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Vitamins Are TV Host’s Secret Weapon

TIMES STAFF WRITER

“I tell you what you may not know, and I doubt most people know,” Tony Brown said at the top of our phone conversation, “is that I’m a serious advocate of vitamin and mineral therapy and I have been for the last 25 years.”

That was Brown’s response when I asked him if he ever sweats. The dapper and unflappable host of “Tony Brown’s Journal” credits supplements for his cool-under-pressure demeanor. The show, the longest-running public affairs program on PBS, premiered in 1968. “I take a very strong regimen of supplements every day,” Brown said. (He goes toe-to-toe with the Food and Drug Administration, by the way, in his latest book, “Empower the People: A 7-Step Plan to Overthrow the Conspiracy That Is Stealing Your Money and Freedom” [William Morrow & Co.]). “I’ve been into that for all of my adult life.”

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Question: You’re how old?

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Answer: I’ll give you two definitions of my age. One, I’m over 50, and I’m younger than I look. And I believe that aging is a disease which every human being has. And there is no way to reverse aging but there’s a way to slow it. In other words, based on your lifestyle, you either age fast or you age slowly. In other words, many people are 50 who look 80 and they give age a bad name.

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Q: You don’t want to name anybody, do you?

A: No, I don’t. But they aren’t hard to find.

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Q: Let’s talk about your diet, starting with first thing in the morning. Walk me through your day.

A: Walk you through a day. Well, I don’t eat breakfast and I believe the typical American breakfast is the most toxic amount of food people consume. It typically consists of enormous amounts of fat, sugar and salt and red meat and eggs. I don’t eat eggs and I don’t eat red meat. So I don’t eat breakfast--a typical American breakfast. Breakfast, to me, consists of a glass of water, an aspirin every other day, and a little--not a whole glass--just a little swig of juice.

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Q: What kind of juice?

A: Well, first of all, organic juice. I think what you should do is to rotate the juices. So a couple days I’ll drink a bottle of pineapple organic. Then the next, maybe grape. Then the next, maybe apple and I read somewhere that apple from concentrate--not organic apple--is essentially sugar in water and so I don’t touch the apple unless it’s organic. And the other thing is, I take the word “breakfast” literally as breaking your fast. And I believe the longer you allow your stomach muscles to relax, you allow your body to pass off toxins.

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Q: Where are you getting your juice?

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A: Right around the corner [from his office in Manhattan] there’s a little health food place. And they juice it fresh because, for an example, if you cut an apple, immediately you see the oxidation process--you see the apple getting brown and that’s oxygen. So I drink that and then I have a vegetable soup and that’s about oh, 12 or 1. At 1:30, I go to the radio station [for “Tony Brown,” his local AM call-in show] and I drink water and hot green tea. Then when I come back to my office, I usually have a Greek salad or baked chicken or some type of fish and muffins and so forth. And then when I get home at night, I may have an apple or some kind of fiber and juice.

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Q: Do you do any kind of exercise?

A: No, I do not do formal exercise but I walk every day a lot and I’m sure in a day I do a minimum of 20 minutes to 30 minutes of walking--brisk walking.

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Q: I love to walk in Manhattan. It’s effortless.

A: Yeah. Now, 50% of the time I walk from here over to the radio station. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk and I feel great from the walk, you know.

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Q: How do you relax? Is there someplace you can go just to get away from it all?

A: I live alone [Brown is divorced and has an adult son] and I have an apartment that is a dream. It’s on the top floor. It’s on Central Park West with balconies on three sides and it overlooks the park. And I have a huge living room and when I can sit on my sofa sometimes, I just look out at the stars. It’s like I’ve got a big picture of the sky.

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Q: I’m trying to picture this--tell me about the sofa.

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A: I sit on the left corner of the sofa. And I’m territorial about it. Like when someone comes and they sit in that spot, I say, “Excuse me. Would you move over there?” I like this left corner of the sofa and I’ve worn out two sofas. I mean, when I sit there and ideas come to me like--oh, my goodness.

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Guest Workout runs weekly in Health.


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