The second installment in our new Spotlight Friday feature is a real treat!
Sharing with us his insightful and inspiring answers about health, veganism and passion is Jason Wrobel. Jason is a celebrity vegan raw food chef, the host of “How to Live to 100″ on Cooking Channel and a world-renowned health entertainer taking over one tastebud at a time with sweet superfood recipes and rhymes.
The reason I love Jason the most though? The way he brings so much passion, playfulness, love and compassion to teaching you how to become healthier. In short, he’s a rock star.
Over to Jason…
1. What drove you to adopt a healthy lifestyle?
When I was 18 years old, my Grandfather was diagnosed with cancer which eventually overtook him. I didn’t realize it at the time, but a seed of inspiration was planted. I started to critically, honestly and lovingly look at my lifestyle choices and the level of unconsciousness in which I was choosing to nourish myself. Shortly thereafter, I watched the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and it got me to look at the parallels between human and animal cruelty. Over the next three years, I completely transformed my lifestyle – and phased out unhealthy foods and living habits gradually. By age 21, I had lost weight, gained more energy and mental clarity by adopting a vegan lifestyle. It’s been the single most important decision of my life. Little did I know that my decision would impact my family in Detroit (one of the most health challenged cities on Earth). My Mother, Aunt and two Cousins have changed their lifestyles completely over the last few years and are now eating a ton of vegan and raw food. It’s been one of the greatest joys of my life to hear about their collective transformation.
2. What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was emotional eating and unconscious programming around food. Whenever I would get stressed, sad or angry – I would reach for food as comfort and to “dull the pain”. I was too afraid to let my authentic emotions flow freely and to honestly deal with myself. Over the last 10 years, I’ve learned to be a lot more gentle and loving with myself, honor my emotions (whatever they may be) and to treat food as it is: fuel for our nourishment!
3. What does your daily diet look like?
Honestly, it varies from day to day depending on my level of physical activity and the challenges that each day may bring. Generally, though, I start my day with a big glass of alkaline water, then a superfood smoothie (usually a green one), a midday snack or lunch with raw hummus, baba ghanoush, fresh veggies and raw crackers, a vegan protein shake for a late day boost, and then a protein-rich meal for dinner, like a quinoa bowl with fresh local veggies or root veggies and some raw dressing. I keep it really fresh, very nutrient dense and pretty darn simple. Eating healthy is a lot easier than most people think. It’s just about creating new habits, giving your body time to adjust and sticking with it. If my family in Detroit can do this – anyone can!
4. What are the top three healthy habits that have made the biggest difference for you?
Speaking of habits, I would say that getting into a consistent and well-planned shopping flow is a big one. Making a point to go to the Farmers Market or natural foods market on a regular basis is important to stock up on the freshest, most nutrient-dense ingredients. Also – I make a point to spend time outdoors everyday to get some Vitamin D, move my body and exercise my lungs. Lastly, I’m doing my best to drink more fresh water and stay consistently hydrated. When I get crazy busy, it’s the first thing to go. It’s vital to stay hydrated – for efficient digestion, healthy skin and just “flowing” through life with ease and grace.
5. How do you stay motivated and inspired?
I remind myself everyday that everything I think, say, do and create has an impact on my life and those around me. I remember that I was put here on Earth with a purpose to serve – and that everyday I’m lucky enough to get more clues, more insights and more clarity on what that purpose is. Remembering to laugh, let things go, to stay vulnerable and remain curious about life is a good source of inspiration for me. Oh – and here’s a good quote, “We are ALL a work in progress” – which allows me to drop my crazy perfectionist ideals and JUST GO FOR IT!
6. What is something most people don’t know about you or wouldn’t expect?
The first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a paleontologist. Kind of like Indiana Jones, but focusing on dinosaur bones and prehistoric artifacts. The second thing is that my secret dream is to be the lead singer in a 80′s throwback hair metal band. Except I’d call it “life metal”!
7. If you could have just one more meal, what would it be?
Wow – like the last meal of my life? That’s a tough question. Probably vegan, gluten-free Truffled Mac N’ Cheese with wilted Arugula and the Classic Sundae from Pure Food and Wine in New York. I could die a happy (and healthy) man!
8. What first step do you recommend our readers take to start experiencing greater health and energy?
Have a vision and intention of what you want to create in your life. Having a focused goal is step one – you must have a clear path in mind. Remember – although the decision to change comes in an instant – the actual transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Start gradually by finding healthy substitutions for the things you love to eat (for example, switching out butter for coconut oil) and take one step at a time. For me, it took 3 years to move from a very unhealthy standard American diet to living a whole-food plant-based lifestyle. Be easy on yourself, reach out to friends, family and your community and courageous experiment with new foods, recipes, exercises and ways of thinking. Trust yourself, listen to your intuition and pay attention to your body’s signals. It’s all good.
9. Please share a recipe or resource that you love with us.
Chia Seed Porridge is one of my all-time favorite go-to recipes for assimilable protein, soluble fiber and tons of essential minerals, which means more sustained energy and easy weight management. It’s simple, satisfying and uber delish.
Chia Seed Pudding
Serves 4-6 people
1 cup dry chia seeds
3 ¼ cups coconut, hemp or almond milk
5 tablespoons coconut nectar or a few drops of liquid stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 fresh vanilla beans, scraped
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspsoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon maca powder
Big pinch of sea salt
¼ cup goji berries
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup cacao nibs
1 ripe large banana, sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (optional)
In a mixing bowl, combine the dry chia seeds and non-dairy milk. Stir vigorously to cover all the chia seeds with milk. Stir every 5 minutes to prevent clumping. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated. The porridge will thicken and reach its maximum volume in 15-20 minutes. Keeps for up to 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge.