"Aging with Muscle on The Raw Vegan Diet"
by Storm Talifero
(article and photos)
(Note: Storm Talifero has been a raw-vegan for over 30 years. He is the author of "The Garden Diet" and producer of "Breakthrough" a raw vegan documentary. He currently lives in the Los Padres National forest north of Los Angeles where he is working on his next film and still driving to Santa Barbara twice a week to shop at the farmer's market so he can keep his family supplied with the best raw organic fresh fruits and vegetables available!)
Time is the common denominator, the great equalizer. The one thing that we all have in common is that we just don't have enough time.
Time is like a hunter and we are all being stalked and we never know when one day will have 25 hours in it. I like to use that as a metaphor for the day that we actually do die. Because in many ways that day is different from all the other ones and in many ways it can be or should be a very special day.
We are like leaves in the wind unable to control the vagaries of our destiny. We are all subject to reversals of fortune and the whims of the fickle finger of fate. And it is only with the mood of a warrior that we can face the challenge of time and in some small way take our fate into our own hands.
In three years I will be in my 60th journey around the sun. When I take assessment of who I am and where I'm going I find myself faced with many age old dilemmas. According to all of the current standards my body should have started to break down by now. I would like to say that I feel the same way that I did when I was in my twenties but the truth be known I have changed in many subtle ways. I'm still processing these changes, but on the whole I seem to be relying on knowledge and my experiences with the raw vegan diet to take the place of frail genetic youth.
As a body builder I reached my all time high at the age of 50. Here are some pictures. I was 201 pounds on the raw vegan diet. We were living in Canada and I had started eating really rich raw vegan foods to produce more body fat to ward off the cold and it worked really well. I was able to swim in the winter seas off of Vancouver Island. I started adding olive oil to a lot of raw vegan foods that I was already eating such as salads and nutmilks. I also started eating a lot of nut loaf and nut burgers which were rich in fats and proteins, pretty much on the same level as meat.
(Jinjee's Note: Storm over the last seven years has been purposefully transitioning to a lighter muscle with a lower body-fat ratio and has become gracefully lean to easier maintain his good physique in this phase of life as the fight with gravity supposedly intensifies. But is it really gravity that causes people to sag - or something else! When you think about it why would gravity pull our muscles down over the years? That sounds a bit fanciful to me! Could it be that instead a person's cells are getting tired from poor nourishment and thus their muscle tissues are losing their strength and elasticity?).
Now at 57 I'm living mostly off of fruit juices, orange mainly. And my weight is around 175 but sometimes I go down to 171. This is a 30 pound difference from my all time high, and the result is huge. At no time did anyone consider me fat or overweight since I was working out every day and the added weight showed up as muscle mass.
But in dropping the 30 pounds I feel so much lighter and I still have the same muscle mass ~ so where was the weight stored? I think that I collected a lot around my middle which is something that happens in middle and old age. We stop producing the hormones that turn our fat into muscle. When that happens then we start to sag even if we have great muscle tone. Because of the high levels of fat we start to show our age. When we are in our twenties and thirties the muscle tone is more pronounced but when our bodies start to change over then the muscle starts to recede like our hair lines and the fat starts to droop.
(Jinjees Note: Storm also eats parsley salads his famous tabouli - in many variations once or twice a week, an occasional tahini smoothie, and an occasional green leafy salad. But overall he is eating way less and some days only has orange juice which seems to be about 75% of his diet on any given day)
Modern science answers this with hormone therapy, but what happens then is that we stop producing hormones altogether because our body feels that we have enough. And over time the artificial hormones fail us in small and subtle ways and we age even faster.
The way raw food fights the encroachment of time is to supply all of our organs and glands with a super nutrient dense, enzyme rich, low toxic, easy to digest source of nutrients. This allows our body to rebuild and our glands to continue to produce long past what is considered normal in our society.
Someone recently emailed and said that they noticed that the pictures on my page were taken when I was just fifty-three and did I have any recent pictures and so here they are.. The ones of me at 57 on this page were taken two days ago.
I have tried to redesign my body to be much lighter. I'm now thirty pounds lighter and at the same time I'm working on expanding my muscle mass. I hope to achieve this by drinking lots of vegetable and fruit juice as well as eating really light salads and much smaller quantities of nuts. All of the food that I eat is organic of course and I only eat nuts that I shell because many nuts are shelled by a heating process which turns the oils toxic.
All of the fruit juices and vegetable juices contain apx. 2.4 percent protein which is the same ratio that mother's milk contains. I think that I have reduced my food intake by at least half and I have twice as much energy. I feel that with this new approach at the age of 57 that I'm in alignment to be in excellent shape for the next 10 years. I plan to keep my weight at around 175 because that is a weight that really works well for me. From the pictures on this page you can see that as far as muscle mass there is not a lot of difference but in terms of fat to lean ratio there is a big difference.
Even within the raw vegan diet there is a huge amount of latitude that can be obtained as far as muscle mass by making changes to what and how much you eat and exercise. One of the greatest things I have learned from all of this is that I really didn't need to eat as much as I thought I did, even though I am eating a 100% raw vegan diet. By gradually reducing my food intake and continuing to work out every day on an athletic level and by moving away from heavy weights to lighter resistance strength training such as the bo sticks and body bars I am transitioning to a lighter body. And in this way I feel lucky to have stumbled upon another loophole in the trial of time's passage.