When I heard the news that Jack LaLanne died this week at age 96, I took a few minutes to offer a prayer for this amazing man. LaLanne was part of my childhood, the TV fitness guru who my mother exercised with daily -- through the TV of course.
I would exercise right along with my mom, and although I found his commands often daunting, this was a special time for mom and me, just the two of us doing something no one else in the family wanted to join. I had her undivided interest -- almost. After all, she did have to pay attention to the screen as well.
Around this time my mother developed a love for Carlton Fredericks and Adelle Davis, pioneers in the field of nutrition, vitmains and minerals. I have no idea if she got tuned in to these two through LaLanne, but I do know that her knowledge learned through these three people sent her on a course of nutritious eating long before most people ever gave diet and nutrition a second thought.
LaLanne's message was simple and concise: Exercise daily, eat nutritiously, loading up on fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains, and don't be afraid to challenge yourself. And as I am thinking back on those days, his tagline just popped into my head, one I think we would all be wise to remind ourselves daily: "Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom!"
And although LaLanne is now gone from this world, he is back in my life. His legend certainly lives on.