Dave Conrardy, known across this nation as the Raw Food Trucker, says he was an “obese, dying man” before he discovered juicing 5 years ago. Since then he's lost more than half his body weight, seen a few of his YouTube videos go viral and become a world-famous motivational speaker, co-hosting the Raw Food World Conference in Ecuador last year. He'll stop by the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center (located on the historic campus of Arsenal Tech High School) next Wednesday to share his story and give tips on how to live more healthfully.
NUVO: Can you describe your life and health before you started juicing?
Dave Conrardy: I was a 430-pound truck driver. At age 51, I realized I was dying. I had late stage one or early stage two colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. I was on 19 prescription drugs and six over-the-counter meds. I ate an entire bottle of Rolaids every day just to function, on top of my acid reflux medication. One doctor said the damage to my kidneys was irreversible.
NUVO: What’s your health like now?
Conrardy: I now weigh about 200 pounds. I lost 230 pounds over the course of the first year of juicing. I have weaned off of all but one of my medications, and have as much energy as I did in my late twenties, and there’s an emotional shift as well — I’m no longer angry. I just had my regular blood work done, and after five years of juicing, there are still no proteins leaking into my blood stream [from the diabetes].
NUVO: What got you into juicing?
Conrardy: I was part of a program in Oregon that trained students how to drive a big rig. There was a couple in the program — David and Youdit Whiting — who were self-proclaimed raw, organic veganists, and nobody else wanted to train them. They told me about their lifestyle, and said that if I ate like they did, I could “eat as much as I wanted.” That’s all I heard — so I taught them how to drive, and they taught me how to live. We’re like family now and are working on a book together.
NUVO: What does your typical day look like, as far as eating?
Conrardy: I can tell you what I’ve eaten so far today: two cucumbers, cucumber juice, a zucchini, a tomato, a Klausen pickle (not organic, but they’re raw), a handful of cashews and almonds, one slice of watermelon, and one liter of dark green leafy vegetables juiced with grasses (alfalfa) and sweetened with raw stevia.
NUVO: What’s the biggest challenge in convincing people to juice?
Conrardy: They say they don’t have the time or money. I tell them I lost all my weight while working 70 hours a week, driving a truck. I had a 100-foot extension cord and a juicer in my truck at all times, and could even eat a raw salad meal at an interstate Golden Corral buffet. As far as money, you have to ask what you’ll save in healthcare if you change the track of your life. Heart attacks, strokes and cancer cost a lot of money.
NUVO: Favorite brand of juicer?
Conrardy: The Sampson Juicer. We tested a bunch, side-by-side, and the Sampson was the only one still going 12 hours later.