Josh Fossgreen: Raw Vegan Bass Player
How did you hear about 80/10/10 & how long have you been raw?
When I first heard about 80/10/10, I had been vegan for a year or so, and was curious about raw food. I was on a somewhat well-known raw food forum which didn’t really promote a specific raw food diet, but most people were eating a “gourmet raw” kind of diet, meaning getting most of their calories from fat and eating a lot of complex recipes. I was trying to eat a 100% raw diet and taking advice from people like David Wolfe, Jameth Sheridan, Matt Monarch, and others, and having a really terrible time staying on the diet. I would go a week or so all “raw” (though at this point I wouldn’t consider some of those ingredients to be raw or healthy), and then go back to cooked food, which I now see as cry for carbohydrates!
Luckily, people on this raw food forum really liked to post threads bashing this guy called the Durianrider. Naturally, I was curious and watched one of his videos, and I was totally hooked. I read The 80/10/10 Diet shortly after and did a 30-day trial in December 2008. I went back and forth with 80/10/10 and my cooked vegan diet for a little over a year, about half of that time being 100% raw. Finally, on February 16, 2010 I’d had enough and I’ve been all raw ever since. I launched Raw Food Freedom in December 2010 to help share the information that’s improved my life so much. Fun times!
What was your transformation like?
My physical transformation hasn’t been the most important part of the journey for me, but it is substantial. I lost excess weight, my skin is clearer and less oily, I’m better hydrated, I digest my food better, my breath and body odor smell pleasant. And I hear kissing me tastes like bananas (even when I haven’t eaten recently)!
But the part I’m most grateful for is the mental transformation. My whole life I had a very dysfunctional relationship to food, relying on it to make me happy (which never worked) and sedate my painful emotions. Finally, I eat a diet where I am allowed to eat as much as I want whenever I want without suffering afterward. I don’t eat any heavy food, so I can’t push away pain with food. 80/10/10 forced me to learn how to find a deeper source of happiness than distraction. I spend so much less time thinking about food, which among other things gives me better creative focus.
Have you noticed any differences? Has it affected your music, writing, learning, performing, remembering, etc?
It’s definitely affected my musical life significantly. There are the simple physical things, like not getting sick and missing gigs, having more energy to compose/practice/perform, and of course, not worrying about farting on stage! Also, because I’m not spending my time obsessing about food, and spending much less time shopping, preparing, and cleaning up, I have more time to invest in my passions.
I also notice that when I feel as healthy as I do, I’m inspired to help educate other people about how they can feel this good too!
What made you start doing “stupid” recipes?
One of the unique things I think I bring to raw food is my sense of humor, and I wanted to share how much fun I have with my diet. I realized that most of the things I actually prepare for myself are one or two ingredients, which I thought was funny in the context of a recipe video, since there’s not actually a recipe. I don’t think “bananas” counts a recipe, anyway. It’s fun.
Solo Bass Guitar - The Walz (Josh Fossgreen in concert)
Are you a touring musician? What’s it like being raw on the road?
I haven’t done very much touring at this point. It’s something I imagine I will do much more in coming years. I anticipate boxes of dates being involved. I would also research locations in advance to find produce stores.
Have you ever gotten to meet Dr. Graham?
Not yet! I look forward to doing so. I love his books and his YouTube videos. His work has improved my life so much!
How’d you become such a skilled musician?
Eating raw magically made me really good at playing bass.
Ha. Well, it’s been a process. Both my parents are musicians, so I grew up listening to great music around the house, from Mozart to Erykah Badu to James Taylor. I started playing bass when I was 13, and I just love the instrument so much. I’ve spent countless hours exploring the instrument on my own, and I’ve been gigging professionally since age 16 or so.
I think the same things that make someone a highly developed person translate to music. For me, there is no boundary between musical growth and personal growth. Taking as integral an approach as possible has helped me develop where some people seem to get stuck. A wonderful part of being a bass teacher is that I can help other people find those stuck spots and move through them.
What’s it like being a raw foodist in social settings (around non-rawies)?
It’s pretty awesome! Of course I would prefer if everyone was a raw fruit eater, but this is the state of the world, and that’s okay. I feel very comfortable eating a huge pile of fruit and getting confused looks. It’s usually a great opportunity to spread some knowledge and joy, and share my fruit. Last night I had a non-raw friend over and made an awesome mango-tomato sauce over raw zucchini noodles, and then we had some durian! Fruit is fun.
What have been your greatest gains?
Sanity. I think that a vast majority of people are neurotic eaters, and to me 80/10/10 is the best answer to that problem. People struggle so much with controlling their appetites, eating slower, appreciating their food more... all this kind of foodie, locavore, Michael Pollan-inspired culture that could be so much simpler if we just ate a fruit diet!
Do you miss anything about pre-raw?
There are moments where cooked (vegan) food looks yummy or smells yummy, but I don’t suffer over that. I recognize that most of that appeal is from neurological pattern-matching that I imprinted for 20 years of my life—this food makes me happy, this food reminds me of this fond memory, whatever it is. I also realize that those aren’t the reasons I want to choose foods. I choose what makes me feel good now, what gives my body exactly what it needs, to the best of my knowledge.
How has being raw affected your entrepreneurial work life?
I used to lose a lot of time eating or preparing food. Now the time I used to spend in the kitchen I spend working on my website or music stuff.
Also, being raw affects my work at Raw Food Freedom pretty dramatically, because if I weren’t eating raw I would feel like a hypocrite running a raw food website, and it would probably just stagnate. I also wouldn’t be able to do any of the modeling work I do, because I’d be bloated and pimply!
Do you have any tips/suggestions for aspiring/new/seasoned raw foodies?
Eat more fruit! I think the biggest lesson we learn as new raw foodies is how to eat enough volume after a lifetime of eating cooked (dehydrated) food which is more calorie dense by volume. Even some seasoned raw foodies could probably do with learning this lesson. A wonderful thing about going raw at this point in history is that there is so much skillful guidance from people like Doug Graham, Harley Johnstone (the Durianrider), Andrew Perlot, and myself (hopefully!) Thirty years ago, nobody was talking about getting enough calories. A new raw foodist has a much better chance of success with the info that’s out now.
I just noticed a video title about being on a cruise—What was that like? Cruisin raw?
It was absolutely terrible! I lived on a cruise ship playing in the band for five months, and there was absolutely not enough fruit for me, and a lot of what I did eat was really bad. If I had to do it over again, I would eat cooked potatoes/yams and drink pasteurized fruit juice as a compromise to get enough calories. Undereating affects the body so dramatically, I just had no idea until I did it. It took months to recover the lost weight and fitness.
However, if you’re taking a shorter one- or two-week cruise, I think it would be easier to manage, especially since as a passenger the ship will cater to your needs much more than if you’re a crew member.
Um... anything I haven’t thought of that you’d like to add?
Nope! Thanks Danielle. Happy fruiting!