Kris Carr has been living a stunningly-good, joyful, connected, meaningful and vital life for more than a decade…with stage IV cancer.
That may be her later-in-life “origin story,” but it no longer defines her. Kris came into my orbit through a mutual friend a few years back. Her story immediately captivated me. More than that, I fell in love with her beautiful heart and lens on life.
Shortly after launching Good Life Project, we filmed a conversation where she shared the entire story in detail. Today, I wanted to catch up with Kris and also share her latest lens on plant-based living and especially juicing, beautifully offered in her new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. Kris and I could jam for hours, but we culled it down to five questions I’ve been curious about. Enjoy!
JF: I know the thing that really brought you back to healthy eating, especially a plant-based diet, was your cancer diagnosis back in 2003. But since then, you’ve really focused more on how everyone can “use” food to get healthy. How has peoples’ receptivity to this message changed over the years? And, maybe, how has your message changed, to accommodate that?
KC: The wellness revolution has grown significantly since I started filming and writing about my journey close to thirteen years ago. For one, we see more mainstream celebrities adopting a more conscious lifestyle and sharing it with their fans or even creating brands that reflect their philosophy. Technology has also advanced the conversation, especially platforms like Instagram, where we devour healthy food porn or get exposed to different exercise routines, spiritual practices and so on. Not to mention the new sea of wellness bloggers.
It’s an exciting time. But with this flurry of activity also comes more bad advice and crappy content. So it’s important for folks to also be discerning. Take the best, leave the rest and be willing to experiment to find out what works for you.
Personally, my message has become more inclusive over the years. I know what it’s like to feel isolated or confused and since I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, I’ve become more in tune with what people are truly struggling with. Guess what? It isn’t food. Sure, that’s how it can manifest, but there is a deeper longing going on and that’s what I try to speak to more and more.
JF: Something you’ve talked more about over that same time is juicing, you’ve even got a new book, Crazy Sexy Juice, out on the topic. What gives? Why would I want to drink my fruits and veggies instead of eating them? And, is it okay to use colored straws and raise my pinky while drinking, so I feel healthy AND fancy?!
KC: Jonathan, you can certainly sip out of crazy straws with your pinky raised, there’s nothing I’d love to see more, LOL! So here’s the deal: I’ve written 5 books that have covered a wide range of topics, including nutrition and recipes.
What I know from that experience is that people need it simple. They have really busy lives and a lot going on. The more complicated certain plans or programs get, the easier it is to fail. That’s why I love juicing and blending. There’s nothing easier than making these beautiful bevvies. And what’s amazing about this practice is that you don’t need to know how to cook or have lots of fancy gadgets. You just need a juicer or a blender (or ideally both) and you’re good to go!
One of my missions with my work is to find clever, fun, delicious ways to get people to eat more veggies. Nature is the pharmacy and we need to get closer to it if we want to thrive. So, heck yeah, eat your veggies, eat a lot of them and Crazy Sexy Juice will make it easier for you to do just that! Lastly, Crazy Sexy Juice goes way beyond juicing. It actually has close to 60 blended recipes for smoothie and nut milk lovers, too. For me, it’s about including a balance of both in my weekly diet. It’s not just about the juice.
JF: I’ve been hearing a lot about PH lately, and how it’s better for your body to be slightly alkaline. But from what I’ve seen, the claims are all over the place. I know you talk about that a bit in the book. So, what’s the real deal and do juices, veggies and fruits really make a difference?
KC: Well, you can’t actually make your body more alkaline. That’s not how it works. Let’s pull back a little and go over some basics: The term pH stands for “potential hydrogen” and really just means the level of acidity or alkalinity of a given substance. To get technical, pH measures the hydrogen ions in a particular solution. Solutions that contain a lot of free hydrogen ions are considered to be acidic, while fewer ions means alkaline. When we’re talking about the pH of our bodies, that “solution” refers to our fluids, tissues, and organs.
As with most health-related barometers, pH is all about balance. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14—7 is neutral, less than 7 is acidic and greater than 7 is alkaline.Our cells are happy, healthy, and at their peak performance when living in a slightly alkaline environment. Because of that, our bodies hover in the 7.365 to 7.45 range. Even the slightest dip or rise in pH can have disastrous consequences, so our bodies are programmed to maintain that slightly alkaline threshold of 7.365 no matter what—it’s basically set in stone.
Here’s the potential rub: the standard American diet (SAD) is filled with acidic foods and substances, including dairy, meat, highly processed food products, and refined sugar, not to mention environmental toxins. Some research suggests that, in order to keep your pH in balance, your body will have to work harder to neutralize the acidic load, which can result in a gradual degeneration of health. Other research claims that our diets don’t matter because the body will correct itself without cost to our health.
So what’s true? Who knows—the jury is still out. But we do know that kidney stones and gout are associated with high acid diets, so obviously there’s something to pH and food. So why not tip the scale in the alkaline direction? Or if you prefer to think of it in other terms, why not follow an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle which essentially does the same thing.
The easiest way to do that is to minimize the overly acid-forming offenders (refined sugars and grains, processed foods, dairy, meat, etc.) and maximize alkaline-forming, mineral-rich foods. These include dark leafy greens, veggies, green juices, smoothies, and certain grains. Eating these goodies will flood our bodies with alkalinity and a hefty dose of vitamins and other micronutrients. Do we have to eat alkaline (anti-inflammatory) 100 percent of the time? No way, and that’s actually not possible for good health. Don’t think of it as good and bad or black and white. Some foods that are slightly acidic, like beans, grains, and nuts, are essential for proper nutrition on a plant-powered diet. Again, it’s the highly acidic foods that we should limit as much as possible.
JF: So much of the way you’ve taken care of yourself has been built around food, but I also know you live this beautiful life, in the country, surrounded by people and animals you love. So, I’m curious, what other stuff has made the most difference in your ability to live a good life? How much is about people and environment (and maybe puppies, too)?
KC: Food was certainly my gateway to a more connected, compassionate life. It’s the fuel that nourishes our bodies and our dreams, but as you suggested, it goes so much deeper. For me, a good life is filled with nature, animals (especially my rescue dogs), the people I love and meaning. It’s also very creative.
Without creativity I would be a pretty miserable gal. I grew up in a small town with no kids in the hood and I found immeasurable joy through my imagination. My fortes were castles that my cat Midnight protected from unsavory trolls and various interlopers. To this day I still believe in unicorns—need I say more?
JF: We’ve been friends for a bunch of years now. That whole time, even when stuff is challenging, you seem to have this unwavering ability to reconnect with something light and playful and grateful. I’m curious, is that something that comes fairly naturally to you? Does it come more from what you’ve been through? Is about rituals or routines or practices? Or just, yes?
KC: Honestly, during difficult times I rely on an insight that’s shaped the majority of my adult life: It ain’t cancer. Now that may seem funny coming from someone who lives with an incurable, stage IV cancer; however, once the scariest thing happened to me, everything else seemed doable! And even when it is cancer, I’ve learned to stay in the present moment as much as possible. The second I get caught up in future tripping, I’m doomed.
Basically, cancer put things into perspective. When I wanted to make my movie, start my business, speak in front of thousands of people or even get married (a previously terrifying idea) it all seemed relatively benign and doable. Plus, I’ve always had a chipper, can-do spirit. It’s who I am. I prefer to lounge in the light rather than marinate in the darkness.
JF: Ok, so how do we learn more about your awesome book, Kris?
I created 100+ simple and delicious juice, smoothie and nut milk recipes for my new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. And FYI, if you order by 10/30, you’ll receive the unbelievable bonus bundle I’ve put together for all purchasers. I’m offering my exclusive new digital meditations album, The Self-Care for Busy People Meditations; access to a recording of the magical Say Yes to Your Life lecture event I co-hosted with my powerhouse pals, Marie Forleo and Gabby Bernstein and a one-day Wisdom & Wellness workshop with a boatload of inspiring lectures from rockstar personal development and spirituality teachers. Get all the deets here.
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