Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I flew from Tokyo to San Francisco yesterday. I did a lot of work on the plane, started reading The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan that Howard recommended and arrived in San Francisco around 9AM. I checked in, took a shower and headed off for meetings. I had 7 1/2 meeting or so in Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Francisco. Then I went to the CC Salon, met all of the wonderful people, listened to Jim, John and Heather make their presentations and did a short blurb myself. When I got back to the hotel, I did some more work, played some Warcraft and then went to the pool at midnight and swam. I got up at 6AM, stretched and meditated. Then, feeling like a TV shopping commercial, I worked out with my Portal Gym for 30 minutes. I ordered a salad and a blueberry, soy milk and banana smoothie from room service, packed and headed to the airport.

Now I'm sitting in the airport lounge feeling more energetic than I can remember ever feeling. I'm also euphoric and happy.

I'm not posting this to boast... although I guess it is a bit boastful. I'm posting this in response to people who have been telling me that I won't have enough energy on a Vegan, no-oil diet. I'm also posting this in response to people warning me that I'm losing weight too fast. Bullocks. I admit that there is some possibility that there is something unhealthy that is going on in my body that I can't sense, but overall, I have become more sensitive about what my body wants than I've ever been in my life.

I'm not trying to convince everyone to do this lifestyle change that I am experimenting with. However, I do urge people not to try to talk people out of it. Words of discouragement can weigh heavy on the initial motivation required to get going, and at least for me, this is the best decision I've made in a long long time.


I was there last night and Joi does look great - but I think even more important is what he's saying about how he feels. It almost motivates me to follow his lead.


I am happy to hear that, Joi. I have been keeping up with your posts on this, and I know I am going to try something similar. Actually, since Christmas I haven't been able to eat a lot of meat (I just get sick), so I am already on a near vegan diet.

Why this post is in particular interesting/painful for me is that I had meant to make it to the CC Salon last night, but I was just too tired and exhausted. I need to do something about my energy levels, and your progress has inspired me/given direction. Living in Santa Cruz, CA., I am pretty fortunate for one being a vegan. With the amount of organic food stores, it is almost difficult to not be.

My thanks to you, and please see this as encouragement to keep up what feels right for you. ^_^

While I'm far from being vegan (the 3/4 of me that is Eastern European could never give up cheese and seafood is like a drug for me) I've always eaten a very raw vegetable-heavy diet, and I have a level of energy that few among my friends or family seem to be able to match. The stuff that makes me feel sluggish is red meat, fried food, etc. Far from scientific but I think you're on to something.

As I translate your diet post on your blog, I'm starting to get convinced of vegan diet. Maybe I should try the same.

you have cut alcohol and smoking out of your diet as well right? i have to say that much to the chagrin of the part of me that loves to drink, i experienced a lot of the same increased energy, weight loss, focus, better more restful sleep (and consequent need for less of it) when i stopped (but did not go completely vegetarian). i have gone through periods of vegetarianism (probably to return again) and i know what a change that can make as well. exercise makes a massive difference in energy levels and mood.
the tricky thing is to stick with it. the change is so dramatic and significant at the beginning of a major lifestyle reorganization, but after a while it's pretty easy to forget what a difference it has made. i keep going back to omnivorous eating patterns because it tastes so good, it is the path of least resistance when eating in restaurants, and i lose track of how much better i feel when i am not eating meat. your posts are helping to remind me.

I really think its aout being vegan at all.. its more the fact that you are training your mind in terms of excerise and mediatation.. thats makes one full a wholesome person and therefore a better person.

I think whats most important is Joi is on a "Shin-ken sho-bu" type of thingy.. that is something that is done in earnest !!

still loving these posts. I have been having some ideas of veganism and my podcast. You are keeping me centered.

"However, I do urge people not to try to talk people out of it."

So people with dissenting opinions are welcome to STFU? Is homegoroshi acceptable? ^_^

j/k seriously, what could be said wrong against the idea of eating healthy, exercise and meditation. Good on ya!

As for me, I'm headed to a curry tabehodai lunch and plan to smoke half a pack of cigs afterwards.

I love that website for the gym equipment: Especially the rubberband that you attach to the wall to run in place!!

I was motivated by your blog to read Dr. Fuhrman's book. It was very logical and I enjoyed thinking about the science behind his words. I have been eating according to his plan for about two weeks now and I have zero regrets.

The hardest part about it for me is talking about it without sounding like I am preaching. Dr. Fuhrman pulls no punches, but I can't go out to lunch with my co-workers and tell them that the sandwich they just ordered will probably kill them. It's hard to talk about this with tact. The blog has done a great job.

To people reading this blog who are interested, I highly recommend starting with "Eat To Live". I would never have chosen a 'vegan' diet without reading this book.

Thomas, the funny thing is that standing in place thing actually works. I did it this morning. ;-)

And the video that comes with it... The guy taking the video - you can hear his breathing... but I do recommend that portable gym... and no, I don't get a commission for it.

Douglas: Cool. I'm finding that blogs by people who are "users" seem to be important in getting me to try new things like this. It'd be great if you could start blogging about your experiences too.

When you say a "blueberry, soy milk and banana smoothie"... is blueberry a secret code word for amphetamines?

joi - can you clarify what you mean when you say you "meditated" I think it's an overused term, did you sit in silence, did you still your mind of all thoughts, did you chant, did you sit crossed leg in lotus position? Your experiences with meditation perhaps worthy of its own blog post...

maneck: I'm looking at various forms of meditation, but for now I'm stretching, sitting in a lotus position and focusing on my breathing. I'm shutting out stray thoughts and trying to think only of my breathing. I've been experimenting with internally chanting, but right now I'm primarily focusing on my form. I really just started so it's more like I'm TRYING to meditate, but not really doing it, although it seems to have some relaxing effect. I'm doing it for 10-20 min once in the morning and once in the evening before breakfast and dinner if I can.

How easy has it been to stay on the good stuff when travelling? America is not known for good vegan restaurants--most of them are of the high-salt fake-meat variety. I also figure our famous airport customs isn't too keen on allowing in fresh whole fruits and vegetables (probably the smallest security risk these days). It's easy (at least in California) to stock the kitchen with whole organics, but restaurants are still dominated by flour and butter.

court: I've found that California is great. My last hotel had vegan everywhere. I've found it more difficult in other countries. I've found that it's more about logistics - finding a good organic supermarket and having a knapsack full of zip-lock bags of fruits and veggies. Worst case, I skip a lot of the meal and eat from my stash afterwards.

I've found that most airlines do Vegan OK now.

But California is like paradise.

Chris_B, I don't know Joi but I'm sure he was talking about people who go "You shouldn't/can't do that" even before you are finished telling them you are a vegan more than people who simply disagree with you... :)

I have been a vegetarian for two years now and I more and more often think about turning vegan.

Thanks for writing about all this, Joi. It's great stuff.

Having just seen Joi in the flesh after a 6-month hiatus, all I can say is 'wow. He looks *amazing*: glowy, healthy, skinny.

I couldn't do 7 meetings then do WoW and swim, I'm seriously impressed.

Thanks Alice!

Joi - I admire you vegan diet, but you can do similar things by just normal dieting and exercising. Check this out:

you're a great example of how Eat to Live can change your life!

i enjoy reading your blog and nearly fell off my chair when i saw your before and after pics

i've had a great time documenting my journey with photos too...i've lost 75.5lbs thanks to Eat to Live and i love to see and hear about other people's success.

it's truly awesome how much energy clean living, exercise and rest can give you


The "^_^" and "j/k" should have been giveaways that I was just being a bit snarky.

Hi Joi,

For an even more versatile workout at Home and on the Road you might want to take a look at:


Just out of interest, how do you stay vegan in Japan? I'm vegetarian and find it hard to eat out as everything has either fish or meat in it in one way or another. I'd really appreciate it if you could recommend any good restaurants/shops in & around Tokyo.

Richard: I don't eat out as much, but I've found that you can usually find veggie side dishes in most restaurants that aren't focused on "teishoku" or "obento." Or I just leave the fish/meat.

Mostly I eat at home these days. ;-)

There are some nice vegan "shojinryori" places like Daigo.

Hey Joi,
Great meeting you at the CC Salon.

If you ever get the chance, you should try to meditate with other people. The collective focused attention actually seems to make it easier to get into deeper meditative states.

My partner and I just went over to Spirit Rock's Monday night Community Meditation with over 100 people there. It's quite an experience.

Thanks, Joi! I've actually been to Daigo, but the prices mean I don't make a habit of it.;-)

Kent: great idea. I'll try to find a cool place to do this.

Richard: Have you seen this article?

hey joi go ahead and boast, and while you are at it post some pics of the slim new joichi so we can all admire the results. good for you (i've lost a few pounds myself and weigh in at a fit 72kgs!

I became a vegan last june after reading Kurzweil's "Fantastic Voyage" ( and also gave up soda at the same time. Lost 25 lbs, started yoga and have never felt better. One key addition was reducing the number of calories per day. I realized very quickly that how little food I now need to get full. As for travel... yes it can be hard at times especially if you don't plan ahead. Humous, tabouli and chana dal have become my best friends.

More on Chana Dal:

I am not a diabetic (but it runs in the family), so I have been a huge fan of Chana Dal ever since someone turned me onto this site... Chana Dal is now my daily staple food.

Thought you would enjoy. (:

Chana Dal Overview:

& These are our favorites...

Kabuli Chana Dal

Chana Dal with Smoked Tomatoes and Cauliflower

Just out of interest, how do you stay vegan in Japan? I'm vegetarian and find it hard to eat out as everything has either fish or meat in it in one way or another. I'd really appreciate it if you could recommend any good restaurants/shops in & around Tokyo.

Wohnaccessoirs, Joi answered this question already further up. I live in Germany, which has 3 or 4 vegan restaurants for a population of over 80 million.

However, I'm a longterm (animal rights) vegan, and I find it easy to be vegan in Germany, it just requires a slight shift in personal consumption culture. I'm extremely diligent in sourcing processed foods that are *really* vegan, but mainly I just prepare foods myself - also on travels - which is why I prefer apartments over hotels.

Given that I'm an animal rights vegan, I don't feel any real or psychologically felt inconvenience as such, since my main focus is ethics. I don't shiver about how I could possibly find vegan restaurants in territories other than my own, I just go to market (super or regular:-) and buy what I like. This may seem more effort, but since cooking from scratch has become part of my personal culture, it is not effort but something which I enjoy very much. When I'm out and about and I'm getting hungry, I would just snack an apple, banana, nuts or sandwiches I made and brought along instead of getting something smelly greasy from a food vendor.

Speaking of grease, I follow a wholesome, albeit high fat vegan diet because I just enjoy eating fatty things like tomato sauce with lots of olive oil or avocados or tons or self-roasted peanuts. I also consume salt. In this my vegan diet differs dramatically from Ito's, however, while not skinny my weight is stable and I'm in perfect health. I became vegan in 1987.