I was recently on over 40 flights in 3 months.. and am rarely in one place for too long, even when it’s not that extreme. Flying from London to China, NYC, Brazil, LA, Hawaii, Japan... then back to China, LA, London, NYC, Melbourne, and back to LA again, multiple times too! Phew.
I’m often asked how on earth I stay raw!
When I talk raw, assume I mean "raw vegan, superfood, superherb, wildfoodist" 95% of the time. My personal preference is not 100% of anything.
As a professional singer I can’t afford to get ill… it’s not an option. I’m also not willing to compromise myself for long periods of time. I have to be who I am wherever I am and not just when at home.
I grew up on an Austrian Australian diet, which consisted of 70% meat, 28% dairy, wheat & all things stodgy, and 2% greens, usually with added sugar! So who says people can’t change? My journey has been interesting, relatively effortless and I am happy to be free from attachments to food. I love to explore different flavors, but if I am on the road and can’t, then so be it. I also still love the smell of some of the old foods I grew up on, even if I don’t like their taste.
When I was a kid I genuinely thought anything you bought in a shop was good for you, I reasoned why else could you buy it? I was in for a rude awakening. These days I’m not one for government rations, I care about what I buy, and realize that the vote with my wallet is the only vote that counts. If everyone took back their power then GM, for example, would not exist. GM is slave food, the elite certainly don’t eat it! In this time of great abundance why is it that more and more people are being trained to lower their standards and limp thru life? At the very least, free foods in the wild are so much more powerful than what’s available in a supermarket.I’m sure I’m blissfully unaware of many things in life, but once that gifted knowledge comes a’knocking there’s no going back for me. And I guess that’s how I ended up here. I have found what works for me, and even that will continue to evolve. The art of food that feeds the physical and light bodies at once opens doors of magic other eyes can’t see.
Ten years ago I was on a National Tour in the UK with Dubstar & The Lightening Seeds. If anyone knows the life of a musician, we eat dinner when most sleep, and we travel when most eat. If we get caught in a traffic jam we miss catering, do our makeup & costume in the van, pee in a can, and run on stage thru the emergency exit the second we arrive. If anyone wants an accurate insight into the true life of a band on the road then I suggest you study the film Spinal Tap. Rolling out of a show 10 years ago, and with these odd hours, hotel catering just wasn't available. At the time all we had to choose from was stale sandwiches and Little Chef, which was diabolical to even the hardest man standing. I can’t even look at a sandwich anymore. Yet this week I was traveling across the middle of England and found Waitrose (UK grocery store) with an organic section including coconuts, at a truck stop no less. Having said that, the Waitrose in Southend is the size of a football stadium and hardly has any organic produce, which shows supply and demand right there.
When I travel to NYC and LA I am in raw food heaven, so don’t need to pack anything other than what I want for the flight. Brazil is also a great place for superfoods, which are available on every corner... no wonder they look so damn hot!
But otherwise it does take some planning, I take it in stride, cause it’s worth it.Pre-Customs Prepping
I make a huge batch of raw chocolate loaded with superfoods. If there’s only one thing I pack, it’s this… I call it my Ninja stash. I scatter the supply between different bags, so if one bag gets lost or searched, or my other superfoods get taken, (which has never happen btw, thou one time during a bag search somehow my reishi powder became invisible to the customs officer, superfoods tend to do that!), I have another supply as a backup. No one ever objects to chocolate though, and if I am asked I never say “raw chocolate,” just “chocolate!” No need to confuse anyone.
My list of ‘I must pack’ – MSM (great when traveling to places as polluted as China for example), H202 (toothpaste, for washing fruit & veg, & emergencies – like when I got 2nd degree burns from the Turkish Baths in NYC, to David Jubbs horror), camu camu, marine phytoplankton, medicinal mushrooms (my fav are reishi & chaga), ho shou wu, raw honey, probiotics, maca, raw chocolate in any shape or form (I always have the beans floating around at the bottom of my bags too) and my zapper too.
My next level is ‘what I like to bring’ – gojiberries, enzymes, crystal manna, purple corn, suma, quinton, mesquite, coconut oil, coconut water, avocados, lemons, krakokale (aka kale chips) and other raw treats.
Despite being up for two days while in transit, if not more, thankfully I don’t really get jet lag. There’s no routine to the time I eat, it’s all down to instinct at this point. Traveling with boys in a band brings the art of allowing to a whole new level. What plays on the road, stays on the road... which is an unsaid oath, but needless to say my ways stand out, even amongst them.
I draw from everything; reiki, zapper, sungazing, and sea salt baths (1 kilo dead sea salt in the bath, soak for 20 minutes. It re-balances our electromagnetic field after flying, pulls out toxins and re-mineralizes us). I abuse the hell out of Google for any raw food joints too, or at the very least any vegetarian & Asian supermarkets for coconuts, durian, and such delights. Depending on where I am, I try to find local springs and wild foods too, although that is more of a luxury on the road, oddly enough.
Photo by: freymartinphotography.com
I am always amazed by the things I find. Its also interesting how enthusiastic locals can be if you turn it around to embracing their foods in a different way, rather than rejecting what they have to offer (which is usually things I don’t eat), bringing back foods from the market that everyone can share, and they often learn new things about their own culture or reconnect with something they haven’t had since childhood.
I am always touched by the thoughtfulness and gifts by locals once they understand what I eat. One of the most extreme scenarios was for the second leg of my tour in China, as my tour manager was so excited about me finding durian, he insisted on smuggling fresh durian from his hometown in Malaysia to China so I can sample the difference!
After much effort on him and his wife’s behalf, which included icepacks, ice bags, cling wrap, tons of tape, newspaper, and sacrificing the smell of his clothes that week (durian stinks), his plane was delayed, and as we excitedly opened up the package in a carpark to an audience of onlookers (durian is banned in hotels there, thou I ignored the rule one night and security came looking for a gas leak, whoops), we found brown, foul, off durian…. boooo!Then when I was at the local market buying a knife to open my coconuts with, the man at the stall, with a mischievous grin, pulled out his private stash of James Bond style weapons. The only ones I recognized was a mace, and tasers that looked like mobile phones. I didn’t want to let him down, as he was so proud of his collection, that for just £10 I bought a taser as well as my very cool coconut knife. Coconuts became the new trend for all 20 or so crew members, everyone was in on it.
Making Raw Work in China
The pollution in China is extreme, and a huge contrast after having come from Hawaii. I was pre-warned, but nothing really prepares you for it, and everyone got sick except me. I used the resources on hand, relished in all the grade-A Chinese herbs that dominated the markets, so on the next trip everyone was on the medicinal herbs I brewed up in hotel rooms, and no one got sick.
Occasionally I will have some vegan cooked food, which I really enjoy it. I always make sure I eat something raw before the cooked meal, such as a salad, so that my body doesn’t go into an auto-immune response. Also, sometimes organic produce just isn’t available, so at times like these I use common sense. Eating conventional foods once in a blue moon has no negative effect on my body, I don’t get any weird detox reactions, and as soon as I can buy organic I am glad to be back on it. In China there was raw juice available everywhere, thou not organic, but still better than nothing at all for 6 weeks. What is the point to all these superfoods if I can’t shake it up at times?Just cause it’s raw doesn't mean it’s safe, so do your homework. Unfortunately I had to learn that the hard way. I bit into the poisonous part of a cashew fruit in Brazil, which you can buy in any regular corner shop. My band mate didn’t swallow any but got a huge scar across his lip from the acid in it. As for me, it wasn't too long before the tip of my tongue swelled up, the headaches, pain, sweats, vomiting & diarrhea in stereo (both ends) came on! I was up all night and had a gig the next day. MSM (I figured if it works for snake bites it’ll work for this) and reiki saved the day, once again!
These are just some of many ideas… being raw makes me more adventurous, it's not supposed to be a prison sentence! But rather empowering to all, including those non-raw around me. I try to be gracious, allowing people to be who they are, and though ‘the boys in the band’ definitely dig at me, I always have the last laugh when they are the ones slumped over, tired, popping pills, & sick more often than not… and actually, many times I find a band mate with his hand caught in my raw chocolate jar!