Veggie Lessons I Learned From My Dad

kardena-pic-fatWhen I grew up I lived with Mom and unfortunately, I ate a terrible diet. From pizza to burgers and every junk food in between, I ate it on an almost daily basis.

But my body, health, and complexion suffered as you can see in this embarrassing photo of me.

So for years I struggled looking for the right diet…trying to figure things out on my own…yet all of this time, the Greatest Nutrition Role Model was right in front of me!

Not living with my Dad made me miss his guidance and expertise when it came to the Vegetarian Lifestyle and healthy eating. Let me tell you about him because he was amazing!

My father was a blind gymnast and UCLA champion gymnast.
After graduating from UCLA my father & uncle performed on Muscle Beach in Venice Beach, CA in the 1940’s, they were part of the original hand balancing performers.

My father told me when people came down to Muscle Beach to watch them perform, the spectators would eat hot dogs, hamburgers, and sodas that were for sale on the board walk.

Jack and Elaine Lalanne

Jack and Elaine Lalanne

Both my uncle and father said they wouldn’t touch that stuff because they knew it was bad for them. This was way before information about heart disease was linked to hamburgers and French fries.

Jack LeLanne was a friend of theirs and healthy food was the name of the game to be in great shape in Venice Beach.

But my father got sick of performing in smoky night clubs and being around the drugs and alcohol of the entertainment world out in California.

Instead, he and a friend flew around the country and my father performed his gymnastic stunts at schools & taught children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and unhealthy eating.

He would be led into the auditorium where the entire school would be eagerly waiting and he would begin performing on the bars, doing floor routines from flips and back hands springs to hand stands. Then he would talk to the kids about drugs, alcohol and how to be healthy.

My father ate mostly vegetarian and when he stopped traveling and settled down, he grew his own fruits and had several vegetable gardens.

I remember him eating large salads with really dark green powder on top which I now know as spirulina and wonderful breakfast smoothies made from carob.

One thing my father and uncle really wanted to do was hike the Grand Canyon. My blind father was in his mid 70’s and my uncle was 2 years older.  (Remember, people collapse from exhaustion and dehydration on these trails every year.)

They hiked all the way to the bottom one day, camped by the river and hiked back up the next day and felt great!

In his 70’s he would jog along the 2 way highway by his house in the high desert of California where he lived. Once in the morning and once at night. Doing all of this without sight.

My Father stayed fit up into his 80’s. Amazing!

As I look back on his time here, I realize I am so proud of him and wished I had learned about the Vegetarian Lifestyle earlier. He sure has taught me a lot about health and fitness from his actions.

vegetarian meal plans

vegetarian meal plans

Fortunately, I eventually figured it out and stumbled upon the best way of eating for me, and that’s the Vegetarian Lifestyle. I feel so much more energized and healthy now that I’ve given up meat, and if you are interested in learning more, I’m here to help!

So please grab your free meal plans and let me know what you think.

I’ll be back soon with another article about how to live a simple and convenient – and budget friendly – Veggie Lifestyle.

I’ll post that later this week,

Kardena Pauza,
Author, Easy Veggie Meal Plans

3 Comments Leave a Comment

Comment by Holly
2009-07-20 12:27:24

Wow!! Your dad sounds amazing. What an inspiration! I never knew!

Keep up the good work Kardena! I love learning about healthier eating and all your information is really helpful. Looking forward to trying out the menu! Keep on rockin’ sister!

Comment by BANCHA
2009-07-22 23:39:02

That was an amazing Dad you had. Thanks for the Spirulina powder tip…I will try to look for one and sprinkle on my food

Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-10-12 00:36:17

Hi Holly,
Great to hear from you! Have you checked out the blog lately? I love the one of me camping in Yucca Valley where I was born. LOL, Kar

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