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Grant Campbell's Raw Food Success Story

Raw foodist, educator, and ultramarathon runner Grant Campbell is a great guy and fount of inspiration for anyone looking to improve their health. 

I first met Grant in the fall of 2009 at Dr. Doug Graham's Health and Fitness Week, where his friendliness and athleticism immediately made an impression on me. A citizen of Australia, he's been spending much of his time over the last few years spreading the raw food message down under.

In November of 2010 I asked Grant to do an interview with Raw-Food-Health.net so he could share where he's been and what he's aiming for, joining the rest of the raw food success stories we've covered.

Grant Campbell: Q&A

Andrew Perlot: How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

Grant Campbell: Born in 1973, I've been around the sun 37 times.

I live on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia which is a beautiful region with large salt water lakes, beautiful surfing beaches and mountain ranges nearby.

Last year, after 15 years of working as an IT specialist in the corporate world, I allowed myself the freedom to leave that career behind and invest all of my time into studying lifestyle coaching with Dr Doug Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet.

Grant Campbell RunI realigned my career to be in line with my passion. I now run the Raw Natural Hygiene forum (rawnaturalhygiene.ning.com), which has around 1300 members.

I engage in public speaking at health expos on healthy lifestyle and raw nutrition. I also run raw vegan retreats in Australia (http://www.rawreference.com) with plans for a retreat in Asia in 2011.

Andrew Perlot: How and why did you end up a raw foodist?

Grant Campbell: I went vegan in June 1999. The first book I read as a cooked vegan was “Raw Energy” by Leslie Kenton. As a result, the concept of raw had been planted in my mind, but “Raw Energy” didn't explain how to actually eat raw in any way that seemed practical to me. Instead there were complex recipes like Essene Bread that I was never going to invest the time into making.

It wasn't until November 2005 that I came across Dr Doug Graham's “Perfect Health” program of 12 hours of audio discs. The information covered everything I needed to know to have confidence to switch to eating a healthy, raw vegan diet without knowing anyone who was eating that way. I tried the program immediately. The results were so amazing that I continued the diet and the benefits continued.

Andrew Perlot: Were there any particular raw diets/teachers that really clicked for you? Did you try different approaches before settling on a low-fat, fruit-centered raw diet?

Grant Campbell: I have studied many raw diets and raw teachers. Dr. Douglas Graham has always been my greatest influence because his information simply makes sense. Other influences have been Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication), Douglas Lisle (The Pleasure Trap), Bruce Lipton (Biology of Belief), Rick Dina (Raw Nutritional Science).

I wouldn't call the 80/10/10 diet a fruit-centered raw diet. Vegetables including leafy greens are as important for health as fruit. I get the majority of my calories from fruit, but by volume I only eat a marginally greater volume of fruit than vegetables.

I was fortunate to start my raw diet as 80/10/10 raw vegan although I hadn't understood how many vegetables to eat and was mostly eating fruit at first. During my first year on a raw diet I came across the raw community in Sydney and discovered for the first time the high fat, gourmet raw foods. It looked and tasted amazing, but I soon realized it didn't digest well and wasn't giving the health results I was after. I've prepared my meals as 80/10/10 raw vegan with simplicity ever since.

Grant Campbell: The Benefits Of Going Raw

Andrew Perlot: What health, mental, or other benefits have you gained from going raw?

Grant Campbell: On a standard diet, I had a long list of issues including:
  • Running injuries including ITB pain, shin splints, sprained ankles, sore knees, tight glutes, tight calves, failed quads, tight hamstring, ankle pain and achilles pain.
  • Inability to recover effectively from athletic endeavors
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • AcneGrant Campbell Chef
  • Bad asthma
  • Heat rash
  • Animal hair allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Chronic mucus
  • Regular cold and flu
  • Snoring
  • Undeveloped social skills
  • I wasn't able to run more than 14km and took about a week to recover after I did

As a cooked vegan:

  • I was more active, finding myself running more and taking up surf lifesaving.
  • After giving up dairy, a few of the health issues improved (mucus, cold, flu, asthma, snoring).
  • I could run ultra marathons, but it would take me a week of walking around in a debilitated state before I could run again. It took 8 weeks or more before I was ready to compete in another race.
  • I still had regular, negative and self limiting thoughts and felt awkward in social situations.
  • I used to get thick salt lines across my forehead after running, and bleeding nipples from the abrasiveness of the salty sweat accumulating in my race shirt.
  • I still regularly suffered running injuries.

As a raw vegan eating a simple diet of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables:
  • All of my health issues went away.
  • I feel more “alive” in every moment of every day.
  • I never get sick, even when I don't get enough sleep.
  • I can now run ultra marathons of up to 100 miles and enjoy running the next day.
  • I no longer require a recovery period after ultra marathons, just a period of “taking it easy” for a few days.

From the first days I started following the 80/10/10 raw vegan lifestyle:
  • My flexibility and endurance improved.
  • My mental clarity, awareness and alertness sharpened.
  • My thoughts and behavior changed as I found myself more emotionally poised and becoming less judgemental.
  • My sense of taste and smell enhanced dramatically.

In continuing the 80/10/10 raw vegan lifestyle:
  • I don't suffer running from any injuries.
  • My tolerance for the sun doubled. I used to burn easily, now I run all day with my shirt off.
  • My temperature regulation functions so much better now that I have a good tolerance for both cold and hot climates.
  • I have self-love and self-respect. I have a genuine interest in building stronger connections with not just people but all forms of life.
  • I am compassionate and excited about what each day brings.
  • I know myself much better and have aligned my life with my passion.  
  • My sweat isn't salty and doesn't burn my eyes or leave salt lines on my forehead or clothing.

Grant Campbell: Raw Athletics

Andrew Perlot: How has going raw changed your approach to athletics as well as your performance?

Grant Campbell: Last weekend I ran 100 miles in 34 hours through tough mountain trails in Vibram Five Finger shoes which are close to being barefoot. I had absolutely no soreness in my legs at the end of the race nor in the days that followed. My body simply couldn't do anything like that on a cooked food diet.

By following the 80/10/10 lifestyle, I took 5 hours off my 60 mile race time in just 2 years without doing any extra training.

Grant Campbell Run 2Not only do I now have no downtime required for recovery, but there is also less to recover from. My inflammation response now works correctly because fresh fruits and vegetables provide Omega 3 and Omega  6 Essential Fatty Acids in the correct ratios for optimal inflammation response and clotting/unclotting of blood.

A low fat diet means my VO2 max is higher allowing greater delivery of oxygen to cells.

I no longer get cramps in the side of my abdomen or cramping calves which I previously predictably encountered about 3 hours into every race. Now that I eat a mineral rich diet which includes enough fresh, raw vegetables to meet my mineral needs, I never have problems with cramps.

I am always hydrated, getting the vast majority of my water from my food. Staying well hydrated all day, every day allows for more consistent performance. These days, I'm always race ready.

Before going raw vegan, at the end of an ultra marathon I couldn't sit down without using my arms for support. Now I can still do bodyweight exercises like jump squats and burpees after crossing the finish line of an ultra marathon.

Grant Campbell: Spreading The Raw Message In Australia

Andrew Perlot:
Tell us a bit about being "The 80/10/10 guy in Australia". What kind of a partnership do you have with Dr.  Doug Graham, and what exactly do you do to promote 80/10/10?

Grant Campbell: I'm currently a student of Dr. Graham's Certified Lifestyle Coaching program. I have my own business and work with Dr Graham at his events including:
  • Teaching classes on anatomy and physiology at the Water Fasting Event in Jan/Feb in Costa Rica (http://foodnsport.com/events/fasting.html)
  • The Walking Tour of Costa Rica (http://foodnsport.com/events/the-costa-rica-walking-tour.html)
  • Health & Fitness Week (http://foodnsport.com/events/health-and-fitness-week.html); and
  • Lecture tours.

I help with editing, content and technical issues on the FoodnSport website, as well as brainstorming concepts for new, exciting projects which are top secret, so subscribe to the FoodnSport newsletter (http://foodnsport.com/blog.html) and stay posted :)

I promote The 80/10/10 Diet through:
  • The meals and educational content at the retreats I run
  • Running the Raw Natural Hygiene forum (http://rawnaturalhygiene.ning.com)
  • Consulting with people online
  • Promoting the results of my athletic endeavors
  • Public speaking at expos and local community courses

Grant Campbell: Calories and Passion

Grant Campbell H&F Week

Andrew Perlot: How many calories do you eat in an average day, and how many do you burn off through exercise?

Grant Campbell: Most days I eat around 3500 calories.  I maintain my weight, so I guess I also burn 3500 calories a day on average.

On an ultra marathon race day, I'll typically eat from 4500 to 6000 calories.
Depending on the terrain and intensity I eat 200-350 calories per hour during an ultra marathon and stay as hydrated as I can.

Andrew Perlot: What are your passions in life? What makes you tick?

Grant Campbell: My passion is in making a vibrant lifestyle accessible to all who are interested.

It means a lot to me to be able to inspire and motivate others to seek a higher quality lifestyle.I get excited by challenging tasks and enjoying giving them my best shot.

In a way, ultra marathons can be compared to child birth. The words “never again” may be uttered at the toughest time during the event, but moments after it is over, we're already getting excited about the one.

I thrive in an environment where I am surrounded by people who demonstrate excellence (it doesn't matter how ...fitness, emotion, commitment, compassion, etc).

I aspire to influence others to seek excellence in their endeavors. I love being part of anything that is backed by 100% passion.

Grant Campbell: Raw Social Life

Andrew Perlot: How does being raw affect your social life? Do family/friends understand? Does your family eat raw, and if not, does that cause conflict?

My social life is richer than ever before. The quality of the social interactions in my life is much higher and more rewarding. I seldom go to clubs, cinemas or restaurants as such environments aren't generally conducive to nurturing our relationships with others. Clubs are generally filled with inebriated people engaging in health destroying activities. They are choosing not to feel, which isn't conducive to growth and doesn't inspire or motivate others.

The cinema is mostly stimulation and an individual experience.

At restaurants the focus on the food is too high which detracts from the ability to engage in profound, nurturing conversation and sharing experiences. With non-raw, non-vegan food on their plate, people tend to feel judged by our mere presence. Whether someone feels judged or not depends on their perception. There is no judgement given where none is taken, as the presence of judgement falls in the eye of the beholder.

It becomes almost a moot point, as to whether we have actually made judgemental comments/gestures or not. Developing the communication skills to effectively make it known to others that they are not being judged, gives them the chance to  enjoy their meal. But your dining family/friends also need to know that you are enjoying your “basic salad with no dressing” which is often the only raw vegan meal most restaurants can reliably prepare.

If people feel that you are “missing out” while they are “treating themselves”, then they won't be able to enjoy their meal. You have to convince them that your tomato/cucumber/celery salad is actually delicious and exactly what you wanted. The psychology behind eating is fascinating :)

Grant Campbell Run 1My family is supportive of how I eat. They think they understand it, but I don't think that is possible without experiencing it. They eat a standard diet. The difference between our diets caused conflict in the past mainly due to a lack of social and communication skills.

Now I feel I have developed a better knowledge of my needs and the needs of my family/friends, as well as developing skills to effectively communicate about those needs. I find I am now usually able to effectively put in place a common understanding in a timely fashion. In my experience, when our thoughts and actions become congruent with our belief system (our inner truth/innate wisdom), integrity follows which brings the emotional poise and confidence required to create more nurturing relationships. 

Grant Campbell: Raw In A Cooked-Food World

Andrew Perlot:
What are the hardest parts of being a raw foodist in a cooked-food world, and what do you do to cope?

Grant Campbell: It really isn't very difficult, apart from occasionally holding my breath until I am clear of toxic smells like cigarette smoke, animal-diet body odor or burning oils and animal fats. Now that I've educated myself in nutrition, anatomy, physiology, and a little psychology and sociology, as well as having worked on removing incongruencies from my life between my thoughts/actions and my belief system, I find life to be very rewarding almost anywhere I am.

I think the hardest part of going raw is that it takes time to educate yourself and develop the social skills to effectively communicate the reason for your choices in a compassionate and nurturing way.

I no longer hold judgements of others when they choose a path of health destruction. Life is much easier since I came to the realizations that not only do we have no right to have expectations of others, but that expectations don't bring us any value. Expectations open the door to frustration and disappointment and place unnecessary pressures on others. Instead of expectations and judgement, I hold hope that people find a source of inspiration to entice them to make true lifestyle improvements.

Grant Campbell: Salt and Ultramarathon Running

Andrew Perlot: One interesting nutritional contention I've heard recently among raw foodists who run ultra marathons is over sodium. Some take salt pills to prevent hyponatremia (an electrolyte disturbance in which the sodium concentration in the blood is lower than normal, causing various problems) during very long runs. Other say that the natural sodium found in plant foods is enough to prevent the problem. Where do you come down on the debate? Do you do anything special before or during a race to prevent hyponatremia? Are these measures enough?

Grant Campbell: Nature's model is a pure one, so I find myself as a purist. I don't eat salt. I don't take supplements. Our species wouldn't still be on the planet if we needed to take supplements for essential vitamins and minerals. If ever in an emergency situation, I wouldn't hesitate to take a supplement if it would save my life, but I would then seek to address the cause of the nutritional imbalance rather than supplementing for the rest of my life.

Having completed over 20 ultra marathons, combined with various unfavorable forms of race preparation I have experienced heat stroke, severe dehydration, and “hitting the wall” to the point of having blurred vision, but I don't believe I've experienced hyponatremia.

Years ago, on a cooked vegan diet, I tried racing on salted foods. It didn't work for me then and I'm confident it wouldn't now. I believe salt creates an additional need for water to be retained to dilute that salt, making it challenging to stay hydrated enough to keep performing. To illustrate the point, consider a person lost at sea. If they drank the sea water in an attempt to quench their thirst, they would die of dehydration within a few days.

I've raced up to 100 miles and raced for up to 31 hours on the 80/10/10 diet without feeling any need for supplementing with salt. Only in races of 60 miles or more do I find it beneficial to eat celery during a race to get some additional electrolytes/minerals.

In recent years since I starting eating sufficient quantities of vegetables each day, I find I have enough minerals in my body coming into the race, in order to be able to complete a marathon without needing a top-up during the race. Athletes have a far greater need to replace water and carbohydrates than electolytes, and if the carbohydrates are coming from fruit, the fruit is a source of some electrolytes. I have seen people desperately low on water, carbohydrates and electrolytes at the same time and it isn't pretty.

I can't see how supplements, which by nature are highly refined, can be an effective substitute for balanced, whole food nutrition, even more so with the extreme demands of an ultra marathon.

Grant Campbell: Direction Of The Raw Movement

Andrew Perlot: Where do you see the raw movement going, in Australia or in the world as a whole? Are as many raw foodists washing out of the movement today, or are mind finding a solid footing and sticking to it?

Grant Campbell FaceGrant Campbell: I think it is difficult to measure the size of the raw movement. I am confident that it is growing in the sense that more people are aware of it that ever before. The simplicity, effectiveness and need for raw veganism and natural hygiene is becoming better known as the information age advances. We are making substantial improvements in how we deliver information, making that information more accessible to the mainstream.

I think the focus on being a “raw foodist” is missing the bigger picture. The people I see failing as raw fooders because they aren't grasping the broader picture of self love, self respect, and compassion for all life as the foundation in applying healthy lifestyle choices such as sufficient sunlight, hydration, fresh air, sufficient rest, physical activity, emotional poise and a diet of simple combinations of whole, fresh, raw plant foods.

I promote the principles of healthy living, of which “food” is just one aspect...and “raw” is but a single, isolated quality of food. Focusing on “raw food” alone doesn't bring health when the other qualities of food and healthy lifestyle choices are neglected.

Andrew Perlot: What advice would you give to someone interested in going raw?

Grant Campbell: Do it out of an act of loving kindness to yourself.

Strengthen your position by doing it for all reasons. It supports health, fitness, ethics, ecology, environment, personal development and nurturing relationships.

Changing a diet for a single reason or out of strictness or discipline leaves you vulnerable to sabotaging your very success. Strictness and discipline can be effective in the short term but there has to come a time where you are living healthfully because you truly desire to.

Educate yourself in order to build confidence in your choices and to strengthen your ability to influence others.

Don't try to follow multiple types of raw diets at once. In fact, never try to achieve conflicting goals, because it predictably ends without success.

Don't be hard on yourself. There are no mistakes, only experiences. Pay attention to the details so you can learn from each and every experience.

Grant Campbell: Favorites

Andrew Perlot:
What's your favorite place on earth and why?

Grant Campbell: My favorite place is wherever I am, because I love my life and the life I am surrounded by.

One place that takes my breath away is standing on a bridge over a river coming down from a rainforest, assuming the “Titanic position” with arms extended, breathing in the pure air flowing down the mountain. It is divine.

Andrew Perlot: Favorite fruit?

Grant Campbell: No fruit stands alone as my favorite. The main contenders include hachiya persimmon, durian, adriatic figs, white mulberries, blueberries, fresh dates (halawi and medjool), jakfruit, champedak, pantin mamey sapote, and Californian heirloom tomatoes.

Andrew Perlot: Anything else that you'd like to add?

Grant Campbell: As Professor Rozalind Graham so brilliantly expressed with compassion and emotion in her DVD “Radiating Health & Compassion: Living the Colorful Life in a Black & White World”, inappropriate diet is a major factor which inhibits people from being able to think and feel, never attaining the quality of life that should be considered normal.

There is so much more to health than a low fat, raw vegan diet of whole, fresh fruit and vegetables including sufficient sunlight, quality air, hydration, physical activity, sufficient sleep and rest, and emotional poise.

Without our natural diet as a stable base, it becomes ever so more challenging to balance the other lifestyle factors.

Read “The 80/10/10 Diet” and start living healthfully now.

It is far easier to maintain health and fitness, than maintain wealth and sickness.

Which are you investing in?

Grant Campbell: Following Up

Learn about a healthy raw food diet.

Read more raw food success stories like Grant Campbell's here.


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