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                                       politics + culture

Friday, June 15, 2007

Berkeley Health Icon: Jack Lalanne...lol

Reading today's Sally Squires WaPo profile of 92-year old "fitness icon" Jack Lalanne, this passage leapt out at me:

To baby boomers and their parents, the name Jack LaLanne is synonymous with health, vitality and fitness. But this famous muscle man, who now serves on California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Council on Physical Fitness, says he started life "as a weak, sick, miserable kid," addicted to sugar. He dropped out of a San Francisco Bay area high school and was a self-described troublemaker who wandered into a health lecture one day and changed his life.

The speaker advocated eating healthful food -- a tenet that resonated with LaLanne. "I was this young 15-year-old," LaLanne recalls. "What the hell! . . . I wanted to be an athlete. I wanted the girls to like me. I wanted to go through the day without headaches."

That night, he prayed for guidance to help him kick the candy, meat and other foods that he thought were killing him. The next day, he began life as a vegetarian -- a practice that he mostly continues today -- and joined the Berkeley YMCA. "I started working out with weights, and it changed my life," he says. "If something changes your life, you will be enthusiastic about it."

Alice Waters and Jack LaLanne: Berkeley, California, on the cutting edge of health for decades.


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