vegan issues

I Felt Like I Was Alive for the First Time in My Life: 10 Questions for Raw Vegan Natalie Lenka


I met Natalie Lenka in the Facebook group “Vegan Fruit Detox” that has been probably my most major obsession recently. I have told everyone about it, and they are mostly like, “that’s weird”.

They just don’t get it. But I have learned so much from this fascinating group of people led by  raw vegans Squeegee Beckenheim, who I previously interviewed in “How I Cured Myself From the Suicide Disease”, and our interviewee today, Natalie.

Natalie has a similarly fascinating recovery story and is extremely knowledgeable about raw food and healing. I guess if your life depends on it, you read EVERYTHING and educate yourself.

I was so impressed with Natalie that I knew I needed to interview her and somehow get a part of her story out there, cause as you will read there was a time she was so in pain she was scooting around her room and the only thing she felt she had to live for was her dogs. I hope you enjoy the story of her incredible recovery and the fact that she went what most people would consider totally “off the deep end” only to triumph and heal herself. I think that is amazing. Without further ado:

10 Questions for Fruitarian Natalie Lenka

1. What was your illness before you started raw food?

When I started raw food it seemed like everything was wrong with me. I had symptoms of and tested positive for several auto immune conditions such as drug induced Lupus, connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia. In the summer of 2013 I got to a point where being in the sun gave me pins and needles and my knees were so swollen I had to scoot across the floor on my butt to get around on bad days. I cried into my pillow on Labor Day when everyone was going past my house to the beach but the sun was giving me stabby stabby pains. I wasn’t a very good sick person and thought it was incredibly unfair.


I also had Lyme Disease, chronic headaches, awful depression, reoccurring strep infections, Epstein Barr, PVC arrhythmia, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, severe anxiety, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, painful arthritis in my knees, mind fog, leaky gut, candida, chronic yeast infections and constant GI pain and bloating. Every day was filled with pain, fog and fatigue and all the simple things I enjoyed like exercise and travel slipped away. I didn’t want to live but I have 4 neurotic dogs that needed me so after exhausting medical options I became determined to find a way out for all of us. I couldn’t hold a job and couldn’t afford any more doctor stuff so this had to work.


2. How did you find out about raw food and what convinced you to try it?

I am a firm believer in divine guidance and have never felt truly healthy. In 2008 I was drawn to John Fuhrman’s Eat to Live and also the 80-10-10 Diet by Doug Graham. I was unsure about high fruit and unwilling to release alcohol or bread at the time so I switched from a pizza diet to lots of gluten free boxed food, green smoothies and more vegetables. I felt better but never got the benefits of going all the way.

In 2013 everything fell apart for me when I was diagnosed with Lyme and autoimmune conditions and became unable to work. My insurance refused to cover a rheumy and instinctually I knew that for so many things to be wrong with me, the problem must be holistic. I tried going to a doctor but she poisoned me with 3 months of antibiotics for the Lyme which made me feel even sicker and made me unable to digest any food at all.

I started with an elimination diet out of desperation to see if anything was making my symptoms worse. I felt great when I fasted on green juice so I started with that and added fruits and veggies back one by one. I found that all grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables and animal products made me feel bad again. I remembered that 80-10-10 was a diet of just fruits and vegetables so I dusted off the book and on Dec 1st 2013 decided to forever change my diet, including a cooked meal for the first few months, then fully raw.

3. How quickly did you start feeling the benefits and what were the first changes you noticed, if you remember.

I started with fruit and greens all day and a steamed veggie dinner at night. For the first 3 weeks I felt I was dying, as my body cleaned and parasites such as candida died off. All of a sudden I could walk well again so I started college which was a huge step for me. 6 weeks in to my detox I went on a 4 hour hike in the Hawaiian mountains but still struggled with a little fatigue and seasonal allergies.

I decided to do all raw as a 2 week cleanse in May and I felt like I was alive for the first time in my life. My depression vanished and I had so much energy I joined a gym that week. Within 3 days my allergies were gone. It’s now almost 14 months later and all the conditions I originally had stay in remission as long as I am strict with my diet.


6. Can you describe how you feel now on a daily basis and how it is different that how you used to feel? Is being 100% raw really as blissful as people say it is?

I used to feel trapped in a body that wasn’t working for me. I had untreatable depression and was tired and in pain all the time. I loathed myself and no traditional medications seemed to work. Inching towards healthier eating such as organic foods and raw foods wasn’t an answer for me.

Going all raw has been the most incredible time of my life. It’s 100% different. I wake up happy to be alive, feeling positive and very productive. When I am not going through healing, I can be happy regardless of my surroundings – meaning raw food is a tool that truly helps me find inner peace and happiness. Only by changing ourselves can we change our lives.

There isn’t bliss all of the time because sometimes I am healing or I eat something that reacts badly. I just found out that cacao triggers my arrhythmia for example. I still feel frustrated sometimes but I go back to that happy place quickly and effortlessly. I also find that I need to keep a certain amount of bananas in my diet to keep the bliss – for people with chemical imbalance based depression like mine – bananas help the brain produce serotonin. That’s why monkeys are always so happy!


4. Did you ever think raw food wasn’t working and did you ever lose hope?

When I first went fully raw I was so nervous about high fruit, but felt really good. I jumped right onto a ‘watermelon island’ where you eat only watermelons and felt like I was hit by a bus. I felt weak and dizzy so I sat and googled the protein content of watermelons. I was convinced that the fruit was killing me. Now I understand it was just a ‘healing crisis’ because I am very athletic and eat mostly fruit with incredible results. The watermelon made my body clean out faster than I was ready to handle.


5. Do you have any advice for people whose doctors tell them they don’t know exactly what’s wrong with them and can’t fix them. Do you think they should give raw food a go and why?

I think doctors are a fantastic resource for acute conditions. However, in my experience very few understand the link between nutrition and health. We live in a world built on capitalism so unfortunately business interests have crept into nutritional and dietary advice. I read that McDonalds was a huge sponsor at the last convention for nutritionists. Other than Dr Furhman, very few doctors are encouraged to do their own research and incorporate it into their practices – even though Hippocrates taught that 90% of illness begins with what we eat.

For chronic conditions, medical professionals are trained to treat symptoms rather than look at the root cause. Unfortunately, if you don’t address the cause of an illness, more illness will develop which is why I believe I ended up with so many different conditions at the same time.


There was no magic pill for me – and I don’t think raw food healed me either. However, I believe that raw food empowers the body to self heal. The average American diet burdens the digestive system, adds toxins into the body and takes up all the body’s energy to digest. Raw food is natural and simple – giving us vital nutrients as nature intended and leaving our bodies free to regenerate and heal. I also think raw food diets also eliminate things we shouldn’t be eating in the first place like dairy and gluten. I have a functional medicine doctor now who tells all her patients to get off those two things and has seen many people heal – everything from autism to autoimmune. It’s just not worth feeling bad for the sake of food addictions.

I think everyone should try raw foods – because you have nothing to lose! We test our drugs and run disease trials on monkeys because they are so similar to us – yet don’t think to try their natural diet to see if it better suits us. If I hadn’t tried raw foods my life would be so different. I would be loaded up on medications and deeply in debt. No food is worth feeling terrible.


7. What was the hardest moment for you when you were going raw? Can you tell us some of the struggles you went through.

The hardest struggle I think is realizing and accepting that you need to make a choice between comfort foods and health. When we are sick, our greatest pleasure is often food. When I started I would dip back into potatoes, rice or other starchy foods and for 5 minutes of pleasure I would experience poor health and terrible cravings for a few days afterward. Learning not to self-sabotage was quite a process. So I was nice to myself and wrote notes to remind myself how bad it felt. Some people can handle eating raw and switching onto cooked foods. I can’t and I’m good with that.


Lack of support from worried friends and family is always an issue, so when I started I really wanted to make some friends who were just as excited about how raw foods were transforming their lives. It was really hurtful when people close to me couldn’t be happy for me even though I was miraculously healed. Now I am confident about my choice and it doesn’t bother me what people think but at first I was so self-conscious. Luckily I met Squeegy Beckenheim online a few weeks into eating 100% raw who has been a great support on my journey and we decided to start our own Facebook group called “Vegan Fruit Detox” to meet even more like minded people. As I type we are coming up on 1300 members in just 3 months.


8. What was your cleanse experience like with blessed herbs and were you nervous to try it? Do you think cleanses are helpful? Do you think a herb cleanse is better than say a mono fruit cleanse like banana island?

The Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse Kit is less herbs and more a combo of psyllium and bentonite which act like lint rollers in your GI tract. It expands in your GI tract and sticks to accumulated waste and the combination exits you. TannyRaw recommended the kit so I bought it with confidence and was amazed at how much better I felt afterwards, and I still do.


Eating clean does not automatically make you clean, even after 8 months raw some of the things it removed were scary and old. I loved it so much I bought another one! You can find instructions to do your own psyllium/bentonite cleanses online for free but as I was new to cleansing I liked having everything set up for me with careful instructions. Plus it tasted great! I’m not a big fan of herbs because I think they can enhance detox at times but can also overload people and cause negative reactions. I reacted to several herb products before I stopped bothering. As I did most of my healing on fruit – I would focus mainly on that and then free herbs from the yard such as dandelion, burdock, purslane and plantain. Live plants are so much more potent than anything you can buy. So I throw weeds in my smoothies from time to time but think the best cleanses are mono fruits. Banana island is incredible for depression.


9. Do you think anything can be healed on raw food?

I think healing is a combination of body, mind and spirit. I did a lot of affirmations and positive thinking through my journey and researched constantly to give myself faith in raw foods. However if someone went into raw foods with a bad attitude, perhaps it wouldn’t work? Our minds are just as powerful as raw foods. And as I said before I believe raw food removes the obstructions inhibiting healing but we also need to provide rest, positive thoughts and intentions. It also depends what raw foods are being eaten. I follow mostly fruits and greens but some fasting and cleansing is needed too. A raw vegan also had to get heart surgery from eating too much fat. I think rather than focusing on raw – the best approach is asking: is it healthy?

In my research I have seen everything from brain cancer to MS healed through fasting, raw foods and fruit. So I believe anything can be healed on raw foods but perhaps not every case if that makes sense? On a etheric level, if it’s someone’s time or they have a terrible virus healing may not be possible. However, eating raw certainly gives us the best chance we have to stay healthy. It’s not about immortality but just feeling amazing on a day to day is enough for me.


10. What advice would you have given to yourself when you first began your healing journey?

Cleansing! I would have used enemas and the Blessed Herbs kit on a regular basis to avoid horrible pain and headaches as toxins left my body. Another rule is to take it slow. Unless you have cancer, detox and healing doesn’t need to be dramatic and painful. I think being good at self-healing is figuring out what releases toxins at a tolerable rate, rather than stressing the body. The only thing I would change overall, would be doing this sooner!



Thank you so much Natalie! 

Check out Natalie’s youtube channel (It’s great): Fruitnat

Join the group “vegan fruit detox” on Facebook if interested in learning more.



In Which My Friend Loses a Bet and Becomes Fruitarian for a Week, and I Discover the True Secret of Veganism


My friend lost a bet with me and now he is fruitarian for the whole week.

100% 80/10/10.

I decided I would do it with him. Cause hey, why not? I could always use an excuse to go 100% 80/10/10 for a little while.

The first day started off well. I made him some banana mylk cereal cause we were going on a hike that day. He seemed to really like the banana mylk and the dried mulberry granola. I got the recipe from fully raw kristina.

Then we bought a lot of fruit….but the peaches I bought for lunch were brown inside and bad. So we had less fruit than we thought.

Then the pears we brought and put in the bag got totally smushed and pear mush was everywhere and the pears seemed totally unappetizing. Oh gods.

Then he started getting a stomach ache from all the fruit and didn’t understand why.

I kind of understood what the problem was… We were in the woods not by any facilities and the fruit was like, working the insides and needed to be “flushed out”, if you get my meaning? It’s kind a drastic change getting used to that in the beginning.

He was totally miserable.

80/10/10 takes practice! Ha, I forgot how complicated it was in the beginning.

On the way back, he reached for the dried mulberries in the car. I was like…”Um… I…don’t think you’re gonna want to eat that”. Cause I knew dried fruit would just give him a stomach ache.

When we were driving back it was like I could see the life slowly going out of his face. Not enough calories.

I was cursing myself for forgetting that you need high calorie fruit in the beginning. Like bananas and dates.

You can’t just expect to find apples and pears fulfilling and satisfying when you first start out. You need the good sweet tropical fruit like mangos and pineapple.

I tried to convince him to end the torture and just do raw till 4 with me, but he wanted to just stick it out another day.

I made him a salad when we got back and stuck in a little extra avocado and olives so he would like it.

He ate 2 huge bowls and felt better. Then he went home and went to sleep really early. Well at least that was excellent 80/10/10 behavior lol.

Anyway it’s day 4 now and he is going strong. I am amazed and impressed and happy for him.

I asked him if he noticed any difference yet and he said his skin feels smoother but other than that he feels the same. Well, when I first tried 80/10/10 it took me two weeks to start feeling any drastic changes… I secretly am hoping his mind is blown by the amazing benefits he experiences…

Here’s what I feel. The more I do periods of 100% 80/10/10 raw food veganism the more I recognize the subtle changes that repeatedly occur

So for me, first the water weight always drops off first and I feel like a model.

photo 3

(here is an typically awkward pic of me in my yellow bikini after one day fully raw)

Also my face starts to look prettier to myself.

Then I feel energy walking to my apartment…like sometimes I’ll run it and not even realize the 10 minutes had passed.

Then later I feel athletic benefits like my dance tricks are easy.

Then sometimes I feel kind of blissful and high in my body.

Then sometimes I notice problems in my body go away…like a scar I had healed at the woodstock fruit festival.

Those are the benefits I’ve noticed of 80/10/10 or fruitarianism or raw veganism.

Anyway, while we were walking in the woods I was thinking about this amazing book I read: Illumination in the Flatwoods by Joe Hutto. The documentary My Life as a Turkey was based on his book ( you can watch it for free online).

The book is amazing. Both my parents read and loved it too.

In the book he talks about how he longs to be a part of nature. He loves plants and animals but all the animals are afraid of humans. They run away as soon as they see us coming. Not just because they get scared and prefer to be alone all the time….no, they actively recognize and avoid humans. But when he was with his turkeys….all the animals came out to interact with the turkeys. The snakes, the birds, the deer….He said it was like the woods opened up to him, a portal into another universe where he wasn’t an outsider in the woods but an integral part of the landscape like animals are.

The animals kind of lived in this meditative state where they were totally at peace doing their daily routine and excited about life…the author wanted to be a part of that too.

When I was walking in the woods I thought about that. We saw no animals and the birds and fish and stuff we did see, avoided us totally.

It is sad in a way. Fruitarianism or 80/10/10 I feel is like a way to be close to nature. Eating our natural diet is a start. Feeling connected to nature through fruits. But it is only a start. I wonder what the other pieces are.

Joe hutto, that author, wanted to connect to nature so much in his next project he spent 7 years living with mule deer in wyoming. You have got to watch the bps documentary about that as it is extremely riveting as he struggles with his love of animals and his “respect” for hunters.

I feel veganism is really a CALL to experience that natural connection with nature that other animals have that is our birthright.

That is why it is so eye opening. It wakes you up and makes you remember that we are a part of nature, just like other animals, but somehow we have become this weird hybrid….where we think we are above animals and we spend all our time trying to prove it.

Like Max in where the wild things are. Like a little kid throwing a tantrum….

And then he sails to where the beasts are and learns some humility.

Or something like that.

Happy Wednesday.