Remembering Jack LaLanne

Remembering Jack LaLanne

"Health Hero" Jack LaLanne's life was not always so healthy! Rev. Malkmus recounts Jack's life-changing, paradigm shift at age 15 when he reluctantly went to a health food lecture by Paul Bragg.

There have been three men who have greatly inspired and encouraged me in my quest to learn how to live a long and healthy life on planet Earth so that I could better maintain a body that was fit for the Master’s use. The names of these three men are Norman W. Walker, Paul C. Bragg, and Jack LaLanne. I call these three men my “Health Heroes” because each of them maintained a strong and healthy body until nearly the century mark. Too many of God’s people fail to properly take care of their bodily temple and thus never fulfill the ministry God has called them to. One of the reasons Norman W. Walker, Paul C. Bragg, and Jack LaLanne are on my Health Heroes list is not only because they talked a good talk, but that they walked their talk. In this Health Tip I want to begin sharing a little about what each of these Health Heroes of mine talked and then I will show you how their walk backed up their talk with exceptional health and long lives.

Jack LaLanne’s Earthly Life Ended on January 23, 2011

On January 25, 2011, USA TODAY had these blazing headlines along with a huge picture of Jack LaLanne flexing his muscles on page 5D: Jack LaLanne 1914-2011 – The larger-than-life figure who reshaped our figures – LaLanne helped launch America’s obsession with physical fitness.” The article then went on to report: “Leaders of the fitness world are remembering Jack LaLanne, who died Sunday at age 96, as a pioneer who set an example all his life that inspired people of all ages. LaLanne, widely considered the founding father of the fitness movement in the United States, preached strength training and healthy eating long before it was fashionable.”

Remembering Jack LaLanne

In California, over 80 years ago, Jack LaLanne’s mother dragged her then 15-year-old son to a lecture by health crusading nutritionist Paul C. Bragg. They arrived late and had to sit on the stage close to Bragg in front of some 3,000 people. That night changed Jack LaLanne’s life forever. “My mother forced me to go,” LaLanne recalls. “I had dropped out of school for almost a year. I was a sick shut-in! I wouldn’t go out and see people. I had pimples and boils and I was wearing glasses. I was thin, wore a back brace and was so weak I couldn’t participate in sports. I didn’t want anyone to see me.” During the lecture, Jack heard Paul Bragg tell the audience that they could reverse their physical problems by eating right and living a healthy lifestyle. These words struck a needed chord in the young, unhealthy LaLanne. “I was weak and sick. I used to have blinding headaches every day. I couldn’t stand pain. I wanted to get out of my body.” Jack recalls how life seemed so hopeless, but Dr. Bragg told us that we could be physically born again. After the lecture, LaLanne went to Bragg’s dressing room and talked for an hour with him. “This was the start of a wonderful, lifelong friendship.” Dr. Bragg Asked Me….. Jack recalls “Dr. Bragg asked me, ‘What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?’ I told him, “cakes, pies and ice cream?” He said, “Jack, you are a walking garbage can.” “That night I got down on my knees, by the side of my bed and I prayed. I didn’t say, ‘God, make me a Mr. America.’ Rather I said ‘Please give me the will power and intestinal fortitude to refrain from eating the wrong, lifeless, dead foods when the urge comes over me. God please give me the strength to exercise when I don’t feel like it.’” At the end of two weeks, he said, he felt “like an entirely different human being.” He went from being the butt of jokes to captain of his high school football team and took up bodybuilding.

Jack’s Life After His Encounter with Paul Bragg

There hasn’t been a donut in Jack’s life since Bragg told him, “The best part of a donut is the hole.” In the 70 years since Jack opened his first gym in downtown Oakland, Jack has spread his gospel of fitness through nutrition and exercise, in lectures, a 34-year television show and a variety of extraordinary physical feats. Following are some of Jack’s accomplishments: 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes, and swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco in freezing ocean water while handcuffed and shackled. On his 70th birthday, he celebrated with a mile long swim, during which he towed 70 rowboats filled with 70 people. LaLanne pioneered health gyms and has a number of nutritional and exercise products on the market – all of which made him a wealthy man. Many have seen Jack LaLanne demonstrating and promoting his Jack LaLanne juicer. But Jack LaLanne, the muscle mogul, with the 45-inch chest and the 28-inch waist, says he cares nothing for material rewards. “I never thought about making money in my life. This is a capitalistic country and if you do a good job, you will be compensated. “In the future I want to open a chain of health food restaurants, write more books and do some more television. I love inspiring people to be healthy, happy, and stronger.” LaLanne was grateful that fitness and nutrition had become No. 1 in growth, with sales in the billions. He believed the emphasis on exercise and a healthy natural diet would create a stronger, better America. “With healthier citizens, we will unburden society from sickness and reduce the medical bills that are draining people’s savings and causing grief.” “I talked about the dangers of white flour and sugar over 60 years ago and people thought I was some kind of a fool. Now it’s every doctor saying ‘salt, white flour, sugar are killers, killers, killers’,” he said. “It’s exciting what’s happening. This is going to be the salvation of America, you watch. The incidences of drugs, alcoholism and crime on our streets will decrease in the next few years. Young people turn to drugs because they are eating too much sugar and refined, dead foods, and the lack of exercise. “How do you think kids get started on this deadly drug habit? It all starts with excessive consumption of white sugar, candy and soft drinks. When you use too much sugar it destroys the B-complex vitamins so that you can’t make wise decisions, your energy’s down and you’re apprehensive and doubtful about your life. “These are the hard facts. If you stop eating white sugar products and get on live, organic, natural foods, you will feel better immediately. Look at me, if Dr. Bragg hadn’t changed my life at age 15, I would have been dead at age 17.” LaLanne’s personal health regimen included health foods, abundant use of fresh vegetable juices, plus vitamin and mineral supplements and a big two-and-one-half-hour workout each day. He would start exercising at 5:00 a.m. because it’s a challenge and it’s tougher that way. “Getting out of a warm bed at 5:00 a.m. to go down to my gym in the morning . . . I could be lazy and sleep late! But when I’m through with my two-and-one-half hours of morning exercise I think, ‘Jack, congratulations – you did it again!’ And I still have the willpower to do that – everything else is easy by comparison.” Jack LaLanne was the father of two and happily married to Elaine. Right up until the end of his life he still had “enthusiasm and super energy for helping the world to be healthy, happy, and at peace.”


The USA TODAY article gave us a glimpse of his passing with these words: “He had a fine singing voice and would often burst into song around Elaine, his wife of 51 years, singing an old standard from World War 1. On Sunday, it was Elaine who sang to him: ‘If I were the only girl in the world and you were the only boy. Nothing else would matter in the world today. We could go on loving in the same old way.’” “I sang it to him,” Elaine told USA TODAY on Monday, “and he smiled, and it wasn’t that much longer before he passed away.” LaLanne died at his home in Morro Bay, California, with his family around him.”

EDITOR’S CONCLUDING THOUGHTS As I said at the start of this article, Jack LaLanne is one of my Health Heroes, and one I have tried to emulate in my life these past 35 years. It is my hope that after reading Jack’s testimony above, you will make him your Health Hero as well, and that you will desire to emulate his diet and lifestyle as I have. Share this article with your children! For the first 15 years of his life, Jack ate the world’s diet, and you have read the consequences he suffered as a result. But at age 15, when challenged by Dr. Bragg to change his diet and start exercising, he took up the challenge and almost immediately started to see his sickly and weak young body become healthy and strong. What Jack LaLanne has been preaching for over 70 years is what this editor has been preaching for the past 35 years. It is also what Hallelujah Acres is all about. The only difference is that I add Jesus to the equation. By adding Jesus, you not only have the best in this world, but a guaranteed bright and healthy future in heaven. If you my friend are not on The Hallelujah Diet, if you would but stop putting the world’s SAD diet into your body and start eating only those foods that are healthy, and start exercising, then you too can most likely experience the miracle in your body that both Jack LaLanne and this editor have experienced. Thirty-five years ago, at age 42, this editor had a weak and sickly body in decline and failing him. After I was told “it's colon cancer,” it was Lester Roloff who told me it was my rotten diet that had caused the problem. He then went on to encourage me to stop eating the foods that had caused my problem, start eating healthy foods, and begin exercising. I, like Jack LaLanne, listened to these words of wisdom, changed my diet and started exercising. Within weeks my body started to respond as the rectal bleeding stopped and within a year my cancer was gone. That was 35 years ago in January 2011. Today, at age 77, I am not only free of cancer, but have a muscular body with rock-hard abs, a 41-inch chest, and 31/32-inch waist, and can do almost anything physically I could do as a teenager. My body is strong, my endurance is great, and I thank God for Evangelist Lester Roloff introducing me to a healthy diet and lifestyle 35 years ago. (Today, my chest and waist measurements do not quite measure up to Jack LaLanne’s 48-inch chest and 28-inch waist, but I’m a work in progress, working on improving these measurements most every day. Jack had almost a 30-year head start, he started at age 15 to improve his health and I didn’t get started until age 42 but I’m sure glad I got started when I did, because if I hadn’t, only God knows where I would be.)

May Jack LaLanne be an inspiration to you to change your diet and start exercising! And please don’t say that you are too old or sickly to begin. No matter how old or sickly you are, in most instances a change in diet and lifestyle can start you on a road that can change your life, or possibly even save it. 

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