My 30th Birthday and a Decade of Veganism

June 27, 2012

Image: © Jill Greenberg;

Today is my 30th birthday. Let me be honest. It comes on the tail-end of a week which included an unstoppable (though quiet) public meltdown I had at the farmer's market, a good cry at an osteopath's office, the researching of Big Ag plans to bio-wreck Africa, a viewing of One Nation Under Dog, petitioning against military testing in the oceans, and yet one last cry sesh yesterday morning on the last day of my 20s (awesome week for Justin).

But don't feel sorry—the week also included new work, a photo shoot for a new vegan mag, two invitations to speak at large veg fests next year, sunshine, and lots of fresh figs, hummus, peaches, cherries, and zhatar-topped greens. Isn't that life, though, all wonderful and horrible at the same time?

When I think of the lives of my late grandparents who survived the Holocaust, my life is incredibly safe and full of good. The crying is just a release of things I absorb, hold onto, or am polite about when I really want to break glass (if you've seen any of my media clips from the last few months, you probably shouted at your monitors for me). One thing I've learned: as activists, I think it's especially crucial to take time to manage and release all the negative things we read, hear, and see, so that we do not manifestly become the things we are combatting (note to self).

I am deep-down-thankful for this life. I mean it when I say I don't take any of my comforts and joys for granted. It truly occurs to me to feel glad that relatively clean water comes out of the faucet when I turn the handle. There is so much to celebrate and do. And on that tip, this day also marks my embarking on a tenth year of veganism—a little health experiment which began when I was twenty. What essentially started as a dare by my love, Justin (vegan 16 years), has been the greatest and most activating discovery of my life—a gift I'm aware of every day.

Not only has veganism provided me a high-quality of health—true wealth, it has become the basis of a meaningful career (I was never comfortable creating art solely for art's sake), it has pointed me to some of the greatest minds and leaders of our time, and has granted me the company of people with truly golden hearts. Sometimes I can't even believe how good people can be. Most drastically, though, veganism has provided me a clarity about the public realm; it has taught me the profound meaning of political freedom. I feel safeguarded in mind and body against the invisible forces that shape public thinking and behavior. That's power. It is worth it to me to absorb often horrendous realities so that I can more effectively be an agent of change. I owe that to my grandparents.

When I am down—be it for physical, personal, or professional reasons—I keep the animals in mind. We can change our lives any time we want to. We can leave anytime we want to. A cow, a sow, a shelter dog, a rabbit in a pillory can not. Their lives consist of moment-to-moment tormented frustration. Though the social hostility can be burdensome, and change can never come fast enough, I feel privileged to be at work introducing the mainstream to veganism. I believe this movement is affecting every major industry and every corner of the world as we speak and that introducing kids to the idea veganism will eventually revolutionize all aspects of society.

Another thing I've learned: never waste any valuable energy on in-fighting. It's a surefire way to divide and sabotage our own movement. Let's be good to each other as we work. At this point in history, we're all fighting on the same side.

To celebrate my 30th birthday, I am recommitting to my inner Tank Girl, my punk rock idol since adolescence. She's a tank-riding anti-heroine whose mission, along with her posse of animal toys and mutant Kangaroo boyfriend, is to destroy mega-corporations. If this were the Wild West, what a gang we'd all make up, right?!

And since I prefer not to be the center of attention if not for the good of animals, Justin and I will just celebrate just the two of us by going to a respected rabbi's talk on moral psychology—always inspiring, and then drive to Santa Monica for a raw food lunch and a stop at the beach. It seems the right place to set intentions and if you tell the ocean, then it's for real, you'd better keep your word. After that, back to work—professional and personal. Thank you for believing in me and for being part of the Wild West posse I imagine has my back. I've got yours. Stay tuned, more to come.


Why I'm Not A Millionaire by David Wolfe

January 14, 2012

Now THIS is a leader. Hot off the press, the essay below is a letter released today by our dear friend David Wolfe. Check it out, we wish the whole world would.

WHY I'M NOT A MILLIONAIRE by David "Avocado" Wolfe

Many people think I am a millionaire. I have certainly been responsible for millions of dollars in book sales (hundreds of thousands of copies of my books have been sold in the past 12 years). I've also put my name on products that have sold in the countless millions as well (over $30 million from one of my former companies alone). And I've helped support many independent businesses that have gone on to become multimillion dollar ventures too… but I, David “Avocado” Wolfe, am not a millionaire. You are probably wondering how this could have happened. Am I a fool? Have I allowed unscrupulous people to take advantage of me?

First off, I need to clear the air: not only am I not a millionaire now, I was never a millionaire in the past, and I certainly don't want to be a millionaire anytime in the future. Many people believe I own I don't. I was offered a large percentage of the company last year and I refused. Many people believe I own, The Longevity Now® Conference… and I don’t. I love these businesses and I support their success and they support mine, but I don't have any ownership in any of them at all. I also don't own any stock in any companies… nor do I own any companies that own companies. Many people think I own lots of property too. I don't. I operate two organic farms that are mostly owned by banks and if I ever end up owning any equity in these properties at all, I will immediately donate them to charity.

Less Is More

Let me be clear: I own very little. I have an 11 year-old Jeep, one computer, a stereo that I have had since 1986, a drum set I bought in 2000, my books, my plants, enough clothes to fill a suitcase, and a few necessities (blender, grounded flip flops, toothbrush, etc.). As you can see, I don't own much at all. Why…?

The ancient Taoist Immortals embraced the philosophy of renunciation, living with the Earth, discipline, as well as abandoning attachment to worldly pleasures, wealth, and reputation as a path to longevity and health. Throughout my whole life, ever since I first saw David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine in the television program Kung Fu, I have become more and more enamored with the ascetic life of a Taoist Immortal. In addition, I believe having nothing gives you the ultimate freedom of having nothing to lose. Because when you have a lot, you have a lot to lose. One of the owners of Sunfood Nutrition, Robert Deupree, is worth an estimated $50 million. Do you really think if Mr. Deupree has to make a choice between doing the right thing and doing anything that will put his many millions in jeopardy, he will take the higher path?  His partner in Sunfood Nutrition, E. Douglas Harbison is the son of billionaire Earle Harbison who ran Monsanto for 10 years. Do you really think Mr. Harbison has any interest in selling the best superfoods on the planet if it risks putting his father's legacy in jeopardy? I don't have answers to the questions above. I only offer them as something to consider: The more things one owns, the more one has a vested interest in protecting those things s/he has acquired. I also believe that the higher one climbs on the tree of life, the thinner the branches; it's better to be somewhere towards the middle where the branches are strong and where the people who make up our world actually live. If you know me then you know that I never speak negatively about people or their companies, however I feel the time has come to protect the natural food industry with some much needed clarification. As one of the pioneers of this industry I feel this is my responsibility.

My Favorite Place in the World…

One of my favorite places in the whole world is Costa Rica. Costa Rica has no military, guns, tanks, or soldiers, at all. Do you know why? Because they don’t have any natural resources, such as gold, oil, or precious minerals that other countries value. When you have nothing others value, you have nothing to lose. And yet because I value Costa Rica’s natural attributes, with it’s deeply healing volcanic hot springs, intricate rainforest ecosystems, beautiful mountains and beaches, and fertile farmland… Costa Rica, for me, is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.

New Ideas About Wealth

This brings me to my next question: What constitutes real wealth, anyway? There are many multimillionaires suffering in hospital beds, eating hybridized, genetically modified processed foods, who are spiritually, emotionally, and mentally confused. There are many billionaires even, suffering from poor health and unable to experience the vast number of enjoyments they have spent their life acquiring. I have few assets, and yet I’ve never lacked for anything. I’ve never eaten anything but the best food ever… slept in the best (grounded) beds ever… traveled to the most exotic lands ever… experienced the most extraordinary health ever, shared the company of the most beautiful friends and family, and most of all, met 100,000's of fantastic, wonderful people like you who are hungry for the knowledge I share. I am, in my estimation, incredibly rich — perhaps the wealthiest person in the world. Only my wealth isn’t “mine”, it’s available to anyone who chooses to reconsider where true wealth and freedom is found. And where is true wealth found? Consider the following:

  • True wealth is a peaceful state of mind.
  • True wealth is abundant physical health.
  • True wealth is spiritual connection to source energy.
  • True wealth is emotional wellness.
  • True wealth is found in serving others.
  • True wealth is knowledge of oneself, knowledge of one’s environment… and finding and following your mission in life.

In addition:

  • True wealth cannot be hoarded, only shared.
  • True wealth is not created by what one has acquired, but by what one gives away.
  • And true wealth (or happiness in oneself) is directly proportional to the happiness one brings to others.

So let’s consider that our previous notions of “wealth” and “resources” are possibly outdated and irrelevant. Let’s also consider that making money for its own sake is a meaningless and never-ending, never-fulfilling endeavor.


The last time I owned a company was in 2009 when I was the CEO (and 50% owner) of Sunfood Nutrition. When I was an “owner” of the company, I not only found myself surrounded by greedy sharks looking to use my name to sell more stuff to more people (and not caring about the quality or source of the products)… but I also found myself working harder and harder for less and less.  In fact, Sunfood Nutrition is a good, but tragic, example of what happens when the power of greed and control overtakes the power of doing some good in the world (I will share my epic battle - in exquisite detail- against the crooks at Sunfood in the future, and it is quite a story). Since July 2009 (when I was defrauded out of the company assets) I have had nothing to do with that company and I am continuously shocked at the criminality and unconscious behavior displayed by the people who run it.

A Mission-Driven Life
So you might be wondering why I continually recommend the products I love without getting rich in the process? Because it’s my mission in this life to search for the most time-tested, scientifically-researched, healthiest, most valuable (even magical) raw foods, superfoods, superherbs, and longevity technologies and share my discoveries with as many people as possible. All the money that I could have put in my pocket has been consistently reinvested back into expanding our choices and broadening all of our horizons.It is my mission to give a voice to the healthiest choices ever — especially those that have yet to see their day in the Sun. It’s not about making tons of money. It never has been. It is about the mission and the message. I have found this to be true of nearly every great achiever I have ever met — their mission and message in life comes first. And the one thing I really want is a planet that is filled with: the best foods, the best herbs, the most extraordinary organic farms, massive wild tracts of land, and the healthiest humans possible.
  • A planet where we are all supported in implementing the best solutions ever to overcome our health challenges.
  • A planet that works for 100% of humanity and supports the spiritual health of all living things.
  • A planet that has put the LOVE back into every project and endeavor.
The more I share the knowledge I have been gifted… the closer, I believe, this dream to be. There have been BIG changes for the better in the global health scene and in our world in general over the last 20 years. We are making progress.

The Proper Role of Money

So where does the role of money fit into all of this?
We must appreciate the power of money and understand its important role in making things happen in the world. Money is not the root of evil; it is a very powerful—but also limited—force. Without money, there is no way we can ship thousands of kilos of organic, non-GMO, non-CCN-51 hybrid cacao from the jungles of Ecuador to a store shelf in the United States. We cannot package and distribute cacao just because we want to, we require money to make that happen. At the same time, I cannot use money to improve my spiritual practice or to achieve a peaceful heart; to do that I require discipline, hard work, and concentration. Again, money is not the root of evil… but it’s not the root of everlasting happiness either. We need a balanced approach in our understanding of what money can and cannot do for us. Which brings me to my last point:

If I don’t want to own anything, why don’t I do everything for free?
My answers are simple: I have put out hundreds of high-quality education videos out on the Internet for free—more, I believe, than any other health activist in the world. I have also spoken at countless events for free in my career, but have I found that whenever I give too much away for free—it is less valued, easily discarded, or not appreciated. Too many free events attract takers and drainers (or “drainbows”) and those who feel entitled. In addition, I believe in a fair energy-exchange. The information I produce and products I recommend create jobs and income for thousands of hard-working people. I have always felt the obligation to support my contractors, suppliers, and farmers, even at great personal sacrifice to myself. The products I create and distribute are good for the majority of people in every area: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual and are based on my 20+ years of research. Not everything is for everybody, but by working with probabilities, I know most people will discover something unique and special in what I have to offer. And in quality the stuff I bring to the market is unsurpassed in the health food and natural products industry because my field experience has given me the connections no one else has.

Ignoring the "Whiners"

My experience has been that the people who whine and complain about money (or anything for that matter), are the people who daily do what they hate and who are the most disconnected from their mission. These types of people often fall into the “drainbow” category — they take or attack but rarely give or appreciate. As a consequence, these types of people don’t want to do too much, but they expect a lot in return. They often believe that anyone who makes it in the world did so through fraud and deceit, instead of through hard work and integrity. I work very hard, seventeen, eighteen hours most days. I am a firm believer that hard work combined with solid motivation (wanting little for oneself) and integrity along with a powerful life-mission (wanting a lot for others) creates an effortless, almost imperative desire to continually do the right thing. I am not saying I have always done the right thing. Mistakes happen and are part of life. Nor am I doing the only right thing; I am doing what I perceive is right for me. What is right for you? I don’t know. That is for you to consider. My hope is that we can work together to spiritually put money in its correct and appropriate role until such time as humanity has moved past the need for money. The true wealth of friendships, deeper connections to source energy, spiritual peace, health, and tranquility of mind will be our reward.

Written by: David “Avocado” Wolfe, January 2012 Founder of the non-profit Fruit Tree Planting Foundation ( Author of: The Sunfood Diet Success System Eating For Beauty Naked Chocolate Amazing Grace Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future Chaga: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms The LongevityNOW Program Host of over 2500 health events worldwide.

Blue Zones and Cold Spots

August 26, 2011

Photo © David McLain, National Geographic

In several places around the world, termed "blue zones," people live with mobility and vigor into their 100s. And in the "cold spots" of the world, there is little to none of the disease or chronic conditions that "plague" the West.

No, these areas are not full of the rich who can pay for the best food and medicine. In fact, most of these people are financially poor. They can't afford a herd of animals and they don't have refrigerators. So they eat plant-based diets and bury their food (before the age of appliances, fermentation was a standard way of preserving food). They commune with their families and neighbors, they feel a sense of connectedness and purpose, and they've made moving their bodies a priority in life.

Sounds rich to us—this is about quality of life. What do people from the blue zones and cold spots have in common? Here's what we can learn:

•Eat a plant-based diet:
These people eat little to no meat. Instead, the bulk of their diet is simple whole foods, deep greens, healing herbs, and spices.

•Eat small portions:

it's a documented fact that the less one eats, the longer one lives. The heavier your meals—especially food unnatural to the human system, the more wear, tear, and burden on your energy and every cells in your bod.

•Eat good raw fats:
Coconut, olive oil, chlorella, avocado, raw cacao (omega-6), omega-3 (hempseed, chia, flax, AFA blue green algae). Healthy fats seem more important than protein in these diets, demonstrating a few interesting things.
A) If you eat food, you get enough protein.
B) Fats contain more calories than protein (9:4 cal/g), which means longer sustaining energy.
C) When you think you're craving protein, you're most likely in need of good fat.

•Eat fermented foods:
Kimchee, coconut kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, these foods contain billions of "good bacteria" (probiotics) that promote health in the gut—thought to be the core of the immune system.

e part of a community. Show up, have someone's back, and let others get yours, too.

•Keep it movin':
Dance, walk, garden, shake least sit on the floor and stretch while you're watching TV!