James Aspey on the power of meditation and the evolution of an activist
In the very first video I made of my Spud Fit Academy I talked about how hard I thought it would be to get through a year of eating only potatoes. The truth is that at the time I thought it was probably too big a challenge. I was certainly ready to give it a try but I thought I probably wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge.
James Aspey was someone who gave me a little confidence that things like this could be done. In 2014 he completed his Voiceless 365 campaign - he went a year without speaking to raise awareness for the way humans treat animals. His effort seemed monumental to me and made me think that if he can go for an entire year without speaking then what I was attempting to do must at least be possible.
James is more than an activist though, like all of us he’s had his struggles in life too. From a battle with cancer as a teenager, on to drug addiction and bulimia. We talked about struggles with emotional eating and how meditation and mindfulness helped him to overcome these challenges. I was honoured to have met and spoken with James a few times during the year and it was a real pleasure to be able to sit down with him to share the very first episode of The Spud Fit Podcast. This conversation is about how James went from feelings of indifference towards animals to becoming one of the world’s most well known activists. It’s about deep internal reflection and personal evolution. It’s about coming to terms with our own hypocrisy and learning to quiet the internal debate. It’s about compassion for others, animals and ourselves. It’s about recognising our own flaws and doing what needs to be done.
I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.
- 3:36 min ….. James's History.
- 9:40 min ….. His decision to become vegan
- 25:30 min ….. The power of meditation
- 44:50 min ….. Surfing the craving
Thanks to my wife Mandy van Zanen for the theme music.
Check below for some links to things we talked about:
- James' website
- An article about the slaughterhouse vigil James was involved in
- Earthlings documentary
- End Emotional Eating by Dr Jennifer Taitz
- James breaking his vow of silence on the Sunrise TV show.
THE POWER OF MEDITATION AND THE EVOLUTION OF AN ACTIVIST.
This podcast has been automatically transcribed by a software and went for a minor editing. If you notice any mistakes or wrong word entry please help us fix them by leaving a comment. We made sure to be the most accurate as we can. Enjoy!
Andrew: Alright welcome to the first episode of the Spud Fit podcast, I decided that I had a big year last year was a year of self improvement and change, and so many things happened in my life and a few of those things were appearing on podcast.
I had a great time with Anna Chisolm on her podcast and Darren Mcduffie on his podcast.
Had a really great time with Rich Roll on his podcast and ah really enjoyed having those conversations so…
One of the things i wanted to do this year is find more ways to spend time having good conversations with people on cool podcasts and it seemed like the only way i was going to get to do that would be to do my own podcast. So here we are the Spud Fit podcast.
This podcast I wanted to be about basically talking to people who think outside the square, people who do things differently, people who aren’t afraid push the boundaries and get out of their comfort zones and do things differently to what society expects us to do.
And on top of that the Spud Fit Academy was all about improving myself, in the end it was about changing my relationship with food, it was about learning to be myself again, basically. It was a big year of big change for me but it's not -the Spud Fit Academy is over, but improving myself will never end.
So that's, also part of this, i want to talk to people who have done amazing, inspiring things and see if I can learn from these people to help my journey to improve myself and continue to explore what i'm capable of. So, having said that, we’re are about to talk to the man, James Aspey. I was lucky enough to meet James Aspey in the beginning of the year, I can't actually remember how that came about now. But that's not important, the important thing is that in my very, very first video of this of twenty sixteen, when I was introducing my Spud Fit Academy and talking about why I wanted to do it, at one point in the video, I mentioned how I thought would be a very hard thing to do basically to go for a whole year with only eating potatoes would be extremely difficult and I wasn't sure that it was something that was even possible, but I did want to give it a try, and one of the things i mentioned in that video was that If james Aspey can go for a whole year without talking, which he did a couple of years ago, then surely it can't be that hard to go for a whole year eating only potato. A whole year without talking sounded way more difficult. So James, without knowing it at the time was a little point of reference for and little bit of inspiration he wasn't the whole reason for doing this, but he was someone who gave me a little bit of confidence that things like this could be done because he has done something along the same lines before. It’s been nice to meet james a few times over the year and has kindly agreed to sit down for this conversation that you're about to hear and I hope you enjoy it!
On to the Spud Fit podcast
Andrew: Alright, here you are! Let’s start off, there's probably a lot of people listening to this who don't know who you are.
James: surely not
Andrew: Hehe! yeah well, one or two…
James: Maybe one or two...
Yeah well, my name's James Aspey and on these days I'm an activist for peace man. I'm trying to increase the peace in this world and I focus a lot on animal rights because I think that's something everyone can make a difference in and, you know, we are supporting the animal cruelty by purchasing animal products or we are helping them out of their suffering and out of the exploitation by living a vegan lifestyle. So that's the main thing I promote.
Andew: Yeah, and there's there's a lot of people that have followed you close, I know you've got a huge following but i think there's probably a lot of people listening to this that just eats potato mainly, and is interested of, you know, what else goes on?
James: Yeah, they’re my kind of people.
Andew: Well, let's, just talk about how this came to be, because I'm guessing you didn't grow up as a kid thinking I can't wait to get older and so I could go around talking about animal rights and attend sixteen hour vigils and advertising and things like that you know…
James: Not at all, not at all.
JAMES ASPEY'S HISTORY
Andrew: So, where does the journey start for you?
James: Yeah, it started a long time ago because actually I never cared about animals for only until, really, about four years ago. I'm thirty now and things really started for me when I was seventeen and I was diagnosed with cancer and I had leukemia and lymphoma
Andrew: Wow, that’s heavy man.
James: Really heavy, really tough time and I put on about twenty five kilos in that time and got my first true understanding of what it's like to suffer
Andrew: I don't know much about chemo but that does make you put on weight or how does it..
James: -it can. A lot of people get skinny as well but for me i was on a hard ice of steroids, and I was eating a lot mate, I was eating constantly because I couldn't get satiated and satisfy my hunger and I put on twenty five kilos so fast so actually it created tears on my body not just stretch marks, they actually ripped my skin on my side, there was blood you know...
Andrew: I've never heard of that that's pretty serious
James:They’re pretty thick man and they could have been stretch marks
Andrew: I've got some stretch marks too, but they came slyly
James: Yeah mine came in days… Yes and you know a lot happened during that time and I really I really got the experience of suffering I was in a lot of time and I nearly died a couple of times and I've never really understood suffering before because I live such a cushy privilege lifestyle.
Andew: Yeah, as most of us do.Most people in the west anyway, myself included.
James: Yeah. Absolutely man, in the west-
Andew: We didn’t have much to worry about growing up did we ?
James: No, not at all man. It was a very safe neighborhood and yeah, the worst thing happened when I was a sprained ankle skateboarding kind of thing. so that I understand your suffering yet did late into some things that I'm doing now about after that i met a person trying to help me lose twenty five kilos, a very inspiring person and trained me for next to nothing, just wanted to help me and I was so inspired by what he done for may that I wanted to do the same for others so I decided to become a personal trainer too
Andew: Okay cool that's quite a big thing in itself just to be inspired by someone who helped you and just just to want to take it further, so..
James: Yeah, it was huge man, it was huge.
Andrew: Alright, so we’re already seeing you know, that's this is the evolution is the beginning of the evolution to try to help ease the suffering in the world…
James: Exactly because what he done was so much more than just help me lose weight, but by helping me lose that weight he'd help me out of my suffering yeah, i felt so bad being twenty five kilos of weight that it never happened to me before, i was just very uncomfortable, I’ve always been a fit person so he didn't just help me lose twenty five kilos there's so much more that came with it-
Andrew: Yeah absolutely I’ve had one hundred percent on my year that i've lost fifty five kilo so far and everyone wants to focus on the weight lost but for me it's like the weight loss is only a small part you know when you lose that weight it just gives you so much freedom -totally changes your outlook in life and changes just everything so
James: Absolutely! It renews your life, man. And i felt so inspired by that I've decided i'm going to do the same. So i became a personal trainer, very passionate and you know helped a lot of people and i ended up working on cruise ships
Andrew: What sort of personal trainer were you, sort of?
James: Very positive! Very passionate! I wasn't the most knowledgeable personal trainer in terms of you know, what all the muscles were called. But I could connect with my clients and i could-
Andrew: Yeah I could imagine that.
James: Yeah and I could inspire them to change with the knowledge I have which wasn't huge, but I knew enough that I could help him and I think the biggest part of it is to get them to want to help themself. And i thought that was pretty good at helping them get to that point.
Andrew: Okay, cool. I love get more specific with what sort of training were you into... and that sort of thing as well...
James: Yeah well I was training quite a wide range of people but mostly people who just wanted to lose weight or get stronger and fitter. So that was my main class you know pretty general population.
Andrew: So not like elite athletes and things like that?
James: No, not really like some people training for different things but nothing too serious, pretty general stuff man and a couple of bodybuilders and things like that. And i did that for seven or eight years and i ended up working on a cruise ship and traveling around the world
Andrew: That sounds like fun.
James: It wasn't.
Andew: Oh, ok… *chuckles*
James: It's so much work man it starts like six in the morning and ten o'clock at night there’s no laws on the international waters or something, so they just work in to their own…
Andrew: Who are you going to complain to?
ASPEY'S DECISION TO BECOME VEGAN
James: Yeah that’s true, you’re stuck there men… you gotta do what you got to do. No, It was a lot of fun actually and I met tons of interesting people, you know I was meeting a thousand new people every week coming. One day I met a very wise indian man you know, we talked a lot like I imagine buddha would've told. He’s an intelligent man and he spoke to me every day for two weeks, we just hung out every day.
Andrew: So is he a personal trainer too?
James: No, no no. He was an older man you know, just chillin just walking around the ship one day and we met and we chat, yeah just having a holiday and on the last day of our conversation he said that eating animals is bad karma. And you know, I’ve never cared about animals before. Even when I had a dog at home when i lived with my family? I didn't really care about my dog. I just never -i just always thought of him as dirty, slobbery and not very much more complicated or intelligent than plants. I just i didn't see them. I did not understand what animals were, I didn’t have time with, them just didn't care to either. You know there's nothing more boring to me than watching a nature documentary about an animal. Oh my god, you could care less about this. Yeah, so much has changed. They are my favorite now hehe.
Andrew: Yeah, someone to go from that sort of not really interested in animals to now devoting your whole life to trying to improve a lot of animals in the world, that's a big change
James: It's a testament to the power of education yeah and I when you learn what what you’re once ignorant about you can just change everything.
Andrew: Yeah I think Maya Angelou she's an author I'm pretty sure she's dead now but I remember quite of hers, I mental blank on the start of it- but the end of it goes “when you know better do better” and I wish what I could remember the start, but yeah… when you know better do better! that embodies what you are talking about I guess? You didn't know better so you didn't do better and then you've learned and you've changed so...
James: Yeah well... I still at this point didn't wasn't doing any better yeah for anyone but myself. Because they said eating animals is bad karma I just cared about me. I thought ‘oh if this is bad for me-’ on some level you know i didn't know how much i bought into the idea of karma but this man was so intelligent and i respected him and i thought he could be on to something here whether he calls it karma or it's, you know, it's actually something else, there's something going on
Andrew: just good vibes?
James: Yeah whatever, it could be a health thing I don't know, but I thought I respect him enough to, you know, for everything he's taught me for last two weeks.
Andrew: So basically what he's saying, he’s saying that eating animals is bad karma that in one way or another that it's going to come back to you
James: or it’s negative in some way, he calls it karma, maybe it's something else it just made me think... okay, about the topic, that there could be something to what he's saying. So i decided alright i'm gonna go vegetarian for one week cut out meat for seven days and see how i feel. Being a personal trainer expected to feel -well i should say being an ignorant personal trainer i expected to feel very tired, sluggish, waking the gym, you know, not healthy. And even just a few days in I had noticeable changes of more energy better digestion. I felt happier. I felt strong. i felt great!
Andrew: And this is just cutting out meats, so you haven't cut out dairy, eggs or anything yet?
James: No, I’m still eating both.
Andrew: So just a few days of cutting out making all these challenges happened?
James: Because I think, I think because I was working on a cruise ship and on the cruise ship it's a buffet every meal on on the buffets I was... all I do is load up my plate with meat, I barely eat anything else.
Andrew: Yeah I imagine that, imagine myself back in the day before all my changes happened and imagine if there's a buff every morning my plate would be loaded with bacon and loaded with eggs.
James: Exactly! They had ribs men! Oh I make a pyramid of ribs on my plate and that’s all I’d eat. I didn’t care for fruit or vegetables, or grains, or anything.
Andrew: Yeah. That was me, I get that.
James: Yeah, so that's, what I did, and so that's why I think in three days I felt better.
Andrew: Yeah, well, big change, if is suddenly, probably if you're anything like me, that was probably 2/3 of the diet is changed,
James: At Least. At least. Mine’s 9/10. And so I was intrigued, and I decided, well, I feel this good. There might be something to this. I want to know if I can continue feeling this good. Yeah, so I start doing research into the health benefits. Are there health benefit ? Is this sustainable ? And i've always believed that there's no such thing as a healthy vegetarian, because that was something that a personal training mentor told me.
Andrew: Me too. I guess a lot of people don't know about me too, just to give some background to it. My thoughts come from -I’m a P.E teacher, so similar sort of study, maybe a little bit more in depth than a personal trainer but about similar knowledge, total the same stuff about what you've got to eat to be healthy and fit and strong and it's always, you know, if you want to be strong, you eat heaps of meat, you got eat eggs you know. It's all the same stuff that personal trainers learned. I've also got a degree; Bachelor in applied science in human movement and that's all, you know, it's basically it's an advanced personal training degree to put it, you know, assuming as possible and that's the same stuff.
James: Meat for protein, and dairy for eggs, a solitary for calcium…
Andrew: Yeah, it's all the same stuff. So i just thought i should include that just to show that, you know, whatever level, wherever you're coming from and all throughout society, whether you're a person trainer whether you got a degree you know, whatever, it's just that's the pervasive beliefs-
James: that’s the predominant thing being taught, eat meat, cheese, milk and eggs and make it lean and do this and that, but it’s the same crap. Anyway and so for me I was starting to look into being vegetarian for health benefits and i was absolutely blown away, that i was learning that not only can we be healthy by cutting out all animal products not, just meat… but by cutting out all animal parts, but we can actually be far healthier... cutting out cholesterol or cutting out saturated fat, we're cutting out animal protein which is carcinogenic.
Andrew: Isn’t that a weird thing? I remember learning about that as well when you go from thinking that animal proteins are awesome and healthy and then suddenly you start reading about.. Wait a second protein may actually- instead of not being healthy and might actually be unhealthy
James: Yeah, totally. Before you get in you start doing whatever you can to get as much protein as you can and then... “What am i doing ? This is actually not good for me”
Andrew: and talking about this insulin like growth factor one is this you know when you're talking about casein and dairy products and you know the list goes on about how it's unhealthy and why it’s unhealthy, but just that mental shift is like... it's like taking the blue pill or the red pill in the matrix, you know... it's just weird for me. I remember going through that, was just a weird time really.
James: Totally, it is weird because being a personal trainer for seven years, I would tell people don't eat any fruit it'll make you fat, eat as massive portions of meat, whatever meat you can
Andrew: definitely clear potatoes...
James: Don't even think about potatoes they go straight to your your ass. *chuckles*
I was really shocked by what i was laying, and i was excited too, cause I thought ‘wow I'm shocked that i could be healthy as a vegetarian.’ but i'm also feeling so good that i'm glad, cause i want to keep this up and so I also realized that the food is actually good, I was eating carbs and i was trying tofu, which i didn't think i liked but is actually amazing and i was eating burritos and beans and always steamer stuff yeah, I was eating so much more variety. The more I started sticking with it. And then- I was really just feeling great and i started promoting it to the people I was meeting on the cruise ships you got to go vegetarian it’s so much healthier, i'm telling all these people all these totally different information that i never said in my last seven years.
Andrew: I said that change happened pretty quickly for it, and that changing your understanding about what's healthy and what's not.
James: it just made sense it just seems so much more logical and my attention took to learning about the physiology of the body and you know that we're we're much more built like herbivores than we are, omnivores or carnivores. You know the way our teeth move and the way we sweat, and the length of our intestines
Andrew: We don't have those big K9 for ripping mainly-
James: people call these little things K9 you know you could like challenging to a cow in the patio with those things. So i thought this is very logical it's making sense, I’m feeling good you know? I've got no reason not to atleast give this a try.
Andrew: and that's where it comes back to feeling good, like you can read all the theory a like and you can do as much education as you want but in the end when you try it and you feel good then it's like buying this is this is something i'm onto something until you actually get that experience of feeling good, then you're never gonna be sure
James: and that’s the thing though as well, some people try but you know all they do is eat lettuce, they all just eat salad cause they don’t know what to eat. And it's like if you're going to try it learn how to try it properly that you will get all the benefits
Andrew: even when, like, people write to me that are interested in doing a short period of time of eating only potatoes they got- a lot of people just got so many questions about this and that, and, you know, what sort of spuds is, how to cook it all this in, often I'm just going to say, look, you just got to- at some point in time, you've gotta stop asking questions, and you just gotta do, you know, if you do it, you're gonna learn way more than you're going to learn from asking me questions, and there comes a point in time we have just got to even though you haven't got all the answers, you know, you're standing on the edge of a cliff, and, you know, there's this big drop away, and at some point in time, you've got to just take a step out into the into the empty space and trust that there's going to be a, you know, a path is going to appear beneath your feet, and, you know, it will take it away and in you go but, you know, just gotta take that step and just-
James: absolutely! and then experience it for yourself because that's how you really learn. You know you can read as many books about surfing as you want, but until you get on the board and get out there with the waves you don't know how to surf. You got ideas but it's nothing to try for yourself.
Andrew: And you'll never experience that feeling of what it's like to ride those waves.
James: Exactly! that’s what it’s all about, good point.
So i also started learning, you know, i'm looking into this constantly i became just so interested in this new way of thinking and on the health benefits, I’m reading books about it and just love and loving it and then i started noticing that so many people aren’t vegetarian for their health but they're vegetarian for the animals… and i didn't get that! I’m like “who cares?” you know, you do this big thing for just animals... why?
I didn't understand and I thought it was worth at least exploring, why's everyone saving the earth this thing for animals who cares ? But all right, I noticed his documentary kept coming up called earthlings yeah it's a heavy one and shows all the ways that humans exploit animals for food, clothing and entertainment medical testing... it's very heavy documentary, it's hard to watch it's like a real life horror movie.
Andrew: Really Well, yeah, I was, uh, man, my wife tried watching it once, and honestly, we just watch the preview to start with, and I was only like two and a half minutes worth of preview, and it was like i didn't even get half through that before I needed a box of tissue. so i'm just look, I know lots of people who watched that documentary, but I'm just not even game to press play on the beginning of it after saying the preview, but I do- I watched It after I already stopped eating animals, so for me, It wasn't important because, you know…
James: You’re already there. Sure…
Andrew: but I think, I do think that if you if you think eating animals is a good idea, then you should definitely watch it.
James:Yeah 100% everyone should watch
Andrew: not because i'd i think i can't personally coming on what the documentary is, but so many people have heard from think it's a powerful and important things, so i just got to trust that and think that, yeah, people should watch it,
James: It's one of most important documentaries, i think that exists because we're all involved in this, you know, and a lot of it don't realize what we're actually participating in, and neither did i, yeah, and so when i watched it you know, i've seen footage of animals being slaughtered before but i didn't faze me because i thought at that time there was no such thing as a healthy vegetarian we need to eat animal parts to survive and be healthy
Andrew: yeah, i had that feelings to it was like they were ready there came a point where i was like i started feeling guilty about you know i should be eating animals. what do you do I need my meat
James:Yeah I need protein,that’s right
Andrew: I feel bad for it but it’s not gonna do it
James: sorry yeah, I’m not gonna feel guilty about this, I’m a human. Yeah it sucks but that’s the circle of life bro!. Yeah, and so that's what i used to believe and then when i watched this documentary i had a new perspective that we do not need to eat animal products to be healthy, in fact we can be healthier without it. And so i watched it and i saw these animals suffering, you know, being tortured, mutilated. It’s a disgrace. It is the disgrace. And these are the most innocent and vulnerable beings on this planet and we treat them worse than we would treat any pedophile, any rapist, any murderer. We treat them you know worse- you cannot even imagine
Andrew: No you can't describe it. There's not really any point in trying to describe it because it just it's not describable but-
James: to do that to another living being? to put them through so much pain and suffering i can't imagine what could be worse,personally. I can imagine worse thing to go through your life. Yeah, definitely. And when i saw this, you know, like i said, i didn't care about animals but i am not a cruel person. I see myself as a peaceful person is a good person,
Andrew: Like most of us do.
James: Ya, exactly. I like helping people out of this suffering that's why i'm a personal trainer and seeing this cruelty are and knowing understanding how i'm a part of it, how i'm crying the demand for it, how without my dollar it doesn't happen but because of my dollar it's forced to happen. Without understanding i saw it and i thought like, i'm no animal lover here but i know oppression when i see it yet and i know violence and cruelty when i see it and fair enough it's one thing if this has to happen for us to live, but when this is one hundred percent unnecessary for our health, i cannot think of any justification that comes close to making this okay.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely!
THE POWER OF MEDITATION
James: and so i decided then i said i'm no longer vegetarian just full of my health you know, in fact that is just a bonus now that i'm one hundred percent vegetarian for the animals and at then i didn’t understand at that time but that was actually not the whole story either, so after the meeting with this indian man and i asked him: How do you know this knowledge of the universe and all these things? and he said meditation.
Andrew: that was the next thing i was going to ask you about actually so you've led us there anyway, that meditation’s a big party of your journey isn't it?
James: it still is, yes. You know i get so much from meditation
Andrew: meditation’s something that i have tried in the past and still continue to try to make it a part of my life and i'm just haven't been historically that good at making it stick.
Im interested to hear more about your experience in meditation anyway.
James: i love talking about meditation because i love sharing it man i feel like it's just a gift to share so much
Andrew: and it's another way you can help these people suffering
James: and increase the compassion in this world as well because that's what it does, it does so many so many things, a list of benefits from meditation is huge.
Andrew: So how did you get into meditation ? Let's go back to that
James:Yeah. So this man, he told me meditation was how he became so wise, and i wanted some of that wisdom, so i decided i'd do one. And I booked in for meditation I’ve heard about once called Vipassana, which is a ten day solid meditation. You go to a place you meditate 10 hours a day, you don't speak in the entire time, you know, you dont look at anybody, you don’t cook or clean, anything! you just meditate and sleep and eat.
Andrew: Alright, that sounds hard.
James: It is hard, it's a lot of work. People always say to me, how is your retreat ? I’m like ‘What retreat? i didn’t retreat at all man, I went and confronted everything. There's no escape.’ You know, you can’t escape when when things are getting uncomfortable inside your body and mind. You can escape to the tv or your mobile phone, you can escape to the fridge for some food you can escape to the pub for beer, you can escape with a book or running things. You can't escape anything it's the most confronting thing ever, it’s opposite of that.
Andrew: Yeah, that's that's really interesting to think of it that way, because the only meditation I've ever done has been like twenty minutes, maybe half an hour at the most of sitting and yeah, you do have that period of time way you got your thoughts that you're trying to clear your head of thoughts and all that but if it's ten days that's- half an hour does not get that intense, you know.
James: Oh no, half an hour is good. It’s just before it starts getting intense really. I’ve read half an hour lifestyle gets bad about forty five minutes you think oh my god i can't go on any longer and then the next fifteen minutes, every minute feels like an hour, and if you can make it to the hour... but, you know, a lot of the time has been quite a bit of suffering if you haven't adjusted your position, and things like that. S o i got to this place and you know i meditated for ten days and i learned a technique very valuable technique that's probably one of the most valuable things that i have in my life right now and on the fifth day there, you know, the techniques about observing a sensation-
Andrew: Can we talk more about the technique?
James: Yeah, sure. look the technique is incredible so basically the story goes that this is the technique that buddha discovered to freely liberate yourself from suffering, he meditated like a scientist observing observing trying to figure out what is the root cause of suffering and many people knew that suffering began from craving, things that you don't have, or resisting things that you don't want. So craving or aversion. and people knew that, they didn't know the root cause, and the buddha wanted to find that so he searched through observation of his self, through meditation, and he discovered that the root cause of suffering is your reaction to the physical sensations reacting either positively or reacting negatively. So, you know, for a while i thought it was the thought i did observe my thought and thinking that by observing my thoughts and instead of just thinking, thinking, thinking about, you know, doing it, being in the process of thinking that i could come out of my suffering and that does have benefit just like observing your breathing, it does have benefits a lot of benefit and observing your emotions all these things have benefit, but it's not for past night and it's, not the technique that the buddha has discovered to fully liberate yourself from suffering.
Andrew: So interesting, yes, meditations that I’ve been, like you're talking about, about observing breath and about observing thoughts and technique that was sort of about like trying to observe your thought, but as you would observe a busy road whereas thought comes into your mind and you just let it go past like a car on the road, he just let it drift on through on, but i haven't really heard, uh, the idea is you just talked about,
James:So yeah, and like I said, they have a lot of benefits in that meditation too. But to fully liberated from suffering to get to the point where there's no craving. There's no aversion and that's a long path. You don't get that in half and hour getting rid of craving.
Andrew: This is a this is a big thing for me because that's what 2016 was all about trying to only potatoes and just stop this constant craving that was going on in my head this obsession with trying to get the next amazing delicious meal and similar to what a drug addict is obsessed about where they're gonna get their next hit.
I was constantly thinking about what I'm going to eat next and how I can make whatever I eat even more delicious and fantastic and whatever, and to step back from that and find a way to get rid of these Cravings was a big thing. So, You know, obviously We crave more in life than just food. There's all sorts of Cravings that we have.
So yeah. Yeah, you're talkin my language now,
James: It's the habit of craving, you know, we can, if we quit one addiction, but we don't learn how to come out of craving then we usually just replace it with another and I've got experience of doing that as well quitting drugs and using food as a, As my new drug.
Yeah, which led to having an eating disorder because I had an address the root cause of the problem. I just I just switched my drug from you know, whatever all these different kinds of drugs to food, because I hadn't dealt with actual issue which was that I could not sit in uncomfortable. Sensations in my body.
I wanted to escape them as I resisted them. Yeah, I'd escape with what I knew would help me get rid of it, which was the drugs which was the food. Okay, but I'm just made me go deeper into my habit of reacting to Crave
Andrew: That’s interesting that the way it took their because it makes me feel like I'm sort of on the right path because a big deal for me was when a craving popped up for chocolate cake or whatever, it wasn't. I'm just gonna go and try and do something to distract myself from that craving until it goes away. Like I'm not just gonna go. Okay. I'm just going to go and sit and watch some TV and try and just ride it out. It wasn't that it was for me. It was really about confronting the craving and um and really getting to know it like, really trying to absolutely make friends with the craving almost really understand like this is it's really quite petty in the end when you when you get to so right, you know when you. When you get down and really try to understand I want this chocolate cake. It's like start to think of myself like a small child in a supermarket begging mum and dad for a Lolly or something. It's like, you know, this is so immature. This is when you get to know it like
James: it is, it is emotionally immature.
Yeah, absolutely and for me, you're right it reminds me of, You know when you get a craving people get a craving for a cigarette. It's like this huge shadow looms over them like the shadow of a monster and you get so afraid of it. You react so strongly. But if you just turned around you would see that actually it's just a very, very tiny monster, very tiny like a tennis ball with a torch behind it, making the shadow look huge. And when you face a craving you realize “Oh, this is actually- why have I been reacting so strongly and negatively to this?. This is not so bad.”
Andrew: Yeah, and then you have that experience of not giving into a craving and then you then you can reflect and think about that “if I don't give in to the craving, is it really that bad? Actually, no, it's quite good”.
James: And what you learn is that it passes. it will pass. It's not gonna just stay there for the rest of your life until you have a cigarette or you have your chocolate cake. Nature will take care of it. Just like it a rose, it will also pass away.
Andrew: This too shall pass exactly.
James: Exactly, that's it. That's the nature of the universe.
Andrew: I dont know who said that first, ‘this too shall pass’...
James: It's a good quote, it's a good quote.
Andrew: I’ll look for it but I don't know who said it first…
James: Oh, okay... It's a phenomenal quote because the worst thing ever happened in your life- how it makes you feel... that will pass, it will change. It's always changing.
Everything is always changing. and the craving changes. It might be nine out of ten then It changes to eight and seven and six and might go back up. But anyway,
Andrew: So sorry we're getting side track.
James: We are. Although, it’s a good conversation because it's important to understand the technique and how it works.
So I start practicing with this technique and I noticed a very strong sensation come over me. And I never felt it before and what I thought was it was my body trying to get me to speak because I hadn't spoken in five days already. Yeah, and I said I was thinking “Wow, how long could I keep going not speaking? it's been five days.”
That's pretty sweet. I thought man imagine doing a year and I was like, wow, you know what I reckon? I could actually do that. It's kind of up my alley. I do sign a crazy and weird like that. But-
Andrew: it's weird. But I was well, obviously I get it now, but before I started yeah, I was into the sort of weird challenges.
I hadn't done anything as Extreme as what I have done now. But yeah, I was always yeah that's an idea that would have-
Andrew: Yeah would have resonated, exactly. Would have made my ears pick up and go “yeah could be something in this.”
James: Yeah. Me too. I just saw that's a cool idea, you know not often do you get a quite a- For me, it wasn't often. I get a really cool idea that was kind of outside the square and yeah, it just I thought this is this is actually an interesting idea I’ll consider this a little bit more seriously and I did! for the next five days I meditated and I-
Andrew: this was during that 10 day retreat, this happened?
James: Yeah on the 5th day and by the tenth day I was doing it man!
I was convinced so I started. Since when I got it I started planning for it. I’m telling every guess I'm doing, I'm doing this thing. Okay, I'm gonna do it for animals, you know, because they’re voiceless so I'll be voiceless. I thought I have to do it for something. I think I'm weird. So I saw that do for Animals the voiceless victims of this planet.
I'll raise awareness for them through my own voiceless action. Yeah, and I started learning more and more about it, because I wanted to be knowledgeable about the topic and I kept coming back to what really happened. My friend was asking, my cousin actually. She was asking me about “what's this voiceles thing you're doing?”
Yeah, so I'm doing this thing to raise awareness friend, and she said “that's interesting”. And as I was telling her this I was eating a piece of cheese. and it's very easy to connect with suffering when you looking at meat because that's been chopped off. Somebody's body obviously suffered in yeah.
Well, their body parts were chopped off..
Andrew: Yeah, whether you want to believe they suffered or not. They're dead.
James: They're dead! I mean, there’s not much more cruel than- there's nothing much more cruel than taking the life of somebody who wants to live even if they didn't suffer before. Yeah, you know, you rob someone of their entire life. What could be worse?
And so I had told her this I'm doing this thing for animals and I think a piece of cheese and I hadn't really connected fully yet that actually Dairy is at least as cruel as the meat industry as is eggs and leather and the entertainment industry that exploit animals and testing products on animals.
It hasn't really sunk in yet. Yeah, you know, I was eating this piece of cheese and I thought, man, I'm being such a hypocrite right now. I say I'm going to do this big action for animals, but I'm still contributing to their suffering and killing. By just eating cheese, like just for cheese… that's what I'm carelessly contributing to this... so I can eat a bit of cheese?
Yeah, I said… what am I doing? I need to stop this.
And that meant that I needed to be vegan, you know?
Yeah and for me, I'd always I knew a little bit about vegans. I probably thought they were like extremists.
-and why, why become vegan? just go vegetarian if you want to stop suffering.
I didn’t understand that there's suffering in all animal products. Yeah all animal products. They are a result of exploitation. And exploitation is always wrong.
I didn't want to support that so I decided... Man I need to be vegan! Oh no… how did this happen to me?
Andrew: It’s a daunting prospect isn’t it? When you dont know what you’re doing.
James: I was like, what am I gonna eat? How in the world was I gonna do man… you know?
Andrew: You just gonna sit in the park and you're gonna play your bongos and eat some lettuce and that's it, that's what you do
James: Exactly! Oh no I have to grow my hair, my hair’s so curly.
Andrew: It's Gonna take me ages to get dreadlocks. Can I be vegan before that or not?
James: So we'll have to go vegan like that, that's the only thing that makes sense. And that's what I did. I just thought I would go vegan but I was back and forth because like I said, I had that even thought I was bulimic.
I had a very- you know it wasn’t a body issue thing for me. I was the you know the epitome of an emotional eater. And I just could not stop myself.
Andrew: Yeah I can relate to that, yeah.
James: Oh it was hell mate! I've been through a lot of things with drugs, with cancer. Like I said… but by far there was no battle worse than my battle with bulimia.
I just thought I'd never come out of it, it had me, it had complete hold of me. I thought I'd exhausted my options. I'd read books. I tried so many times but I didn't know that I was an emotional eater. Yeah so when I learned that, when I finally learned that... when I accidentally stumbled across a book called an emotional eating by dr. Jennifer Tate's when I wrote that book when I read the back of that book, I looked at it. I read the back of the book and I was so excited. I thought “This is me. This is gonna be it. This book is gonna be it.” I just read the back and I knew, I knew man. I took off work. “I'm reading this book right now” and I read it.
Andrew: It’s so interesting that like you say, you didn't know you're an emotional eater. I bet everyone around you knew that you are an emotional eater.
James: You know what, I don't know.
Andrew: You don’t think?
James: I just- with my experience in training so many people I think a lot of people aren't even aware of what emotional eating really really can be.
Andrew: Cause I can tell you that my wife knew I was an emotional eater before I did.
James: Okay. Yeah, maybe I was just ignorant to it. I think- I think people know a little bit about emotional eating but there's so much to it. Basically, if you're eating for any other reason than hunger, it pretty much like almost always like there's a couple of sessions that really might be bodybuilding and you're eating to grow for example, but for the general public generally if you're eating for any other reason than because you're hungry you are most likely emotional eating.
Yeah. You know you're eating because you bored, you’re eating because you're tired, you’re eating because you want to enjoy something, you’re eating cause your sad.
Yeah, like there's so many reasons and I did not know that was me.
Andrew: even the other way around like we had to celebrate too. Birthdays for example,
James: that's right
Andrew: You take a great occasion and think you can make it better with eating junk
James: exactly, right and the end up feeling like crap about it.
It's goes you go Celebratory meal or Christmas and you spent the rest of the day wishing you didn't eat that much.
Andrew:. Yeah, a weird situation…
James: It’s some bad habits. Humans are very interesting animals. S
o I read this book. I became so excited about anyway, I still had this issue when I decided I needed to be vegan.
So I go few weeks. You know eating only plant-based. Yeah, and then I have a blowout every now and then and then the day, you know, I spent the year planning my vows aren't and then January 1st. 2014. Yeah 2014 is the day that I started my vow of silence and on that day. I also vowed to be vegan 100% and to never consume- never knowingly consume another animal product.
Andrew: That’s interesting that happened on the same day because it would think well, I would have thought without knowing that if you've decided to do a vow of silence for a whole year to raise awareness for animals that you're probably been vegan for a long time.
Yeah, that's interesting to me that happened on the same day.
James: Well all happened fast because you know, I went vegetarian and then a couple of months later. I only a couple of months later I had decided. That I was going to do this vow of silence for animals. And because I was instantly passionate I thought I don't even really care about animals that much. I don't even love animals that much. Yeah, but I know how wrong this is what I'm looking at and I'm speaking the animal lovers who are telling me not to not to ruin their dinner. Yeah. Don't ruin my dinner. I don't want to hear about it. Yeah. I thought there's something so wrong with this situation. I guess I need to do something. You know, I just felt compelled I felt a responsibility to take action to do something and so it happened so fast, it's still really kind of figuring it finding my feet with it. I spent the year planning the vow of silence and learning about animal rights, and I would have been vegan sooner had it not be familiar eating problem because I didn't want to be eating dairy. I didn't want to be bingeing on ice cream. I just was I just didn't know not know how to not do it. Yeah. I just couldn't help myself. Yeah, and I'd eat it. Every couple of weeks, you know when I was having a blood just feeling so guilty about it thinking about the cows and just going what am I doing?
But I couldn't I just couldn't help myself man. And so I had to go voiceless for a year. I vowed to become vegan for the rest of my life, and I also vowed to never spew after another meal again to never Purge the food out of my body after another meal no matter how bad I've binge, no matter how horrible I fell from eating too much food. I would not go that next step and and put my fingers down my throat.
Andrew: That’s powerful! that's actually like most people would say that, you know, one thing at a time man. Let's just tackle one problem at a time. You've gone big there!
James: It’s a big day.
Andrew: You’ve gone pretty big things at once.
SURFING THE CRAVING
James: Yeah, I you know it all just kind of fit in with each other. And there were moments where you know, I'd be you know, so I travel around the country that year voiceless and moments where I was hungry. I was doing a long drive I go the service station. I just find it delicious looking muesli bar. I'd read the back Nails honey in it. I thought damn.
Yeah, should I just eat it? You know like it's just a bit of Honey
Andrew: No One's Gonna know?
James: Yeah. No. No. And I thought you made a vow buddy! you will not be eating this. You can either go hungry or find something else. And I'm so glad I did that so they were times a few moments here in there.
But similarly one day after I took my vow. I did binge. I've been on a tub of so good ice cream, which is delicious vegan vanilla ice cream. Yeah and a tub of peanut butter mixed in. Oh, yeah. It was amazing.
Andrew: Sounds pretty good to me.
James: Yes pretty good, but I’m never gonna eat that now. But it was good at the time because I still I was still coming out of-
Andrew: I never thought of that mixing peanut butter in with the ice cream.
I would have been all over that .
James: Oh yeah you missed that. Yeah, it was good. So I. I um I was you know, I was a lot better getting better with my emotional eating, but it was a you know, it wasn't it wasn't one step one set path coming out of it it took time and trial and error and work,
Andrew: you know it’s never a linear equation.
It's not just like a straight line to you know, freedom and health and all that. There's ups and downs. It's that's unavoidable.
James: That's right. And you know, you just gotta. Yeah, just Pace up on the back instead of being yourself and just keep trying and keep going. Yeah, and so that's what I was doing.
And this time I binge, I've been to a couple of weeks into my voiceless being voiceless and I felt. Disgusting man, all I wanted to do was vomit, and ice cream is very easy to vomit. It’s the easiest to food back up.
Andrew: Yeah, I guess it would be
James: and it doesn't taste bad when it comes back either.
So I thought all right, you know I could I could do this, but I thought if I do... All I'm doing is going back into my Vicious Circle, you know
Andrew: I had so dissimilar moments like that and always pictured this scene from The Matrix where um NEOS in the car and they've just uh, the driving off their just got in the car and then the guy in the front seat turns around with a gun and they get that machine out.
They want to get the bug out of him and and he starts freaking out. I stopped the car and he goes to get out and the camera looks down a long dark Road and it's raining and it's street lights on. And he goes to get out and Trinity grabs his hand and says trust me and he turns around says why and she says because you've been down that road, you know exactly where it leads and I know that's not what you want to be.
Yeah, and I replayed that scene in my own head heaps of times when I had cravings to eat something that wasn't a potato. Wow and say, oh that scene just jumped out of me and it was like, you know exactly what's going to happen if you that slice of cake, you know, You know that, you know, you can't tell yourself that you're going to go back on the diet tomorrow because you hundreds of times through your history you've told yourself that and you haven't done it. Yeah, so. You know that if you break this one time, then you're going to break again tomorrow and the next day, you know where that road leads and you don't want to go down there. And yeah-
James: I couldn’t agree more! so yeah, very good way of looking at it. That is what I felt as well.
I thought okay. I could I could you know, I could Purge after this and I'll start again tomorrow. I thought, man I've said that so many times. Yeah, and you know, where as it got me so much suffering and so much stress. I thought, listen just just tough it out mate. You ate it. You're gonna sit with it you made a vow you're gonna sit with it and you're going to suffer because anything I'd rather suffer with a full stomach of peanut butter and ice cream then go back to what I was doing.
Maybe this, you know, who knows what will happen, but I'm trying something new at least whether this is a solution or not. I'm gonna just try something new because I know what happened. Yeah, I vomit this time
Andrew: And you don't know what's gonna happen. But one thing you do know is that something's going to be different. You don't like the way things were so different is enough.
James: And I did and I sat with and I felt this disgusting man and the next day I still felt disgusting but I was so glad yeah, I was so happy that I kept it and I'd Done Something Different. Yeah, and it was the start of saying different and next time when I did binge, which was however long later.
I remembered that time for oh, maybe I just won't eat quite as much in this binge
Andrew:. And that's like to me. That's the the whole picture of emotional eating like when when we want to have a binge or you know, chocolate cake or pizza or whatever we get. We just get stuck in that instant gratification sort of thing and you know eating that peanut butter and ice cream you probably love it.
Well you're eating it. Not all of you, but most of you think this is great. I love it, whatever but you know, that's the only but you think I with emotional eating but emotional eating takes in so much more and when you think about that the experience of emotional eating that you had continued on into the next day. and it continues on to this day and it's like, how are your emotions affected, you know? If you weigh it up, it's not contact take the whole experience and bottle it up into one moment and feel it at that time. Then it's yeah, it's not even an there's no decision to make.
James: it took me 10 minutes see that ice cream and I suffered for hours.
Yeah, you know, I enjoyed it for 10 years-
Andrew: You might still be suffering the next day.
James: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right, you know with regret. Yeah, you know, and and I knew I would have to that was some extra weight on my body that now is gonna have to work a little bit harder in the gym. Just and just knowing like mentally that I that I did it, you know so guilt for what 10 minutes of palette pleasure. It was ridiculous. But yeah, it's instant gratification. You're right. And yeah, I um, I you know slowly started coming out of it slowly started being aware. I'm just emotional eating now. I'm not even hungry. Um, oh, yeah, I'm full. I don't need to continue eating or.
I remember how bad I felt after that last time. You know what I'm not going to do that this time. Yeah, and instead I started surfing the craving surfing the urges. Yeah, you know feeling them going into them sometimes are uncomfortable. But you know them every time you sit with it and you observe it and then you have the experience of a passing which is what happens every time. you become a little stronger because you know, then that that's what will happen whether you eat the ice cream or not. The craving will go. Are the way if you've got a craving for a cigarette, you can smoke a cigarette and will go away or you can just wait 5-10 minutes and go away, anyway.
Andrew:I love that, the way you put it surfing that craving, I dont have to put like that before but
James: -really good quote that helped me a lot. You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Andrew: and the waves will die out. You know, you catch it a wave. You're not going to write it forever.
James: That's right. And when and when you know, you don't start surfing 10-foot waves.
Yeah, you get a really strong craving. It might break. You might get smashed and yeah not be able to Surf it but-
Andrew: that's a good analogy.
James: It's great isn't it? But you know, you start three foot and then you start realizing I can serve these waves right to the end of the wave. Yeah, and then paddle back.
And you know as a wavesto get stronger and stronger you can handle them too. Yeah, and when with emotional eating like I'm at a point now where I have a better relationship with food than almost everybody. I know yeah, you know I this is the relationship with food. I always wanted that I never thought I would have ever ever ever ever did I think I could get this when I'm hungry. I stop when I'm full. I don't you know, I don't crave really anything. Yeah, I just ate what is sage for me.
Andrew: I feel in that same place at the moment. I think it's probably a bit early since my Spud Fit Academy finished like it's only 12 days since it was over. I think I'm probably a bit early to say that I'm you know done like you are, you know, you're probably going to be in that space that you're in Forever, you know, but I do feel like a that um, yeah lots of action and you you know, you've um, You've still got waves to come, you know because you're doing your 12 days in yeah, but yeah how good a surf are you are. Well, you've been through a lot of craving this year. I'm sure so you probably quite experienced these things.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I love that surfing, the idea of surfing the cravings because that's exactly what it is.
Let's just. Ride it out and just you know experience it just don't turn your back on it just experience it part of it and understand it and then-
James: I think the understanding of of it being impermanent is a really important thing to listen about Listen to Because. If you think it's just going to be there forever, you don't want that and you're going to you're going to go hook. I need to get this uncomfortable feeling away from me now. I'll just eat a food, but if you just can remember in your mind that this is going to pass soon, you know, this is gonna be over soon. Just give it 5 or 10 minutes and feel it throughout that whole time and then when it does pass you're stronger than the knowledge of impermanence and next time that wave comes, you've surfed it. So you know you can surf that kind of waves.
Andrew: Confidence comes from experience anyway. Like if you've never done a backflip, you can't just Step up and do it. You gotta you gotta work up to it, you know, and then once you've done it a few times, it's at easy.
James: Yeah, totally so that year I spent voiceless and promoting animal rights and my journey through a Blog. Yeah, and I broke my vows of Silence on Australia's most popular morning TV show actually two years ago today to this day and you know, I spent 10 days again in meditation before I broke that vow of silence thinking about exactly what I wanted to say.
I want to do the cause Justice. Yeah, and I wanted to spread the vegan message because I think it's one of the most important messages of our time. Yeah, and I spoke and that interview was seen by millions of people all around the world, went viral and was picked up by news in different countries.
Uh, and it raised a lot of awareness.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely and it changed the direction of your life. It's like, you know, I did I guess you didn't really have that much attention during the year, apart from within the vegan Community itself. I read your blog a little bit and uh, I wasn't like a devoted follower, but every now and then I check in on how you're going and um, But yeah, then that interview happened blew up.
James: It gave me a voice man ya know before I was my way was being voiceless and then after that interview everyone wanted to hear me speak so people started getting people started inviting me all different places in the world to come and speak about my journey and I did and I went and talked to them.
And just by talking about my journey people come up to me after saying oh my god, I am so inspired to go vegan right there. And from our thought. Wow, you know, this is this is a powerful story. Yeah, people want to go vegan after me. Just tell you my story. I'm going to tell everyone that-
Andrew: I've heard you speak.
I've seen Talks on YouTube and I've heard you speak live Alliance as well. And you do have a way with words and it's like the way you talk is really approachable and it's not like you're not standing on the stage screaming at people that have their murderers and whatever is just you know, I just I just sharing your story aren't you and it's like, you know people can do with it what they want exactly right?
James: Um, you know, I don't believe in blaming and shaming people because they can't help it just like a few years ago. I didn't know any better either there's a lot of conditioning in this world that tells us eating animals is natural and normal and necessary. Yeah, and how can you blame someone because they still consuming animal products when they are a victim of that of those lies and that conditioning as well. I feel sorry for people that are vegan because they're contributing to something so cruel, which is likely so far against who they are as a compassionate kind respectful person. They're killing themselves by eating food.
That's very unhealthy and it's just it's just a really sad state that we’re in. There's so much propaganda and brainwashing from meat Dairy and egg. Industries and all that kind of stuff that people are so confused and they have no idea what they're doing
Andrew: and you can't blame people for that.
Like I was most people who are vegan nearly. Everyone wasn't vegan at some point.
James: Exactly exactly. We’re lucky man to have got that message and that's why I spread it because it's such it's been such a gift in my life. Yeah. I cannot tell you how much better I feel again eating plants only respecting animals being a friend to animals not contributing to so much suffering and killing. I feel like a new man. I feel oh my God, like I just there's nothing more. Yeah, I want for everyone else as well then also to feel so good. But also for these animals, I want them to come out of their suffering too.
Andrew: there's no losers out of this.
James: No, it's positive. It's so positive man.
Yeah. It's all positive! Even the food is better. I eat better now than I ever have eaten in my life..
Andrew: Yeah. Me too.
James: it's fantastic. You know, you're eating live food from the earth you c combine it In every way you can eat, every one of your old favorite meals but a vegan version Burgers, pizzas, pastas, ice creams, chocolate, anything! Without the cruelty without the killing, there's phenomena vegan herbs. Yeah, it's better in every way man. That's why yes. That's why I mean a big portion of what I do now is to spread this message. So I've spent the last two years. Traveling around the world giving speeches.
I give them all for free. I don't want to make a dollar from you know, I'm telling the story because I want everyone to hear. I just want everyone to feel good. And I want these animals to stop being killed. So I just the speeches I give for free and um, yeah last year. I also got tattoed for 24 hours straight.
Andrew:I wanted to ask you about that too. Yeah, that was that seems like an intense experience.
James: Yeah. Yeah, we decided we get 24 hour straight those three artists and three people getting tattooed. Each pair went for 24 hours. And we thought it'd be a cool way to you know, raise awareness thoughts of getting
Andrew:I've not got any tattoos. Most of my buddy's got tattoos on now, but. Yeah, I've had thoughts of getting my tattoo and I'm like God and I don't know if I want to do that like just okay, maybe getting a little potato somewhere. So yeah I don't know. I don't know if I've got the balls to do that bad.
James: Its fun, but um 24 hours is pretty bad, and you know live stream the whole thing we end up raising about 20,000 dollars overnight, but then it was good man.
But yeah in the last hour the 24th hour, I put it out there someone donated a thousand bucks. I'll go 25th hour and they did so I'm rocked into the shop with with $1,000 cash and that last down man all that was that was painful especially when you've just spent the hour before that getting ready to thinking I was done.
Yeah, exactly. Now, I got a little wide for my health in that last my lymph nodes as well up. I was in a lot of time. But yeah, we did it man, and I was really good in this year. I'm just focused on. You know just spreading this positive lifestyle living vegan. How fun it is how healthy it is that when normal people, you know, we're just people that care we're not obsessed with.
Animals, when others don't have to be an animal lover even yeah, you just have to respect them enough to believe that causing unnecessary cruelty to animals is wrong and this year. I'm focused on I just spreading positive this lifestyle is and how great it is man.
Andrew: I said, yeah, so we gotta wrap this up in a couple of minutes and get you to the airport but before you get out of here, you got any goals in your life going forward and obviously you want to continue your activism, you know, and. Whatever ideas happen, you know, I'm sure you'll come up with more ideas in the future. But you know from a personal point of view. Like how do you want to improve yourself in the future?
What sort of goals do you have for yourself?
James: fitness goals at the moment? I you know also to promote the lifestyle but I've let my health and fitness lip in the last couple years just out of you know, I felt a lot of guilt to be honest over the last couple of years you knowing what happens to animals and then just going to the gym or going to a party, you know, I haven't.
I have um been able to really enjoy myself because I felt guilt but now I realize actually
Andrew: who am I to be off having fun.
James: How dare I? How dare I? When you know what's happening. You need to be doing something. Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. Yeah. I've been to the factory farms man. I saw the slaughterhouse isn't yeah, you know when I know how much suffering they're going through like it has been hard, but now I realize actually one of the best things I can do.
To promote this is to show that you don't that we we can be happy healthy and live great lives as vegans. We don't have to be upset about animals all the time. Yeah, and uh, so so it's great because it's win-win because I get to help animals even more by being more mainstream than just doing all the things that I have always loved like surfing and partying and skating.
Yeah, and um, And the Animals, you know more people are going to I think be interested by following my journey but having those things involved. Yeah, so I think it's going to be better for the animals to so goal. This year is to get fit and strong. Yeah again
Andrew: well we share that goal then yeah putting the fit into this year.
James: That's my with a spot in the spot.
That's awesome. Yeah, and um, I mean, I got a couple other ideas for activism. I'm going to be donating a kidney. To just a yeah, just to a
Andrew: holy shit, my jaw just dropped.
James:Haha! I noticed that would be next year. I think because this year, you know, my goals are a little different but um, I'd like to do that early next year don't make it out of it as well, you know to tell people…
Andrew: That is big!
James: Yeah, that's why I want to do it. I'm gonna save someone's life. But also I'm gonna think I'm going to inspire a lot of people to help others out of their suffering, you know have to donate your kidneys. But you can go vegan. You know, that's a big thing. Everyone can do and you can also inspire people too, help people even if you don't know them, who cares, you know suffering suffering you wouldn't want to happen to you.
Yeah help someone else out of that is do it. It's one of the best things you can do. That's gonna be big
Andrew: Tinkles down my spine from that, Y
James: Yeah. I'm really excited about it. You know, we only need one kidney. So hopefully-
Andrew: especially the clean living man you are, you’re not putting a lot of stress on your kidneys
James: No, I eat perfectly well.
I don't do any drugs any more like the day that I, the day that I had the idea for the vow of silence. I also quit drugs and I'd always been a big probably my life. So I haven't done drugs since I was 4 years ago. I have um, you know since the day I vowed not to eat animal products haven't eaten any animal products and that same day that I said, I would never you know be bulimic again.
Hadn't had a single relay. My body's healthy man. I meditate every day. I feel like. Yeah, I'd be a good candidate to give some of my kidneys healthy myself.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely. Let's wrap this up one final thought. Uh, you're obviously just from that last couple of sentences. You're uh, you're someone who's good at saying in a do something and following through and doing it.
So, can you give us one final thought on for you know a couple of weeks ago, but there are people that are trying to stick to New Year's resolutions. So one final thought to how you can help with that.
James: Sticking to New Year's resolutions..
Andrew:Oh, not just new years resolutions..
James:Sure, I think it's really important to have a clear intention of of what you want to do doesn't necessarily have to be the goal.
Lex specifically but a clear intention of the way you want to live your life. So from a my intention in life is to contribute to making this world a kind of more peaceful place for us all to live and to be an instrument of Truth and of Peace, that's my intention in life. And that intention is like it helps me navigate through life.
So when things come into my life. I can say yes to things that are in alignment on that intention or no to things that are not.So having that clean intention gives me like an idea of how to yeah what things to to say? Yes, we more things to say no to
Andrew: really really interesting just to have one simple mission statement see of a corporate organization would call it one simple statement.
Anything that comes into your life, it doesn't that's an easy easy way to make decisions. Exactly. All right, we got to get you to the airport. Uh, but thanks for being the first guest on the Spud Fit podcast. Uh, man, you're an extreme man, and I can relate to that go there. Yeah. Thanks for doing what you do and thanks for inspiring me and inspiring all these other people out there and.
Yeah, let's go to the airport.
Thanks. However, it's been fun. All right, uh spot up everyone.
Andrew: All right. What a great conversation. That was I thoroughly enjoyed having James on for my very first ever Spud Fit podcast. If you are enjoyed that and you want to learn more about what James is doing and what he's about and things that are going on in his life then.
Check out JAMESASPEY.COM.AU he’s also James Aspey in all the social medias too so give him some love.
I really enjoyed talking with James especially about the cravings and how James used meditation to turn his life around. So nice to know a bit more about what goes on in the mind of James rather than just his experiences as an activist, which we lots of us already know lots about.
If you enjoyed this conversation please share it with your friends. That's the best thing you can do for me. Share it with anyone who you think might be interested in help. Spread the love for me.
If you want to learn more about me or what I'm doing then check out SPUDFIT.COM you can find information there about how to buy my book: The DIY Spud Fit Academy.
Sorry, our book, I wrote it with my wife Mandy Vans Annan. You can get the book there. You can get t-shirts there. You can sign up to take your own Spud Fit Academy and develop a better relationship with food. You can also sign up to have personal coaching with me. It's not about potatoes folks!
It's about learning how to make better more logical choices. It's about taking the emotion out of decisions that we have to make and it's about learning the true nature of sacrifice. I think I've spoken enough now…
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