Interview: The Pleasure Principal
IT IS MY BELIEF THAT FOOD IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL, ALCHEMICAL KEY TO TOTAL TRANSFORMATION.
The beautiful Ashli Carnicelli, The Skincare Belle, honors me with an interview about the motto I live by and how we can all achieve an optimal state of wellbeing.
Ashli (AKA SKB): “Oh Gabrielle! I am so happy to be talking with you and sharing your amazing-ness and all of the beautiful things that you do. You are such a Renaissance woman- a natural health activist and specialist, a coach, an Entrepreneur, a Mom of beautiful twin boys- you literally do it all! I would like to know what your focus is now- I know that for a while you were pure raw vegan- is that still a practice for you?”
Gabrielle: “I still eat a ton of raw foods, but I’ve evolved from being 100% raw foods/raw vegan, just from my own studies and what my body has needed. So, it is still something that is a part of my life, but my focus has become more rounded because of my studies in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and in BioIndividuality. It’s really about the whole body and what the individual needs. Feeling good shouldn’t be a sin, it should be something WE strive for every day. There’s no need to feel guilty about what we put on our skin or what we put into our body, to who we hang out with, and what we chose to think, and how we choose to live.This PHILOSOPHY has become a very important message WITHIN MY COACHING, guilt-free pleasure. ”
SKB: “I love it. I love it. So, when you started changing the way you ate, primarily eating raw food and eating vegan in the beginning, did you notice changes in your skin?”
“Oh absolutely! What I loved and what I still love about eating such a pure diet is that you just are beaming! There is something SO SPECIAL that happens when a person chooses to become raw vegan for a while – it is a cleansing way of living. Your body goes through a period of completely letting go of everything it’s held onto for years. At the same time you’re cleaning and if done correctly, you’re simultaneously feeding your body an incredible amount of nutrients and vitamins, that had been missing. The result, a big beamy glow.
When you think about it, it’s how we wake up to a certain level of ideology about our nutrition and health, right?… we begin to let go of what we used to do and we try on something like organic or all raw or all vegan and or, all of the above – the cleansing that your body goes through is SO pure. Your skin is just glowing- you wake up and roll out of bed and look in the mirror, and the glow that you have when eating such a pure lifestyle is phenomenal. I do believe that being a raw vegan is great for a period of time. And then I believe it’s important to look at where we need to re-build our body. That looks different for every individual. As does any specific element of a lifestyle.”
“I was vegan for 15 years and a raw vegan for 10 of those 15 years. When I became pregnant with the twins, I thought I could ignore the cravings that I had in the 4th or 5th month. They got stronger by the 6th month and it was then I had my first bit or organic grass-fed meat. My body was like ‘Oh my God thank you SO much!!’ [laughter from both] And all of a sudden I had energy, and my brain fog went away. It was very emotionally and spiritually trying (eating meat) but I couldn’t deny what the nutritional needs were while growing two babies! I think there comes that point of philosophy versus science, at times.”
SKB: “Omigosh absolutely! 100%! You know, when I did my yoga teacher training and I studied with Lama Migmar, he went vegan for a long time. He realized it did not agree with him physically even though spiritually it did. From a physical and from an evolutionary standpoint, he’s from Tibet. His ancestors relied on meat as one of their primary sources of nutrition and that has not changed for him as a descendant. He told us that if you go to a store and choose organic grass fed meat that karmically, it’s not so bad because the meat is there- it is already dead. He said it would be different if you either killed it yourself or if you chose it and had someone kill it for you. So he said in modern society the spiritual and karmic implications are different.”
GB: “Exactly! Exactly. I read John Robbins’ book “Healthy to 100” and he was looking at the different cultures and looking at the people who were healthfully living to 100 and were still active and looked youthful and still had physical activity in their life. They all had a little bit of animal product, whether it was fish, or meat, eggs, or dairy. What they had, depended on where they were geographically – but they had some kind of animal product, even if it was something like 4 ounces for the whole week! The point being, it was still in their diet. That was the other piece that was fascinating for me. I totally geek out and I like to understand the science behind things but I’m also a philosopher…but in thinking about just that piece alone, of ‘what does our body need?’ looking at the person as an individual, we really have to put dogma aside. We have to look at what is necessary for a person’s body in order for them to have that radiant glow. That crazy, brilliant, beaming glow!”
SKB: “What is your beauty and health philosophy?”
GB: “Great question! [pauses thoughtfully] Pleasure. Right?! [laughter] I mean… on the simplest level, are we making choices that make us feel happy? Do they give us pleasure? As you know, Ashli, I’m obsessed with eating foods that are simply delicious and offer profound nutrition for the body. Cacao, raw chocolate, herbal elixirs, and then of course meals that are cooked with whole foods; at the root, my philosophy for beauty is really on the simplest level- making choices that make us feel good about ourselves. As goes my motto, “There are no rules, only choices.” This idea that we have to do this ‘one thing’ in order to achieve this one result- is a lie! It is an absolute lie and it keeps us chained into dogmas and belief systems that are outdated. I also think that some of these belief systems that we’ve accepted as a culture are emotional responses to the abuse we’ve witnessed to the planet and the animals in commercial farming and agriculture, which I myself, can align with. So, to speak to the philosophy of beauty and health, it is just as easy to make a choice to eat an organic, scrumptious, totally decadent raw food meal that offers powerful nutrition, or an organic cooked meal with grass fed meat, or whatever it is that you choose for your body that makes you feel strong, healthy and vibrant. Whatever that choice is, that’s what we should be doing every single day. When we’re happy with the choices we make, we’re happy in life! There’s two kinds of glow – there’s the ‘My Body is Healthy’ glow and then there’s the ‘I’m Fucking HAPPY!’ glow. And when you put those two together? Well, you’re beaming!”
SKB: [laughter from both] “Oh my God this is everything! And also- just a side note- to me there is no food that gives me more pleasure than dark chocolate. Cacao. Holy moly” GB: “Oh you know I’m obsessed. Just obsessed. After all, in its latin name means ‘Food of the gods’ ” SKB: “Gabrielle makes an amazing chocolate bar called “The ONE raw fudge bar…when I was pregnant I HAD to have it!!!” GB: “For me, cacao was and still is, an alchemical agent. It completely opened my eyes to another world.”
SKB: “What would you say to someone who is just beginning on a journey to becoming more health conscious and eating better, and taking better care of their skin- where should they begin?”
GB: “I think there are two to three things that we should do when we are embarking on a lifestyle change. The most important is to make realistic choices. Look at your life honestly. Look at your schedule, you commitments, and then make and honest choice. Honest choices support everlasting change. Put down the quick diet, put down the ‘I’m going to do a fast for 30 days and lose 60 pounds’- I mean that’s great it has its place- but after that- what’s your plan? We have to make realistic choices that support lasting change. If I’m working 40 hours a week, I’ve got kids, I’ve got a husband, my weekends are spent doing family activities plus making sure the house is clean, plus working on projects, hobbies and or passions, what choices can I make that are realistic in maintaining the healthy choice? For example, saying, ‘I’m going to replace my lunch every day with a smoothie, a smoothie that still is a meal replacement and filled with whole food nutrients that tastes divine. Is this a realistic change that you could sustain and do for a year or the rest of your life even? You might be like, ‘You know what? I’m fine with having lunch as my smoothie, and yes I’m going to go out to lunch sometimes, but in general I’m going to have a smoothie at lunch time.’ Instead of saying, ‘I’m going to have a SlimFast for every meal for the next month” SKB: “Ugh. Ugh. Terrible! You’re going to be starving for the next month and have no energy from no protein and no nutrients!”
GB: “Yes exactly! Terrible! And completely unrealistic for the capacity of the lives we lead!”
GB: “Two, go all organic. It’s Easy! Just look at what you’re eating and choose organic. Start there. Sometimes with my clients when I first work with them, I’m like ‘Ok- the only thing I want you to do for the next 3 weeks is eat organic food’ and they’re like, ‘That’s it?” I say, “Do that, and talk to me in 2 weeks”. Within a week I’m getting emails saying, ‘Oh my God my headaches are gone…’ or ‘I lost 10 pounds!’ or, ‘My sugar cravings have stopped!’ It’s powerful because there was an awareness brought to the kind of food they are putting in their body – they learn to read labels and the changes are significant and profound. Then step three would be to add two or three powerful, super foods to the diet. Of course, first I’m always going to recommend raw cacao. Then maybe get some chlorella or spiralina or maca or goji berries- something that is enjoyable but that is going to put you just slightly out of your comfort zone and that you have to learn to work with. A food that makes you feel better in a way that you haven’t quite felt before and yet have been looking for.”
“I think those three steps are the easiest. A realistic assessment of your lifestyle, go organic and add superfoods. They are simple steps even though they require, at times, massive perspective shifts.”
SKB: “I love this though because it shifts it from being punitive, to actually doing things out of self love. Coming from a place of ‘I want to take care of myself and therefore I’m going to eat xyz..’ A SlimFast three meals a day or going on a ‘Cleanse’- I HATE that word in terms of a diet because if you are eating healthfully you don’t need to cleanse yourself of anything because your food IS cleansing…it feels like you’re punishing yourself! A SlimFast for every meal? Ugh you feel like you’re being punished!”
GB: “I agree! I do believe in cleansing at the right time and if people do them with someone guiding them. In general though the three steps I mentioned are what will bring lasting change as a ‘way of life’. And then “diet food” ugh, Right?! I mean, I remember when I was a personal trainer, and eating healthy had the stigma of eating these power bars and dry chicken breasts with carrot sticks… are you kidding me? I want to friggin’ hurt myself!” SKB: “Exactly! It’s like you’re in a black hole with a dry piece of meat on the floor in front of you!” [laughter from both] GB: “Yes! So let’s take that philosophy of eating healthfully, and just upgrade it!”
SKB: “What food makes you feel the best? I know Cacao is definitely one of them! What is one of your favorite high vibration superfoods?”
GB: “There’s two things that come to mind. One is Spirulina. I adore this food. When I first was raw my body actually couldn’t take it and it made me sick. I could eat Chlorella by the pound! Over time however, I could add a little but here and there. And then, I have found over the years that I would crave it. My kids eat it too- I put it in our salads on a regular basis and in our smoothies on a regular basis. It’s great on some avocado! It just makes me feel like I’m in the sun. I now that sounds bizarre- but it gives me that feeling of a warm strength. I feel great and I feel strong when eating it. The nutritional profile is insane of course- it’s got a very high amount of protein, vitamins A, K and B12, plus minerals and so much more. It helps with candida and weight loss. It’s a gorgeous deep dark, blue green algae so you’re getting those important hues which is very important to our nutrition.”
SKB: “You first introduced me to maca and goji berries. So, I used to make this little mix, and I still do, of raw local honey, goji berries, raw cacao nibs, maca powder and walnuts as my breakfast in the morning and it makes melee so happy!”
GB: “That was me? All right!! [laughter] Oh delish! Let’s talk about that for a second. What an awesome, powerful snack. The raw honey which is a whole food – B vitamins, enzymes, immune support. Goji berries – filled with minerals, super high in Silica, Vitamin C – then you add Cacao with its 300 compound chemicals that support the function of the body, the anandamide and magnesium just to name a couple … and we didn’t even talk about the maca yet! I mean come on! This is exactly what I’m talking about. That to me is a dish of pleasure and passion! It is amazing and super nutritious, it tastes phenomenal and it literally inspires more pleasure when eating it! Standing there, it is natural to ask, ‘What else can I do that feels amazing today??’” I personally feel like I have a secret- I know the magic of these foods and the transformation that occurred from eating so consciously and powerfully. I am deeply passionate about sharing the power and deliciousness of these amazing foods and the choices we make!”
SKB: “Oh Gabrielle! You are so inspiring, you have this incredible effect on people to make the smallest change that has them vibrating on a completely different frequency. I am SO honored to have chatted with you today."