Interview with Dr. Graham
Published: Fri, 10 Sep 2010
Originally featured on the raw natural hygiene community forum
You have an athletic background. Weren't you a gymnast?
I captained my high school team, yes, and was a member of my college team until funding for the sport was pulled.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started in athletics, what interested you about sports, and some of your athletic accomplishments.
I loved sports from as early as I can remember. I went to a day camp that specialized in sports every summer, first as a camper and eventually as a coach. After college, I coached trampoline for five years while also competing internationally myself. My career ended with a knee injury in 1979. In 1980, all seven members of the team I coached won first in their agegroup at the US National Championships. I ran a few marathons, swam a few 5 milers in open water, and did a sub-five-hour 100-miler on my bicycle before finally winning a local triathlon. Currently I enjoy staying fit playing with my daughter, tending my garden, jogging, and taking occasional hikes in the mountains. I have won a few small competitions at my annual Health and Fitness Week event, of which I am proud, only because the younger participants still "let" me compete in the "open" category, at least for now.
What is your current daily and weekly workout schedule?
See above. But really, I don't train much, never have. If I get an hour a day, on average, it is a lot. I have read many rumors of my long workouts, but honestly, they are not based in fact.
Are you currently training for a marathon? Do you use regular shoes or Vibrams?
I have thought of running another marathon, but my family time is too important to me. I love my Vibrams, but am comfortable in traditional running shoes as well. My favorite is running barefoot on the beach.
What inspired you to go raw?
Raw was simply the natural outcome of the progression from SAD to health foods, to macrobiotic, to vegetarian, to vegan.
Did you have any health issues? If so, what were they?
Are you kidding me? My list is long. Mostly though, besides the endless boils and staph infections, my years of suffering with allergies was my main health issue.
You live in the United Kingdom part of the year. Do you have struggles with staying raw in the cold? How do you find enough fruit there?
I have no struggles staying raw, wherever I go. It is like staying in a relationship, as far as I am concerned, or anything else that you really want. If you want it, success is the only option. I build my life around the knowledge that I eat raw food, exclusively. Cold has never been the issue of winter, as it is 70 in my house year-round. The issue is food quality, which invariably goes down during the winter months. I have found good suppliers, and even the grocery stores offer great variety nowadays.
You have a garden. What do you grow there? How much of your food is home-grown? Do you enjoy gardening? Do Rozi and Faychesca help you in the garden?
I love gardening, and Faychesca has her own patch, yes. I grow as much as 6,000 square feet and the UK weather will allow. Since we don't know if it will be a hot or cool summer, a wet or dry one, I plant a bit of everything and hope for the best. We get enough food to eat most of dinner out of the garden every day for about four months each summer.
What is your favorite fruit?
Whatever one I am eating currently. Honest. I think every fruit and vegetable deserves respect. I am what you call a vegetable rights activist.
Do you have any pets? If so, what do you feed them?
We haven't had pets for several decades and just recently got two French lop bunnies for Faychesca. Mostly they eat greens from my garden, but I sometimes purchase some greens from the grocery store.
How do you stay raw while traveling? On the plane?
I am content using grocery stores when on the road, farmer's markets, and health food co-ops when they are available. I bring fruit, and sometimes lettuce, onto planes with me. I really enjoy my lettuce.
What are some of your hobbies outside of health and fitness? I know you like to play a musical instrument. Anything else?
I enjoy reading, self-improvement projects, and learning of all kinds. Currently I am enjoying home-schooling Faychesca, and the challenges that brings me. I always enjoy fiddling around with my guitar, or almost any other instrument as well, though I cannot truly play any instrument well.
You are currently raising your daughter Faychesca on a raw vegan diet. Can you tell us a little bit about her diet? Does she ever seem tempted to eat cooked food when with her friends? Has she had any childhood diseases? What is her favorite food?
Faychesca says her favorite foods are watermelon and durian, not necessarily in that order, and not eaten together. She eats a diet of fruits and vegetables, is 100% raw, and is totally happy and satisfied with her food. She has only had the most minimal of sicknesses, barely enough to notice. None of the common childhood diseases have affected her.
How was Rozi's pregnancy? Any discomfort? How did the delivery go? Any breast feeding problems?
Rozi's pregnancy went so well the doctors finally stopped paying attention to her, though initially they were very concerned by the fact that she was 44 when she first got pregnant. Rozi makes the best mother I have ever met. At first, becoming a mother took a bit of getting used to, but like everything she does, Rozi rose to the top in this field too. There is always a story around every birth, but Rozi did superbly well, and continues to set a fine example of what good mothering can be like.
Rozi has an amazing series of emotional eating videos on YouTube. Have you found this to be a common issue in working with your clients?
Exceptionally so. I am glad I got the extra training in this area that I did.
What is the best way of dealing with it?
Be certain to eat enough fruit, and embrace your decision to eat raw.
How do you manage stress in your own life?
Stress isn't a factor, but how you deal with it is. I deal with it by imagining I am a duck, and the stress is water.
Do you meditate? How important to you feel emotional poise is to health and well being?
No, well, only when moving. I consider emotional poise to be as important as any other factor of health care, meaning that each of the 30+ fundamental elements of healthful living interacts with all the others.
What time do you usually go to bed?
I typically go from "can" till "can't" each day (generally between 10 pm and midnight). I love getting all I can out of every day. But that includes getting sleep, too.
I am usually an early bird, as I get great work done early and late in the day. But if I don't get up early, I definitely get up when Faye says, "Daddy, let's play." :)
What would you like to say to young people today?
Focus on your dreams, pursue your interests, eat enough fruit, attitude is everything, go to health.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years? Any projects that you are working on that you'd like to share with us? Where do you see yourself in 50 years?
50 years is a long time to look ahead. I see myself as fortunate to make it that far. I can promise a ton of new releases, but don't want to leak any of it currently.
What most concerns you about what you see in the world today and with people's health?
Monsanto and Madison Avenue joining hands.
Whom do you most admire/receive inspiration from, and why?
The great thinkers. The pioneers, in every field. The record breakers in sports.
People have raised concerns about the sustainability of the whole world's population eating a fruit-based diet. What are your thoughts on this?
I don't see any other way to achieve sustainability. Fruit trees provide the highest yield per acre of any crop, more than double what grains provide. But until we make global population control a real concern, we are just spinning our wheels.
What are the most common mistakes you see in people new to the 80/10/10 diet, besides undereating?
- Undersleeping. Lack of sleep compromises all other human functions: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social.
- Living a sedentary life, another way of compromising your health that produces the same results as lack of sleep.
- Living with addictions.
There is a recent trend amongst longtime vegan raw food leaders, who are adding raw animal foods to their programs. Do you have any comments on this? Do you think raw animal foods are any less harmful than cooked animal foods, and why?
I think that as long as a person eats a diet that cannot work, they will continue to demonstrate shifts in their diet as they seek a way of eating that works. I suggest to all of them that they read The 80/10/10 Diet, which, by the way, they admit they have not done.
A couple of concerns that keep coming up frequently from people new to raw veganism are B12 and vitamin D deficiency. How would you address these for people who live in a northern climate?
Neither B12 nor vitamin D are diet-related issues. This interview is not the place for teaching a lesson on B12, so I will simply say that B12 deficiency has not been shown to have diet-related causes of any kind. It is almost always an absorption issue, not a consumption issue. As for vitamin D, get out in the sun. Tan, don't burn. The sun is our best source for vitamin D. It has been shown that most people can easily meet 95-100% of their vitamin D requirement through just 30 minutes of daily sun exposure. This fat-soluble vitamin is also storable, so what you get in summer will do you for winter. If you have concerns, take a winter vacation to a warm sunny place.
Many who have read your book are choosing to leave out greens because they are not drawn to them and want to just be "fruitarian." Any thoughts on this?
They are not following 811 at that point. I have not seen long-term fruitarians succeed, and have seen huge numbers of them fail (and too many die) over the almost four decades since I first started my dietary journey. My thoughts? DON'T do it. And certainly don't associate fruitarianism with 80/10/10. In my book, I recommend eating 2 to 6% of calories from green, leafy vegetables. This amounts to 40 to 120 calories for a person eating 2,000 calories (which, by the way, is very unlikely to be enough food for a person doing enough physical activity to be healthy). Forty calories is roughly a medium-sized head of lettuce. That is the absolute minimum I would suggest, and two to three times that is far more likely to provide adequate nutrition. People who eat more than 2,000 calories should adjust accordingly.
You mention on your 30 Bananas a Day page that Ishmael is one of your favorite books. What was it about the message of that book that you liked? Would you call yourself an environmentalist?
I prefer "ethical vegan," if we must use a label. The simple message of Ishmael is that the population of every species follows its food supply. If we want to see population rise, increase food supply. If we want to gradually see it drop, decrease food supply gradually. The amount of starvation remains the same either way, by the way. There is no inherent hardship in purposefully and gradually decreasing the food supplies. Imagine a huge "house" with 100 rats. Supply enough food for 100 rats and the population will remain relatively stable at about 100 rats. Put in enough food for 110 rats, and the population will quickly rise to 110. Reduce the food supply to feed only 90 rats, and the population will gradually and gracefully drop to 90. No hardship. No starvation. This is how it works in Nature. The more our programs mimic the models shown us in nature, the better off we will be.