Rich is a plant-based ultra endurance athlete and #1 bestselling author of Finding Ultra. Julie is singer-songwriter of spiritual & healing based music under the guise SriMati.
Together Rich & Julie are raising an incredibly inspiring family allowing their children to make informed choices and making practical conscious decisions in their daily routine. They have also launched Jai Lifestyle offering products and services for optimal wellness, e-cookbooks, meditation programs and Rich’s weekly podcast...
Tell us how you guys discovered this lifestyle….
When we met, we began the process of looking for land to build our dream home together. We moved into an art loft in Santa Monica during the first 5 months of construction. Then we came home to the land and lived in an airstream and two tipis for the final 8 months of construction. We were living like modern day hippies. Julie was practicing yoga, wearing a poncho and driving a blue volkswagen bug with an orange buddha on the dash. Rich was writing a screenplay and working as a lawyer from his office in the airstream.
Was it 100% in or a gradual transition?
Our journey has been one of love, creativity and originality in it's process. It continues to evolve and morph.
What were the very first steps you took towards it?
Practicing yoga and meditating were really the first steps toward connecting to our deeper authentic hearts and this helped us to get really clear about what were the defining qualities of the life we wanted to experience together. In 2005, Julie got a cyst in her neck that she healed through the use of ayurvedic practices and herbs. This was a very powerful experience for all of us to witness. It was the first time we really started to see " food as medicine." But it wasn't until Rich also experienced a health crisis, that he started to embrace a plant based diet and connect with his athletic power.
You are obviously bringing up your children this way from the beginning of their lives – how do you manage choices that come to them through normal life situations like getting fast food or unconscious treats?
We support each member of our family to make their own choices. We make sure that we have healthy options on hand and that we cook and prepare food together as a normal part of life. It's a family affair. We try to be living examples by eating to live. As time goes on this naturally creates change within all of us. Our diet is constantly evolving and changing with the seasons. We also educate ourselves and our children on the practices of the meat and dairy industry and the suffering and violence inflicted on our animals. We keep up with new information about what it means to buy organic, local, and farm fresh produce and the planetary consequences associated with our choices. If we are all well informed, they we make our own choices and take responsibility for those choices. It also gives us a feeling of empowerment, that we can be part of the solution by voting with our dollars.
Many people discover or start the lifestyle through health concerns and come to it through diet, what comes after that?
We have discovered that food is a great portal to many other aspects of your life. We are not just a physical body. We are mind, body and spirit. Or we like to say, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience" not the other way around.
“Our journey has been one of love, creativity and originality in it's process. It continues to evolve and morph.”
What are the top 5 things you would suggest to people to get rid of from their homes? (could be kitchen, food, cleaning products, etc)
Julie advocates the elimination of television, and watching the shows you like on dvd or apple TV. Rich and the boys fought this for awhile. But there is so much toxicity that enters the home through that box. Most of it is experienced in the changing or searching the channels to find something of value to watch.
Which is such a waste of precious energy. So we gave it up and now we choose our entertainment selectively. In 2004, We made a short film together called "Downdog"- a satire on yoga in West Los Angeles. Being film makers ourselves, we love movies and indulge often at the theatre.
If you live in a climate that is warm, don't use a clothes dryer. The clothes line is such a green sustainable method for drying clothes. Some years back our dryer broke and we went to Home Depot. We asked an older gentleman, "What is the highest energy saving dryer model? " He replied, "The clothes line." That hit home and instead of buying a dryer, we spent $29 on the supplies to hang a line. We dried all our clothes that way for four years. Now we have a dryer, but we try to line dry as often as we can.
Simplify as much as you can carefully selecting the items that you need and enjoy and sharing any excess with those in need.
We like to aspire to be able to place all our personal items in an 8 x8 square, excluding musical instruments, cycling gear and our vitamin blender. It's a cool exercise to really start to get real about what your personal needs are. We're all for great clothes and fine blankets, but choose them selectively and not excessively. Everyone should have a great pair of boots, but not five.
Get rid of an ammonia or chloride based cleaning products. Try using apple cider vinegar mixed with water as a window cleaner and an internal system balancer. It's a cure all for yeast and any imbalance in the body system. Always try to buy planet friendly detergents and cleaners.
Always choose green ecological planet friendly alternatives in your home. Mystic paint is a company that has non-toxic and non cancerous exterior and interior paint. Our 9 year old artist daughter loves working with this paint. This is the paint we have on the walls in our home inside and out.
How does creativity play a role in your day to day?
JAI house is a creative incubator. No two days are the same for us. We embrace and express creativity as much as possible in our lives.
What creative outlets do you guys participate in individually and as a family ?
At any given moment, someone could be found either writing a book, recipe, blogpost, or song; painting a canvass; drawing a fashion illustration or jamming and recording in the music studio. We are currently expanding this creative expression to include classes taught by young artists in their 20's. It has been Julie's life dream to form a community around homeschooling and creative expression. She has a book coming out in the Spring on creating conscious community around education, called "The Greatest Discovery".
How important is it to have a creative outlet in day to day life – do you think it helps manage stress, like a form of meditation?
Creative energy is spiritual energy and by participating with it, one can tap into the greater source that is breathing all of us. We feel by participating in the creative process, we receive wisdom and support that is integral to our lives and can assist us greatly by creating a better way of living.
“We support each member of our family to make their own choices.”
Take us through a day in the life of your family.
Julie is up by 5 am for her morning meditation practice. We all start our morning with a green blend of organic veggies and super foods. By 7 am, Rich is off to the pool, or to get a run in on the mountain trails or cycle around our home. Homeschool begins around 9:30 am. The boys go for a run before rehearsing with their Mom in the early afternoon. We are often creating recipes and cooking together. In the late afternoon, a painting may begin to emerge from Mathis art studio or she may choose to draw in her tree house. Jaya is dancing on the land among the plants with her modern dance teacher as they explore movement as connection to the soul…Our home is called JAI House. "JAI" means victory loosely translated from Sanskrit. She is our temple to creativity and embodying a victorious life.