Camping, swimming, running, hiking, games, bonfires, demos and talks — the most notable of which, for me, have been Mike’s ultrarunning talks that I watched on YouTube. Part 1 and part 2 were instrumental in my preparation for my 100-miler last summer.
And of course, for seven full days, all the raw fruits and vegetables you could possibly want … but no cooked food.
That’s where I got stuck. I worried I wouldn’t fit in — that because I eat a lot of cooked food, I’d be the odd man out, and spend all week defending my choices, even as a vegan.
Well, I’m over that. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mike Arnstein a little bit this year, and I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot more to the Fruitarian and raw movements than the endless arguments in the comments section of the only two blog posts on the topic that I’ve published (both by guest writers).
I’ve gotten the sense that the festival is simply about having active fun with like-minded people, eating ridiculously high-energy (and yes, delicious) food, and basically just treating your body great for a week — even if you have no plans to become a raw foodist afterward. It’s a retreat, of sorts, for those who favor campsites over spas, lakes over infinity pools.
And besides all that? I’ve embraced my weirdness. I like new, niche, opposite-of-mainstream experiences with passionate people. The Woodstock Fruit Festival certainly fits that bill.
The festival is two weeks long this year. I’ll be there for the entire first week, August 17th through 24th, camping with my family. And while I’m really looking forward to all the activities and the food — both of which will be in abundance — what I’m most excited about is meeting people. People who, for once, eat in a way that makes me the mainstream guy, the least extreme when it comes to diet … that will be new.
And of course, I can’t imagine a better way to actually try eating raw for a week, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
But like I said, mostly I’m in it for the hanging out. This is a vacation for us. (And before the “That’s your idea of a vacation?” jokes come, yes, this is absolutely my idea of a vacation. Camping with a 4-year old and 1-year old for seven days is by far the scariest part, but we’ll be fine.)
What I’ll Be Doing at the Festival
Full disclosure: As a Special Guest, I’m not being paid directly for coming to the Woodstock Fruit Festival, but my family’s cost of attending is being covered. I also earn a referral fee when someone mentions me or No Meat Athlete when they sign up.
Intrigued? Check out the schedule of events. You’ll find talks and classes by Dr. Douglas Graham (author of The 80/10/10 Diet); swims, workouts and hikes with Mike Arnstein and Tim van Orden; running clinics and beginning exercise classes; mediation and yoga sessions; and lectures on diverse topics like raising vegan kids, homeschooling, and foraging, but also less-niche topics like basic fitness and food prep.
Oh yeah, and there’s go-karting. Plus music, movies, and all sorts of games. And that’s just in the first few days — really, the schedule is almost overwhelming to look at.
You’ll also see me listed on there a few times. I’m leading runs on Monday and Thursday, and giving a talk on Friday (about building a brand around your healthy lifestyle) and possibly another talk, too. And on the weekend, we’ll set up a table at the showcase with some No Meat Athlete shirts and books.
But like I said … mostly I’ll just be hanging out. Having fun with my wife and kids, making new friends, and hopefully meeting a lot of NMA readers.
At just over $1000 for a week (less for kids), the price will be prohibitive for some — Arnstein is the first to admit that eating Fruitarian is not cheap (and he said exactly that in our NMA Academy seminar). But the event is nonprofit, so the costs go back into making the festival great.
If you’re interested in coming, check out the Woodstock Fruit Festival site for all the details. I’ll be there the first week, August 17-24th, but I have no doubt both weeks will be incredible. If you’re there the first week, please come introduce yourself. I’d love meet you.
How We’re Preparing
Actually, I could really use your help on this one, if you eat raw, or have ever done it for any extended period of time.
Right now, my family eats what I consider to be a lot of raw food — about half our total calories. Most days it’s a raw smoothie for breakfast, a huge salad with (non-raw) beans and (sometimes raw) dressing for lunch. Fruits and raw trail mix for snacks, but often cooked hummus, whole wheat pitas, or sometimes cooked leftovers for lunch. Dinner is almost never raw.
I wouldn’t say we’re concerned about eating exclusively raw for a week — I actually think my son will have the easiest time of anyone; he’d eat nothing but fruit if we let him — but we do want to be fairly accustomed to it, before it’s our only choice.
So with that in mind, any suggestions on how to get ready? I’ve got a copy of my friend Gena’s brand new book, Choosing Raw, which has a nice mix of cooked and raw food (review and recipe coming soon), so we’ll “cook” mostly from that for the next few weeks. But beyond that, I’m not really sure where to start.
I appreciate any advice you have!