Name: Londale Theus Jr.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Website: The Vegetarian Athlete
How long have you been vegetarian? And what inspired your journey?
I have been a vegetarian since birth. The majority of the things I eat are vegan, but more specifically I am a lacto-vegetarian: meaning that I have never eaten any animals or eggs whatsoever. My parents were the ones who inspired this journey because they were following a spiritual philosophy that emphasized a “worry-free diet”; basically not allowing the suffering of animals to contribute to our food. Naturally, being raised in this environment led to my beginning as a vegetarian, but I remain a vegetarian because this spiritual philosophy resonates with me and I will always feel this way of life is right for me.
Has vegetarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
Vegetarianism has enhanced my health because there are so many benefits that it provides, even while being a basketball player for most of my life and playing Division 1 College Basketball. I never felt the sluggishness after meals that many of my teammates would feel after eating a steak or ribs. I was always one of the guys that was in the best shape on my team and my diet also allowed me to have more than enough protein while keeping cholesterol and other things very low; so I could build quality muscle and maintain a low body fat percentage by just eating normally. The thing that I love about the way I eat is that most people, especially if they are talking about getting in shape, talk about having to go on a diet and making a whole bunch of difficult compromises on what they eat, but I don’t even think about it because what I normally eat is already very healthy so I never feel like I am making a compromise. This is just how I eat.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
When talking about meat, I don’t really have any affinity for it. It is not tempting, attractive, and nothing about it interests me at all. I would prefer not to be around it if I had a choice, but at the same time I understand that everyone has their path in life and people are brought up differently. So I don’t care if people around me are eating meat or my friends are eating meat in front of me; that’s their business. They have their way of eating and I have mine. Now in regards to America’s meat industry I thoroughly believe that the food is slowly killing us. Being that we live in a capitalist society, it seems evident that an industry’s only concern is how to make the most profit. And with food, whatever makes it more profitable for the companies makes it more harmful for our bodies. Putting chemicals in cows and chickens to make them grow larger at abnormal rates, just so companies can make more money is causing percentages of diabetes and other diseases to grow larger among the population; so you will save money on food but lose it from medical bills.
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?
There was no community of black men to help me throughout my meatless journey, it was just my father and I. He is the only black man that I am close with that is a vegetarian and he was very instrumental in my journey. But I always try to help people that seem interested or receptive to the idea of vegetarianism. I always bring home- cooked food wherever I go so people are always curious about what I’m eating so I’m never shy about sharing with them what it is and that I am a vegetarian. I also had many teammates that were always curious about what I ate and how it tasted. I used to cook a lot for a couple of them that were my roommates my sophomore year because if I didn’t, none of us would have anything to eat; and they always loved the food. They would even offer to buy some of it at times so that I would cook it for all of us. So I always focus on providing a good example for people that are thinking about changing the way they eat. And since my mom has cook books on vegetarian soul food, I give people books for free or lead them to her website, 21st Century Vegetarians. They are always very appreciative.