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Riding Raw: Interview with Raw Vegan Endurance Cyclist Harley Johnstone

Monday, April 20, 2009 by: David Hestrin
Tags: raw foods, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Harley Johnstone has been an endurance cyclist for ten years, and he has been eating a 100% vegan diet for 7 years and a 100% raw vegan diet for over 3 years. He promotes a raw vegan diet as the ultimate in healthy eating, sustainable farming, and blissful living with a passion to realize Mother Earth as an abundant fruit-bearing paradise.

David: What are some of your accomplishments as an athlete?

Harley: I am the 2008 South Australian 24-hour solo Cross Country Champion. Rode Paris - Brest - Paris in 51:30 (unsupported), ran many marathons, and still compete at national level on the bike. I raced full time in Belgium. Raw vegan diet turned me from chronic fatigue couch potato to world class ultra endurance athlete, and drug free.

David: Were you always an athlete?

Harley: No, as a child I was always sick and as a teen I had chronic fatigue, Crohn's disease, acne, asthma and depression.

David: What`s the most miles you have cycled in a day? In a week?

Harley: 321 miles solo. In a week - just over 900 miles... just over 20,000 miles in a year. Actually, next week I`m planning to beat my 321 mile record. I`ve been an athlete for 10 years now and low fat raw vegan is what provides me with the most optimum fuel and recovery.

David: What are your goals as an athlete?

Harley: I race for Organic Athlete. In January I will be taking Lance Armstrong`s team as their training guide in my home town. My goals are to keep contributing the message of health and fitness to all members of this planet!

David: What do you eat the day before a long distance race?

Harley: A big race for me isn't a marathon or a 5 hour road race. A big race for me is at least a 24-hour solo mountain bike race, and I eat 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body-weight each day when I`m training hard.

David: What kind of training do you do before a big race?

Harley: I train specific to my events. 24hr is my specialty. I do rides over 20 hours and solo. Mostly it`s around 20 hours a week: hills, flat, sprints, long easy rides, road races etc. I do a bit of running for cross-training. I can run 5km in 18:30 - nothing special. Like I said, 24 hour cross country is my gig.

David: Why do you eat a 100% raw vegan diet?

Harley: I went vegan because my heart directed me there. I went raw because I wanted more, and as an ethical vegan, raw vegan makes sense. I`m getting most of my calories from tree sources. Diverse organic fruit orchards is what the planet was designed for and what mother nature needs.

David: Why organic?

Harley: I want to tread as light as I can on this planet. I don't want the soil, workers, water or myself poisoned. Eating organic is what mother nature intended. Let`s listen to Mum.

David: Indeed. Where did you get the idea to eat only raw plant foods from? I don't see many people eating thirty bananas a day... how did you learn?

Harley: I read that book Fit for Life. Then I read Raw Life by Paul Nison but was confused on how to know I had eaten enough fuel to maintain health and fitness. Then I heard about Doug Graham and started working with him. Attending Doug`s sports camp really woke me up to how much volume I needed to stay healthy, fit AND raw vegan. So in the end it was `monkey see, monkey do`. That explains why people freak when they see you eat 10-20-30 bananas at mealtime, because they have no personal references to it. We grew up with open the box, empty the can, turn on the gas, pour the solution, measure the ingredients and wait as the oven or microwave `makes it edible`.

David: That makes sense... bananas are around 110 calories a piece so if you want two thousand calories you have to eat 18 or more. What did you eat in the last week?

Harley: Bananas, durian (fresh and local only; I never eat imported durian!), celery, lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, cilantro, wild greens, sweet-leaf, dragon fruit, cherry, peach, chumpadek, mulberry, mango, jakfruit, malay apple, rollinia, watermelon and a quart of fresh pressed sugar cane juice when I was in Malaysia last week.

David: Wow I haven`t even heard of a lot of those! No supplements? No salt?

Harley: No supplements!! No Salt! No Seaweed! That`s correct. It`s been over a year like this and I've really reached new levels with my life. I've done 5 hours on the bike today and climb up the steepest roads in my state - roads that force me to put in everything to get to the top. Salt free is the way to be. I get everything I need from fruits and vegetables and in season nuts and seeds.

David: I hear you`re also an eating champion can you tell me about this?

Harley: 2005 and 2007 world durian speed eating competition. You have to eat 2lb of durian flesh and the fastest wins! I won both those years against the Thai's for prize money and on national TV! You see, on this path, you get rewarded in sometimes very zany ways!

David: Do you ever rest? Have a full day without exercise? What do you eat on those days?

Harley: I just did 10 days off the bike. We went to Malaysia and just walked/jogged instead of riding. Recovery is vital. I eat what my body tells me. On fruits and veg you don`t have that same msg, cooked, salted, processed, dehydrated, refined or social pressure to eat when your body isn`t really hungry. Only on 811 have I learned the difference between hunger and appetite - I`m eating for fuel and nourishment rather than attachment and withdrawal from spices, seaweed etc.

David: Do you feel energized directly after eating 30 bananas? How stable is your energy eating so much ripe fruit?

Harley: Do I feel energized after eating 30 bananas? No. I feel energized from getting enough sleep. Eating sufficient fruit gives me the feeling I can go the distance in my daily life. Energy comes from rest, fuel comes from food. There is a BIG difference. The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug Graham explains it in detail. It`s not something they teach in formal nutrition, but it`s so simple and natural.

David: Lessons you've learned in your mindset that you think would be valuable for non-athletes?

Harley: Anyone can be an athlete if they CHOOSE to be. Eliminate time and distance remaining and just focus (on) being grateful for the present moment. The mind gives up before the body does. Keep positive to keep up. The more you burn, the more you learn!

David: Do you think attitude makes a difference in diet or digestion?

Harley: FOR SURE! Pure thoughts attract pure food. Pure food creates pure thoughts. Both pure food and pure thoughts provide optimum digestion and therefore overall nutrition.

David: I`m curious what would you eat if you lived in a location without so much fresh fruit or if you couldn't afford 30 bananas a day? Let`s say tomorrow you wake up and find yourself bike-less in a small town in northern Sweden with little cash?

Harley: Well I`m sure I earn less cash than 99% of the readers here! It`s just that I live very simply and have zero to minimal overheads. I mean my ONLY monthly bill is insurance for my bicycles. I've streamlined my life to contribute as much as possible, to live with only stuff for basic health and comfort. I can carry ALL my possessions in my bicycle trailer. I have no phone, no address, no debts.

So throw me anywhere and my hunger for fruit will determine what I get. People just ain't hungry enough for the good stuff and then they go and make up lame excuses or give up their control to their location. Me? I`m controlling my location, I`m controlling my emotions and my choices. I'M IN CONTROL!

I've had only 2 meals today but big ones. I ate lunch today off a mulberry tree, and dinner will be around 30 bananas. That`s around $6 on food today. 100% organic! Who is eating that cheap and nutritious and training 5 hours on the bike in the steep mountains? My advice is if you can`t afford it, you MUST afford it! Find a way. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH! With no health, we have NOTHING!

David: I hear you man! Anything else you`d like to tell the readers of NaturalNews.com?

Harley: It`s never wrong to do the right thing. If in your heart you know it`s the right thing to do but society says otherwise, just do it anyway! Create the raw courage within to blow yourself and others away with raw honesty and raw integrity!

If the harshness of society is getting to you, then remember that you`re in control of what `gets to you`. Shift your focus! Focus on depression or leaving a positive impression?! Are you gonna burn out or burn brighter?! EXACTLY! YOU CHOOSE! CHOOSE RAW LIFE!

Learn how to drink enough water, learn how many calories you need each day and what that looks like in fruit. Get enough sleep, listen to positive mental attitude tapes DAILY. Program yourself champ, or society will program you!

Godspeed on your journey. All the best.

About the author

David Shlomo Hestrin is the author of The "Cure" For Blur an e-book written to help people improve their eyesight naturally by improving their relaxation and enjoyment of life. He also does health and nutritional research for the Better Earth Institute.

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