Karyn Calabrese is a successful entrepreneur and popular holistic health expert based in Chicago. At 64 years old she looks nearly a generation younger and enjoys boundless energy and great health. She started on her journey of health after suffering from a host of allergies and ailments as a child. In her 20’s, she adopted a vegetarian diet and began juicing to improve her health. After meeting teachers and raw food pioneers, Anne Wigmore and Viktoras Kulvinskas, Karyn gradually transitioned from vegetarian to vegan to a complete raw vegan diet. For the past 30 years, Karyn has been committed to taking care of her body and helping others to do the same. In addition to a raw diet, she believes in regular detoxification and has developed a program that she has shared with thousands of people over the years and is now available in her debut book, ‘Soak Your Nuts: Cleansing with Karyn.’ Karyn’s business also includes 3 vegan restaurants, a holistic wellness center, and a line of all natural supplements, skin care and makeup. Karyn has enjoyed huge success as a health expert in the local and national media including two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show that featured age-defying women. Karyn was awarded the First Annual Raw and Living Foods Golden Branch Award in 2002 for introducing the idea of raw and living foods to the greatest number of people in the mainstream public.
Caryn Hartglass: Hi, I’m Caryn Hartglass and this is It’s All About Food. How are you today? I hope you feeling well and if you’re not, well, we have some good things to talk about today to give you a little more pep, a little more energy, a little more glow. And we’re going to be talking with Karyn Calabrese, who has a new book called Soak Your Nuts: Cleansing With Karyn. And she is a successful entrepreneur and popular holistic health expert based in Chicago. She started on her journey of health after suffering from a host of allergies and ailments as a child. In her twenties she turned to natural solutions to improve her health, gradually transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, to a complete raw vegan diet. For the past thirty years Karyn has been committed to taking care of her body and helping others do the same. In addition to her raw diet she believes in regular detoxification and has developed a program she teaches to hundreds of people a year in Chicago and is now available in her debut book; Soaking Your Nuts: Cleansing With Karyn. Karyn’s business also includes three vegan restaurants, a holistic wellness center and a line of all natural supplements, skin care, and makeup. Karyn has enjoyed huge success as a health expert in the local and national media, including two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show that featured age defying women. Karyn was awarded the first annual raw and living foods golden branch award in 2002 for introducing the idea of raw and living foods to the greatest number of people in the mainstream public. Wow, Karyn, you are amazing!
Karyn Calabrese: It sounds like it when you say all of that!
Caryn Hartglass: It sure is amazing. Well, I love bios and one of the reasons I love them is because we highlight the things that we like, and if ever anything has happened that we haven’t like, they don’t exist anymore.
Karyn Calabrese: That’s a great way to look at it! And thank you so much for having me on this show today.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, I’m excited to talk to you! I read some of the beginning intro to your book and there’s a lot of positive motivational self help stuff in here! The reason why I mention that thing about the bio is because, I love the rules for human beings that you listed in the beginning of your book, and the fact that there are no mistakes, only lessons and the failed experiments are part of the process. Anyways, it’s all good!
Karyn Calabrese: Absolutely, we have a detox class going on right now, and I only have three rules to follow.
1. Make your self number one; which is amazingly very difficult for so many people.
Caryn Hartglass: It is!
2. No Judgment of your choices.
3. Everything is ok, if you do make mistakes, you just kiss each shoulder and say “Its part of my process” and keep moving forward.
Its amazing, those three little rules, how far they can take you. I also recommend that you don’t necessarily discuss all of your changes with people as you’re in the process, because we all intuitively know what’s right, and when your present people with something they know in their heart is right and they aren’t ready for it, they’re going to attack you.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad you brought that up; I was going to because I saw that in your book, and really resonated with it. Its a strange thing that when we’re trying to improve ourselves and do things that are good for ourselves, how people will react. They kind of want to keep you down in a way, because they feel better about themselves staying down.
Karyn Calabrese: Yeah, I don’t think its a bunch of bad people out there, I just think that there’s a negative gravitational pull going the other direction. When you step outside of what everybody’s doing, you make people uncomfortable, and if people are uncomfortable, they attack. I don’t think it’s bad people, people just react. Well, they’re asleep basically and nobody wants to wake up once they’ve made the choice.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s really a great idea that when people are going through your process, or any type of cleansing process, not really to talk about it until they start to see some of the benefits and then their foundation is a lot stronger and they can speak from knowledge
Karyn Calabrese: Exactly! Because the words from other people, they’re almost like slugs to your body. They just kind of hang on and you can be so motivated and you can feel so great and that slug will just start to pull you down and the next thing you know, its comfortable and easy to be like everybody else.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so I want to tell you that I live in New York but I’ve been Chicago many times and I have been to your Raw Restaurant several times.
Karyn Calabrese: Oh, Great!
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, and I’ve met you but you don’t have to remember me, that’s okay! I’m sure you meet a lot of people, and I’m a Caryn with a “y” too, but with a “c” not a “k”. One of the things that nice about your restaurant, there are so many things, but one is I really appreciate that the decor is so lovely.
Karyn Calabrese: Thank you!
Caryn Hartglass: There are so many different vegetarian restaurants out there and we deserve to have things that are upscale, we deserve to be in beautiful environments when we’re eating.
Karyn Calabrese: I’m 64 years old and I’ve been doing this longer than a lot of people, I’ve been a vegan vegetarian about Forty-Two years now, and one of the things that I felt where there was a need, was to create a space where everybody felt comfortable. Because we’re kind of pigeon holed when you’re a vegan. We’re all Birkenstocks, not that there’s a problem with Birkenstocks, not that there’s a problem with the whole hippie type feeling to it but it kind of turns some people off. My thought was to create spaces where everybody felt comfortable, where I’m not just preaching to the choir with the people who are already comfortable living this type of lifestyle. So thank you for recognizing that, because I’ve gone out of my way to make all of my restaurants pretty unique in the decor as well as the food.
Caryn Hartglass: I think art is really important in our lives and I try to make whatever I can beautiful and see things that are beautiful I really appreciate them.
Karyn Calabrese: That’s where food starts; it’s what you see that starts the digestive juices going. If things are beautiful around you…
Caryn Hartglass: You want to eat them!
Karyn Calabrese: Yeah
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I also like the fact that your raw restaurant is so close to the Steppenwolf Theatre. I don’t know how many people that go to the theatre frequent your restaurant, but it’s a really lovely combination.
Karyn Calabrese: Yes, they come for the parking lot, they come for a quick cheap place to put their car because it’s free and they come and they eat. So who knows how many that we get to turn on to trying something different just from being in this neighborhood also. I am in an upscale neighborhood at the raw restaurant. I have two other restaurants also cooked vegan and they’re in pretty upscale neighborhoods too. So who knows how many people… Well, every time I’m in my cooked vegan restaurant on Green St., people say, “We were just walking down the street and we just happened to come in. No, we’re not vegans but boy this food is good!”
Caryn Hartglass: Right, I love that!
Karyn Calabrese: Yeah, I don’t want to preach to the choir, I want to get the people who would never come to this whole way of thinking and living, and hopefully it’s working.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely!
Karyn Calabrese: I mean we literally have had you said hundreds but I’ve got to brag a minute. We’ve had thousands and thousands of people go through my detox class, literally thousands. I get anywhere from a hundred to three hundred every other month in my classes.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow! Well that’s good and maybe not so good. You know, America is really in a difficult situation right now and we are definitely having a health crisis. So many people feel sick. And you’re seeing a lot of them.
Karyn Calabrese: We see young people getting the diseases that only old people used to get.
Caryn Hartglass: How sad is that!
Karyn Calabrese: I’ll tell you Caryn, I was at a funeral yesterday well I had to go to sit Shiva, my next door neighbor had cancer, and a relative has cancer, another dear friend has it. Everywhere I turn…
Caryn Hartglass: It’s the common cold today, Cancer.
Karyn Calabrese: It’s the plague of our time. I like to let people know that I don’t believe that this is a condition that we have to manifest. Yes, we all have cancerous cells in our bodies at different times, but how well do we create a fertile ground for metastasizing. This is where the problems come. We’re living in such an age of chemicalization. I mean chemicals, chemicals everywhere and this is why I believe detoxification is so important because even though I’m 99.9% raw, a vegan for forty-two years, I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, no meat, fish or dairy. I detox my body a minimum of four times a year and people go “Well, why Karyn? What are you doing?” Well, I’m driving behind buses, I’m taking in chemicals, I’m getting my clothes dry cleaned, I’m taking in chemicals. I don’t just eat in my restaurant; I don’t choose to live in a bubble. I want to be out and about and a part of the world. I go to black tie events; I go around because I’m going to be a part of this world. I need to clean out my body too, and I do it a minimum of four times a year, even with my lifestyle.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, no diet is going to Number 1, keep us from dying. Number 1 rule; our time’s going to be up at some point. But even if we’re on a really tremendously healthy diet, things can happen and it’s because we live in such a toxic environment. I know just outside my neighborhood they’ve been redoing the pavement and schoolyard and what’s been in the air has just been terrible. I can’t rinse my nose out enough. There’s just so much stuff in the air.
Karyn Calabrese: Even though something so active as that going on, just day-to-day living, you know?
Karyn Calabrese: In my opinion, unless you live in the rainforest on a mountaintop somewhere, you need to detox your body. You need to break down those layers of toxicity. We build up layer upon layer, you have a trillion cells and your building up toxicity around the cells and it’s that toxicity that we’re holding, that’s feeding your cells. We’d like to think that we’re living off of food, but in reality we’re living off of the gases from the liquids which is why you’re supposed to chew your food until its a liquid. It’s those gases that are actually feeding us. So, if you have a lot of toxicity gases in your body, this is what is feeding your cells and growing you old and making you sick, and making you tired. There’s nothing about me, people like to feel that I’m an African-American woman so we don’t age at the same way. That’s not true, we have hypertension, we have weight gain, we have diabetes, we age too. My mother died at Forty-Eight, my grandmother died at Fifty, my great-grandmother died at Sixty, which is why I started doing all of this. To me, I think if you live in this world, you need to clean out your body. This is why I wrote the book, and why I gave it the name to. Because I wanted to reach a lot of people, I wanted people to smile, I wanted people to think you it can be a fun journey. Yes, it’s serious. Yes, it takes some motivation and time, but where better to put your money and energy than in yourself.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right! Well, I want to say the last time I saw you, was in 2007, and you were stunning. So I can definitely verify, I mean that wasn’t that long ago, I know that I’m looking at a picture here but you are a very beautiful woman, and you’re in fabulous, fabulous shape. You definitely practice what you preach and it shows.
Karyn Calabrese: Well, thank you. I do, and this is the best way to do it! By taking care of you, and then it falls into place. People are attracted to what you’re doing. It isn’t about shoving something in somebody’s face going “Here’s some wheatgrass, drink it,” it’s about making a daily practice of yours so that you emanate the light from God’s pharmacy that you’re putting in you’re body. People want to do it; people want to be a part of it. We all intuitively know what is right, Caryn. We’re born with the knowledge to take care of ourselves. We’re animals who are instinctual. It’s just that living in the toxic world that we live in, we’ve forgotten and fallen asleep. What I find for myself and the thousands of people that do go through the classes or through the book or the DVD or however… Caryn, It isn’t just my detox I think all detoxes work if they’re healthy, building up and tearing down at the same time. I don’t believe I have all of the answers, I believe the answer is to find a program that works for you to break down the toxicity that we’re living with. The results that I see from the people who take my classes and we have doctors taking the classes, lawyers, nurses, schoolteachers, bricklayers, all professions. Everybody gets results, and the reason I believe that is because, cause and effect, that’s what rules the universe, cause and effect. If you put enough of the right stuff in and get rid of enough of the bad, there’s no way you can’t heal and feel better. You get new cells every seven years, you get new tissue every three months. This body is on an ongoing cycle of regeneration only though if it gets oxygen, enzymes, and nutrients. That’s what I’m helping people to wake up to. That what you put in the most magnificent machine you’ll ever be given is the most important choice and decision you’ll make every moment of you’re life.
Caryn Hartglass: I think I’m going to start a little mantra here. Oxygen, enzymes, nutrients, oh my! Oxygen, enzymes, and nutrients, oh my!
Karyn Calabrese: You’ve got it! That’s it! Do you know, when man was created the oxygen levels were at 38% out there? Then, after the industrial revolution they were down to 22%. Well, we’re living in the “teens” in terms of oxygen in our environment. All cancer cells, viruses, they’re all anaerobic. They can’t live in an oxygenated environment. So, we’re not getting it in our air, we’re not getting it in our food, and our bodies are literally starving.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s a really good point because, I want to believe that nature got it right, and if we just live simply and naturally, we will do well. But I think we have to do a little more than just eating our salads, because our foods and nutrition in our foods is depleted, the oxygen in the environment is depleted, and we have to concentrate and supercharge. Some of the things that you recommend are a part of that. The green meal, movies…
Karyn Calabrese: Yeah, so much of my program and my own lifestyle has greens in it. The human condition, we’re supposed to be taking in 60-70% chlorophyll a day. How much are most people getting? Maybe a little piece of a salad once a day. So much of what we don’t understand is we need chlorophyll, we need chlorophyll, chlorophyll, chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is like our blood, its got the same molecular structure as our blood, one molecule is different, the iron and magnesium. When you take in chlorophyll you are literally absorbing the toxicity out and rebuilding the blood. So much of my program involves taking in all different forms of chlorophyll, and then when you’re done with the detox, you find what’s comfortable and you stay with that, it’s like you go to boot camp for the body, and then when the thirty short days are up, and I like to stress it’s thirty short day out of three-hundred-sixty-five days to kind of reboot your life and your body.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, you have a month program, it’s twenty-eight days, or thirty-days, and four weeks long. Can you just quickly go through what happens in those four weeks?
Karyn Calabrese: Yeah, if you’re in the book or taking the class, or doing it from the DVD, a lot of it has to do with the insight that I’m giving you into your life. It really makes sense, one of the main things we give up is all cow secretions, I call them. Other people call them dairy, but the reality is it’s a cow secretion. In my world it’s the single worst thing that human beings do on a continual basis.
Caryn Hartglass: Mine too, Amen.
Karyn Calabrese: It’s the worst thing that we can do, and that’s why I went from being vegetarian to being vegan. I realized how negative it was. So we give up all cow secretions, and it’s amazing how people automatically start to feel a change. Yes their noses start to run a little bit, they start to release the mucus and other things that you don’t need any longer, that you have way too much of. That’s what people call a cold, but in my world it’s just your body getting rid of what it doesn’t need. You don’t need a chemical to hold on to it. We give up… I offer in my class, I offer an optimal and a conservative, and those who choose to go conservative give up all meat, fish, chicken, and dairy the first week. Those who are ready to go optimal, they give up cooked food and they go raw. The first week you get to ease into it in any way that it feels comfortable to you. Then I recommend certain herbs and vitamins and we certainly start taking enzymes too. Even though I’m raw, I do quite a few enzymes a day, plant based enzymes. We do other herbs and things like fenugreek seeds to balance blood sugar levels, so you stop craving sugar. We do, I drink Rejuvelac, which I just put up on YouTube, you can go to my YouTube station and find out how to make a lot of these things that I’m talking about and are in the book. Rejuvelac is not my creation, it was Dr. Ann Wigmore who started this whole living movement and our time. It’s a lacto-bacillus, it’s a living enzyme, it’s a good bacteria the lacto-bacillus, and it’s B-12, it’s B Vitamins. We do different, two or three different forms of chlorophyll, and you go away and you come back and you come back the next week and we take away some more and we add some more. By the third week, such a gentle change it isn’t just all of the sudden you’re eating cycle one day and you’re fasting the next, I don’t believe in that. By the third week those who are ready, we do a little mini-fast and for some it’s a mini and for others, they choose to take it longer. This really is about me giving you a large picture and then you fit yourself in where it feels comfortable. Like I said, there’s no right or wrong, good or bad. It’s just a chance to wake up and do things differently and put yourself in your own program. By the third week, and then the fourth week we come back and we give guidelines and then it’s amazing, Caryn, the things that are reported back to me. That people experience, people lose anywhere from six to thirty pounds. We have people go off blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. I had one lady that was diabetic and wore a shunt for twenty years; she’s down 85% in her insulin now. We had one woman actually go off her insulin. I could go on and on and on with the things that improve or change or heal. It’s makes my reality even stronger, that there’s only disease, a toxic body and poor assimulation of nutrients to the cells. It doesn’t matter what you call the challenge, it’s just your body is screaming at you “I’m not getting what I’m supposed to have and I have too much of what I shouldn’t have.”
Caryn Hartglass: That’s it, too much of what you shouldn’t have and not enough of what you need!
Karyn Calabrese: Whatever your predisposed weakness is, that’s were it’s going to come out. It turns out to be fun because I’m all about make it yours. I’m digging you a big picture but you make it yours. I don’t believe any of us can do charts or blueprints for someone else’s life. I can’t tell you that you need eight glasses of water a day, you need this, you need that. I’m saying somewhere 60-70% chlorophyll but I can’t say that for sure. We need to get closer in chlorophyll. What I think my detox does is, it helps wake you up, you become self-empowered and you figure out a good program for you.
Caryn Hartglass: Now this is relatively gentle easing in but has anyone had any profound problems from detoxing in this way?
Karyn Calabrese: Well, many people run into cleansing symptoms and generally you get weaker before you get stronger if you hit levels of dirt right away. If you have acne, the first week or so you may breakout and be even worse before it gets better.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s coming out.
Karyn Calabrese: I urge people with very strong challenges to ease in even softer. We have a couple that are great at that, doctors on staff that we recommend people to that they can work in conjunction with them if they’re very strongly challenged. But we have people that do it on their own that are strongly challenged, too. It’s so much of what’s in your brain, what’s making you comfortable. That’s part of the healing, what you can accept and what you can do. I just urge people to get started with it in some way shape and form before something happens because it very difficult to jump on the bandwagon once you’ve been diagnosed. Right, well, what do I want to say there… I want to say that I have my own history and story we all have unique experiences. I’ve been a vegan since 1988 and a vegetarian long before that and I was on a very extreme health path and I had been raw for a couple of years and then I ended up with advanced ovarian cancer. What ended up doing, in addition to some conventional medical treatment is I really upped the level of greens in my life. I was eating a lot of greens, but now I just really cram them. I’m here, I’m four years cancer free and the survival rates were really, really… not very friendly. I know that the things that I’ve done have made a difference. Sometimes it doesn’t prevent something from happening but it certainly can help you get through it.
Karyn Calabrese: I understand what you’re saying, and I’m certainly not disagreeing. I have people come all the time, well Linda McCartney had cancer and she was a vegetarian.
Caryn Hartglass: Dairy, Dairy, Dairy, Dairy!
Karyn Calabrese: What I’m saying is just being a vegan or a vegetarian or a raw foodist, I don’t think it’s enough. I think we have to actively clean out three or four times a year.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, absolutely.
Karyn Calabrese: I truly believe that we can prevent if we continually clean out because I’ve had different things of my body, I personally have not been to a doctor but I don’t recommend that for anyone else. Yeah, I had a huge thing in my throat, I have pictures of it, and I’ve had many challenges over the years in my whole process of healing. But I truly, truly believe that it isn’t enough just to be a vegan or a vegetarian or a raw foodist. I think we have to clean out, that’s why I made that my first book, my message is: You’ve got to clean out what you can’t control and what was there before you made the changes.
Caryn Hartglass: Very, Very important.
Karyn Calabrese: It’s still a part of who you are, you may have given up coffee or whatever, but what about all of the years that your body became acidic from it before.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, absolutely. The body has a really unique way of storing things. So it’s good at storing nutrients, and that’s beneficial, but it can also store toxicity. Sometimes when we start eating, well definitely when we start eating better and treating ourselves better the toxins have to come out one way or another.
Karyn Calabrese: To add to your own circumstances though, in light of all of the knowledge and healing and cleansing, we just never know the lessons we’re given to see where we’re supposed to go next, right?
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I know that this happened to me so that I could learn from it and help others. Truly, really clear. You mention rejuvelac and there was a youtube video to see how to make that. Where do you find that?
Karyn Calabrese: Yes, well, I recently, this is so funny because I’ve been doing this longer than a lot of people out there and I just got interested in the Internet. I guess in some ways I sure do show my age. We hired an IT guy to help me around here with updating my computer stuff. When the book came out, after it was out, he said “Karyn, let’s do a Facebook page for your cleansing, for your detoxing community so that they can talk to each other and we can put stuff out,” and I go “Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure.” Well, he put the page up, Caryn; in three weeks I had 11,000 hits on it. I have become this Facebook, okay.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, good for you!
Karyn Calabrese: I understand now, how beneficial it is. So, once I saw that, I just built a kitchen here to teach food demos and we’re actually starting a school, Karyn’s Culinary Institute and we’re trying to get it accredited too. I built this kitchen so while we’re waiting for everything to happen I just started making little YouTube videos.
Caryn Hartglass: Great!
Karyn Calabrese: I did my almond pate and a pudding, I did the Rejuvelac. Now I’m going through everything that’s in the book that you have to make or blend or mix to help you out and you can just go to a free YouTube video and look at it.
Caryn Hartglass: Well that’s great, because I tried making Rejuvelac and I have not been successful.
Karyn Calabrese: Well, I think a lot has to do with, do you break the seeds up before you actually start to soak them, to make them fermented?
Caryn Hartglass: The last time I tried was a while was a while ago and so frankly I don’t remember. But maybe that’s what I need to do.
Karyn Calabrese: You’ve got a step by step, and by the way I’ve got to say the lighting is terrible because we’re still learning what we’re doing, but there’s a step by step on how to make it. Then, something to do with it to make it a fun party drink when you’re not detoxing. So I did a ginger rejuvelac, and mint rejuvelac and I did the original, and I think I’m going to throw a berry on there too. I did a cacao pudding, a carob pudding with avocados. But there’s all kinds of YouTube stuff up there, and my website has all kinds of stuff on it.
Caryn Hartglass: What is that site?
Karyn Calabrese: My website is karynraw.com and I think the Facebook page is Cleansing by Karyn Calabrese, you can get to it from the website. I’m still learning all of this.
Caryn Hartglass: Well it’s a great opportunity to get this very important information out to so many people who definitely need it. It’s a good thing. Well, Karyn, I think we’re at the end of the program! I’ve been having so much fun talking to you, thank you so much! I love everything that you’re doing and sharing and get the book Soak Your Nuts: Cleansing With Karyn! Love it! Secrets for inner healing and outer beauty.
Karyn Calabrese: Thank you and I appreciate you having on me on the show, and I’d just like to remind people that if you don’t take care of your body, its’ the most magnificent machine you’ll ever be given, where are you going to live?
Caryn Hartglass: Where are you going to live, right! Okay, thank you so much Karyn.
Karyn Calabrese: Thank you, and come in again soon please, I’ve got all kinds of new stuff!
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I will! Okay, I’m coming soon.
Karyn Calabrese: Take care, Caryn, bye.
Caryn Hartglass: Bye, I’m Caryn Hartglass you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food and please visit my website at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Lots of great recipes up there and all kinds of information. Have a delicious week. Bye bye!