Sitting in the “green room” of Denver's iconic Tattered Cover Book Store on a recent evening, the feeling of anticipation for Kris Carr’s arrival is palatable. There’s still an hour until the filmmaker and bestselling author speaks, but chairs are already filled; even floor and staircase overflow-spots are scarce.
Kris is in Denver to promote her latest book, Crazy Sexy Diet, a happy, healthy, spiritually wealthy lifestyle how-to guide. I’m lucky enough to not have only a seat, but an exclusive Q&A with her before she addresses the crowd.
Fanning the Fires of Revolution
It’s clear from both the interview and her subsequent talk that Kris’s current mission is marshaling troops to join her in the “revolutionary act of staying well.”
While she deliberately avoided war metaphors when describing her first years with cancer (Crazy Sexy Cancer, her compelling 2007 documentary about dealing with her diagnosis, is available on DVD at Gaiam.com), Kris is using them now, to fight for us to be well.
Taking a moment for clarification, Kris states that while an incurable form of cancer is not a “gift,” (“I wouldn’t give anyone cancer as a “gift!”), she admits that it did lead to positive transformation. Just a few examples include a healthier lifestyle, producing a film, becoming an author and motivational speaker, and meeting her husband.
“Everybody’s got their ‘Shit Pickle.’ Maybe not cancer, but diabetes
, being overweight
, low energy
. We all have things we wish to change,” she says. Kris is quick to point out that genes don’t always determine destiny. For example, she notes that only five to ten percent of cancers are genetic. The rest, the majority of cases, are the result of poor lifestyle choices.
The best news that Kris shares tonight? Education promotes health. Although surprisingly slight and soft-spoken, Kris drives this message home by leaning over, well into my personal-space zone, to insist: “Prevention is the cure. There is so much within our reach.”
Unfortunately many lifestyle trends don’t support wellness (sedentary desk jobs, dinner from the drive-thru), our current medical system isn’t omniscient or infallible
, and no one source teaches us how to take care of ourselves. So, Kris advocates that readers become “wellness warriors” who seek out new information for themselves and do something with it. Make personal lifestyle changes. Tell others what they’ve learned. Shop differently
. Vote differently.
Remaining vigilant is another Wellness Warrior trait. Why? Kris gives it to us straight, as only a best friend or sister would, “Something is always going to be ‘up’ in our bodies.”
Good thing Kris believes we all have an “inner M.D.” to guide us. “That beautiful person in front of you in the mirror has your back, like no one else does. You have more power than anyone else,” she emphasizes.
The trick is to drown out the fads and fallacies and listen to that inner voice. Her personal solutions to quiet the noise are a tropical-print Lazy Boy, purchased at the very non-retirement age of 32, and daily outdoor walks. Regular Lazy Boy sessions allow Kris to go inside, journal, converse with herself. Walking in nature fosters a deep spiritual path. Otherwise, “I’d be riddled with fears,” she confesses. “It’s my chance to say to my body, ‘we’re doing O.K. together.’ Fear is a dragon. You can let it devour you or you can put on spurs and ride it.”
What’s Not in the Book
Readers shouldn’t expect “eat-exactly-what-I-tell-you” advice. In fact, Kris wishes the word “diet” wasn’t even in the title. Instead, she hopes that people approach Crazy Sexy Diet as “a lifestyle plan, a home base you can always come back to after checking out the scenery along different paths.”
Still, it’s a relief to hear Kris has realistic expectations: “I know everyone won’t go vegan
.” She does want to change minds though, and thus lives. Her plan? Motivate readers to try her 21-day program, accompanied by sample recipes and self-discovery exercises, after sparking interest with topics such as body pH
, juicing, detoxing
, supplements and shaking your ass
Make a Difference Now
Kris prefers readers “lean into” her Crazy Sexy Diet program and embrace all of its tenets at one time, but she knows that a one-step-at-a-time approach works, too. Happily, there’s “plenty of room” in her plan, meaning you can start now by adopting one or all of the following tips.
• Move away from inflammatory foods such as dairy products
. Hemp, rice, oat or almond “milk” is one simple substitution.
•Get organized! Set menu plans a week in advance and stick to them. Shop with a list; buy in bulk. Immediately wash and store produce in serving-size containers.
•“Divide and conquer” by engaging your family
. Kids can do simple prep work and enjoy naming new recipes. Draw everyone to cooking as a creative process.
• Extract “non-foods” (think: processed) from your diet.
•“Upgrade” your food quality. Select organic produce
; choose protein sources free from antibiotics and hormones.
• When tempted to stress-eat, go inside to find out what’s “eating you” emotionally.
• Stay healthy on the road. Choose salads for main courses; use iPhone apps and Google.com to find the healthiest dining options. Wash your hands a lot, and get extra sleep if possible.
The Future & Staying Connected
What’s next for Kris? “Writing for you, for many years to come.” While she promises that “a nutrition fundamentals reminder will always be in each book,” focusing on the mind is next. Specifically, a book to help readers free themselves from “’stinkin’ thinkin’ — the thoughts that hold us back
In the meantime, Kris hopes that you’ll visit and join her online community at crazysexylife.com
. Although she enters the site daily, she openly concedes, “Everyone’s doing just fine without my input! People are making friends and the best writers in the wellness field are contributing to educate you.” And remember, “Live like you mean it!”