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Birth of a Health Nut

by Cassendre Xavier

It started when I had an argument with the woman running the fitness center I was going to every week for yoga and Pilates.

 She had presented us with alcohol wipes to clean our mats before and after. They weren't the kind of wipes made for hand use – these were industrial strength wipes used to clean contaminated waste in hospitals. There were all kinds of warnings and pictures on the container saying not to allow contact with the skin, yet she was using these with her bare hands, and everyone was, too.

 I pointed out what the box said, and she said, "Yeah, but what they mean is not to put it on your face or baby. The skin on your hands is different, you can put it on your hands."

 I really didn't understand that at all, and it made me angry. The container didn't say, "No contact with face or baby, but palm skin is fine." It said no contact with skin. Period. We went back and forth about this and that's when I realized it was pointless to continue arguing with her. I also realized at that moment I had become a real, bonafide health nut.

 It has happened over and over again. I discuss things that I and many of my health nut camp agree on and believe in, and it seems everyone else in the world argues or thinks I'm crazy at best – stubborn and annoying at worst!

 I am a born again raw vegan. I think we're all born wanting to eat plant foods – fruit in particular. I've met babies and young children who don't like meat. I've never met one who didn't enjoy a slice of watermelon or orange.

 In the last column, I said I'd gotten my blood pressure under control using only fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, exercise, and behavior modification. I lost 20lbs, too. This is true. It is also true that days after writing that column, I tripped gracelessly off the raw vegan wagon, gained several pounds and my friendly neighborhood hypertension came back. Thankfully this is a monthly column and I had all kinds of time to redeem myself! Enter Arnold Kauffman.

 Arnold runs Arnold's Way Raw Vegetarian Cafe & Store in Lansdale, Penn. He is a raw vegan coach and has many posts on YouTube of many of his client friends reversing severe health issues with only living plants as their food. I am now one of his client friends enjoying and using his support to begin truly living the life of my dreams. I have begun a 90-day Green Smoothie-focused raw regimen which I hope will continue the results I've already experienced in my past efforts at going raw.

 I've learned many lessons so far: 1) Have a proper support system. I have two raw buddies, a coach, and a daily blog on MySpace to keep me honest. 2) Don't expect conventional health practitioners to be the best support in your unconventional methods. 3) The best way to help others discover the health and other benefits of this lifestyle is to be a silent example. Also, regardless of your method – patience, persistence, and time are the key to changing your life for the better!



Cassendre Xavier is an award-winning multi-media artist and community cultural arts organizer. She is the founder of Philadelphia's annual Black Women's Arts Festival (Est 2003)www.cassendrexavier.com 

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