What I Learned from Jack LaLanne (1914-2011)

When I heard that Jack LaLanne passed away yesterday, at the age of 96, I bowed my head slightly and smiled with respect.

As a kid in the 70’s,  I remember seeing him on television, demonstrating his “trim-nastics,” promoting health on talk shows and, more recently, selling his Power Juicer (and the vegetable-rich diet that went along with it).

Long before the health and fitness business became the commercial behemoth that it is today, Jack LaLanne was a voice in the wilderness –a real missionary of wellness– and he walked his talk even behind closed doors.

I know because I once trick-or-treated at his house. Seriously; I’m not kidding.

My Dad thought it would be fun to drive down from our modest neighborhood in the Hollywood hills to an area known for both its flat streets and swanky mansions. Imagine our surprise when Mr. LaLanne himself answered a door clad in a long-sleeved unitard, holding a bowl of nuts and raisins.

It was the man. He was unmistakable.

At that time, Jack LaLanne was well into his 60’s but still sported his famous, muscular physique. In fact, his body looked so good that my Dad, twenty years his junior, mused for years that the jumpsuit must have been padded.

Sorry, Dad.

As the saying goes: They were real, and they were spectacular.

What most impresses me about Jack LaLanne’s legacy, however, were not his formidable biceps but his mind/body/spirit approach to well-being and the emphasis he placed on accepting personal responsibility for his life.

What did I learn from Jack LaLanne?

For starters: If you can rock a unitard, by all means, do.

And this: Life is a series of choices, as he demonstrates in the classic video below.

Today, I offer my sincerest condolences to the LaLanne family, but I won’t be sending flowers. Instead, I’ll do some jumping jacks and think positive thoughts.

Perhaps you’d care to join me.


Thank you, Jack LaLanne.

*Raises glass of carrot juice*

Be ever well.

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5 Responses to What I Learned from Jack LaLanne (1914-2011)

  1. Kaleena says:

    Nice post. He was and is quite the inspiration. Who knows how long he would have gone if it wasn’t for that bout of pneumonia. I hope to be that positive and active in my old age. Now is as good a time as any. Think I’ll go buy that juicer now.

    That’s so neat that you trick-or-treated his place of residence. I’m in no way shocked by the nuts and raisins.

    • Dasi says:

      Thanks, Kaleena. I’m having major juice cravings today myself!

      My guess is that a lot of kids wouldn’t have tolerated nuts and raisins on Halloween from anyone but him, frankly. :)

  2. yoga nurse says:

    I Loooved this post. thank you so much. i too felt saddened and bowed at the news of jack’s passing. he said…’the only constant is change” way b4 anyone was conscious of it. and the video u posted is timeless and priceless. the truth is the truth is the truth.

  3. Red says:

    Check out who Joe Rollino was, he lived to be 104 years old, vegetarian and was lucid till his dying day, he died when he was, yes, out for his daily walk and hit by a van. Rollino was an old time coney island strongman, boxer as Kid Dundee and decorated for bravery in WWII. I’m not using my home computer or I’d provide links. Too, I think, I find myself when I exert myself especially in the winter, I get colds easier, immune system goes down. Exercise is great but Jack really pushed the limits.

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