Name: Kevin Manns
Occupation: Assistant Athletic Director
Website: Da Manns Spot
How long have you been vegetarian? And what inspired your journey?
I have been a pescatarian for a year and a half. I had a brief vegetarian stint for about 4 months a couple of years ago, but went back to eating meat. Currently, I’m a dedicated vegetarian, 7 months and counting, moving toward veganism. I gave up red meat first and then eased away from chicken and turkey. I have not eaten fried foods for a long time and gave up pork almost 21 years ago.
Has vegetarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
The main reason that I started this journey was due to a stress related heart attack that I suffered from in January 2011. I wanted a change, and I wanted to have a say so in my recovery apart from taking medications. I am still on high blood pressure meds, but my goal is to one day eliminate them as well. Through vegetarianism, I can feel the difference in my energy levels and mind clarity.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I initially started this lifestyle to become healthier – period. It had nothing to with the meat industry until later. As I delved into finding out information on vegetarianism and veganism, I read about some of the atrocities that go on in the meat industry. People need to realize that the way animals were farmed long ago is not the current reality. We live in a “profit now” environment in which big businesses are putting profit and the bottom line before health and the common decency to treat animals humanely.
Was there a community of black men that helped you along your meatless journey? And if not, what are you doing to change this for others?
I really couldn’t find anyone local to help me with my journey, but I had a friend, Lynne Delaney McClaine, that gave me the confidence and support that I needed to help me along the way. Living in Louisiana, a food loving and producing state, did not make it easy for me. But working in the sports industry, I was aware of vegan athletes, such as Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons and Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers.
As a vegetarian, my lifestyle is my lifestyle, and I will not force my beliefs on others. However, I am always expressing the fact that we can eat better and take better care of ourselves to the college athletes, both male and female, that I come into contact with on a daily basis.
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