Barbi Twins

My sister and I, known as Shane and Sia Barbi or the Barbi Twins, grew up in an entertainment family, but as young tomboy vegetarians, we wanted no part of that world. In fact, we used to make fun of people obsessed with superficial appearances.

Yet, a decade later, when we became famous by accident and started our modeling career with Playboy, we got caught up in the body image insecurities that strike about three in five girls. Soon we were struggling with severe eating disorders: bulimia, vomiting, diuretics, and over-exercising up to 15 hours a day. We were completely obsessed with weight and diets and were destroying our health in the process.

We finally saw that the body image problem and eating disorders came from an empty feeling inside and that we were simply numbing ourselves with food. This is a sickness that is built on secrets, so the first step of our recovery was to be honest with ourselves that we had a problem. We learned that the nature of addiction is to focus on a goal, like weight, and kill everything and anything in the way to get to the end product of that so-called goal. The real awakening to our happiness came when we finally let go of our control issues with food and weight, transitioning the goal into just being healthy and living in harmony with the planet. Weight became the byproduct of living healthy – in body, mind, and soul. We had the freedom to take our minds off of our bodies, which brought balance, harmony, and kindness into our lives.

Understanding the role of cravings was critical to breaking away from our addictive behavior and evolving to a healthy, spiritual state. Cravings are a trigger and culprit for those with eating disorders. They are caused when we detox from foods that are not good for us, usually about 24 hours later. The best way to clean out the body and eliminate cravings is to switch to clean, natural foods like fruit, nuts, and vegetables, which don’t create cravings. This switch will rest the body, provide the hydration and fiber needed to slow down the sugar level in our blood, and allow us to listen for real hunger, instead of being driven by cravings or mistaking thirst for hunger.

Veganism in particular – especially a raw, vegan diet – is a natural transition and better option for bulimics for a variety of reasons. First of all, nature’s foods are perfect snacks, as they are a perfect balanced ratio of protein, carbs, and fat, which fills you up. Plus, these natural raw foods are easily digested and metabolized without dirty residue, detoxing the poisons in your body and giving you more energy to burn fat. Best of all, when you achieve a healthy state you will begin to glow from within. The body doesn’t lie.

For us, far beyond the physical benefits, shifting to a kind, compassionate, vegan diet made us aware of the planet when we ate, instead of simply indulging our senses. We no longer simply entertained our mouths, but ate as if we were continuing a harmonious balance with nature. Eating raw and vegan was like dancing with the planet, becoming one with the earth, and our former obsession with our weight became completely irrelevant.

Photos: Morgan Eagle

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