Category Archives: exercise

To Make Vegan=Fitness

Part of the curriculum of things I’m studying these days is exercise physiology. So how is physical fitness defined in my notes? It is

“the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies. It is the ability to withstand stress and persevere under difficult circumstances in which an unfit person would quit. Implied in this is more than a lack of illness; it is a positive quality that everyone has to some degree. Physical fitness is minimal in the severely ill and maximal in the highly trained athlete. Persons who maintain high levels of fitness may have increased longevity as compared to those who are sedentary. In addition, the quality of life is enhanced in those who are fit.

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 19th Edition

The above definition of physical fitness suggests the centrality it should have as an achievement and practice for those who wish to live life to the fullest, which should include all Afrikans. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary.” Again, this means optimal function as human beings, not merely the adequate or the tolerable. In health, we have no serious, scientific, honest, or honorable reason to strive for other than our most optimal condition, because due to the brevity of a human life, it only makes sense to do those things that both lengthen lifespan and improve life’s quality.

Vegans, in my opinion, should never stop in their quest for health at the composition of their diet only. Vegan should also come to mean athlete, or physically fit person who does not exploit animals. Check out how widespread sedentary life is: did you know that here in America there is now a pathology for it, called “Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS)“? Because the biggest killer in this country, coronary heart disease, is largely attributable to sitting on our ass too much, it is argued that SeDS is actually the number two cause of premature death here, after tobacco. Now dig these statistics:

  • Only about 15% of adults in America engage in vigorous physical activity during leisure time, 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes
  • More than 60% do not engage in physical activity regularly
  • 25% lead sedentary lives
  • Physical inactivity occurs more among women than men, Afrikans and Latin@s than whites, older than younger adults, and less-affluent than wealthier persons
  • SeDS will cause 2.5 million Americans to die prematurely in the next decade.
  • “Racial differences in food and exercise habits and cultural attitudes towards body weight help to explain the greater prevalence of obesity among black women (nearly 50%) than white women (33%).”

-Katch, Katch and McArdle: Exercise Physiology, Sixth Edition (2007)

In regards to SeDS, Afrikans suffer the most. As stated above, half of Afrikan women in the United Snakes are now obese. This means so many sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, and so on are at grave risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, and the like. Brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and so on, suffer from various cancers and diseases at exponential rates, also related to, among other things, sedentary life.

All this said, the benefits of exercise are numerous! I’m talking about serious exercise – and there is little excuse for humans to live in any other way but that they give themselves at least an hour or two a day to exercise vigorously, in manners touching upon all the main arenas of fitness – cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility. I won’t rattle the benefits off here as they are quite obvious, but should not only be enjoyed by the world’s elite athletes. All Afrikans, especially those that combine a highly active life with a seriously vegan one, should be able to enjoy increased muscle strength, bone density, cardiovascular endurance and heart strength, reduced heart rate during work and rest, improved stress tolerance and psychological well-being, low body fat content especially of non-essential, useless and dangerous fat, proven substantially increased longevity, and proven increased quality of life.

What’s stopping Afrikans from reaching and exceeding high, wise ages, such as now enjoyed by people in Japan or Sweden? Underdevelopment is indeed severely and brutally holding back access to health care in many of our communities around the world. But those of us without further excuses, especially those who are overeating for no good reason and not getting off their asses, including vegans, very much need to step up their game.

The rhetoric of the vegan word needs desperately to be infused with simultaneous pronouncements of the need to exercise well. The vegan and raw vegan athletes – and many of them are black! – are out there all over, so there is no lack of inspiration, nor any grounds for excuse. Again, I reiterate my appeal to discipline, the highest and hardest brand of it, which Afrikans will need to overcome oppression including self-destructive tendencies, of which, yes, sedentary living is very much one of them.

Sedentary living is a sad, indeed a cowardly resignation to fate, to the seemingly overwhelming circumstances, to oppression without taking initiative to change the picture. How can oppressed people afford to sit their ass down? They are the most in need to stand and run and get strong!

Imagine lots of strong, hardy, fit, lean, healthy, fierce, beautiful, athletic Afrikan vegans and raw vegans outliving and outfighting and outshining their enemies, including the enemies within – the typical African dictator, with his usual fat ass. Look at the average corrupt corpulent African head of state – he or she is a miserable ugly fatass! Do you all want to be like them, look like them, big overfed piles of feces not worth the food and expensive banquets lavished on them on the international neocolonial circuit? Do you want to be fat like the fascists, or fit like the fighters and the fire starters?

Revolutionaries have to be beyond physically fit. Fitness needs to be taken very seriously by Afrikans who say they are also vegan or raw vegan/ fruitarian. Fitness is a science and can and should be applied to any and all of us. We need to be doing something that makes us sweat at least thirty minutes a day. If not then at least thirty minutes every other day. We should try to push ourselves – when a given level of exertion no longer stresses us significantly, we must raise the level of the challenge – add more weight, add more miles, push further in the stretches, add more variety. Exercise is for getting stronger.

There shouldn’t be no flabby vegans, shouldn’t be no fruitarian dough-boys or girls. We should cease to separate in our minds vegan and physical fitness. Afrikan forces that practice veganity and athleticism can potentially be among the most revolutionary and sophisticated cats walking the Earth.

As for me, I know I want to do more work in the cardio department. My resting heart rate is only slightly below the average, and I’d like to bring it far below the average and get into marathon-running territory, for real. I’m putting this out there so I am forced to challenge myself. I’ve always relied on my own body for transportation – walking, biking. When I was in college I did much much more jogging than I now do, and was on the track team for a minute way back in high school. And I’ve been doing Kung Fu twice per week for over a year and a half now. I also do plenty of calisthenics. But all that hasn’t translated into an extremely high level of cardiovascular endurance – territory I’d like to march into in order to near the level of the great Afrikan dieties of marathon running. Why not? Cardiovascular health is perhaps the most important in the realm of increased longevity, oxygen utilization, disease prevention, and so on. The elite athlete should be joined by the masses in enjoying the pinnacle of heart health. I’m going for it. Why don’t y’all consider similar moves?

Exercise has to be targeted and specific. Want to work the cardiovascular system and strengthen the heart? Do extremely vigorous, sweaty, hard, rhythmic, sustained activities that involve a lot of running, cycling, rowing, or other such movements. Want to increase muscle strength? Do plenty of weight-bearing activities wherein you periodically, incrementally increase the amount of weight you lift and move. Want to get more limber and flexible? Go for the yoga or yoga-like exercises, and make sure that during each session, you push yourself further than you did last time. And make exercise comprehensive – so your sessions and sports make you stronger, more flexible, and increase endurance.

Physical fitness, including at the highest levels we should attain, is only a good thing. ONLY A GOOD THING. AND AN ESPECIALLY EXCELLENT THING FOR AFRIKAN VEGANS. We need to be as strong and healthy as possible in order to struggle long and successfully for our people.

I am increasingly convinced that the discourse of veganism is empty without the language of physical fitness.

Let athleticism, sport, and regular hardcore SWEATY exercise grace our black vegan lives, so we reap the benefits and roll through the world beautiful, strong, healthy, and ready to pull down the walls of oppression and disease with our bare hands!

Towards a veganism of physical fitness and sport!

Towards the Afrikan vegan fitness revolution!

It’s never too soon or too late to start making the right moves.

UHURU!

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Raw Veganism in Afrika – Could be Ideal (?)

master13_1.jpgI think that the ecological and economic reasons for raw veganism, or even conventional veganism, make it one of the best diets for Afrikans on the continent. Most Afrikans have other ideas, and Afrika might be the continent with the least vegetarians, or at least the fewest conscious vegetarians. A lot of Afrikans see meat as a prestige. It was isolating being vegan in Afrika, and it made me think a lot about how I could spread vegetarianism there, even though I usually never operated as a vegan evangelist before. The sorts of classes I took in Ghana, on sustainable agriculture, women and development, and traditional medicine, all helped confirm for me that we need a vegan movement in Sub-Saharan Afrika. I feel we need to grow all sorts of great tropical fruits and vegetables for ourselves, and eat them. We must move away from cash-crop economies which leave us dependent on the West, and make us import their rotten meat, their subsidized rice, and so on.

 

It is winter in New York, my first winter in two years since last winter I was in Ghana. I have the profound sense of not only missing Afrika, but feeling like I really belong there. I find myself sunbathing almost religiously in this wintertime, since as a very very dark-skinned Afrikan I am supposed to be getting the amount of sunlight I would be getting in the tropics to generate the right amount of Vitamin D. I think I am doing well here because I just sit in the sun whenever it is sunny; I’m sitting in the sun right now. I LOVE THE SUN. I like hot weather. I like keeping my skin melanin-stimulated, dark, black, no matter what time of year or what weather. Raw veganism, fitness, and health all require maad sunlight and fresh air, especially for Afrikans.

 

If I was in Afrika right now, I would be eating maad mangos, Afrikan avocados (whose taste I didn’t allow myself to get used to as I am so accustomed to Mexican/ Californian avocados), maad greens, tomatoes, papayas, guavas, bananas, all the great tropical fruits. Maybe a few raw cashews or raw groundnuts. It would be so easy, as it’s all in the market and is maad affordable, at least to someone who has Western currency.

 

As Afrika moves towards holistic and self-contained economic and health development, perhaps we could begin to grow more of the superfoods of Asia and elsewhere in our vast, rich soils. We could start cultivating durians, certain types of berries, herbs, nuts and seeds. It would be sweet.

 

The practice of pastoralism, the grazing of cattle, sheep, etc., is scientifically proven to be an unsustainable way of life compared to settled agriculture, as the browsers eat away the grasses and help expand the Sahara and other deserts. The consumption of meat is scientifically proven to be able to feed far, far fewer humans than mass vegetarianism would. It consumes far, far more water resources, land, food even, to produce meat than to produce veggies. Our starvation could be stemmed with a lot more veganism, and a lot more macrobiotic, self-sufficient, self-feeding agriculture.

 

And tropical fruits are some of the most heavily relied on ones by raw vegans and fruitarians. Being actually in the tropics would mean easy access to, and ability to grow, our favorite foods.

 

If I return to Afrika, or move there (or to the Caribbean), I would get land and grow maad tropical fruits and veggies, keep the soil well nourished, make babies with a raw-vegan Afrikan beauty queen, practice and teach fitness and martial arts, eat raw vegan stuff, and live a long life as a revolutionary Afrikan renaissance man. I’d learn an Afrikan language, I’d be maad healthy, build an all-Afrikan bicycle factory powered by wind and solar, spread African Internationalism and socialism, etc. But that’s just crazy dreaming. Afrika is grossly underdeveloped and neo-colonized, though we must stand and fight.

 

I visited an organic farm in Aburi, Ghana (north of Accra) where the old Afrikan genius there practices sustainable agroforestry. He plants trees. He plants all sorts of fruits, greens, yams, etc. all around them. He was maad inspiring. The photo above is from his land, the photo below of his contact info. I could do that. I could live like that. We all could. “Make the world a garden…”

 

How I wonder. 

 

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Raw Veganism and Kung Fu

I think raw veganism is probably the best lifestyle for athletes. Check out a black fruitarian fitness trainer here, or here (these sites belong to Richard Blackman and his fruitarian fitness program) for further evidence. In my own experience in being a dedicated student of Kung Fu (Wu Shu) and a raw vegan, my endurance, flexibility, muscle strength, reaction speed, mental clarity, retention, and everything else important to excellence in martial arts, seem at their pinnacle according to the level of study I’m at. The martial artist must be flexible, must be quick on the feet. She must also be compassionate, humble, and straightforward. The artistry of Kung Fu is best expressed, it seems, in those who have moved away from the greed and anger associated with meat. It is also best delivered by those whose bodies are as clean, self-disciplined, and balanced as possible.

I imagine that great martial artists, great Kung Fu generals, also had excellent diets, and maybe some were even some sort of raw vegan, given the vegetarian Buddhist dietary principles followed by authentic monk soldiers. I’m down with that stuff. Living in self-discipline, being clean and healthy, training hard, stretching long, being super attentive, and in a spirit of brotherhood with one’s peers, and diligent humility before one’s teacher. And Kung Fu expresses a deep appreciation for the natural world and the ways and movements of animals, of insects, of birds, even of seasons. I always imagine practicing Kung Fu in great quiet alpine mountains, where it is said in the legends of Zen Buddhism that enlightened monks lived off nothing but berries and got around leaping over cliffs, living over 200 years. For now I live in Gotham City and ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. But the true Zen Masters always stressed that one should be in as complete a state of mindfulness and Zazen in a crowded and noisy market as they would be in the monestary or on a mountain. And it seems to me that one who imitates nature would be most successful to the degree that he leaves it ecologically unharmed as a compassionately meat-free, sustainably raw vegan.

I’ve been a vegan for nearly nine years, and have always been quite healthy. I’ve been a Kungfuista for over seven months and a raw vegan for the past three months, and have never felt healthier. I’m only 24, but I wish other young people could be living close to this experience. In Amerikkka these days, it’s even the young people now that are getting “old people’s” diseases and living sedentary, unhealthy, un-energetic, junk-food lives. I want to get into fasting in the near future to reach an even more serious level of purification, clarity, and energy. In the next few years, I definitely want to begin studying Capoeira as well (I’m too busy with other studies to commit to it right now). Especially as an Afrikan, I really want to master a discipline of my ancestors. And Capoeira acrobatics, and its aesthetics that I appreciate as a lover of dance, should complement the boxing and dancing of Kung Fu beautifully, enabling me to get into some mixed martial arts. Combining Capoeira, Kung Fu, raw veganism, and seasonal fasting should be extremely awesome. And I intend to be living in Kung Fu, raw veganism, and soon, Capoeira, for the rest of my life – raw veganism forever!

Self-discipline incessantly!

Martial arts never die!

I sit in the sun even during winter here in New York. I stay melanated at all times and get my vitamin D, my fresh air, my blameless long walks.