HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN VEGETARIAN? AND WHAT INSPIRED YOUR JOURNEY?

My first awareness of vegetarianism was 1969. Having won all of the contests on the east coast I moved from New York City to Los Angeles in July of that year and started training for the national contests under the coaching of three time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl at Bill Pearls gym in Pasadena. I had met Bill in New York at an exhibition he gave at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was very impressed by him and his demeanor. Bill was a lacto – ovo vegetarian.

In 1972 at the age of 42 Bill began training for the Mr. Universe. Having followed the bodybuilding obsession with animal protein for my entire career I was amazed at Bill’s strength and gain in muscle. He won the Mr. Universe, for the fourth time.

Still afraid to mess with a winning formula (I had won Mr. Los Angeles in 1969, Mr. California in 1970, Mr. USA in 1972) I continued to eat meat until after the Mr. America in 1973, which I won. Between 1974 and 1985 I gradually eliminated all animal products except fish and cheese. Between 1985 and 1999 I weaned myself from both.

HAS VEGETARIAN ENHANCED YOUR HEALTH? WHY OR WHY NOT?

Prior to becoming vegan I suffered digestive problems all my life, mainly constipation. I started taking anti inflammatory medication in 1966 for my joints. At one point I was getting cortisone injections directly into both elbows every week. The arthritis kept me awake at night.

I would get 2-3 colds yearly and allergy attacks as often. Since becoming vegan all my health problems have completely disappeared.

Most miraculously, after wearing eyeglasses for 35 years my sight improved to where I only wear them on rare occasion for extremely small print. I no longer take any medication. I do take a weekly injection of Testosterone and vit B-12. My yearly checkups are perfect.

IN RETROSPECT, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MEAT? OR DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON AMERICA’S MEAT INDUSTRY?

I believe every creature is born with the inalienable right of freedom. Freedom to live in its natural environment, with its own kind, making its own decisions.

I believe the law should prohibit the enslavement of all non human species for any purpose whatever.

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 have not had the good fortune to experience the example or mentoring of black vegetarians or vegans, male or female … Although Bill Pearl is a full blooded Native American.

This is why I am so glad to have the opportunity to appear in your publication.

Are you a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian? Email shane@frugivoremag.com if you’d like to be featured in the Black Vegetarian Series. Check back every Tuesday and Friday for a new profile! Click to read past profiles here.

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24 Comments

  1. Good deal I would really want to know what supplements he is taking?

  2. I swear I meet the most interesting people on this site. And I subscribe to over 100 websites from all over.

  3. Looks like the main supplement here is steroids.

    • @John John: He’s only taking testosterone which he should since after the age of 55 men significantly lose the ability to produce testosterone on their own.

    • John John, I bet before you you reach this man’s age you’re going to be crying to the doctor saying,”HURRY DOC PLEASE, PLEASE GIVE ME THE SHOT DOC, HURRY I CAN’T LAST” LOL

  4. Wow, what an inspiration!!!!! I stop eating beef about 12 years ago and this month I will be a vegetarian for 5-months. My goal is to be a vegan.

    • @Chocolate Girl: hey hun how did u start off like what kinds of veggie were the best im really trying 2 stop eating meat

      • @rachelle:

        Essentially any kind of veggies are great. My favorites are kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, etc. Eat lots of fruit as well! Bananas, dates, oranges, apples, etc. Add nuts and seeds if you are worried about your protein intake (you’re probably fine, not much protein is necessary). Drink lots of water, a gallon a day is my suggestion.

        As far as transitioning, you can either go cold turkey or slowly decrease the amount of meat you eat. Meat isn’t exactly addicting (unlike cheese), and soon you’ll forget entirely what meat tastes like and won’t have any desire to eat it. When I went vegan after being vegetarian for a while, I began by replacing milk with almond milk and then eventually avoided eggs and cheese. It was much quicker of a transition than I expected.

      • @rachelle:

        @Rachelle—- if it grows out of the ground, with a root, it’s good! Even potatoes are good, it’s just all the junk that we put on it that makes potatoes so bad! Baby steps and just start incorporating more root-base food and less meat. After attending American Heart Association, AHA, “Go Red for Women” heart disease luncheon on a Friday, and then Saturday, I watched the trailer, “Fork over Knife” and was inspired. Those two activities began my journey!

  5. Great great great Genesis 1:29 God gave us our diet !

  6. I’m a Black woman who knew a Black man in DC who was only 30 years old a the time, but had been a strict vegan for 10 years already. And he was HUGE, as in incredibly muscular. That’s how I knew that Atkins (of the famous Atkins Diet) was wrong about how vegetarians were all skinny, weak, wasted looking people.

  7. @Rachelle—- if it grows out of the ground, with a root, it’s good! Even potatoes are good, it’s just all the junk that we put on it that makes potatoes so bad! Baby steps and just start incorporating more root-base food and less meat. After attending American Heart Association, AHA, “Go Red for Women” heart disease luncheon on a Friday, and then Saturday, I watched the trailer, “Fork over Knife” and was inspired. Those two activities began my journey!

  8. I HAVE BLOOD PRESSURE & CHOLESTEROL AND TAKING MEDICATION. TOO MANY SIDE EFECTS AND MY LIBITO IS GONE. I NEED HELP ,I’M AFRAID THAT DIABETES / HYPERTENSIO AND HYPOGLYCEMIA AND HEART ATTACK IS COMING MY WAY BECAUSE OF FAMILY HISTORY, I HAVE TO MAKE A CHANGE IF I WANT TO LIVE TO MY 80′S OR 90′S.OR MY SENIOR YEARS WILL BE VERY PAINFUL.
    PLEASE HELP ME! OR ANY ONE ELSE? JIM MORRIS.
    I’M WANTING THE VEGAN BUILDING DIET & ETC…………………………….:)

  9. I’m a vegetarian and been my whole life I’m 37 and can get away with saying I’m 28-30. I’ve just again started to workout in my life but am not too sure what to eat and how much to build muscle and loss weight. I’m fit over all but just need that extra help with foods. Any thoughts.

  10. be vegan… vegatarian is useless if you are eating massive amounts of cheese and drinking milk…….

    • You make a good point about being a vegan over vegetarian however, while I was a vegetarian back in the ’70s, I’ve never consumed cow’s milk nor any cheeses except goat’s cheese and drunk goat’s milk and soy milk.

  11. I’m interested in what he does eat. Does he eat large amount of beans? I suffer terrible gas whenever I try to reduce my meat intake by subbing beans.

  12. I’m inspired by all of your comments and will continue removing all animal products from my diet.

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