Randy Roach Part II: A Sparkling and Splendid Masterpiece of Iron History
|Randy Roach sports his “Arnold” A-shirt in this January, 2012 photo.|
We begin with the eloquent words of Joe Roark to whom I express my profound gratitude for allowing me to include them here: “There are authors who can write contest reports, others who handle facts well, others who write good fiction (even though they think they are writing facts). But there is not another Randy Roach. Fielding statements from literally dozens of major and minor sources, he appraises them by what must have been a tremendous task of study and comparison, places them in logical order and importance, weaves all that into an interesting, well-written, readable storyline. The grunt work of reverse-blending all that information is horrendous in its difficulty, but Roach makes it appear as though he is chatting with a single source, who had done all this before- but NO ONE had!
Several key players in iron history, each standing with a cog-wheel of information are orderly interlocked so that the whole seems to become more than the sum of its parts, as though there is bonus knowledge when the tale is so well formatted and revealed. An avalanche of information awaits the careful reader of this sparkling and splendid masterpiece of ironhistory. Anyone not reading this book must consider himself minus some very skeleton-key ingredients in the overall scenario in the topics it covers from Arnold to Arthur Jones and the machinations of the exercise machine wars.” — Joe Roark
We pick up where we left off in Part I.
Randy Roach Yeah, I gave it about 4.5 years of pretty strict dedication. I was pretty stubborn with it even when some were questioning what I was doing. I finally gave in after my face was a mess, my strength was seriously compromised, and I was actually getting fat. I had quit smoking when the sight went in late 1985 and cut my beer drinking back dramatically. Harvey Diamond had suggested that if you wanted to get bigger than just add more carbohydrates.. I did so and “just” put on body fat with no additional muscle or strength.
The final straw came when I went to a vegetarian cooking class. I was not at all impressed with the participants. By this I mean most of them did not look well. Now, whether this was from their vegan diets or still maladies they were trying to fix with that way of eating I can’t really say, but the instructor actually looked the worst. Her hair was straw-like and the biggest circumferences on her body appeared to be her joints. I remember thinking, “good God, she looks like she is feeding off of her own body!” That was it for me. The fat lady had just sung on my vegan lifestyle. This would have been approaching the end of 1990.
I didn’t change things all that dramatically. I still ate and juiced some fruits and vegetables, ate carbohydrates, but then added some chicken and whey protein powder. Whey was becoming popular at that time. I was still in fear of animal fats. Before becoming a vegan in 1986 I had spent about 5 years on a very low fat diet. My body had been deprived of animal fats for almost 10 years by then. When I cut back the fruit, my skin did begin to clear. However, I would have continuous problems from that point on being very sensitive to anything I ate. I was already bowel sensitive for years, but now my skin would react quickly to specific foods.
Charles: Were there any other changes?
Randy Roach For the next couple of years I continued with the protein powders and high carbohydrate/low fat diet. My strength did improve some, but I continued to put on body fat. The big change came around 1994. I nabbed a copy of Jay Robb’s “The Fat Burning Diet.” Jay helped dispel my fear of animal fats that Harvey Diamond and the media had engraved upon my psyche. Not long afterwards, I had purchased a copy of Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s book, “The Anabolic Diet” which also highly promoted fat.
Nonetheless, it was Robb’s book that made me make my first serious dietary alterations that really freaked me out. I decided to go with a four meal per day plan. Two of the meals were primarily big servings (well to me they were) of beef. The other two meals were protein drinks constituted from 4 raw eggs, a banana, and whey protein. I still kept the protein powder. I couldn’t believe what transpired. I had never seen my body change so fast and dramatically. It was almost a feeling of euphoria.
The body fat just dropped off as my muscle came back to surpass all previous marks. The most I had dead lifted on a low fat diet was 300 lbs. I dropped dead lifting as a vegan when I through my back out twice at 250 lbs. Suddenly 250 lbs was light as was 300 lbs. Then it went to 325…350…375…400…then later 450 and 500 lbs.
Look, I know there are guys out there who claim to be successful as vegan bodybuilders and athletes. My last chapter in Volume II is called, “Muscle, Meat & Vegans” where I introduce Charles Frazer. Frazer was a successful athlete as a vegan back in the 1970s. There are some who last longer at it than I could. Their physiologies are more able to adapt to it, but I contend it is still a degenerative process for many people for a number of reasons I won’t get into here. I did respect some of their philosophies and environmental concerns. However, much of that has turned out to be highly questionable also.
Charles: When did the raw milk come in to your diet?
Randy Roach The raw milk didn’t come into play until about 2000 when I began to read about Weston A. Price. Funny, as a vegan, I had heard of this guy who had traveled the world and studied the diets of the primitive cultures. I remember thinking that this would in fact be quite interesting and revealing, but I just didn’t want to jump tracks at that time from what I was doing. I came across Price’s name while reading through the nutritional manual from Brian Johnston’s I.A.R.T’s training certification program. I quickly ordered Price’s landmark publication, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” written back in 1939. This is when my nutritional education began.
Charles: Was this when you hooked up with the Weston A. Price Foundation?
|Weston A. Price|
Randy Roach Yes, I immediately became a member of Sally Fallon’s foundation and also a chapter leader. Again, almost immediately I was contacted by a local farmer. Although I had tried raw goats milk just prior, this farmer became a longtime friend and supplier of raw milk to me. I always had trouble digesting pasteurized milk feeling bloated and just physically off. I did not have this feeling with raw cow’s milk. I am skipping over some things here, but raw milk became a big part of my diet from that point on. I had dropped the protein powders shortly afterwards feeling I didn’t need them with the raw dairy and meat I was eating.
Randy Roach I’ll answer the second part of your question first. Yes, I have used vitamin K (formerly referred to as activator X by Dr. Weston A. Price). However, my usage is in its indigenous form when I drink raw milk from pasture fed cows. I have never supplemented my diet with isolated processed forms of it. I don’t really regard it any differently than other nutrients or in other words, I don’t worship at the alter of any one particular food constituent.
Some may argue that Price’s very work gave grounds for the use of dietary supplements. After his worldly travels, Price continued his research by testing food samples seasonally from around the world and found that American soils were drastically diminished in their nutrient content and this reflected in the foods grown from it. It was from this basis that men like Bob Hoffman and Peary Rader (two great Iron Game Pioneers) changed their view on supplements and began endorsing them.
I would contend that this was a mistake. Price’s work should have launched a nationwide campaign to reestablish the integrity of our soils. Instead, we chose to attempt to plug our nutritional holes with what I would call an industrial arrogance. Now, I don’t oppose all supplementation as Price himself successfully utilized food concentrates to remedy some serious health issues, but today’s market has just gone ape-shit with food fraction abuse. I mean, our body’s have no historical precedence for taking in food fractions like this.
Weston Price clearly showed the superior physical and mental health of those primitive tribes who ate whole natural foods with much of it raw. There were no supplements involved. With supplements we are speculating and often just guessing. Just fix the soils and the problem is over. We could if we really wanted to.
This is what I took from the work of Price. Food in its natural unprocessed form is best and that is why I got rid of my protein powders.
Charles: So, you haven’t used any supplements at all since? I don’t have to remind you that at one point in my life I downed 500 of Rheo Blair’s supplements every single day.
Randy Roach Nope, you certainly don’t have to remind me of that as my jaw hit the floor when you first told me that probably five years ago. Actually, what stunned me more was Jim Park’s interview with Lou Mezzanotte where he reported that Park consumed 2000 protein tablets daily under Rheo Blair’s (Irvin Johnson in those years) supervision back preparing for the 1952 AAU Mr. America which he won. Jim Park by the way, is considered the first nutritionally trained Mr. America., at least the first to pay real specific attention to diet every bit as much as training.
I questioned that quantity of 2000 tablets purely from a mechanical point of view. How the hell could anyone swallow 2000 protein tablets in any breakdown scheme. Topping it off, I believe Rheo Blair was still using soy at the time complete with their very difficult to digest oligo-saccharides (carbohydrates). Park must have been a walking bazooka back then. I asked Lou if that was a misprint and he said no. I still think Jim Park must have meant 200 tablets instead of 2000.
Anyway, in Volume II of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors I did acknowledged the vast array of supplementation as part of your protocol Rheo Blair had you undergo. The supplements were but one part of many variables Rheo was applying in your recovery. It is very difficult to ascertain just exactly the extent of their role. Food supplements do in fact have an effect on the body, but just what exactly is that effect and can it be harmful long term.
As I stated above, my problem with heavy supplementation is that our physiologies have no historical precedence with food fractions. By this I mean our very genome. We are discovering that our DNA is far more dynamic than we originally thought or acknowledged. The Russians were probably ahead of the west on this front as they at least didn’t refer to much of our DNA as “junk!”
I won’t get into the details of what is referred to as “epigenetics.” However, it appears to be yet another layer to our DNA that in effect facilitates the turning off and on of specific genes. This may be good and/or bad. What triggers these switches is our environment and this means what we eat. Food is basically information. One of my arguments for raw food eating is that if food is in fact information that communicates with our DNA, then I would think the likelihood of both cooking and processing
would garble that very information.
Regardless of the efforts applied to their preparation, supplements are in some way or another either cooked and/or processed. You just can’t escape this if you are trying to place food fractions or even whole foods into capsules or pills. We just don’t know how much damage we are doing to the food, not to mention, what signals these often high dosage food fractions are sending to our DNA. Perhaps some are good, perhaps some are bad.
I have said many times that the only way we can get some idea of the value or detriment of food supplements is to reproduce studies such as what Dr. Robert McCarrison and Dr. Francis Pottenger conducted decades ago. These men, although using rats and cats, at least took their subjects through one or more gestation periods when feeding them processed foods. It is only during and after a pregnancy that we can gauge the effects of supplementation on a burgeoning and growing organism. Running six week studies or even observations that run many months on adult subjects I contend does not give us a clear picture since much of our structures have already been established.
McCarrison and Pottenger showed how processed devitalized foods dramatically impaired the proper development of their subjects. In fact, most of our modern diseases were manifest in the rats and cats fed the processed foods in their studies. The subjects fed whole, natural, and raw foods showed perfect health. In fact, in the case with Pottenger, his experiments utilized the same foods with the difference being one group received much or all of it cooked and processed while the other consumed it primarily raw.
It would be interesting to conduct these studies with even just two control groups. One would eat a total raw, unprocessed diet and the other using similar if not the same foods but cooked and processed in some manner. Two test groups could then engage the same two diets but now adding whatever
supplements to the mix. Both diets would receive the exact same supplement regimen. This way we could find out if the supplements assisted the processed diet and whether they hindered the whole, natural, and raw food diet while the subjects went through one and more pregnancies.
Even though I am a raw food eater, I would probably be cheering for the supplements since they are a hell of a lot easier an answer for the general public than eating raw meat. However, I have my doubts. It would be interesting though to see what happens.
Randy Roach I have utilized on and off through the past 10 years some supplements that were more food concentrates such as cod liver oil, butter oil, Camu Camu, freeze dried whole liver, things like that. I would try to get them in their purest raw form. Right now,I am using nothing.
Price also showed that these healthy people didn’t eat a smorgasbord of all foods. Their diets were almost banal compared to what we have today. They ate what was seasonal and indigenous to them. Today we have all types of foods from all around the world 24 hours a day 365 days per year. I would also contend that our physiologies are in most cases not adapt to many of these foods that were not present historically for most of our forefathers. What Price clearly showed was the prevalence of animal products especially fat in these so-called primitive diets. Bodybuilding pioneers such as Rheo H. Blair and Vince Gironda knew this also and they were familiar with the works of Weston Price.
Charles: This brings us to the question of raw foods. Did Vince and Rheo influence you in this regard?
Randy Roach Interesting question. Yeah, both men have influenced my raw diet, but they weren’t the catalysts for my launch into that realm. I had not heard of Rheo Blair back in the 1970s. I learned of him later. However, I was familiar with Vince Gironda and that he recommended raw milk and cream. Others in the bodybuilding field such as Frank Zane and even Joe Weider were also promoting raw milk for building muscle.
Due to that early influence, I first set out to find raw milk up here in Ontario, Canada back in the very early 1980s. Nonetheless, I hit a brick wall looking for it in our supermarkets and learned that it was illegal. I couldn’t understand why and wasn’t interested or even mature enough to challenge the politics of it all back then.
I have to say that it was Harvey Diamond and his “Fit For Life” series that first persuaded me to believe in the benefits of raw foods over that of their cooked equivalents. Harvey was just dead wrong in his assessment of properly raised raw animal products. He basically just parroted the dictates of the decades old Natural Hygienists. This group chose to remain oblivious to the role of expert animal husbandry practiced worldwide through centuries and probably millennia that produced foods which built and maintained a level of health not seen in Western culture. They chose to ignore it.
When I abandoned my vegan ways around 1990, the amount of raw foods in my diet diminished substantially for about 4 years. I did have quite a few raw eggs when I changed my diet more towards protein and fat nearing the mid 90s, but I wasn’t particular in the quality of the eggs as I was still quite ignorant on many fronts..
The works of Weston Price obviously educated me further on the benefits of more raw foods in one’s diet as did the two organizations he inspired, The Price-Pottenger Foundation and The Weston A. Price Foundation. However, as mentioned earlier, it was Dr. Ron Schmid who introduced me to raw meat eating. I had read some articles he wrote on raw milk then purchased his 1987 publication, “Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine.” He later wrote, “The Untold Story of Milk” in 2003.
The first time I tried raw meat mixed with raw eggs and cream I gagged! I remember thinking that I had done so many things to try to improve my sight and was I really willing to force this upon myself? Were we really meant to eat this way? The next day I made a few adjustments by removing the eggs and cream and adding just a pinch of sea salt and it made such a difference I had to laugh at how fast we can adapt ourselves if we really want to. From that point onward I began eating raw meat and trying different things.
I believe it was either late 2002 or early 2003 that Ron introduced me to Aajonus Vonderplantiz. Aajonus is probably the premiere raw food advocate in the world with decades under his belt in using raw foods as medicine. His story is almost unbelievable in terms of his life experience. He is quite the crusader for proper food management and the politics surrounding it. He has engaged many battles.
Charles: Did Aajonus influence you further?
Randy Roach Obviously Aajonus’s work will influence any raw food eater to some degree. However, I don’t follow him exactly and question him as I would anyone else just as many will question me. I am not as strict as he is, but I will read anything Aajonus has to write. Dr. Aajonus Vonderplantiz has two books out that any raw food eater should read. They are, “We Want to Live” and “A Recipe For living Without Disease.” He has a very unique newsletter as well.
It was the raw food factor that led me to take more interest and a deeper look at what Rheo Blair and Vince Gironda were doing. Those two men made tremendous contributions to natural bodybuilding based on their knowledge in nutrition, especially paying attention to its history. Now I don’t necessarily subscribe to the extent of supplementation those guys both practiced and promoted, but I liked the way they championed the power of raw foods.
Charles: What about Rheo Blair’s protein powder? How do you compare it to what is out there today?
Randy Roach I really don’t dwell on protein powders these days. My issue with protein products is the same as with any supplements as I described above. A lot of them are constituted on fractionated proteins. Take whey protein for example. Whey is only one of the proteins that are found in milk. Whey these days is a by-product of the cheese industry that is looking for the casein only. Most of the milk used in the Western culture cheese industry is pasteurized and taken from Holstein cows fed on grain. The whey protein fractions are then separated from the lactose and fat with filtration processes to make concentrates and a chemical procedure to create isolates. The final product is a highly compromised food fraction stripped of all its synergistic co-factors that are utilized in the body’s assimilation of milk. Because much of these nutritional co-factors have been removed, the body leaches from its own tissue resources in order to deal with this processed concentrated protein powder. The result is a long term degenerative condition or accelerated aging.
I know that some are doing their best to utilize raw ingredients with more gentle processing procedures. Blair attempted to do this when he acquired the Wander Company’s medical brand, “Opti-Pro.” His product did use whole egg, but he, too, added milk fractions in the way of casein. He did also add alpha-lactalbumin (whey) to some of his products which I believe is when he began is Mother’s milk campaign back in the mid 1960s. Rheo Blair knew to reconstitute his protein with raw eggs, cream, and milk. That is lost today as most people are still fat phobic and mix it with water. Now, you know I talk more on Blair’s protein in Volume II so I will just park this question right here.
Both the bodybuilding and alternative health industries are saturated with protein powders with large variations in protein sources, peripheral ingredients, processing procedures, and delivery techniques. None are short in hyperbole with the bodybuilding community taking the blue ribbon there.
As I said, I dropped these powders years ago. Why would I want to take a protein powder as a bodybuilder eating raw grass fed meat, pastured eggs and raw dairy? I liked the way Weston A. Price referred to the whole, natural, unprocessed dietary of the primitives as containing “bodybuilding”
Charles: OK Randy, this kind of brings us around again to the article you were asked to write for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Can you tell us more on how that came about?
Randy Roach Early in 2002 I was writing an article that was a critique of Harvey Diamonds “Fit For Life” series. He had just released a new book and also in an interview with a magazine admitted to having begun eating animal flesh. The piece I was working on was also intended for the Price Foundation’s quarterly magazine, “Wise Traditions,” but never was published so I posted it on an old website I had.
Anyway, it wasn’t long afterwards that Sally Fallon asked if I would write another one on the diets of the bodybuilders. I interpreted her request as wanting something historical and thought it would be easy since I already did follow to some degree what was consumed over time for building muscle. However, I soon found out that I wasn’t so smart after all. Even after collecting a fair amount of information, I again realized that I couldn’t really tell the dietary legacy of bodybuilding without telling the history of the sport itself. Compounding the dilemma, I then discovered that I could not effectively unfold that history without a fuller context which included the Iron Game in its totality. Soon it was “good grief” what the hell did I get myself into.
I began work on it in mid 2002 and as I mentioned, came to the conclusion that it would be a book probably by early to mid 2004. I had no idea that it would by this point include two volumes one 562 pages and the latest 728 pages and it will require yet another volume comparable in size. By June of this year (2012) it will be 10 years I have spent on this project investing without exaggeration roughly $55,000.
Charles: Have you made your money back yet?
Randy Roach Almost and I will make money finally off Volume II. I am not a very good business man.
Charles: So you have written 1290 published pages with at least half as much again yet to come. It is some of the best writing in terms of research, clarity, writing style, story telling ability, etc. that I have ever seen. But you are blind. HOW do you DO IT? We all want to know!
Randy Roach First off, thanks very much Charles for the compliment.
Writing the book is most often very easy, yet at times, extremely frustrating. I would not be able to write anything if it were not for the current computer technology that allows me to listen to every thing I type. I can hear every letter, word or sentence depending on how I move the cursor. The software, called ZoomText, will also read me an entire paragraph, chapter or book depending on how much I want to hear without interruption.
I remember when I first began using it around the year 2000. At that time, I was still using a 15X magnifying glass to drag across a page to read very slowly. I would actually read for up to 12 hours like that at times. When I first made the software read me a couple of sentences which were probably read at what would be considered a normal reading speed, I literally jumped out of my seat saying, I’ can’t follow that shit!!” I was so used to reading so slowly.
The software also blew up the text very large so I used that primarily. I milked as much out of my eyesight as I could. I also acquired a close circuit style TV unit where I put the book on a moveable tray under a lends and it came up large print on a screen in front of me. I used that until I couldn’t see anymore. By then I had also slowly got use to the speech component of ZoomText and when I became reliant on speech alone, it wasn’t long before I could listen to text probably 20 times faster than I could ever read it visually. Most who listen to it at that speed can’t understand it.
I have had a lot of help from friends and family who have read and prepared material for me. Even a good number in the industry who are in the book have read to me over the phone. Steve Speyrer who lives down in Louisiana has spent hours reading to me over the phone. Funny. Steve was reading me his copy of the highly controversial novel, “The IronGame” while he was running for mayor down in his district. I told him that I had the goods on him since their potential mayor was reading a blind guy gay porn over the phone. Steve said, “How about I just mail you my copy!” He did, I red the book and sent it back with a campaign donation. A very good man he is.
Sometimes it feels as though I have to turn my computer on its ear in order to translate or convert what I need. That can be very painstaking and frustrating. People have been good in trying to send me as much as possible in electronic format. Guys like Joe Roark and John Corlett were great in digging up dates and verifying things like that. Geez, I think I had poor John traveling and flipping through his entire collection to find little details coming down the pike for Volume II. Ron Koeberer was also awesome in his assistance with some rare Arthur Jones material. Ron even flew across the country on a data hunting expedition. These people never complained.
So, a lot of good people were involved in this project.
Next time: We get into the research and writing of the books. The good, the bad, and the beautiful. The expected and the unexpected; what he learned along the way as well as the philosophical and practical evolution of his views on the iron game, the players, nutrition, and mankind, touching even on the esoteric.
Originally appeared at: http://rheohblair.blogspot.com/2012/01/randy-roach-part-ii-sparkling-and.html