80/10/10 Allstar Harley Johnstone
Ultra-EnduranceMountain Bike Champion
Another interview in our "Low-Fat Raw Vegan Elite Athlete"
80/10/10, suddenly a whole new landscape opens up, making it possible to compete at the level of world champions
while exclusively consuming fruits and greens provided by Nature. If the word really got out, 80/10/10 would
BIO: Harley Johnstone spent his first 24 years battling up-and-down
energy levels and a host of maladies including chronic fatigue, asthma, Crohn's disease, hypoglycemia, mild
arthritis, sleep disorders, depression, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, anorexia, acne, and more. These challenges
led him to explore veganism and eventually raw veganism in 2005. As a 100% raw vegan, Harley has won 24-hour solo
mountain bike races, completed many marathons and half marathons, cycled all over the globe, and raced bicycles
in Europe. Having raced and trained with
Olympic gold medalists, Tour of Italy riders, and Tour de France winners including Lance Armstrong and Oscar
Pereiro, Harley continues to compete at the national level in Australian road and ultra-endurance races. He
aims to win his first ultramarathon in Adelaide, Australia this
month. Harley also spends time in Thailand training in muay Thai and doing damage to local supplies of mango, banana, durian,
chumpadak, passion fruit, mangosteen, etc. He travels the world teaching people how to thrive on fruit and nature’s
abundance. Never having held a driver’s license, Harley fancies himself an automobile-free raw vegan organic
athlete, racing to save the planet. Says Harley, “If I can transform from a chronic-fatigue Nintendo zombie to an
ultra-endurance mountain bike race winner, totally free of drugs and stimulants—just by learning about my body’s
daily needs and how to meet them—imagine what others can
Tell us about yourself: your age, where you live, your job, your family, and the like.
Harley Johnstone, aka Durianrider. I’m
31. I’m a raw coach and a world traveler.
Do you eat 100% raw vegan?
I’ve been 100% raw vegan since
10/10/05. I eat no honey, either. Nor salt, oil, superfoods, condiments, seaweed, etc.
How long have you been eating the 80/10/10 way?
When I attended Sports Camp [Health
& Fitness Week] in 2006, I learned how important it is to know how to fuel yourself properly and what that
look like in terms of volume and calories. Ever since then, I’ve evolved on my low-fat raw vegan
Why did you choose this path?
I’m into growth and natural
Describe your journey to 80/10/10—from the diet you were raised with, to the other dietary
approaches you tried, to how you learned about and came to embrace veganism, to where you are now with
I was vegetarian for one week, and then
I learned about the dairy industry and how unhealthy dairy is, and I went vegan overnight. That was like 8 years
ago. Then I learned about raw food and food combining and got in contact with Doug and went from there. The
hardest thing is learning how to eat enough fruit and not feeling guilty about it. We live in a fruit-phobic
society, and anyone who eats more than two oranges in a sitting has an “eating disorder”!
Were you sick before going raw?
I was very sick with digestion, blood
sugar, and fatigue issues. My low-fat (cooked) vegan diet helped heaps! But 811 is another level. When you stop
eating garlic, salt, seaweed, etc., you really rise up more levels. It feels pretty cool!
Does your partner eat the way you do?
Yes, my partner is also 100% raw vegan
and was so before I met her. There are only two 100% raw vegan chicks in Australia! So the attraction was instant and lasting,
because we have such high standards about how we live.
Has eating an 811RV diet changed how your family (or household) eats?
We don’t have a house and live as
gypsies traveling around on our bicycles. But we like to think we positively change the houses of other people
we stay with sometimes.
Give us a sample of your daily diet and lifestyle routine.
I’m mentoring on the computer around
three hours a day, on average. We don’t have a car and choose to ride, run, or walk for food. We exercise only
on the days we want to eat and try and do exercises that have some meaning, such as cycle commuting or carrying
heavy boxes of fruit.
I like to get around 3,500 calories a
day. For me that generally means about ten bananas before 9 am, another 20 bananas at noon, and two large heads of lettuce plus two kilos of
tomatoes & cucumber before sundown. During days when I exercise heavily, I eat about twice that much,
usually by doubling or tripling my banana consumption. I LOVE spending so little time on food prep now—no
more recipes and complex combinations followed by lowered vitality! Life is so much simpler now, leaving me more
time and energy to devote to my partner, family, clients, etc.
Freelea (my partner) eats the same
lately, as she has upped her weights and cycling program. We usually eat three meals per day and try to finish
up before the sun sets. We get around 10 to 14 hours of rest each night. It’s a life of health and freedom we
have worked hard to obtain and are very grateful for.
Isn’t that too much fruit?
It’s ENOUGH fruit! I’ve NEVER seen a
fat 811 person. Nobody is getting fatter on this diet. Fat people who make the switch get fit, and super-thin
people who go 811 get muscles.
Here’s a radical concept: As I see it,
there are two types of people in the raw-food movement: (1) those who eat enough fresh fruit to properly satiate
their natural need for simple-sugar fuel, and (2) those who don’t eat enough fruit and thus turn to cooked
foods, raw animal products, supplements, stimulants, and high-fat raw imitations of cooked food dishes to
compensate. I never try to turn my banana into a pizza, and I have no need for the emotion-numbing,
taste-bud-exciting substances so common in the raw food movement.
I used to crave cooked foods and
gourmet high-fat raw foods when I first started, simply because I was undereating fruit and still eating salt.
When I cut out salt, seaweed, herbs, spices, condiments, vinegar, etc., that helped a ton. Maybe it was a
coincidence, but when I learned how to eat enough calories from fruit to meet my needs, I stopped trying to make
raw versions of my favorite cooked foods.
Of course, I’m human—cooked
foods do start to look inviting if I’ve been training hard and undereating fruits. But my
conviction is strong, and I’m not tempted. It’s just 27 years of cooked programming. I have a meal of fruit and
I’m good, and then cooked food starts to look like the stodge it really is! We will eat maggots when we’re
So let’s ensure our glycogen tank is
taken care of and eat sufficient calories from fruit! All my friends who try raw undereat fruit and go back to
cooked food. Then they tell me they have no discipline. But we cannot fight the body’s wisdom. It will overtake
us and force cooked foods in if we starve ourselves … EVERY TIME! The only sustainable solution is to become a
fruit eater in earnests, ditching the “oh my god, that’s too much fruit!” dogma.
Besides diet, food, and nutrition, what other lifestyle factors do you find most important in
supporting you in following 811RV?
Conviction to seek the truth and live
it. Conviction to save the planet and make my life count for something more than a pretty face and a nice DVD
Do you ever wonder whether you’re getting enough (protein, calories, micronutrients of your
Yeah, I used to wonder, but then I just
remember how crappy I used to feel on those “protein-rich” foods and how my body just has to fight and thrive in
spite of them. I’ve done my homework now: I’ve listened to over a thousand hours (literally) of Doug’s
recordings, so I’ve been brainwashed enough!
What are some of the personal benefits (excluding athletic performance) you’ve experienced
since transitioning to a strict 811rv diet?
VO2 max, agility,
power, endurance, life commitment, passion, life purpose, and clarity of purpose.
Compare for us your experiences eating a low-fat raw diet versus the popular high-fat version?
How do you view the two differently?
Well, I’m in Thailand today at the 2009 World Durian Festival. We
eat only durians for dinner, as a mono meal. We still notice that durians in that amount don’t allow the body
the same vigor as a meal of mangos or bananas or oranges. High fat is nature’s slow-down plan: slow you down and
fatten you up, so you can survive a possible famine.
How have you found it socially to eat this way?
It scares away all the drainbows and
attracts rainbows! I had to get rid of my mobile phone, because it rang so much. I’m always meeting strangers
and have made lasting friendships worldwide. I found my soulmate because I stood up and
How have your family and friends reacted to your dietary choices?
At first people freaked out. But that’s
okay—if mainstream people aren’t FREAKING out about your lifestyle, then you’re probably working in a job you
hate to buy food and junk you don’t need. I like to appear in the newspaper and on television, because I find
that it helps people swallow the message easier if they read it in print or saw you on a TV show. As soon as I
was on radio for the first time, many very mainstream friends began to take me more seriously. Some people
distance themselves from Internet, radio, TV, etc., but I know these are vey powerful tools for reaching our
family and friends. Suddenly I hear them saying, “SEE, THE TV SAID IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!!” :)
How have others in your sports community reacted to your dietary choices?
Some don’t want to train with me,
because they feel guilty at the café when I’m eating organic fruit and they’re ordering a quad latte and three
chocolate donuts. But I don’t give my crew a hard time and usually just let my walkin’ do the talkin’. I’ve got
a sense of humor, and that helps heaps.
Can you tell us about some difficult realities of eating an 811rv diet in a world of SAD
When I stay with people who say, “Oh,
we can cater for you, no problem … we eat heaps of fruit too!” THEY HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I EAT! I always come
prepared. ALWAYS! I used to miss meals, but that just affected my training recovery and made me look like a
weirdo who didn’t eat. So now I bring my 30 ripe bananas for a meal and show people how to eat healthy. At meal
time I’m careful not to insult people and try to keep it fun and light. It’s not what you say, but how you say
Have you had success finding ripe fruits when traveling?
ALWAYS! Because when I’m hungry, I get
what I want!
How long have you been vegan?
Since March 2001.
Do you find yourself frequently debunking myths or inaccuracies about
Yes, people said I couldn’t be a good
cyclist as a vegan. Now I’m flying and totally drug free. It’s funny, the people that said I couldn’t do it,
none of them ride now.
What about veganism appeals to you?
It’s so eco! There are 6.6 billion
people on the planet! We need to start getting conscious and compassionate. And having fruit parties every
Are there things about being vegan that you find challenging?
Challenging? Well, being a voice for
the voiceless has given me such life purpose that I find it a little challenging to decide where I want to focus
my energy. There are so many good things to be a part of in regards to getting the vegan message
Describe a typical day of training.
Yesterday I got up at 6 am and cycled
160 km in the Thai summer sun. I drank five quarts of water and ate eight small bananas. By the end of the day I
had eaten about 4,000 calories. I got two hours of massage. Did some stretching. I feel great
As an athlete, you have quite specific nutritional needs. How do you meet the demands of your
training through your nutritional choices?
I count my calories! Not because I fear
getting too much, but so I get ENOUGH. Fruit is nearly impossible to overeat, because it doesn’t stimulate the
taste buds like cooked foods do. That’s why you NEVER see a real chunky long-term 100% 811er. Now what other way
of eating can you say that about??? NONE!
When training through periods of maximum exertion, what do you eat, and how much per day,
Well, my biggest days are 24-hour
mountain bike races, and I eat around 7,000 calories during those races. I find the maximum number of calories I
can absorb and still ride well is around 300 per hour. Multiplying 300 calories by 24 hours give me 7,200
calories. Anything more than that starts to affect my riding performance, as does anything less than
In terms of actual foods, I eat one
kind of fruit, and aim for 60 grams of carbs per hour. This means eating high-calories fruits that travel well
and can be eaten quickly and easily, like bananas (2 to 4 per hour), dates (3 to 6 per
or raisins (100 grams per hour), or figs (about 4 to 6 per
During 24-hour races, I burn far more
calories than I eat—about 18,000. The 11,000-calorie deficit is consumed in reserve body fat, which I eventually
replenish over the following days. That’s a little over 3 pounds (at 3,500 calories per pound), or just under
1.5 kilos (at about 7700 calories per kilo.)
Can you tell us about any overall athletic performance improvements you’ve noticed since
I’ve objectively increased my
VO2 max [maximum
oxygen uptake—a measure of cardiorespiratory endurance] to 78. I’ve increased my power on the bike riding
uphill. I have better agility on the mountain bike. I feel more emotionally balanced.
What are some of your most notable recent athletic achievements while maintaining a strict
In 2008, I was the South Australian
24-hour solo mountain bike champion. I’ve cycled across Australia, and most importantly, I enjoy movement a lot
more, because I see it as a celebration of health, rather than something I “have” to do. I’ve run a 1:22:35 half
marathon and a few marathons.
What athletic goals do you have moving forward?
A sub-2:30 marathon is realistic, based
on my VO2 max and my
physiology. People ask if I plan to ride pro. I don’t. Riding at 100 km/h down an alpine descent with no barrier
and in lycra and a 200 g helmet has never been part of my goals. I have officially raced against Tour de France
riders—not just trained with them, raced with them. There are two speeds in those races, if you know what I
mean. I’m not interested in compromising my health to meet sponsorship goals. Million-dollar bike companies have
no time for “organic athletes.” Perhaps things will change. Either way, I love to ride my
What do you imagine is the future of vegan athletics?
It’s increasing! More and more sports
stars are learning about the lifestyle and its health benefits and karma etc. And WAY beyond vegan, the HUGE
plus comes with 80/10/10: Suddenly a whole new landscape opens up, making it possible to compete at the level of
world champions (at least ones who don’t take performance-enhancing drugs) while exclusively consuming fruits
and greens provided by Nature. I hope my example will lead to more athletes knowing that they can compete
powered by fruit and greens and get healthier and stronger every year. If the word really got out, 80/10/10
would explode—I'm all about making that happen!
How did you learn about Dr. G and 811rv?
I was seeking the best, and what we
seek is seeking us.
What is your personal opinion of Dr. G’s book, The 80/10/10 Diet?
Best book on health ever written. Why?
Because it’s OBJECTIVE! It offers clear-cut direction on how to measure calories, what foods and how much to
eat, and what other factors play in to succeeding on the raw-food diet. It’s also authentic—lots of fruit books
talk about why eating fruit is good, but they aren’t written by a 100% raw vegan.
Have any particular points or messages in The 80/10/10
Diet stuck with you, above all else?
Learn how many calories you need to
stay fit and healthy! Do your homework and learn about calories! Get so good that you can walk into a grocery
and tell people how many calories they are eating! It’s very fun!
Do you think people on a tight budget can do this diet?
Can anyone NOT afford to eat the best
nutrition? Have you ever heard of a heroin junkie quitting drugs because they were too expensive? Me neither.
When something is important to a person, they make it happen! The money thing is just a weak excuse. Kids
in Bangladesh can do 811,
drinking coconuts and eating wild bananas and wild tender greens.
Looking back, is there anything you would change about how you transitioned to
I would have learned about calories
sooner, instead of saying, “calorie counting is for Jenny Craig clients!” I train with Tour de France cyclists,
and EVERY ONE I’ve asked knows how many calories they need and how much they burn in training.
Do you plan to change anything or do anything differently with your 811rv regimen, going
I just plan to keep eating my meals
early before bedtime and to keep eating a hearty breakfast (fruit, of course).
What advice would you give a newbie to 811, or someone who is looking to refine their
Learn calories! Start moving! Get more
sleep! Study 811 like a champ! And if you want to live your life purpose and live a life of happiness, you’ll
have to stop taking things personally. Taking things personally or being suspect of others’ intentions often
leads to burnout; speaking from the heart and trying to combine truth with humor often leads to burning
Also I would like to add that on this
811 path people tend to have super energy like they have never experienced before. Crazy amounts! I’ve seen so
many people be overwhelmed by this phenomenon and reach for numbing foods that block this energy. Blocking your
vitality will not lead to a life of fulfillment. Rather, transmuting this energy into our life purpose,
creativity, relationships, sports, etc.—these things will allow you to stay raw, stay sane and keep in the
Feel the energy—it’s here to help us
help the planet. Feel it, tap into it, use it, let if flow freely into your life. Only an 811’er knows the
feeling—when we decide that numbing our emotions is no longer an option, we will be rewarded for our conviction
with contentment. That high-water-content vitality is truly the best drug on the planet! There are no comedowns,
Feel like you’re going crazy with the
contradictions in society? Then go bananas! Get fruity! Keep it fun and heartfelt. Stay supple, stay funny, stay
passionate. Be part of the solution or keep being part of the problem.
Can’t find a raw hero in your world?
just look outside at the first wild critter you see. Thousands of thriving raw examples are out there, if you
just open your eyes and tune into an attitude of gratitude.
Can’t find a human example reaching the
standards you admire? Then become that example! 811 is like anything worthwhile in life—climbing mountains for
instance: some people love ’em, see them as an opportunity for growth. Some people whine and complain about the
gradient and look for the chair lift. And in the end, our altitude reflects our attitude.
Is there anything you’d particularly like to share that hasn’t been asked?
Hydration! I personally feel that
people on 811 don’t drink enough water! Sure, we don’t need as much as cooked food eaters or salt eaters, but we
still need enough! The chimps in the forest don’t wear clothing and are in the rain many times a day! We know
that if you put a dehydrated person in a river they will rehydrate! So not drinking enough water and living
clothed indoors in winter dry air is a MASSIVE hindrance.
And you know what? When we stop
drinking water, we don’t want it anymore! We feel sick when we drink it! And that’s a rut we don’t want to stay
in, because emotionally it will crack us!
I’ve gotten dehydrated out on bike
tours. Water hurts to drink, I’m peeing rusty nails, and clearly performance and attitude are out the door. Just
watch a person who’s been rescued after being heat stroked. They grab at the water bottle and guzzle some water,
and they almost vomit at the pain they experience.
So my tip is to drink a quart upon
rising. Cold climate is dry climate! Thinking we can get all our water from juicy fruits and coconuts is the
biggest mistake I see people making.
I’ve been a water watcher for over 10
years now. I can tell if a spider is dehydrated! And I can make a spider drink! It’s a subject I’m very
passionate about, and I believe it is very overlooked.