Fat Kid Suit


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In Defense of Want…my quick “Christmas” post.

This time of year there is a lot of talk about how we should all be wanting less.

Especially in the “alternative” world of new-agers, where want may be the only really “bad” 4-letter word left since bush has once again become a reference to unshaven treasures.

We all see–and are paying for–the mindless consumption of crap.  And it does seem a true shame that so much is consumed with so little appreciation.

But…

I don’t think you can make want the villain.  Want is integral to who we are.  To want is what life is.

Coming out of my recent toxic slumber, where I didn’t want ANYTHING, I personally am thrilled to have an ever growing “I want” list!

On that list are lots of things:

A real camera (not a point & shoot), some cooked culinary wonders, some raw culinary wonders, many books, a Vita Mix, tickets to concerts/film festivals/and stand-up comedy shows, a camper van for road trips, ceramic cooking knives, drunken weekends with my brothers and friends in TJ or Vegas, more art & music in my life, a back issue of Vice magazine that has insightful collectible pics of my favorite porn star, and yeah–I WANT an i-phone!

Also on the list are places I want to experience, and stuff I want to try.  I want to keep changing and not live the same life every day.  I want to be proven wrong and shocked.  I want more education. I want the rug pulled out from under me sometimes.  I want to have friends that I disagree with but still find irresistible.  I want to like what I do for money. I want acknowledgment for what I contribute creatively.

In other words, I want.

And why are we so afraid of that?  Can you imagine a human society full of ascetics and “saints?”   I just can’t comprehend the popular image of heaven being a place where people are freed of want and just float around in an asexual mist minus all hungering.

We even live in a culture where we are taught to hide what we want from others like we are all playing poker instead of living.

Want is perceived as being indelicate.  Control your impulses, control your thoughts, control your self...

But is it want that is the issue, or is it being disconnected from any awareness of what we really want and  knowing how to feel good about it?  Are we punishing ourselves for past mistakes by denying ourselves the essence of life–desire?  Instead of always trying to figure out ways to have less, maybe we can direct our energies to making sure that everyone has more.  Of what they want…

What about the raw thing?

A lot of people have been asking me how my 2 month raw challenge ended.

I lost over 33 pounds, I feel and look A LOT better, and I am ready to tackle some other issues in my life.  I am a very analytical guy and tend to live in my head.  When I force myself to be more physical (daily intense exercise, more time outdoors, more attention to my body) I feel so alive!

Eating only raw foods has expedited that process and I’ve spent the last 3 days back in Bikram yoga classes.  So that’s going to be my main focus in 2010.  Using my body as much as my mind.

I was a little fearful that once I started eating any cooked food, or had one cocktail, it would open some kind of floodgate and I would start eating & drinking uncontrollably.  The opposite has been true.  One small cooked meal and all I could think about was getting fresh raw food in my body the next meal.

I spent all night out with friends last night, bar hopping.  I had two top shelf Makers Manhattans and that’s all I wanted.   This morning it was back to yoga and coconut water.

Since I am visiting friends for the holidays I’ve been having one healthy cooked vegetarian meal a day.  But if I weren’t in vacation mode, I don’t think I’d even be eating that much cooked food…

I am avoiding beer, fried foods, commercial dairy, gluten, and refined sugars.  And when I eat it takes very little before I’m stuffed.  A feeling I haven’t had for 2 months, and one which doesn’t feel as good as I remember…

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Santa’s either on raw foods or crack…

Sorry to break with tradition kids, but Santa comes earlier and earlier every year (that’s what happens when you get old), and I opened my presents already!

Here’s what she got me. Oh yeah, I forgot, Santa’s a she:

Black & Decker Power Pro Wide Mouth Food Processor

This thing is the bomb.

I did creamy pesto (combined my raw mayo which is cashews and olive oil and lemon and vinegar with loads of fresh basil, some rawmesan, and more oil) in it last night already.

You’ve probably heard me bitch about how hard raw food prep is with only a blender.  Blenders ARE NOT food processors.  The way all your stuff keeps getting stuck in the bottom…maddening.

This babies not only got a wide mouth–she’s also got a big ol bottom.  And it has other cool attachments like graters and flour mixers and all that.  Plus because it’s a Black & Decker I feel like a real man when I use it.

I AM STOKED!

Spatula Spoon Things

A 3 pack of really cool spatulas that are each shaped differently and that also act as squeegees for scraping all that good pesto outta the food processor.

These things are brilliant!

It feels super crummy to waste food stuck on the side of a blender…get these!

More Counter Space

We have no damn counter space!  I love to cook (or for the past few months “prep”) food and it is so frustrating to never have space to work.  So Santa, or Annie, let’s just call her Sannie; remembered the trick we did in our minuscule NYC apartments and got me a honking huge cutting board that fits perfectly over half the stove top.

Instant counter top extension.  Now I can stack supplies there and cut and prep next to it on one of my smaller cutting boards!

Shooting Ear Muffs

With a name like Putin, you wear them however you like. Hear he makes a mean smoothie too.

You don’t actually shoot ear muffs, you wear them.  And even though we don’t own a gun, we do look like FBI agents now whenever we blend.  The ones I got for Christmas are genuine “Winchester” ear muffs.

Don’t laugh.  Our blender is LOUD LOUD.  And it’s going all the time.

I get home from the bar and I’m making smoothies sometimes at 2AM.

Then when I’m trying to sleep at 6AM it sounds like SAW IV when Sannie’s in the kitchen making her huge green cacoa concoction before yoga. I finally get up around noon I’m back at the blender making my “I Am What I Am” drink.

So we now wear gun protection when we blend.  And my ears are thanking me already.  Plus it’s fun to put them on and talk.  You can’t really hear yourself.

Off to the SF Bay area soon for a chilly Christmas week.  Can’t wait to hit up Cafe Gratitude for some raw gourmet…

The Inside of the Berkeley Cafe Grat Location

And my eight weeks of being 100% raw will be over…so I’m also looking forward to eating at our favorite family owned Mexican restaurant in Concord–Las Montanas!

Bring on the beans n rice, handmade corn tortillas, grilled onions n peppers, and salsa roja!

What will I being eating after my 60 days raw challenge is over?

I have some cool ideas about that and will share them shortly!


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“Palm Springs man was eating too much of the wrong things…was drinking far too much.”

That’s the opening line in an article about me published in today’s Desert Sun newspaper.

Feels strange to have unattractive pics of yourself made public (even in my “after” picture I still have a ways to go).  But I am stoked to see raw food being made even a temporary subject here in the desert!

Being mentioned in the same piece as people like Sarma  Melngailis, owner of Pure Food & Wine in NYC, raw athlete Tim VanOrden, and the famous Juliano, owner of Planet Raw in Santa Monica, was more than flattering!

The paper also interviewed Laura Laffranchini, owner of Harvest Health Foods in Palm Desert.  Cool to hear her say, “We get a lot of customers who are either doing it or are curious about it [raw food].  It’s happening, and it’s happening on a large scale.”

Since some of you who are reading this are doing so because the link to my blog is in today’s paper, I thought I’d take a second to welcome you and extend my help in anyway I can give it if you are interested in trying out a raw foods diet.

Just leave a comment and I will get in touch with you!  I am looking for people  locally that I can work with to get raw classes and other resources available here in the Coachella Valley very soon.

If you read the piece, and thought, “what the hell is raw food?”, here is a list of some reasons to consider eating a diet that includes a lot of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds:

  • Eating more fruits and veggies is a no brainer.
  • Eating less hormone & antibiotic injected meat, that’s fed who knows what, while being treated very poorly, is also pretty obvious.
  • Filling your body with natural “good” fats (think avocados and viscous cold-pressed olive oil) not only feels and tastes great but also green lights your body to drop nasty stored fat.
  • Changing to a diet that actually helped me cut all manner of cravings was a life-saver.
  • Eating raw foods makes your skin glow radiantly and leaves you looking younger!
  • Feeling light and energized after every meal–instead of laden–is a big plus; especially for busy people.
  • Paying ZERO attention to how much you eat is one of the best parts of eating raw.  You never worry if you are eating too much, because EVERYTHING you eat is good for you, and your body is freed to naturally shut off your hunger when you are nutritionally satiated.
  • Knowing that the way you eat is contributing to a healthier planet and that you are no longer supporting an artificial approach to something as sacred as food feels really good too.
  • It’s also amazing to eat so good that you no longer stand in the vitamins & supplements aisle bewildered by all the potential deficiencies you might have.  Instead food is your cure.
  • And finally for me, eclipsing all that stuff, is a general sense of well-being, bordering on euphoria, that I hope I never take for granted…

Thank you Maggie Downs and the rest of the Desert Sun team for writing a cool & informative piece about people who eat raw!

P.S. One small correction.  The paper said it took me 6 weeks to lose 33 lbs.  It actually took seven.  That’s over 4.7 lbs. per week, and if you read previous posts you will see that didn’t include a lot of exercise…

More great stuff coming soon!

-Ken Gray


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Laugh your ass off while using two basic raw food kitchen tools…the ubiquitous Vitamix & a “spiralizer.”

As the effects of eating raw are changing how I look and act (I’m one happy hyper dude lately), more people are asking me about what I’m doing and how it all works.

The “what the hell do you EAT?” question is harder to answer than you might think. At least the first few times someone asks…

I try and answer by focusing on BASICS that anyone can do, whether they are a diabetic who is considering going 100% raw Dr. Gabriel Cousens style, or just someone that wants to replace some of their meals with raw nutritious foods.

All Hail The Vitamix

To me, SMOOTHIES are the most basic thing anyone who wants to eat more raw fruits, seeds, and vegetables (especially GREENS) can do.  Check out my Naked Smoothies page for dessert level raw “shakes” that are a great way for someone to transition over to raw…

What’s the single best tool for doing smoothies, green drinks, etc.?  The Vitamix.

That's why I don't have kids..

Sadly, I do not own one.  I am a broke ass right now and am making due with an eager but under powered (gasp) blender.  The blender and I have an abusive relationship, but we manage.

If you’ve got the money, do not pass go before buying yourself the Cadillac of “blenders”; which also acts as a juicer, dry flour grinder, nut butterer, and even ice cream maker!

Dare you to call it a blender!

I am very familiar with the Vitamix because I use them all the time.  Where?  EVERY bar/restaurant I’ve ever worked in has one.  The main reason being they can crush ice better than a gristle ice trucker, and they are REALLY REALLY reliable.  So, a Vitamix is an investment level appliance we’re talking about here people!

I start my day with a nice stiff (get your naughty minds out of the gutter…) green drink.  Here’s my favorite one right now…

“I am what I am” morning drink

Did you know canned spinach looks like that?

  • Juice 2 sweet grapefruits by hand (I also don’t own a juicer).
  • Pretty much fill the blender up with spinach.
  • Blend.
  • Drink down the crazy.

Now if I had a Vitamix, I’d probably juice one of the grapefruits, and put the other one in peeled.  The Vitamix can pulverize whole fruit (and the seeds) down to “juice.”  That has a bunch of advantages..

  1. It’s WAY easier than juicing (which is a chore and a half).
  2. Less waste (why throw the grapefruits fleshy wonders in the compost?)
  3. More fiber…especially important for people with insulin issues.

Also, my blender can handle spinach, but it hates kale, beets and other hard core veggies.  The Vitamix and a good recipe can turn those ruffians into something you’ll actually WANT to drink.  When you start buying mostly raw food this is a huge advantage because a lot of the stuff you buy (beets/carrots/etc.) have greens ATTACHED to them.  They are like BONUS greens IF you have a way to make them appetizing…

Bonus Greens

My New Favorite Toy

shame shame

Wow! You all need to stop looking at so much porn!  I’m talking about my Spiralizer…

What’s a spiralizer?  It’s this little magic slicer dicer that turns zucchini and other unmentionables into PASTA!  I love this tool.  Think about it…once you have the canvas (zucchini noodles)…you are ready to enter into a realm of Bohemian enticements (raw sauces!).

And unlike Vitamix’s and Excalibur Food Dehydrators this little spiralizer is cheap!  Top the veggie noodles with my “meaty sauce” or some fresh walnut pesto and you are asking for savory overload.

MEATY sauce

Ignore the bread

  • soak 12 sun dried tomatoes (real ones-not from a jar or in oil) and10 sun dried olives in hot tap water (set aside)
  • roughly dice up 1 large fresh tomato, 1 large red pepper, 1 stalk of celery, and 1 clove of garlic.
  • Put all the diced items in a blender/processor/or Vitamix
  • Add a tbs or some really good cold-processed olive oil, a small handful of fresh basil leaves, and sea salt IF the tomatoes or olives aren’t salted already.
  • Blend just until mixed.
  • Now…drain the warm water from the sun dried ingredients and add them to the blender.

    ironic farm animal plates not included

  • Blend to the consistency you like.  This last step is going to make the sauce really rich and “meaty.”  The sauce is also going to be nice and WARM–a real treat for people who eat 100% raw!
  • Pour or Ladel over your awesome zucchini noodles!
  • Top with Rawmesan to get really old school!

You can buy both of these kitchen equipment items and other “Raw Kitchen Essentials” from the beautiful Kristen Suzanne (click the link and scroll down) or do a quick Google/eBay search for deals.  I just did a quick search on the spiralizer I use (Saladacco Metro) and found a bunch of them on sale here.

I don’t make any money off these links.  So order a second Vitamix for me!  Or at least share your sauce and smoothie recipes with me…

Cheers!


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60 day raw food log: Day 45–Six weeks ago I was depressed and weighed 254 lbs. Today…

Today…the local newspaper is interviewing me about my raw foods “transformation!”

Read All About It! Crazy Guy Eats Only Raw Fruit & Veggies!!!

It may sound terribly cliche, but SO much has happened in just 1 1/2 months!  Enough apparently, to get the attention of others.

I lost 2 more pounds this past week eating only “raw foods.”  That means in only 6 weeks I’ve lost 26 lbs! But weight loss has really been the least significant change for me in all of this…

If you are new to my blog, go back to late October’s entries and you won’t have to read between the lines to find loads of anger and despair.  I was numbed out 90% of the time, and flat out angry the other 10% of the time.

Depression and Diet

Numbed out is just another way to say depressed.  How could I have NOT been considering what I was putting into my body?

I was:

  • Flooding my system with depressants (over 100 alcoholic beverages a week).
  • Trying to get back “up” with stimulants (coffee, sugar and other “white” foods) that spike you harder than a hot beach volleyball star.
  • Mucking up the works with bad fats made even worse by cooking with them.
  • Eating polluted grain-fed (and who knows what else) animal products filled with hormones, antibiotics and fear.
  • Rarely eating fruits or vegetables (like almost never), and when I did; eating nutritionally deficient, pesticide ridden, genetically modified produce.
  • Putting all of that “food” into a sedentary (nearly lifeless) body.

Looking back now, after such a rapid improvement in my sense of well-being, I have to ask myself, how much of that depression was completely physical and self-induced versus “emotional?”

Having grown up in a family comprised mostly of fat depressed souls, I also can’t help but truly wonder how many of their “emotional” problems would have been solved by just changing our families diet to a healthier one?

Would we have had a completely different childhood/home-life if we had just eaten different foods?

Comfort Foods and The Mirror

Of course the problem with a whole family, or even one person, making that kind of shift is this…when we’re depressed we want even more crap food to (here comes the irony) make ourselves feel “better.”  It’s called comfort food for Fuck’s sake!

I remember night after night of trying to comfort myself into a frickin coma with pepperoni pizzas and cartons of Ben & Jerry’s.  I also remember how uncomfortable I felt in my own body and how angry I’d feel looking at the “fat Elvis” version of myself in the mirror.

How ridiculous it really is to grow to nearly twice your size!  How out of control that feels!  How strange it is to be fat, even if it is quickly becoming the norm here in the U.S.

Just as bizzare and sad is getting to a place where its a burden just to be an active human being.  To see walking as a necessary evil that you engage in only when after circling the Walmart parking lot ten times you are forced to park more than 10 feet from your destination…

Real Food feels Real Good

So I don’t know where my life is going to go from here.  No one ever knows that.  I don’t know for sure if I will feel this elated two weeks from today.  I certainly don’t want to sound like I am preaching or proffering some kind of deluded salvation strategy (I don’t actually believe we need saving). But I do know that changing what and how I eat is changing me.

In very little time I look much younger, feel like early sexy Elvis more than pills washed down with liquor Elvis, and am no longer in self inflicted coma land…

Six weeks ago I could barely get out of bed to go to work at 5pm!  I was resigned to being broke and basically being unhappy with my life. Now I am having trouble sleeping because I have so much stuff that interests me hitting me all at once…

Yesterday I crashed a UC screenwriting lecture, and am beyond excited about getting back to work on some scripts I started before, as well as a new one I’m dying to outline and get started on.

I now spend a lot of time communicating with all kinds of people about food through Twitter and this blog.  I’d never blogged before, and had no idea how fun it can be or how much time it can take.

I have a growing reading list of both fiction and food-related stuff.  Business ideas that flashed across my previously drug addled brain are once again clamoring for my creative attention.

And, I have this interview with the paper I have to get to…


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60 day raw food log: Day 42 Can’t sleep again so here is a freak show photo blog to appease blog gods…and get you all off my back!

Getting to sleep is proving to be difficult lately.  I’m WIRED from raw fruit & technology.

Tonight I got hooked on being a DJ at Blip. You can check it out and listen to what I’m listening to blah blah blah.  Connectivity is becoming a bitch people.  I LOVE it & I hate it.  Feel me?

I was also watching these time-lapse You Tube vids of people who photograph themselves every day for several years and then stream the photos in rapid succession so you get to see a kaleidoscope of hairdos & pimples. Pretty cool. Here is my absolute favorite one because the guys hair looks alive from pic to pic–DO NOT WATCH THIS IF YOU ARE ON LSD RIGHT NOW!!!

These photo fast forwards got me thinking about how drastically our “look” changes over the years, and made me want to post some of my candid pics from the past four years (that’s about when I bought my first digital camera).  Enjoy a peek at how unstable I really am and a boisterous laugh at my expense…

NYC

Uh, that's what you do when you get a new camera, right?

fresh off boat. most people head straight for the whole where WTC used to be. I went looking for George & Elaine.

being a bike messenger is almost medieval hard--look at my helmet hair

i think this was halloween?

after about a year in NYC--that's a BKLYN industries track jacket

getting a lil hipsterish--thats what those big live-work lofts do to you

you also apparently start shooting in black & white...

how i liked to dress when i rode public transportation in NY

BACK TO CALI

didn't take long to go from hipster to hippy

I started channeling Jack Black

and doing a lot of disco drugs

and then apparently i was let out on parole?

but that didn't stop me from criminal trespassing

Is that JT? No..that's just me in Vegas

Eating at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley the first time I tried raw living

started wearing all black and flipping off old ladies

Got a job on a cruise ship impersonating Bob's Big Boy

but the job had it's perks--these were french morrocan chefs on St. Thomas who fed our drunk asses yummy Thai food and shots of real fruit infused Patron...

it's xmas here, in HAWAII! but still have SF winter beard. and if you look close I was working on a rat-tail. my mom never let me have one.

Was hoping to be cast as "meathead" in All In The Family remake

here's where it starts to go bad...pretty sure there's a drink in my hand...

or a slice of pizza

apparently i never get off this couch, here's a year after the last photo, i'm 250 lbs or more and killing a case of beer every 24 hours...

which led me back to this raw food thing

and hopefully back on my way to healthy and too cool for school

So…

I will be taking 60 day pics in about a week and a half…hope you enjoyed this insomnia-maniacal abuse of social media and won’t report me.


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60 day raw food log: Day 40 Why live with doubts & dread?

Read the following little diddy and ask yourself if you think it’s true.  Even better, leave a comment and tell me what it made you feel…

Better to eat beer and franks

with cheer and thanks

than sprouts and bread

with doubts and dread.

It’s sometimes recited a little differently and is often credited to a “wise old man once said…”  But to me it’s simple and powerful.

Raw Food Diet

Eating only raw foods is something I think everybody should experience. Not eating animals or their “product” is another important thing for people to experience. Both open some kind of awareness portal that can have long-term affects on how you see the planet, it’s food, and yourself.

Perhaps it will cause a sudden flash and with moral certitude you will disavow flesh consumption until the day you yourself perish.  Or maybe your connectedness with flora and fauna will instead manifest itself in greater reverence for whatever passes your lips. Either way you are going to get closer to understanding what food really is, and how much of it you actually need.

Vegan-ism

If you are a vegan, and you’ve never spent a few weeks or months eating only raw vegan foods I would really encourage you to do so.

Years ago (many many) I read “Diet for a New America” and it influenced me enough as an 18 year old that I became “a” vegan.  For a little over one year the only qualifier I used when deciding what to eat was whether or not it contained anything from an animal.

It was one of the least healthy periods of my life.  I got fat.  I felt shitty.  I was eating  mass quantities of stuff that is downright bad for you; processed soy products, low quality wheat gluten, and other “proteins” whose SOLE “value” are derived from the fact that they aren’t from animals.  Sugar in all it’s many forms is also vegan…

Some vegans I have met eat very healthy, feel great, and wouldn’t feel right eating any other way.  They eat their greens and they do agave instead of table sugar and corn syrup.  They get protein from quinoa, spinach, and raw nuts.  They limit the amount of “vegetarian” fried foods they eat (like McDonald’s french fries).  And they are not stuffing themselves with soy protein isolates, seitan, and tofu.

But many others aren’t eating any more veggies than the meat & potatoes crowd, and from a health standpoint have just substituted one “bad” thing (industrial toxic meat & dairy) for another (industrial toxic soy & other bullshit–potentially carcinogenic fake foods).

If you’re a conscious healthy vegan eater, more power to you for making a decision that’s congruent with your point of view.  And congrats on choosing a lifestyle that causes less harm to sentient beings and obviously makes a substantial positive environmental impact as well.

But…if you’re the second type of vegan, please don’t try to take any credit for  lessening your negative impact on the planet.  Do some research into the environmental havoc of your industrial vegan food.  You may be very surprised.

Meat-less versus Less-meat

Once, while waiting tables in San Francisco, I encountered a man who knew exactly what he didn’t want to eat.  He was originally from India, and was ordering food for his large family. The soft spoken patriarch looked me in the eye and asked me to please listen closely.  He wanted to make sure I was paying attention and understood fully his one request.  I’ll never forget the way he put it…

“My family doesn’t eat anything with a family.”

Fair enough!  I thought it was a simple eloquent way to express it, and a nice take on life. So they eat cheese and eggs and butter and don’t mind if there is milk in the pizza dough. But under NO circumstances would they ever consider eating even a tiny bite of pepperoni…

Are Baby Animals Harmed Making SALT!?

Interestingly though, it doesn’t have anything to do with health.  It’s another ethics based dietary choice.  And while a nice sentiment, it also doesn’t necessarily ensure that animals haven’t been harmed in the process of preparing his families dinner.

The issue we all face with food is that there is so much “information” being thrown around (my blog included) that it’s become nearly impossible to compare mangoes to mangoes.  Think about it.  How could someone compare the ethical, environmental, and personal health impact of any two people?

Could you honestly argue that someone eating countless chemically processed, cleared rain forest grown, soy patties, whose ingredients have been shipped from the other side of the planet, is eating better than a family who  mindfully includes some hormone and antibiotic free, free range, organically fed meat from a local source they know and trust?

What I propose

What if the individual goal is simply more conscious eating and less judgment in general?

Me? I need nothing.

That question/statement brings us full-circle back to having periods in ones life where regardless of whether we are a Jain Monk or a Tyrannosaurus…we eat mostly raw, and mostly vegan.

Not necessarily as an end in itself, or permanently; but because it may be the easiest way to learn exactly what works for us, and how to be the healthiest, happiest,  ascetics  or flesh-eating dinosaurs that we can be.

———————————————

If you are curious…today I ate: a blueberry smoothie, a nectarine, some raw pistachios, and a weird green/cacao smoothie.

It’s 5 am and I never went to bed.  In a few minutes my girlfriend will wake up and go to yoga and in a couple hours I’ll be filling up reusable cloth hippy bags with loads of fresh organic produce from the Palm Springs Farmer’s Market!

Who's for dinner?