Don Foose isn’t your everyday punk rocker who lives on a shoestring budget and has bad hygiene. Foose, a veteran on the local music scene who’s fronted numerous local hardcore bands, lives in a serene English Tudor on a quiet Fairview Park street. He’s transformed his living room into a sanctuary where he can sit underneath a series of skylights and listen to Indian music while he meditates.
The home’s serenity stands in stark contrast to the music he makes. On the albums he’s released with bands such as the Spudmonsters, Run Devil Run and Foose, he unleashes parched vocals that make him sound slightly possessed. But when not performing, he's a soft-spoken guy who preaches positivity and clean living. He’s just published his first book, Raw Life. In the self-published book, Foose provides recipes for raw food meals and elixirs. He even explains how to properly conduct a juice cleanse and talks about how one such 52-day fast (or “feast,” as he puts it) yielded terrific results.
Off-stage, the wire-thin soft-spoken singer is an advocate for peace, love and understanding. For years, he’s followed the doctrine of Krishna consciousness and vegetarianism. The book is the result of years of research.
“I’ve been a strict vegetarian for 21 years,” he explains one afternoon from his kitchen as he juices a watermelon.
Foose's story is a familiar one to anyone who knows the man. Way back in 1994, the Spudmonsters went on tour with the punk band the Cro-Mags. Cro-Mag frontman John Joseph took him to a Hare Krishna temple and introduced him to Eastern philosophy and juicing — he was hooked. He drank his last beer in 1995. “It was really convincing,” he says of the indoctrination that came courtesy of Joseph. Those guys were covered in tattoos. He was a really peaceful person but on stage he was a maniac. I wondered about that dichotomy.”
In 1998, Foose became a certified personal trainer. He would help his clients through juice fasts and started learning about the process of detoxification. At his clients’ request, he put together a small pamphlet for juice fasting. He also studied tonic herbs and learned how to make elixirs that could help people with ailments in their health.
“I wanted to take all that to the next level,” he says. “After a while, I realized I could make a book out of it.”
He hooked up with local photographer Kevin Kopanski and local designer Scott Schumacher to help with the book that he says he intended to be “easy to understand and follow.” On the book's opening page, you can see a picture of him on stage in Belgium with his shirt off. Covered in tattoos, he has his arms extended as he stands in front of a drum kit.
“People refer to it as a cookbook but it’s a un-cookbook because it’s all raw,” he says of the book, which just came out earlier this month. “Nothing is heated about 105 degrees [except for some of the elixirs]. That way, the living enzymes are still intact. Life comes from life and you want to put living enzymes in your body.”
The book is self-published through Foose’s own publishing company, dubbed Kung Foose Publishing. Foose says compiling his own records wasn't this hard.
“Putting out a book is way more difficult than any record I’ve ever done,” he says. “I’ve done 13 albums in my life, and the book takes way more preparation. It’s more fulfilling than putting out an album because it’s just my project by myself. I can add or omit whatever I want. It took three years. Coordinating with the designer and photographer was a lot of work. It was a challenge but very gratifying.”
One of his favorite recipes is the “earthshake elixir.” It consists of stuff like ginseng, ho shou wu powder and astragalus root.
“Everything the body needs is in that shake,” he says. “It’s so nutrient dense that in that one drink, you get more nutrition than most people have in a whole month.”
He says it took him some time to master things like his kale chip recipe.
“It’s an Italian kale chip recipe that’s almost like a pizza flavor,” he says. “It has sun-dried tomatoes in there and fresh herbs and cashews.”
His hope is that people have a general sense of the benefits of a healthy raw food diet.
“I hope people get an understanding that life does come from life, and it’s common sense,” he says. “You put seeds from fresh fruit in the ground, a tree is going to grow. You put a box of cereal in the ground and mold is going to grow. Everything we eat is masticated and goes into our blood stream and our body starts reproducing new cells. You can eat death or you can eat life. I don’t eat one hundred percent raw food. I also like rice, dahl, steamed vegetables, et cetera. Any cooked food I do is in moderation and I stay away from anything deep-fried.”
The first day that he put it up for sale on his website, Fooseforlife.com, he nearly ran out of copies. He’s currently awaiting a second printing.
“The response has been amazing,” he says, adding that the book can be purchased locally at Beet Jar Juice Bar, Good N Raw Café, Be Studios, In Carol’s Care, Yoga Bliss (in Akron) and Earth Fare. “People have been giving me great feedback. I’m going to do some tours where I can showcase the book and try to reach out to people. I’m an activist for animal protection, and I think all life should be dealt with in a loving, non-violent way. We don’t have to kill animals to survive. We can actually live much healthier and more peacefully if we don’t.”