There’s something different about LuckyChewy this year.
There is a Bambi-like spring in his step, a radiant glow shining from his face and I swear I can see a halo above his head.
Okay…perhaps the halo is stretching things a tad far?
But my point remains the same. It seems my fingers are always buzzing around this keyboard, creating sentences designed to spell out the virtues of the new breed of poker player; but Lichtenberger is different.
So what’s been going on?
“About ten months ago, I went on a road trip with Ryan [D’Angelo] and Ronit [Chamani], and we checked out the Redwood Forest and the Living Light Culinary Institute—where Ronit trained to be a raw food chef.
“I met some really influential people, of course them being my companions for the entire road trip was incredible beyond words, but the people that we met were also influential. They showed me an alternative way to live and think about life.
“I changed my diet shortly thereafter. I already had some friends in Vegas who were into it, but at that point in my life I wasn’t full on ready to grab the bull by the horns and fully change my diet.
“When I did, I reconnected with them, and they were really influential. It’s a life-long process—healing the body. I had a lot of health problems when I was growing up: digestion, asthma, allergies and having troubles sleeping; and slowly but surely everything is dissipating, and I am able to realize my true infinite nature, and really feel love and bliss every day, and in every moment.”
So what kind of diet is Lichtenberger on these days?
“I am on a really strict raw vegan food diet right now. I’m not sure if I will be this strict forever—it depends how it makes me feel—but I feel really good right now so perhaps I will. There was a time when I didn’t really care what I put into my body. I started caring about three years ago – about organic foods compared to genetically modified foods, not really knowing the science behind it but just being freaked out about the idea of it. Now I understand more about why it’s an issue.”
How are things differently from a year ago?
“A year ago, I would eat a lot of processed food—and also drink. Everything is okay in moderation. I mean it’s different for everybody. It’s just that my body was in such a degenerative state, at that time; I didn’t realize how much damage I was causing myself?”
One of the problems that a lot of people have when it comes to the damage that processed foods can have on the body is they look normal on the outside, but of course, cannot see the damage on the inside.
“From the outside, I looked great and I generally felt okay. But I would be constantly burping after meals, general indigestion issues and stomach problems. I experienced this throughout my whole childhood and had just come to think this was normal. You can be healthy and still be sick, and I didn’t realize I was sick.”
It must be tough eating purely raw and working the poker circuit?
“I have to eat before I come in and bring snacks with me. There are also a couple of good cafes in town. I thought it would be a big challenge, making all of my own food, but it’s fun. You get to make dishes that cater to your own palette and get to manifest your own creativity in the kitchen, which is something I have never done before.”
Eating a raw-food diet, for a period of time, also leads to a reduction in hunger right?
“I think it’s just because the energy that the food gives you is so profound when compared to the processed food, which is so devoid of all the good nutrients and such.”
Earlier in the interview Lichtenberger said that moderation is a good thing. How difficult has he found moderation over complete abstention?
“I would say it gets easier everyday, but it’s a huge challenge. Food is essentially a drug, in a lot of ways, and it’s that weaning yourself off whilst using it that is mandatory in order to change, and it’s definitely a great challenge, but a worthy one to take on. Every day gets easier. For a while, previously to switching my diet, I would overeat a lot. That continued and at a certain point I just thought why am I causing myself pain and suffering it doesn’t make any sense. I can’t remember the last time I did that.”
I had heard, through a shared friend that Lichtenberger had undergone colonic therapy, and I was interested to learn more about his experience?
“Basically, in my situation it was different than most. I could tell by the assistant’s reaction to how much pain I was in. I had an ungodly amount of Candida in my body. For those who do not know Candida—it’s a yeast that your body creates to eat sugar, and if there is too much sugar there is too much Candida, and it grows and grows until it becomes this breeding ground for parasites and a whole host of issues.”
What were some of the issues that Lichtenberger’s Candida had caused?
“I had rectal itching, which was incredibly painful. All sorts of issue with my stomach really. A lot of people have Candida and just don’t know it.”
And what was it like having a tube inserted into his anus?
“The tube going up was not supposed to be that painful; but for me, it was incredible painful. The woman didn’t know why I should be in such pain? The stuff that was coming out of my body was like black tar. It just looked like stuff that had been rotting in my body for God knows how long.
“Then at the end, this translucent worm comes out, and she just said—matter of factly—that’s a parasite. I knew human bodies held bacteria to help certain bodily functions to be carried out, but I didn’t know there were good bacteria and bad bacteria.
“It will be the beginning of a journey for you for sure. I would guess I still have some parasitic entities in my bodies. A lot of people are skeptical about colonics, but I would just say that pharmaceutical companies fund a lot of these studies.
“Personal experience is good enough for me. I would recommend it to everybody. It’s fairly challenging thing to go through, for me at least, it was profoundly life changing.”
How has your spirituality changed in the same time frame?
“I had started to understand that there was spiritual aspect to life, and that consciousness, love and bliss is eternal. Then I changed my diet and I started to experience it pretty intently. Not day to day, but it would seep in more and more. Then my yoga and meditation sessions would be more intense. My body feels lighter, I feel transparent, more whole, more truth.”
Are you religious?
“I wasn’t raised with any sort of religion. I grew up resenting religion, because I saw a lot of bad things it was doing in the world. Since I became more spiritual, I have looked more into mainstream religions and I can see how they have been manipulated, and how there are bits of truth in them, but they are not presented in such a way. To me all scriptures are based around the same idea: you’re inherently perfect, the universe is inherently perfect; love is the only currency, you’re infinite, and if you realize that, it’s going to change your life.
“I think people are trusting that everything is perfect, and they just have to accept it, and that it’s for the greater good. Not fighting the experience they are having.
“It’s like—you go for what you want, and you accept what you get. It doesn’t mean you should just accept terrible things happening to you. I understand you want to change them, but sometimes you can’t. Shit just happens.”
Who influences you spiritually?
“I listen to a lot of lectures by Ram Dass. He has been one of my biggest influences.”
So what does the future hold for Lichtenberger?
“All I know is right now; I cannot predict anything for the future. Right now is this interview, and I am loving it. Tomorrow is the $5k 6 max and I am loving that too. I am pretty much happy with anything that happens.”
Is he trying to spread his message to others?
“When I come to the Rio and play primarily the smaller buy-ins, and I see how many people are sick or enduring pain and suffering, I just want to uplift them. I want to get them to feel the love that I feel, and feel bliss in every moment. It’s a worthy goal, but you can’t force anybody to do anything, so I bring my attitude and let it shine. If I can influence people a little bit, that’s great, if not then I guess they are not yet ready.”
And how have his changes impacting his relationships with his closest friends?
“I have been very fortunate to have incredibly accepting friends. They don’t judge me, and I don’t judge them. I have my views and my beliefs, and it’s what I live by, but I’m not going to try and convince anybody that they are wrong. I only know what it’s like to be me. I can never tell anybody to do this or that. I might think that, but I can’t tell anybody that. If they ask me for advice then sure I can offer it.
“It could just be an aspect of a poker player, to be very accepting, to have patience and be okay with whatever will happen if you are going to make it in this world, and it may be the primary reason my friends are just okay with me being me.”