The integrated oncology centre where my mum is recovering from her Stage 4 Colon Cancer has a Lifestyle Program called School of Life – a comprehensive program to help educate my mum to keep cancer at changing her lifestyle and to maintain when we return home . This lifestyle program encompasses:
- Education classes – to teach us about disease, the human body, our digestive system, eating for nutrition, how to achieve optimal health and the common carcinogens we are exposed to in everyday living
- Food Preparation classes – to equip us with the skills and recipes to keep us enjoying Raw, Living food when we venture back into the real world
- Yoga, Breathing and Meditation classes – to train the mind and spirit to be calm and to focus on the present
- Exercise with Oxygen Therapy – to get more oxygen in the system as cancer do not thrive well in oxygenated environments.
And we have been very blessed to have Mr Jack Cross leading the lifestyle program, supporting my mum’s recovery journey. Jack was trained as a Health Educator and Raw Food Chef at Hippocrates Health Institute. He is also a Jivamukti Yoga teacher, nutritional consultant and Master personal trainer. He has helped coach many people, including working as a Health Coach on cruise ships, teaching nutrition, fitness and yoga, despite being only 28 years old.
Through the education classes, I learnt how to view food as nutrition rather than for mere pleasure. This change in perception, while extreme for a food blogger, has helped me be very conscious of what I am putting into my body to nourish my cells. Food preparation classes have been a blast too. I never used to prepare food at home; we usually ate out a lot. But preparing raw, vegan food has helped me appreciate and understand various food combining that creates yummy, wholesome dishes without compromising on nutritional quality. Jack is quite like Jamie Oliver in the kitchen – confident, fun and educational!
Yoga and breathing exercises have helped us to relax and focus the mind, and release old assumptions in life. Though it has been only 8 weeks, the entire lifestyle programme has been life changing for my mum and me. Every time I learn something new from Jack, I wish I had known that earlier! So here is my exclusive interview with Jack to help all of you get to know him better, and be inspired for healthy living!
Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Jack! Could you tell us a bit more about yourself – Where are you from? I understand your dad is a naturopath – how has your upbringing impacted your career choice as a health educator?
I’m originally from a small little town in Australia called Mount Isa, a tough mining town in the outback. I have 3 beautiful sisters and 2 energetic brothers who are all very fit, active and health conscious. Dad is a vegetarian, acupuncturist and Naturopathic doctor. He was studying naturopathy around the time I was born, so imagine I was raised from young learning all of this information about the toxins in food and the environment! I had a very strict and disciplined upbringing on the food choices that were brought into the house. There was always and abundance of fresh ripe fruit on the dinner table and plenty of salad sandwiches, veggies and brown rice. We never stepped foot into hospitals; my dad gave us homeopathic remedies if we were ever ill. We were all brought up very active; Mum had us all in swimming training at 5:30am, Dad had us playing soccer, athletics, karate and competing in athletics from a very young age.
I am sure you enjoyed big meaty Australian meals and partied it up before turning vegan. What triggered the change in your life?
Totally, even though Dad was a vegetarian and I never saw him touch a drop of alcohol before I turned 18, he allowed us to eat meat growing up and drink when I turned 18. I use to love my meat, I remember when I was 22, I travlled through Brazil, going to a steak house and eating that much I got the meat sweats. I worked my first job at McDonalds (quarter pounders every night), loved eating medium rare rib fillet steaks, beer battered thick-cut chips with black peppered sauce and red wine was my favorite. I even studied nutrition in Australia and got sold the same misleading information the rest of the public receive: Get your protein from animal flesh and calcium from Dairy, so for many years that reinforced I was doing the right thing and that was what I recommended to all my clients when writing nutritional plans.
The change came through a deep desire for personal growth and global contribution. When I look back, I really feel it was my karma. At the time I was coaching on Oasis of the Seas (a cruise ship) and many clients were coming to me with serious health conditions, especially cancer. I did not feel educated enough to coach them and I wanted to gain the knowledge, so I was looking for intensive nutritional courses. Hippocrates Health Institute came up from 3 different people telling me they are reversing cancer with diet and lifestyle, so I looked into their Health Education Program, applied, got accepted and it transformed my life. One day I was eating egg whites, fish, chicken and steak the next day I was Vegan and not just vegan but a Raw Living Foodist.
The detox cleansed my body, mind and spirit.
Before the change I was all about attachments, bigger muscles, Image, money, property, shares, climbing the company ladder, ego, fame and glory. Then all of a sudden, these did not matter anymore. It was all about living in a state of gratitude and non-attachment it was like a veil had been lifted from over my eyes. I dropped 10kg, was bouncing out of bed in the morning with child-like energy, able to cry and express my feeling openly and speak from the heart. And for the first time in my life, I felt connected with something more than the material physical body.
How do you deal with all the weird reactions when you tell people you are a raw vegan?
With Compassion, because I remember when I was once living that lifestyle. Also with Love, because I love making delicious healthy dishes and sharing recipes and food with people.
Please share your challenges and how you overcome them to help all of us who are trying to stay on this raw, vegan diet?
All challenges come from addiction, from reacting to the cravings of the mind, influenced by our environment. Daily practice of meditation has helped me to become more conscious of the way I respond to my environment. If I start getting a craving for an unhealthy choice, I have learnt to observe the craving and ask myself will this choice nourish my body or create toxicity in my body.
Usually I find the cravings come if I am trying to suppress an emotion, feeling stressed or very tired.
This is living consciously and it is only when you detoxify your body remove all the toxic waste you have accumulated within your body and refine your senses that you can start to feel the effects food and lifestyle choices have on your thoughts, emotions and physical body. Unfortunately we are set up to fail. Everywhere we turn, we are being sold some toxic substance on a billboard or T.V. advertisement and the unconscious mind is absorbing all this information. So you have to develop wisdom through physical experience – feeling the benefits of optimal health and knowledge – daily education through any form of media – movies, books, audios, websites and surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
What is your favorite cuisine?
I am a food connoisseur and love all flavors and cuisine. But for me, Mexican, Lebanese and Thai are hard to beat!
How do you constantly teach yourselves new recipes?
I love being in the kitchen and preparing food, I love researching cooked food recipes and then reverse engineering a healthier version, using fresh, organic raw ingredients that taste amazing.
How do you constantly keep yourself updated on health and nutritional developments?
By reading, watching documentaries, writing articles, attending lectures, presentations, workshops and yearly courses to update my qualifications and, most importantly, teaching
What is your exercise regime like?
It changes all the time. The body needs variety in training due to it’s ability to rapidly adapt. To prevent over training and injury, I make sure I include strength, cardiovascular, balance, flexibility and rest. I always set goals to challenge my body and develop personal motivation.
Other than food and exercise, which are other regimens to keep yourself healthy?
Daily meditation and Pranayama, Reading, Gratitude, sunlight for 15-30min, Drinking distilled water, Weekly saline flushes, Coffee enemas and Probiotic implants, Skin brushing and Saunas, Deep sleep and Fasting.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a health educator?
Living in a state of non-attachment. Realizing that you could be the very best communicator in the world, have the best intention for your clients, do everything perfect but not everyone is ready to transform their lifestyle. So to plant the seed of health in each person and develop the patients to allow it to grow in it’s own time, is both my passion as well as my greatest challenge.
After working with so many people, can you share with us the most interesting case you have worked with?
I worked with a 58yr gentleman from Florida who was brought up never eating anything green, by an Italian American mother who loved to bake and cook. He had a triple bypass in his late 30’s, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, was reliant on sleeping pills every night, and heavily obese.
I developed a complete immersion retreat program where I lived with the him and his family for 1 week. I wanted to teach them how to transform their life from the inside out.
In 2 nights, this gentleman was sleeping perfectly.
In 3 days, he was off diabetic medication.
His cholesterol is now perfect he has lost 100lbs and lives a 80% raw vegan diet drinking green smoothies everyday, exercises and meditates daily. More importantly he is a shining example of health for all his friends and family.
If you could summarize health advice into 1 sentence to share with all of Eatprayflying readers, what would that be?
Develop heaven on earth by what you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually do on a daily basis.
Knowing Jack has helped me realized that there are such disciplined passionate individuals with fulfilling careers out there to help others improve their health and wellness. We can all “be the change we want to see in this world”.
And I hope this interview with Mr. Jack Cross will help inspire all of us to live and age healthily 🙂
Everytime I post on a topic, some people will write to me privately asking if that post was the “magic bullet” for my mum’s cancer. Just want to clarify my mum is also undergoing other complementary treatments (I will slowly write about each one as mum recovers!):
- Raw Diet, Vegan Diet and Juice Fast
- Electro Lymphatic Therapy (ELT)
- Colon Hydrotherapy (Colonics)
- Nefful Negative Ion Clothings from Japan
- Saline Flush, Coffee Enema, Wheatgrass Implant, Probiotic Implant
- Vitamin C High Dose IV
- Vitamin B17
- Ozone Therapy
- Insulin Potentiated Therapy (IPT)
- Exercise with Oxygen Therapy (EWOT)
- Breathing and Pilates