The Kiki Cespedes Interview by Tom Fisher, RN, BA
Kiki Cespedes is a Colombian-born professional tennis player and
Hippocrates Health Educator. Being a high-performance athlete has taught her many life lessons, but it has not been easy. She has had many ups and downs, but feels these lessons and challenges have made her stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. She is grateful for those experiences because they have led her down a great road to self-discovery.
Kiki feels that God has given her a second chance. It all started four years ago, when she reached a point where she began questioning her life. Even though she looked healthy, and was at an ideal weight for her age and height, she innately knew something was not right. She was not a fan of junk food, but Kiki was consuming seafood, chicken, and dairy products?—?which she thought was healthy at the time. Feeling mentally, physically and spiritually out of balance, she stopped listening to others and started her own search for answers. Being frustrated and tired, Kiki could not understand the logic in training so hard, being so committed, and putting so much demand on her body, while getting no real results from her hard work.
Kiki comes from a very close-knit family and has always had a great relationship with her parents. However, for the first time in her life, she was afraid of how they would react to the shocking discoveries she had made while researching the foods they all ate. After finding out about genetic manipulation and the toxic pesticides being used on our foods, she initially kept this information to herself. She was angered by her findings. These revelations resulted in added stress, burnout, and eventually, depression.
She stopped eating everything, except for the “standard salad” (cucumber, lettuce, carrots) and fish because she no longer knew what to eat. Although she kept working out, training, and doing lots of walking, she felt a greater need to detoxify her body. However, she started losing weight too quickly, which resulted in a corresponding drop in her energy levels. Her body weight eventually plummeted to a low of 58 pounds.
Her parents were understandably very concerned. She was now also being rejected by her sisters, who had always looked to her for guidance in the past. Feeling terrible, she could no longer look her parents in the eye. She even stopped playing tennis. Kiki no longer had the energy or desire to play the sport that she loved so much.
She turned to God for guidance and prayed to Him to show her the way to spiritual enlightenment. She asked for forgiveness and her prayers were answered.
She was told that one needs to learn from experience to begin a new life. Kiki needed to heal herself first so that she could help others learn from her experience. Kiki believed, “You cannot help anyone if you do not help yourself first.”
Initially she started by reading the Bible. She also started reading about longevity, spirituality, human anatomy, vegetarianism, veganism, ancient foods, the Essenes, herbalism, and all types of ancient natural practices. Having incorporated this information into her life, Kiki started making her own foods from scratch such as protein shakes with no processed ingredients. She started using ingredients such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, maca, spirulina, chlorella, camu camu, blue-green algae, sprouts, seeds, nuts, fruits, a large variety of vegetables (especially greens), sea vegetables, sprouted gluten-free grains and pseudograins such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat in her diet.
These dietary and lifestyle strategies with which she was experimenting and implementing in her life yielded very positive results. As her research advanced, she realized how much waste had accumulated in her body as a consequence of all her prior training and fitness theories. Consumption of animals products and processed foods had been taxing on her system, putting it in an acidic state. This resulted in many injuries and ongoing ailments. During this time, her parents were very supportive of her lifestyle changes and transformation.
Kiki is now more balanced in life. Her family sees a huge difference, not only physically, but spiritually as well. They see the positive change in Kiki and have adopted a living food plant-based diet for themselves. This is a tremendous modification because many South Americans are used to eating meat with all their meals.
Kiki’s younger sisters, Maria (15) and Leidi (14), stated that they now understand the cruelty animals endure and no longer want to contribute to their suffering. As a result, they have now also eliminated all meat and dairy products from their diet.
HHI: What inspired you to become a professional tennis player?
Kiki: Watching Pete Sampras play tennis. It was beautiful to watch him play. It was like a dance with free expression. He was so free, like an artist.
HHI: Why did you become vegan?
Kiki: I do not consider myself a vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, etc. I do not like labels. I am just conscious of what I put into my body. I like to feel alive, therefore I only feed my body life. I use all natural, whole foods?—?no chemicals, no preservatives, no additives, no refined foods. If it comes from the earth, I will eat it. If it is artificially man-made, I won’t. It’s that simple.
All my life I’ve had a fascination with nature and its perfection. I have been inspired by the field of natural health and fitness for as long as I can remember.
I started doing research about how “healthy” the foods I was eating were. I learned about the chemicals that were being added to our foods, the manipulation, and the harmful side effects. I was angry. I was in shock!
HHI: When you changed to vegan, raw, living foods, what changes did you notice in your performance, health, and life?
Kiki: Before adding raw, living foods, I felt toxic. I would have the “flu” two to three times a month; my immune system was really weak. I would suffer from painful ear infections. Every time I would travel abroad to a tournament after arduous long hours of training and preparation, I would get a “virus” as soon as I arrived. It was awful!
I experimented intensely with my body and my training. I was amazed at the difference. I immediately noticed improvements in all aspects of my life. I was recovering much faster after my workouts. My speed and strength increased dramatically. I felt like the Energizer Bunny! There was no soreness. After eliminating dairy, my ear infections went away. This was really exciting. I felt amazing: aware of my surroundings, conscious, connected with nature, grateful and energetic. I felt so fortunate to have so many positive things going on. I had never experienced such a thing.
I learned a whole new way to look at life. The whole mind, body, spirit connection, ultimately all this gave me control over what I put in my body, and I felt a lot more balanced?—?mentally, physically and spiritually. Reconnecting with the life force of nature is an incredible feeling. With this I was able to overcome my chronic injuries and autoimmune disorders.
HHI: What would you like to tell others who are looking to incorporate fitness but don’t know where to start?
Kiki: Get outside! Get out of the office, house and gym as often as possible. Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors, and that number is increasing with age! You don’t have to work out in a gym to get in shape! No membership fees are required in nature! You don’t need any special equipment. The outdoors are available to you wherever you are, just outside your door. Use your own body weight and gravity. Go on walks; run in the woods and at the beach; swim in the ocean. Nature is a big beautiful playground!
HHI: Do you use any mind-body techniques to help you with training and performance?
Kiki: Grounding (gathering the energy from the earth and the sun) is vital for me. Yoga, qigong, visualization, affirmations and connecting with Source are all very important.
HHI: What are your typical daily meals?
Kiki: I always start with wheatgrass. For breakfast, I normally have cereal, called “buckwheaties.” Buckwheaties are made from sprouted buckwheat. After a workout, I use wheatgrass and then a shake with Sun Warrior rice protein and maca. For lunch and dinner, I have large sprout salads with various vegetables. For snacks, I use nuts and dehydrated crackers.
HHI: What supplements do you use to help your performance?
Kiki: I don’t believe we need to take any supplements if we are physically, spiritually and mentally balanced. Nature has given us everything we need! Foods are my supplement! The staple foods in my lifestyle are wheatgrass juice, green juices, sprouts and sea vegetables. To help enhance my performance, I use probiotics, blue green algae, maca, and Sun Warrior protein.
HHI: What are your future goals?
Kiki: I want to keep learning about true medicine, which is found in nature. I want to bring more awareness to the benefits of living foods, the vitality an active healthy lifestyle can bring, the need to connect with nature and our roots, the importance of letting go of material things and the impact we all have on the environment. The world hunger problem can be solved. We don’t need war?—?only peace. It is how we are meant to live, with love and compassion for ourselves, animals and mother earth.
HHI: In closing, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Kiki: Connect with nature! Go outside! And remember, just because things have been a certain way does not mean they must always be that way. We have the ability to change, and we cannot afford the luxury of making the same mistakes and being in the same cycle generation after generation! We have the power to heal ourselves! We must learn from our history! Listen to your inner voice, let your inner child guide you, and follow your intuition! Only you have the answer!
In conclusion, Kiki has always been intrigued by the power of nature, heritage and has never forgotten where she came from?—?her roots. “God gives each and every one of us special talents. It is up to us to look deep within, find our talent and make a difference in the world,” she stated. Kiki doesn’t believe in “going with the flow” just to fit in.
Kiki lives by example; she “walks the talk.” Kiki would say that we all have a special mission in life and that we have to find that greater purpose and search for our own truth.