80/10/10 Allstar Grant Campbell
Another interview in our "Low-Fat Raw Vegan Elite Athlete" series.
"I now finish ultramarathons feeling fresher and able to run again the following day, where previously on a cooked plant-based diet, it would typically be a week before I could run again. I can now run up to 100 miles through mountains in 30 hours, a feat I previously wasn't capable of."
ATHLETE BIO: Grant Campbell, aka Raw Aussie Athlete, is an experienced ultramarathon trail runner who continues to rise to new levels of athletic performance since embracing a 100% 80/10/10 raw vegan (811rv) lifestyle more than four years ago. Through 811rv, Grant has overcome a history of chronic asthma, allergies, and a host of undesirable maladies which people generally accept as normal. Grant pursues constant and consistent growth in his athletic endeavors and life experience and feels his potential has only just begun to be unleashed, with no limits in sight. As a qualified surf lifesaver recognized with a bravery award for single-handedly saving the lives of four people in twelve-foot surf, this bronzed Aussie is sure to make an impact on the world.
Tell us about yourself: your age, where you live, your job, your family, and the like.
I'm 37 and live to the north of Sydney, Australia by the ocean and near beautiful lakes and mountains. I'm married with two teenage sons, of whom I'm very proud. I'm an ultramarathon runner, surf lifesaver, and musician who runs raw vegan retreats several times a year. As a result of studying the 80/10/10 Certified Lifestyle Consultant program for the last few years, I recently resigned from my 15-year position as an IT specialist at IBM and began working with the FoodnSport team on their website and various research projects. Since 2008, I've been fortunate enough to travel with Dr. Graham for his U.S. summer tour, attend Health & Fitness Week, complete a 29-day water fast with Dr. Graham, and supervise over 40 water fasts. I enjoy public speaking and teaching the concepts of healthful living, and I look forward to a lifetime of learning and offering lifestyle consulting.
Do you eat 100% raw vegan?
How long have you been eating the 80/10/10 way?
I started eating the 80/10/10 way in November 2005 after hearing Dr. Graham's Perfect Health Program audio interviews.
Why did you choose this path?
After experiencing the benefits of a low-fat raw vegan diet, it became clear to me that any other path was a form of self-harm. I wanted to be the best I could be, and the 80/10/10 diet and lifestyle is the only way I know to achieve the level of vitality I'm after.
Describe your journey to 80/10/10 from the diet you were raised with, to the other dietary approaches you tried, to how you learned about and came to embrace veganism, to where you are now with 80/10/10.
I was raised on home-cooked meals of meat and two servings of vegetables (in accordance with the then-recommended dietary guidelines). As a teenager, I suffered chronic asthma and found moderate improvements when my mother switched us from full-strength cow's milk to a lower-fat version. This taught me the invaluable lessons of substituting foods and taste adaptation, which made it easier for me to later embrace dietary changes.
In 1998, at age 25, I went vegetarian after my conscience was switched on by a brief conversation with a friend about the hormones and cancer fed to us by the meat industry.
After almost seven years on a vegan diet high in grains and low in fresh, raw food, I came across Dr. Graham's Perfect Health Program and immediately went 100% raw, experiencing what it feels like to thrive for the first time in my life. There were occasions when I was to try cooked food again, not realizing it was for emotional numbing, but cooked foods could never satisfy me and always left me wanting more. I knew eating until I felt bad wasn't nature's plan and certainly wasn't where I wanted to be.
Around six months after going raw, I discovered the gourmet raw scene in Sydney. After hurting myself once a month for many months at raw potlucks I accepted that complex, highly processed, high-fat recipes weren't what I was looking for. Even eating poorly only once a month noticeably diminished my ability to thrive. I don't think anyone ever actually reaches the 100% milestone in applying the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet, because the experience literally jumps directly from 99% to a 1000% supercharge! I love that I get to feel the way the 80/10/10 lifestyle makes me feel in every moment of every day...and with every passing day it continues to get even better!
Were you sick before going raw?
No sicker than anyone else eating a cooked diet.
Before going raw I had experienced on occasion bloody stools, burning urine, edema, viral and bacterial infections, heartburn, regular unpleasant smelling gas, discomfort from overeating grains and poor food combinations, acne, body odor, salt lines from my sweat, and snoring. I suffered cracked lips, dandruff, dry skin, and was more often than not carrying running injuries. I had chronic asthma, food allergies, animal hair allergies, regular colds and phlegm, and eye mucus every morning. Despite regular ear and chest infections, I considered myself "pretty healthy,"like everyone else does while failing to thrive in society.
Does your partner eat the way you do?
My partner and children haven't made the choice to go vegetarian or raw. They eat the standard Western fare, with much of their diet delivered fresh from the freezer to the microwave.
Has eating an 811rv diet changed how your family (household) eats?
A little. With an abundance of fruit and vegetables in the house, my family goes through phases of eating more fruits and vegetables. My youngest sister now eats two 811rv meals per day and loves it.
Give us a sample of your daily diet and lifestyle routine?
- Wake up between 6 and 7 a.m.
- Mid-morning, eat a large mono meal of the best organic peak-season fruit available. I'll typically go for a juicy fruit like melon, mango, or stone fruit.
- Late afternoon, eat another large mono meal of fruit, followed by a large salad of usually no more than three ingredients, from a well-combined mixture of foods such as lettuce, tomato, citrus, zucchini, cucumber and red capsicum (sweet peppers), with the occasional avocado. Sometimes I'll mix the fruit in with the salad.
- I typically eat around 3,500 calories a day and work out for an hour or two in the mornings, which is mostly running, incorporating body weight exercises in varying ways. Most weeks I incorporate swimming in the ocean, cycling, and running stairs and sand dunes.
- I usually make it to bed between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m., averaging more than eight hours of sleep per night. After my big races, I typically need a few nights of 12 to 13 hours or more for the most effective recovery.
- I don't take any supplements or superfoods and generally prefer to eat my food with minimal preparation, straight from nature's wrappings.
Give us a sample of your daily diet and lifestyle routine?
I eat fruit until my body's satiation mechanisms are triggered. They are influenced by volume consumed and nutrient density, especially caloric density. The sweeter the juicy fruits, the more satisfying they are.
Because my digestion, absorption and blood-sugar metabolism are not compromised by an excess of fat or damaged and deranged nutrients in cooked food, my cells obtain fruit sugars, oxygen, and other nutrients effectively and efficiently, as nature intended.
Eating any less fruit than that which satisfies would leave me with the health-destroying options of either: a) high-fat foods, b) undereating/malnourishment, or c) calorically dense cooked options like grains and other starchy foods that we wouldn't eat by choice in the wild.
Do you ever have cravings for cooked foods or gourmet high-fat raw foods?
I never experience cravings. I believe any cravings I experienced in the past were caused by the following:
- Eating insufficient calories from fruit.
- Seeking emotional escapism. In every moment we have the choice either to be present with our emotions and experience them, or to ignore them by creating other emergencies and distractions for our bodies. (Tip: Ignore emotions at great peril, for they will return as a fierce storm on the darkest of days.)
- Being entrapped in a cycle of eating cooked food. As cooked food cannot fully satisfy, it inhibited my ability to eat sufficient fruit as required for satiation.
There comes a time where we need to be brave enough to face the cravings/addictions/emotions and accept them for what they are, as they are critical and timely messages from our bodies that we aren't being provided with the conditions to thrive.
Besides diet, food, and nutrition, what other lifestyle factors do you find most important in supporting you in following 811rv?
Regular exercise, sufficient sleep, low stress, sunlight, fresh air, pure water, human touch, time in nature, sense of purpose and fulfillment, following my passions, aligning my career with my passions, developing and understanding my belief system and living fully in accordance with it, living in the present free from egoic mind games, valuing relationships over possessions (because what I own owns me, and what I attempt to control controls me).
Do you ever wonder whether you're getting enough (protein, calories, micronutrients of your choosing)?
No. I've never taken any supplements and am confident that whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits, leafy greens, and other vegetables easily meet all of my dietary needs, as long as other lifestyle factors are in reasonable order. (Take a look at page 10 of The 80/10/10 Diet to see what I'm referring to.)
What are some of the personal benefits (excluding athletic performance) you've experienced since transitioning to an 811rv diet?
80/10/10 has given me a new lease on life, beyond anything I've ever experienced! Here's a list of some of the positive changes I've noticed:
- Improved mental clarity
- Increased flexibility
- Less judgmental
- Clear skin
- No body odor
- Food tastes better
- I am always hydrated
- My asthma has disappeared
- Allergic sensitivities to foods, grasses, and animal hair have gone away
- I no longer snore
- My sweat is no longer salty
- My stomach has flattened
- Flatulence has cleared
- My addictive behaviors have vanished
- My increased love of nature has brought me a new level of happiness
Compare for us your experiences eating a low-fat raw diet versus the popular high-fat version? How do you view the two differently?
The excessive amount of fat, high usage of condiments, and general disregard for food combining simply didn't give me the vitality I was looking for. I found the calorie-dense high-fat raw diet encouraged overeating and didn't leave me feeling good. In fact, I didn't feel like myself. I recall many occasions after high-fat raw potlucks where I awoke the next morning with an undigested brick of food that was fermenting, putrefying, and going rancid in my stomach.
How have you found it socially to eat this way?
Initially I was creating challenging social situations without realizing it. These challenges lessened when I had gained enough knowledge and experience with the diet to have the confidence and wit to answer less-than-endearing questions.
I developed two effective techniques: a) I became committed to ensuring that others don't feel I'm judging them for how they eat, and b) I learned to overtly express to others that I was satisfied by a simple salad with no dressing. These measures allow others to enjoy their meal, knowing I am not feeling deprived while they treat themselves to special fare and also allowing them to digest their food in the relaxed manner we were designed for, free of the stress that guilt and perceived judgment create.
How have your family and friends reacted to your dietary choices?
They are generally supportive. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable as they confront their own dietary choices in the presence of someone eating the foods we all know to be the healthiest.
How have others in your sports community reacted to your dietary choices?
They are generally very intrigued. Athletes are always looking for ways to improve, no matter how radical they may seem. Most of them remain interested for a long time, struggling to find sufficient motivation to change, until they fully process the new concepts.
Can you tell us about some difficult realities of eating an 811rv diet in a world of SAD eaters?
The odors coming from people on cooked diets become difficult to ignore. The negative effect of cooked food on people's self-limiting, judgmental thoughts and behaviors becomes noticeable. As I left cooked food behind me, I noticed these undesirable qualities disappear from my life and it was natural for me to wish the same for others. It was difficult for me to learn and accept that change must come from within, that people need the freedom to make their own choices and that I had no right to expect others to change. As I began to truly understand what "normal" health is supposed to be, I started to notice major shortfalls in the average health levels of my peers, despite almost every one of them considering themselves to be "pretty healthy." Most of my colleagues at my previous workplace used up all of their sick days and received additional compensation in the form of free fast food and alcohol at after-hours celebrations. Letting go of any attachment to these poison perks was the only way for me to enjoy emotional freedom in such an environment.
Have you had success finding ripe fruits when traveling?
I've never gone hungry while traveling. I once ran out of money on an island in Thailand and lived on coconut sprouts for a few days until returning to the bank on the mainland. There are few places in society where I can't succeed in finding enough fruit to sustain myself.
Do you find yourself frequently debunking myths or inaccuracies about veganism?
Almost every day. In intrigues me how most of the scientific research specific to raw food doesn't get promoted to the wider vegan community. I am also intrigued by how frequently scientific research is interpreted completely out of context to confuse the public and sell products.
What about veganism appeals to you?
Living in synergy with animals, rather than controlling, abusing, and taking from them.
Are there things about being vegan that you find challenging?
When my peers continue to consume animal products despite knowing that it not only harms their own health but directly causes suffering to other beings, there are times when I find it difficult not to judge them. I have a theory that, similarly to how the coping mechanisms of multiple personalities and amnesia are means of dealing with traumatic experiences, people switch off the ability to analyze logic that would highlight a glaring gap in their belief system. For example, considering oneself an animal lover while consuming animals at each meal.
Describe a typical day of training.
A typical day may include 10 kilometers of interval running, incorporating body-weight exercises like push-ups, dips, jump squats, and lunges. Another day may include a 3-hour run around the local lake. Or hills sprints, board paddling, or swimming efforts. I incorporate frequent variations in my training, which keeps it fun and interesting, while bringing the benefits of cross-training and well-rounded fitness.
As an athlete, you have quite specific nutritional needs. How do you meet the demands of your training through your nutritional choices?
Fruit predominates my diet, providing me with sufficient simple sugars to get fuel to my cells fast with least effort. I eat juicy fruits almost every day, keeping me hydrated with the highest-quality water nature provides. I eat almost exclusively organic produce. I consume a sufficient quantity of leafy green vegetables like celery and lettuce to meet my mineral needs. The soft water-soluble fiber in fruit is soothing to my digestive tract and passes in around 12 to 18 hours. This leaves me lighter, as I'm not carrying around three days worth of meals like I used to when I was clogged up on a high-starch cooked vegan diet.
When training through periods of maximum exertion, what do you eat, and how much per day, typically?
I'll typically eat juicy fruit like a half or whole watermelon midmorning. Perhaps 20 to 30 bananas and a head of lettuce later in the afternoon. I typically eat twice per day, averaging around 3,500 calories. Under maximal exertion, I eat as simply as possible to meet my water and caloric needs.
Can you tell us about any overall athletic performance improvements you've noticed since adopting 811rv?
My endurance has improved substantially, along with my ability to run at speed for longer distances. My flexibility, sun tolerance, and cold tolerance all improved significantly. I now finish ultramarathons feeling fresher and able to run again the following day, where previously on a cooked plant-based diet, it would typically be a week before I could run again. Before eating 811rv I used to get cramps in my calves after running for roughly 3 hours or 35 km. Now I never get cramps. I can now run up to 100 miles through mountains in 30 hours, a feat I previously wasn't capable of.
What are some of your most notable recent athletic achievements while maintaining a strict 811rv diet?
- I took 5 hours off my 100 km trail-running time in the same race over a two-year period without changing my number of hours of training.
- I ran a hilly 96 km road race in 11:20, placing 9th.
- I can now run the day after an ultramarathon. My body doesn't get as run down now that it's better nourished and better rested from getting enough sleep.
- Did I mention that I'm now able to run to the point of experiencing microsleeps? :)
What athletic goals do you have moving forward?
- To represent Australia in ultramarathon trail running.
- To run a 100 mile race when I'm 100 years old.
What do you imagine is the future of vegan athletics?
The drug-driven records of the past will be broken by squeaky-clean athletes thriving on a natural diet and lifestyle.
How did you learn about Dr. G and 811rv?
Via the Perfect Health Program, which was lent to me in 2005 by a dear friend I'm eternally grateful to.
What is your personal opinion of Dr. G's book, The 80/10/10 Diet?
It is a masterpiece that will stand the test of time and benefit the health of anyone who applies its principles to their lives.
Have any particular points or messages in The 80/10/10 Diet stuck with you, above all else?
I love that once someone reads it, they simply cannot ignore the common sense that pervades it. The information haunts them until health.
Do you think people on a tight budget can do this diet?
Absolutely. Buy in bulk. Buy wholesale. Buy the bargains. Fresh fruit and vegetables are constantly being thrown away in bulk in everywhere. Seek them out. Find the fruit trees local to your area and plant your own.
Looking back, is there anything you would change about how you transitioned to 811rv?
It took me a while to realize how important it was for me to be able to accept support from others. Surrendering to this brought me a sense of freedom. I believe knowledge and support are the biggest success factors. Seek knowledge, ask for support, and accept it—now!
Do you plan to change anything or do anything differently with your 811rv regimen, going forward?
Eating our natural diet is so simple that there really isn't much to refine. Looking at 811rv as a lifestyle, extending far beyond diet, I'm constantly looking for improvement and will always embrace the change associated with learning and growth. For the rest of my life I expect to be strengthening my awareness of and connections with others and ever seeking balance across all lifestyle factors that affect my ability to thrive.
What one piece of advice would you give a newbie to 811, or someone who is looking to refine their program?
Don't be hard on yourself. There are no mistakes, only experiences. Avoid negative self-talk, always. First become aware of it, then eliminate it. (Okay, that's two.)
Is there anything you'd particularly like to share that hasn't been asked?
Live a life of simplicity with an abundance mindset, because that is what nature generously offers each and every one of us.more about Grant Campbell