My hero and role model, Jack LaLanne, died on my 65th birthday, Jan. 23, of respiratory failure due to pneumonia. The fitness and healthy living pioneer was 96 years old.
Jack’s life was interesting and a testimony. As the rest of the population moved toward a junk diet of quick, processed foods, Jack headed in the opposite direction toward raw, organic and a vegan diet and lived a life that included two hours of exercise a day.
I am sure he died because he was treated by a doctor with drugs, but at this point I cannot swear he had such treatment.
Most doctors are 100 percent wrong with their advice on how to get healthy. Jack Lalanne was 96 percent correct. He inspired me and many millions around the world to get food right, get exercise right and get thinking right.
It seems churlish to pick holes in the great works he did, but I know that he would want everyone to know what tripped him up at the final hurdle. Sugar. Not sugar that comes in a packet, but sugar that comes in fruit and starchy carbs. Lung disease kills more than 30 percent of the population and lung diseases are all caused by high sugar and high sugar foods. Yes, smoking can be a factor as well, but sugar rots the body in the first place.
If you do one thing to change your future, choice to follow Jack’s example in every detail except one, cut your sugar consumption.
Jack was dedicated to not only live a healthy life that certainly is responsible for his longevity, but he was also dedicated to teaching others how to live healthy and long also. At a young age, he reversed poor health that was surely destroying his body and became the pioneer and icon that he is today.
Jack was very ill as a young boy. He had boils, was thin and weak and wore a back brace. His mental state was not good and he was shy and withdrawn _ until he met Paul Bragg, a nutritionist and leader in good health. Bragg asked Jack what was in his diet and to list what he ate for each meal of the day. Jack replied, “Cakes, pies and ice cream.” Bragg told Jack his diet was the cause of his ill health and he had to change. Jack prayed for strength to give up the unhealthy foods and began a new life.
By correcting his diet and adding exercise that included weight training, Jack healed and took his success to others.
In 1936, Jack opened his first modern health club in Oakland, CA. He convinced others to exercise daily and fought through the ridicule and skepticism of the medical community and others for years. But, the exercise movement was born.
As a result, many of his recommendations have know become widely accepted and proven correct. His primary message is one that everyone should hear: It is never too late to get healthy.
He told women to lift weights when doctors were telling them if they did, they would become infertile. He told the elderly to add weight training to their exercise plan when doctors were telling them if they did, they would break bones. Of course, we now know who was right and why.
To prove his theories, he swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco at the age of 60, while handcuffed and towing a thousand-pound boat. At 65, he towed 6,500 pounds of wood pulp across a Japanese lake. When he turned 70, he towed, while handcuffed and his feet shackled, 70 rowboats, carrying 70 people, across Long Beach Harbor.
Jack spent most of his life reaching out to others and teaching them how to live life with good health and free of disease. He was an author, broadcaster and guru of both nutrition and exercise and at age 95, his “Jack LaLanne Tip of the Day” was aired on 70 television stations.
Though often asked if he wanted to live to 100, he answered, “I don’t care how old I live. I just want to be living while I am living.
He would want each of you to continue his effort for yourself and for your family.