Twenty years ago Dick Gregory was a stand-up comic on the nightclub circuit. By his own account he smoked and drank heavily. Gregory had an eye that saw through the games people and institutions play. He had a wit that broke up huge audiences while making them see truths about themselves. But that eye and that wit were teamed with a heart that was being led to the more important issues of life. Gregory’s priorities shifted. His concerns became oppression, manipulation, racism, and war. He discovered that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and is not to be defiled. He became a prophet to the secular world about the evils of bodily abuse, particularly through diet. When Gregory yells Foul! about an oppressive institution or agency or group of people or life style, he doesn’t make a case like a lawyer with a long list of proofs. No, Gregory thinks analogically. He looks for parallels. He’s not hung up trying to prove cause and effect. If a window breaks each time a guy waves his arm, Gregory doesn’t have to see him throw the stone. But enough—Gregory can speak for himself.
MESSAGE: You say research indicating that the typical American diet has many harmful elements in it has not been made readily available to the masses. Instead, the interests of the rich and powerful are protected at almost any cost to the poor and the powerless. What does all this have to do with diet? And can you give us examples of manipulation of the masses?
GREGORY: You know, I do think much of the salvation of the planet is in diet. Another thing is how easy it is to get into it. You don’t have to change all of your eating habits. Here’s a little thing: just add bran to your diet in the morning and in the evening, and you can cancel out about 80 percent of the diseases in the lower digestive tract. And you know the way they got into that?
They got into Africa. They happened to meet this group of Africans whose systems were regular. They began checking and they found out that within 24 hours everything they had eaten had passed completely through their systems. From there it led to the roughage theory. This was already suspected, but for follow-up, researchers found some of this same group of Africans who had moved to Western society. This group was winding up with the same kinds of diseases as people in the West. So—when you cook string beans and take the strings off, your roughage is gone. The lesson for us: add some bran.
I usually tell people to go to a health-food store and get the pure bran. But it’s different in dealing with the masses, you know, because the minute you say that—”Go to the health food store”—it turns them off.” You mean you’re asking me to change my diet, and then what I’ve got to find is hidden somewhere? Plus, you know, I’m not all that upset bout the way I’m eatin’. I’m just trying this change out of respect and knowing where you’re coming from.” So I tell them to get bran or whole wheat cereal. Now I hate to send people to that commercial scene, but bran is bran. Some commercial preparations have sugar, but I’m saying that once they start on it, in about a two-week period, eating a bowl in the morning and a bowl in the evening will have a fantastic effect. I say eat a bowl of bran because people are not likely to believe it would only take a teaspoonful. They can’t see a teaspoon doin’ nothin’. They’d just say, “Later for the whole idea. I’ll just forget about it.”