Category Archives: physical fitness

Vegan Homemade Muscle-Ups

With vegan power alone, one can perform all essential functions of human life, including muscle-ups, weighted pull-ups, and more.

Make non-violent, sustainable, compassionate, healthy gains!

Go Vegan!

Gotham Parks on Youtube for the Latest!

We’ve been focusing on video content, a mix of urban cycling and veganism, on our channel on youtube Gotham Parks. Subscribe and check it out! Here are just some recent offerings:

On my daily fruit smoothies for the workday hours.

 

On some vegan fitness output.

My review of the Xtracycle Edgerunner cargo bike – a great bike for vegans!

 

On traffic crimes in Harlem/ Washington Heights NYC.

 

Running round the park on good friday.

 

On the Queensboro Bridge Bike/ Ped path.

 

Urban bike safety pro-tip.

 

… it’s cheaper to go vegan, whole foods plant-based, in the long run, always!

 

Vegetarianism (including eggs, dairy) is hardly better ethically or health-wise than not abstaining from flesh. Go vegan, all the way!

 

A basic why I’m vegan video.

 

Subscribe to Gotham Parks! I’ll post more to africanvegans.com going forward to keep y’all in the know. Go vegan, ride bikes and enjoy!

The Problem with XX#-Day Diets, Exercise Programs

Combat-ready fruitarianism.

Always hungry for carbs and iron.

I think 30-day vegan diets, 28-day raw cleanses, 90-day workout routines, and other time-compartmentalized agendas for radical lifestyle change are atrocious. If you want to stay lean and green, plan to be vegan for the rest of your life; if you aim for fitness, plan to work out, well, forever. Raw veganism, power-lifting, calisthenics and kung-fu are among the manifestations of my commitment to health and discipline – and each one of them requires proper eating and vigorous exercise every day until I’m dead. Flat out. That’s my take on the matter. I’ve been vegan for over 12 years, almost half my life. I was a young teenager when I started and I think there were times when my moms thought it would be a passing phase, and folks casually asked when I would resume eating garbage and trashing the planet (not in such colorful language though). So if I came into any of this with the mentality or within the conveniently escapable constraint of it being a 30 or 60 or 90-day “program” or “cleanse,” I doubt I would have been so motivated and committed to remain in the game all these years later. I question why there are folks out there even promoting these sorts of programs, but I have a strong inkling as to the reasons – money and marketing.

When some fitness “expert” or health “guru” out there thinks they’ve arrived upon some new holy grail of fitness or diet, and they want to sell it to others and monetize their system, it is highly convenient to package it as a special, esoteric but fast-gratifying XX-day program of some sort. If they were to be honest and straightforward about it, they fear, people might not be interested in paying for their idea or consultancy. But this is underestimating the people. Why not be real? Tell cats that health is a life-long commitment from which there is no vacation or retreat. I’m into just freely sharing what works, what is practical, and what is sensible to the instincts of most people. I trust that people will get it, even if it somehow makes the enormity of the task that much bigger. But that’s the beauty of it – it’s a lifelong mission, an endless adventure, and it only rewards you day by day, with unparalleled health, resilience, lightness, compassion, wisdom, and so on. If you want health, do healthy things, from right now this day until your very last. Fitness and health are for life – there’s no 30-day shortcut into it, nor any vacation out of it.

It’s very basic. And if this sort of honesty is too brutal, then so be it. But if you’re gonna do P90X, as beautiful as its workouts are, ditch the “90” part and do it forever, until well past your 90th birthday. If you want some sort of “cleansing” by becoming a raw vegan, don’t fool yourself thinking like it’s a 30-day vacation from meat, junk and drugs. Raw veganism is for long-haul truckers only. Good health is only for long-haul flight captains. Massive vitality is only for life-long and storied generals. There are no shortcuts or breaks; you just do it and don’t stop, period.

I also don’t think you can get much out of doing something new, something you want to get really into, for just a few days. It takes years to master something, and then decades to master that mastery. So start now, today, this instant. And never, ever stop. Don’t even think about it.

Veganism is forever. Physical fitness is forever. There’s no way around it. Discipline is the only way. And any vacation from healthy eating and healthy living you think you want because you crave garbage and a lazy day, just ain’t worth it. I’m not talking about periodized exercise programs – of course, there are times to slow down, particularly during the off-season when you might take a short break from the rep-max power-lifting and stick to the basics, lighten the weights, do shorter runs instead of half-marathoning every time, etc., preventing physical burn-out. But the off-season is no excuse to revisit poisonous, cruel foods, drugs, or shameless sloth – veganism continues; ample sleep and stress-minimized living are not interrupted. The off-season, a month or a few weeks’ duration in a year-long periodization program for all athletes of the sport of life, corresponds with the life-cycle of hard work followed by moderate work and taking off a load; it does not correspond with partying hard and forgetting ones principles. Even in general, you don’t lift heavy every day – alternating days you lift moderate or light, or don’t lift at all; the light or off days are not to be days of backsliding, irresponsibility and excuses. So, even the “off-season” excuse doesn’t count. Matter of fact, forget I even mentioned the “off-season.” I’ll be in-season until I stop breathing. All of life is the in-season.

When you figure on going vegan, incorporating vigorous consistent exercise into your life, and all around assuming the healthiest lifestyles there are, look at it like you’re entering the point of no return, all doors behind you locked shut for good, and don’t look back. Then you can only move forward into success after success, mastery after mastery, in the endless, joyful, glorious pursuit of unrealized human potential.

We live but once. Live victoriously.

Album Review: “The Workout” by Stic (aka stic.man)

Discipline. NO excuses. Rhythm and movement. Motivation. Consistency. Execution only. Positivity only. Clean living. Self-affirmation. Affirmation of life.

These are among the themes of the beyond superb new album The Workout by Stic (aka stic.man) of Dead Prez. Living healthy is no easy task in this society, with both external and internal forces (the monkey mind) leading us toward negative addictions, attitudes, relationships, indulgences, negligence, and so on. But a revolution must lead with folks who comprehend how unhealthy society functions upon the mass of people, and who comprehend how the many contradictions and negative outcomes befall people governed by a system that wants to consume and exploit human beings, and get human beings to consume and destroy themselves in order to make a profit.

Thus I think The Workout, despite its primary concern with self-development, may be among the most revolutionary Dead Prez albums yet, because revolution, a radical break from a legacy of violence, death, ignorance, exploitation, anger, greed and fear, must begin with the self. And only oneself can liberate oneself – we ourselves are often our own worst enemies. It takes unyielding self-discipline, contemplation, study, exercise, and serious internal work to overcome the contradictions that we as individuals engage in that, in part, perpetuate the miserable status quo of human existence at large. Thus, to encourage diligent and profound internal work, including on our physical bodies as well as our minds, is to encourage revolutionary work, full stop.

And Stic and friends do a mighty fine job of encouragement, through superb musical hip-hop artistry and lyricism. This album surely works as great workout music, as I have listened to it during many a workout over the past few weeks. The refrain, “who am I? I am the champion!” from “Champion” buzzes through the mind while one sweats in exertion. Stic rhymes, “over my lifetime I’m tryna do a million crunches, a billion pushups and prolly throw a billion punches; it’s not the numbers, it’s all about the drive and hunger, to live strong like gorillas thrive in the jungle” in “Blood Pumpin’.” I feel really driven when hearing this line, driven to push myself hard for the rest of my life and never stop reaching mental and physical peaks and then exceeding them, going from strength to strength as I become stronger, wiser and sharper with time.

In “Back On My Regimen (Swole like Tookie),” Divine RBG says “My everyday struggle got me slacking on my fitness, I hear my inner voice saying get back to bidness, get back in the gym, get back on the bars, I can get it in anywhere, the world is my yard!” I love these bars because brother Divine reminds us that for most of us there’s little excuse to slacking, as the world is our yard, the whole of whatever tools and facilities and environments we have at hand. We must strive not to permit our everyday struggles to overwhelm us, to smother us, burn us out and steal our lives from under us. So we can do calisthenics at home; we can get it in at the park, taking walks, jogs, stretches; whatever is safest, most available, but we have to get it in no matter what and keep it up. I don’t have a gym membership; just shoes, a bunch of kettlebells, my body, and my urban environment, and I make it work, getting it in 3-5 days a week and feeling absolutely great, killing the negativity and stagnation inside me every day with sweat and torque.

I greatly appreciate the pro-sobriety messages laced throughout this piece. General Steele (of Smif-N-Wessun) declares, “Strict code of conduct, respect for my enemies; exercise mentally, physically, spiritually; no guns needed – got a panther’s agility, and I don’t need drugs to enhance my ability” (Warrior Codes). No drugs, no steroids, no human growth hormone, no easy ways out. No intoxicants, no means to blunt reality. All things worth achieving are best and most sustainably achieved by all-natural, straightforward, head-first means. It’s painful that so much of prominent rap music is about the opposite – celebrating drugs, self-destruction, ill-health, domestic violence and promiscuity, etc. the opposite of a clear-headed, simple, positive, healthy life which brings lasting well-being, not instant and fleeting gratification followed by craving and calamity.

There are so many incredible songs on this album. “Yoga Mat” reminds us of the importance of meditation and engaging in practices that help us arrive at mental clarity. Mental clarity is a rarer commodity than rare-earth minerals, rarer even than known Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars. To even seek mental clarity and sincere inner peace, peace with oneself, in this society, is to engage in extremely subversive, anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist activities. The system doesn’t mind meditation, since it doesn’t harm it directly, and meditation won’t speed revolution. But if it were the case that masses of us took up meditation (to regain our minds, assert our willpower and master our destinies) instead of smoking a cigarette, drinking alcohol, or doing other things to get high and lose our minds, the Babylon system could get mighty nervous.

The sistas make an appearance in “Baby Fat,” “one of whom (I think Ife Jie?) spits “I know a beautiful body is what a man loves, but I do it for me, I got my own standards.” While this album doesn’t exactly explode with feminism, it doesn’t push machismo and anti-women crap either. I appreciate how this woman asserts her desire for health and fitness as based on her own standards and aspirations to wellness, as opposed to being predicated on impressing men. She is allowed to define her own destiny and it needn’t be just about pleasing men; it can be about pleasing and fulfilling herself.

I could go on about other goodies on this brilliant album, like “Bruce Lee” (awesome), “Sober Soldier,” “Let it Burn,” “Runner’s High,” and so on. But to wrap up I’ll just say this is a nearly perfect example of positive culture. We need more positive culture! I need it. This is the sort of stuff I respond to deeply. This is the sort of stuff brothas and sistas ought to contemplate and actualize in order to affirm and perpetuate life rather than destroy it. Negative culture generally seeks the opposite of what our righteous brother Stic and company want to tell us. Positive culture encourages us to push the boundaries of human potential and do what we previously thought impossible, toward positive transformation of self and community. The Workout is right on that tip.

For the hardcore straight-edge vegan fitness freaks, for the revolutionaries, for those who seek health and clarity, for all of the above, this album will talk to you. Please support Stic and wise men and women like him, and cop this album ASAP.

Fruitarian Musculation and Philosophy

I’m moving towards adding a fruitarian fitness and body-building page to this blog. Until I launch such a page, I thought I’d again weigh in on my dietary philosophy with regard to basic well-being. For me, all I eat is fresh raw whole fruits (including non-sweet fruits) and vegetables (leafy greens). It is my conviction that fresh fruits and vegetables are the ideal foods for humans, and that they also make the most ethical sense to eat. That’s all I eat. What I eat is that which I see in front of me at farmer’s markets and produce stands and which suits my palate and hunger. No dried fruits or nuts – they don’t interest me. Nothing exploited or ripped from animals – they are cruel to animals and human physiology alike.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, and by far mostly fruits in proportion to the greens (why I claim “fruitarian” now) – that’s my whole game and song. Historically, I grew up on rice and occasional fish and chicken and milk and cereal and such in a Nigerian household in North Jersey. I went vegan in 1999 (at age 15) and started with soy-based milk and meat replacers, moving in time towards more and more fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains and less stuff that was reminiscent in any way of the old animal-based regime. I went raw-vegan in 2007 in a regime both fresh fruit/vegetable heavy and nut heavy, including exotic stuff like hemp-seed, cacao, trips to pricey raw restaurants for nori-rolls and nut patties, and so on. Since the start of 2009, I’ve been all about just fresh fruits and veggies that are in season and accessible from farmers markets and produce stands where I live.

I don’t eat organic much, both because of the expense and because where I can get produce – family-owned produce joints in my corner of North Jersey – there are few “organic”-labeled varieties. At the chain supermarkets, everything is 30-50% more expensive. Organic varieties (which I can only find at the big franchises) are way past even those aggressive markups. I’m not gonna bother for now.

But all in all, it’s a simple food regime. I eat fresh – stuff that’s not in boxes and packaging, stuff you have to pick and bag yourself – including bananas, watermelon, oranges, mangos, apples, tomatoes, spinach, okra, cucumbers, bell peppers, pomegranate, guava, zucchini, etc. It’s simple, yet quite satisfying.

I don’t count calories. I don’t supplement for micronutrients I’m supposed to fear deficiencies of (i.e. pressed oils or protein powders or B12 – haven’t knowingly had any vitamin or fortified source of that in my body for years and have never been anemic in my life, and haven’t been ill in any way in years). I eat when I’m hungry. I drink water (the only drink) when I’m thirsty. I sleep when I’m tired. I wash with black soap and moisturize with unprocessed raw shea butter. I floss and brush with a soft toothbrush and non-fluoridated toothpaste, I squat when I shit, and for now I don’t shave or comb my hair – just wash and go proudly. Fresh fruits, leafy greens, sunshine, fresh air, exercise, good humans, good rest, good work and a simple, straightforward, natural swagger sustain me.

So, having laid down my general philosophy, I simply hope to share the idea and experience of good fitness and physical culture through simplicity, abundance, hard work and sincerest interest in the growth of others. I don’t have anything to sell – no books, powders, recipes. I would just hope that the plant-based diet becomes more normalized in this world and less denigrated by the ignorant and those with whole industries and cultures of violence to defend.

Getting strong is about weight-bearing, cardiovascular and stretching exercises, with actual muscular hypertrophy and strengthening most dependent on the first item. Getting strong is not about killing and eating animals, ingesting soy powders, etc. Weight-bearing exercise includes simple body-weight exercises like push-ups, squats, burpees, etc. It can be as straightforward or elaborate as one likes or can afford.

I am personally interested in strength and power (as opposed to hypertrophy/bulk alone). Hence my current workout regime alternates full-body speed/power days with full-body strength/muscular endurance days. I.e. in a five day campaign, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are about speed and power. Tuesdays and Thursdays are about strength and endurance. My cardiovascular workouts [aside from ballistic kettlebell work] are based on bicycling and walking and occur throughout the week (partly included in practicing active transportation/ body-reliant commuting) and especially weekends (I run less only because I don’t have the best right knee in the world). In the past my regime included regular martial arts practice, though of late I could no longer afford/ find time to do this, and I expect to resume some time in 2011.

My tools include kettlebells, a pull-up bar, chairs (for dips), a mat, a chin-up bar, my bicycle, my body, and the world. Speed and power exercises, which are among my favorite, come courtesy of the kettlebells and the wide variety of power-lifting one can do with them – cleans, [time-interval] jerks, snatches, high pulls, Turkish get-ups, swings, and so on. One can invent exercises with kettlebells and of course use them for all the general weight-training techniques known to humanity – [pistol] squats, lunges, shoulder and chest presses, curls, [renegade] rows, etc. Calisthenic and body-weight workouts combine with non-ballistic weight-training on strength days.

It’s all pretty simple. It’s all pretty cheap. And most of it’s in the attitude. It’s about embracing intuition, cherishing simplicity, shunning cruelty, not fearing, and being oneself. The plant-based diet is in my experience the nicest, having done me over eleven years (some 40% of my life as of my 27th year at present) of good. The physical culture of an active lifestyle and exercise produces endless soldier-soul juice. Especially in the mornings before work, when one deploys military discipline to practice physical and mental strength before the work day and commute, so that body and essence remain in tact and strong in this debasing world.

Fresh fruits and veggies and physical culture give one the strength to withstand Babylon and fight for truth and justice for time to come. Activists and freedom-fighters need to mind and sustain their personal wellness. Stay tuned for a fitness page to be added above soon.

And please comment generously on this missive.

Okra Stew w/Carrots + Raw Vegan Muscle

The okra addict at it again for no special reason. Okra stew this time with spinach, okra and carrots. Not that all I eat is okra stews, just that it’s always when I make them that coincides with me feeling like pulling my old camera out. Had some very fine carrot/ spinach dishes (don’t know what name to give them) and zucchini pastas over the past weekend and before that.

You know how much “protein” is in that spinach, peeps? How much “calcium” is in that okra? How much “beta carotene” in them carrots? For y’all paranoid nutrient and calorie counters, the low-fat raw vegan/ fruitarian lifestyle is fantastic for the body. It’s been many, many years since I’ve been sick in any way. Never had a dietary deficiency in anything in all eleven years of veganism.

The left upper extremity of the Precision Afrikan doing some cleans and jerks with the 24kg/53lb kettlebell. The muscle fibers below the skin in this image are composed mostly of fruits and greens like spinach. No nuts and few overt fats (avos) and no artificial or concentrated supplements whatsoever other than sunshine, straight-edge living and nutritious foods! And trying to exercise the body-temple every day.

Simple, cheap, effective, sustainable, healthy. Good enough for me and good enough for all others. So to the uninitiated outsiders to veganism who are interested, stop worrying and just live this life.

Misc. – blog post written while listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ “Window Shopping” from I Learned the Hard Way. Saw someone doing this sort of thing on another blog, thought I’d try it.

Excellent Lifetime Dance Residency

Spring break is at hand in my chamber. This semester covers the remaining prereq classes needed for OT school which’ll start in 2011. I remember that I was once supposed to live an extremely simple monk-like life, little debt and problems, wandering free. Back in high school or even early college many years ago, I was totally ready to do things the lightweight way. Yet now I find myself so busied by yet more school, after already picking up undergrad and grad degrees and debt. Too many ambitions. I just quit my exploititive job and now money thin. Thus struggle ensues.

But there is refuge from the dregs of labor and worry. One must engage in the life-dance day to day. This is my ongoing practice. Exercise. Take long walks. Eat nothing but fruit and veggies! Put nothing but beautiful clean food inside. Sleep very well and at regular hours. Be outdoors as much as possible. For me, these methods make for an enduringly joyful and amazing life. No bragging! Every single human should possess a life of pedestrian, commonplace joy. Struggle is inherent in life on Earth. But joy is held captive to the struggle for many of us. We need to learn to liberate joy and well-being from the well of stress and toil. It is there. We just need to learn to dance and pull the joy on to the discotec and out of the wallflower roll.

Walk around the town. Walk like Korusawa’s shoulder shrugging samuri. We own the place. No fake-ass nation state, no police can stop us. We must walk like vegans. Physical vegans. Jaunting smooth. Arms swinging. Blood flowing and lymph moving. Singing. Even silently.

Run around the place. Pumping heart action. Atrial naturetic peptide moving. Blood is sweet and nice when it gets mixed around in the body bathing all the cells well. Lymph cleaning the interstitial spaces and swishing around. The eyes catch sights. The lungs catch breaths. We dodge traffic. NO, we ARE traffic. We drive bicycles. We drive our bodies. Vehicular veganism. Yes! The footfalls of the runner running for speed, strength, pride, well-being. Planning to live at least 120 years on planet Earth. Big strong heart.

Push the heavy shit. This is, as Ghostface said, “dedicated to rich niggas who sell weight.” All of us are already such rich niggas (I mean Nagus!). We have the weight of our own bodies to push and pull. Push ups. Pull ups. Dips. Lunges. Squats. Crunches. Leg Lifts. Acrobatics. Streeetch! If we have access to heavy weights, we powerlift. Clean and jerk. Push press. Snatch! We do multijoint motions like deadlift. Row. Bench.

SO NICE. This is physical veganism in the spring. It’s perfect. Freedom walks to sprints to kettlebells in the park or pickup games of basketball with other youth.

Physical veganism is CORREKT. So is vehicular veganism, driving the body! It’s yours! Do it till death. You may find life extraordinary. And do it DAILY like the papers.

Oh, and throw in some daily meditation and quiet mind time to clear the third eye and sleep and wake soundly.

Just some ideas from the Afrikan raw vegan.

DANCE WITH LIFE!

Hospital Food

So last week I was at my local hospital rehab ward to observe occupational therapy for several days (occupational therapy is my next course of study and, I promise, the last degree I’ll collect before I turn 30. I need to make more money.). Folks who have suffered strokes, folks who’ve had heart attacks, amputees, folks who’ve been shot or endured devastating accidents, these individuals constitute the population of this inpatient ward. This private non-profit hospital is among the more progressive and well-endowed in the NYC metro area. The staff seem respected and happy, from the physical and occupational therapists to the practical nurses, from the food servers to the social workers.

The hospital food orders can be restricted for patients with cardiac conditions, limiting them to low-fat/low cholesterol options. And one could get some fresh fruits with his or her requests. Vegetarian meals were also options. The food offerings were conventional, but not of the lowest standard, and there was room for customization on the part of the savvy patient.

Nonetheless, I want to assert that many conditions suffered by these patients were ultimately caused by diet. Smokers and heavy meat-eaters, given their stated conditions and diets, abounded in this population, especially amongst stroke and cardiac patients. Diet is the first medicine. It begins at youth. Bad medicine across a lifetime leads to an undesirable outcome, it was overwhelmingly clear to me after my observation of who tends to wind up needing these sorts of therapies.

Healthy food, physical culture (primal and vigorous exercise and play), adequate sleep, healthy relationships and vocations, sunshine, rest, hopefully some love – these are the original therapies. If the whole population ate brilliantly and lived vigorously (but safely and sanely), physicians and allied health professionals like me, even those in alternative medicine disciplines, would be damn near out of business. For real. If we are honest, many of our professions are created by the need to mitigate negative lifestyle choices only. Nutritionists, for example (just one of many disciplines to critique) are not really necessary but to the nutritionally clueless, obese client who can afford one, who will tell the client what to eat and why. But common sense says we should eat natural fresh fruits and vegetables, as much as we need, and then relax. Hell, personal trainers – a profession I’ve been trained in – don’t really need to exist but for an adult population that has completely forgotten how to move and play to stay naturally healthy. Another thing I’ve been trained in, massage therapy, is unnecessary for those who have great friends and/ or lovers who can share affection and apply pressure to pain and aches maturely and effectively.

If the population moved towards health and sanity, no need for many of us healthcare peoples. We’d need retraining for some other profession, those that actually produce and reproduce material needs in societies. I would actually prefer that the population did this. That would be the trend in a revolutionary society that knows about preventive medicine, social equality, pro-human values, harmony with nature, and so on.

But it’s not happening, in fact the trend goes backwards. Hence among the only stable and growing jobs in this recession continue to be those in healthcare.

Shouldn’t be. Preventive medicine is the best therapy. Love is the best drug. Healthy diet is the most profound lifelong pill. For me, healthy diet is of course this low-fat raw vegan road. Staying healthy is easy in this configuration. Eat fresh clean raw plants when you’re hungry. Then relax and do other things like positive, life-affirming and creative work, coupled with vigorous and fun play, and completed by welcome and relaxing sleep.

Stay healthy, so you don’t have to even deal with the berserk capitalist anti-human monster euphemistically called our healthcare system in these united snakes. Complicated and clever ways to deal with the ordeal of medical billing for insurance was one of the main things everyone at this hospital was talking about.

Don’t make the world need more nurses, therapists and hospital food.

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!

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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