throughout my life. And then after I was able to start clearing some of the emotional than I was able to start connecting into the spiritual aspect of living this way. And it happened in layers. It didn’t all happen at once. It was almost like I’m an onion and I’m unpeeling all these layers of self discovery that happen when this comes about and granted when you go raw vegan, there’s a lot of raw emotion that comes up that you have to deal with and you get a little bit more sensitive because you’re not numbing yourself with food. You’re not stuffing it down with chemicals or heavy things. Like things come up and you are feeling them. You better be ready to know how to clear those things out. I’ve had such a great community to support me through that of people who are able to, you know, walk me through how to heal through trauma and how to deal with some of these difficult things. I don’t feel that any of this would be possible without me having changed my diet for sure because I mean you talk about emotional eating, you talk about addiction, you talk about cravings. If you sit there and really dig deep and ask yourself the difficult questions when all these emotions come up. There’s a lot that is unveiled in this process and I just know that for me it’s what has kept me on this journey apart from, you know, the environmental aspect and also doing this for the animals. Even though I started for health, I’ve become an ethical vegan in the process. I’ve become an environmental vegan in the process. I’ve become a vegan for health. For me, I just know that this is really helped me heal on a much deeper level emotionally and spiritually as well. And when I eat really clean, I feel super connected, connected to me, to my source, to God. I just feel my best. I always want to do the best that I can to be the best version of myself and I’ve just fallen in love with the lifestyle for this reason. I can describe it to a certain extent, but unless you experience it at some point like it’s hard to really grasp, but what it feels like is a huge awakening and a huge connection with yourself. And it changes your life.
Jesse: And you touched on community there and I think you have a really interesting perspective on community having the Co op and having what sounds like a really special in person community when that was active and your part of that and you also have this online community through YouTube, through Instagram. You have significant followings in both those areas, but I’m just curious now that the co-op is closed down, have you found a new outlet for connecting with people in person or is that still in the process?
Kristina: I’m so glad you asked that because I went from seeing hundreds, sometimes a thousand people a week to seeing nobody. Or like all overnight it was just gone and I learned so much during that time because I went through a phase where I felt super lonely and yet at the same time where I wasn’t sure who I could trust to really be open and vulnerable with because when the co-op closed, it was almost as if there were a lot of people who I didn’t realize were wishing for me to fail and I had to kind of weed my garden out a little bit after that. I really did miss my community and being around people and traveling even though it was wonderful to like meet new people and experience things. There’s something about being rooted and seeing the same people all the time and building a relationship with them. As of recent, a solution that I have created is I’m actually now hosting retreats in Bali and in Costa Rica, and I get to actually spend time connecting with people over the course of a week. And that has been transformational for me to be able to not just feed people boxes of produce anymore, but to spend time with them and feed them this message. So that’s been a solution that I’ve been really working on is doing retreats, doing some more live speaking and events, which I’ve always done public speaking, but trying to connect as possible. Social media is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little difficult to connect with your screen. It’s not like handing somebody a box of produce and giving them a hug and talking about what they can do with their kale for dinner, you know? And also you get an energy when you’re with somebody in person, right? There’s a greater sense of compassion when you’re online. People can be so crude, right? It’s almost as if you’re not talking to a human being, but when you’re in person with somebody, they would never talk to you the way that they would if they were like an online hater. People are just different in person. So that’s my take on that.
Marni: That’s amazing. And we’re all for that. You know, we’re all about human connection as we’ve built our business online with the podcast, we have a community, we’ve got our Facebook group, but we love getting out in person, meeting people, hugging them, shaking hands, having a conversation. Nothing replaces that. So I’m so happy you’re getting back out and doing that.
Kristina: Thank you.
Marni: And before we wrap up, one last question that we love to ask our guests is what does ultimate health mean to you?
Kristina: Ultimate health means to me mind, body, Spirit, healing. It’s not just about the food that you eat, but it’s about the emotional and spiritual work that you put into creating the best version of yourself. Ultimate health is the full wheel spectrum of health. Everything you put in your body, everything that you see, everything that you do, are you creating a lifestyle for yourself that allows you to thrive? That’s what it means to me.
Jesse: Love it. And Kristina, we’ve talked about your Instagram, your YouTube, your book, and now your retreats. How can the listeners connect with you after the show?
Kristina: Yeah, thank you so much. If they want to check me out, the best place to find me in one place is my website, fullyraw.com they can check out my website there. From there, there’s information on my retreats. You can check out my recipe programs online, my recipes, my app, my book, my retreat, all of it. It’s all there fullyraw.com.
Marni: So much for people to check out. Thank you so much for sharing everything, your story, what you’re up to, what you’ve gone through. This has been just so beautiful. Thank you.
Kristina: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. This has been great.
Jesse: Thank you Kristina. This has been a lot of fun.
Marni: What a great conversation with Kristina. So passionate about health and raw food eating and hopefully you got something to take away from today’s show. Let us know over on Instagram be sure you are following @ultimatehealthpodcast and @fullyrawkristina. Her Instagram is amazing, so many beautiful photos and she makes fruit looks so good. So go ahead and give us a tag and let us know what you thought of today’s show.
Jesse: For full show notes, be sure and head over to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/301 we have links there to everything we discussed today in a nice show summary, so be sure and check that out. And also we’re putting out a free downloadable worksheet for each show head to the show notes to get that there as well. Before we let you go, I want to give some love to our editor and engineer Jase Sanderson over at podcasttech.com. Jase, you always do such a great job with the show. Thank you. And this week’s fun fact about Jase, that he’s been trying Marni’s recipe for smoothie bowls in the morning and enjoying it. Right on Jase. I guess we’re having the same breakfast. Have an awesome week. We’ll talk soon. Take care.
Disclaimer: This is a raw transcript and it may contain some errors. To listen to the complete audio interview, go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/301.
090: Jason Wrobel – Eating For Better Sex • Glowing Skin From The Inside Out • Creating A Sleep Sanctuary
067: Koya Webb – What To Eat Before Yoga | Meditate Daily | The Best Vegan Burgers, Ever!
033: Rich Roll – Anti-Hack Your Life | Mood Follows Action | Hard Work > Talent
011: Jason Wrobel – High Raw, Vegan Living For High Energy
006: Joe Cross – Reboot Your Body With Juice
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