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   VegSource Interactive, Inc. | Imus on Veganism

Radio Talkshow Host Don Imus
Discusses His Veganism

On Saturday, Dec.15, 2001, radio talkshow host Don Imus was interviewed on CNBC's "Tim Russert Show." Following is an excerpt in which Imus talks about his dietary choices:

Don Imus

Russert: I have some food for you, as I always do -
Imus: Now this is pointless-
Russert: Here, I present to you, two-
Imus: I don't eat hot dogs anymore-
Russert: New York hot dogs-
Imus: First of all, I don't want them-
Russert: With Mustard. (He hands Imus a plate with hot dogs on it, but Imus turns it down)
Imus: Yeah, but I don't eat them anymore- Yeah, but I don't want them. I don't eat them anymore.
Russert: You scarfed one down last year like it was your last meal.
Imus: Okay, but I have not had one in over a year. Because first of all, it's full of carcinogens. That's one. If you knew how this stuff was made and you knew how they tortured animals when they killed them to make meat you'd never eat that stuff. We have a cattle ranch in New Mexico for these kids with cancer and they see - we don't serve- it's an entirely vegan diet. No dairy products. Obviously totally organic. And they look at it and say, "Well, what are the cows for?" , "Well, you pet 'em."
Russert: So you don't eat meat?
Imus: No, not at all.
Russert: None?
Imus: None.
Russert: You used to eat a couple of hot dogs-
Imus: Okay fine, I saw the way- I used to drink vodka. I used to do cocaine too. I don't do that anymore.


Russert: So your wife really got to you. On the meat-
Imus: Well, she makes sense, you know-
Russert: On the meat deal. What does she do to you? Does she put a leash on you? How does she stop you from eating?
Imus: Well, I stopped eating and I started feeling better.
Russert: Really?
Imus: And when I stopped eating dairy products, I really felt better.
Russert: But you used to sneak hot dogs on the side.
Imus: Yes.
Russert: When did you stop sneaking hot dogs on the side?
Imus: About a year ago.
Russert: Okay.
Imus: I didn't sneak them, I would always tell her, you know.
Russert: Are you hen pecked?
Imus: Am I hen pecked? Absolutely! Aren't you??
(Russert seems relieved and laughs heartily).
Russert: Now, has Wyatt ever been to McDonalds? [Wyatt is Imus's son]
Imus: No.
Russert: Never. (Imus nods agreement). Does he know what McDonalds is?
Imus: Uh.... (thinks a while) Well I guess - I don't know whether he does or not. We've driven by it, but-
Russert: Does he have any interest in having a hamburger?
Imus: No.
Russert: He has soy balls.
Imus: Oh yeah, but they're veggie burgers and stuff and they're actually, actually terrific. I eat - my brother likes 'em so-
Russert: Last year, he was on the set with his mom and he saw a plate of cookies.
Imus: Yeah.
Russert: He reached for one-
Imus: Yeah.
Russert: And she put him in a hammer lock (he cracks up).
Imus: No she didn't. That's a gross exaggeration.
Russert: She said he's never had sugar!
Imus: Well that's not entirely true.
Russert: In fact, the Imus family was spotted at Dunkin' Donuts recently.
Imus: Sunday.
Russert: Was it you?
Imus: Yeah.
Russert: Eating sugar donuts.
Imus: Once in a- as Wyatt says, once in a blue moon...you know, I mean his mother's not crazy. I mean that stuff's okay once in a while. Except that it's just not a regular part of the diet.
Russert: Why?
Imus: Well because- first of all kids- you see kids on sugar and they get all jacked up and they- you know, they're high one minute- For example. I swear to God this is true. The school he goes to. He goes to school at 8:30 in the morning. He's 3 years old. They take a nap at 10:00. He says to the teacher-now, I'm quoting-he says, "I'm not interested in taking a nap." He said, "I didn't come to school to take a nap. I can come home to sleep, I came to school to learn." So he won't take a nap. And there's only 8 kids in his class. They take their little nap and they have to figure out something for him to do as the other kids are taking a nap. So that's idiotic. The reason they have to take a nap is because they've been jacked up on sugar pops before they go to school, or whatever else they ate, and then by 10:00 o' clock they're in a real sugar coma almost and they're nodding out on the floor out there (Russert laughs) and they're taking their little hideous naps! And my kid, because he's eating healthy and he's had a couple of soy burgers or whatever the hell he's had for breakfast, feels great and is on an even keel all day and he's not uh- you know he's 3 1/2 years old and he doesn't take naps and he goes to bed at 10:00 o'clock and he's never been sick a day in his life (knocks on his head).
Russert: The way you describe those kids in a coma early in the morning, it's the way you used to be.
Imus: (chuckles) Well that was sort of self induced too.
Russert: Well are you afraid that Wyatt is going to be some sort of hot house creature, where he's so different from the other kids and Santa Claus and McDonald's are all foreign to him?
Imus: You know. I don't know if this is interesting or not, but we thought, when he goes to school, because he's never seen- he's never watched television, he doesn't watch television. Now, he's seen the news. Sunday morning I'll get up with him and he'll see "Meet the Press" or something, but I mean he uh- or if there's a football game on he'll ask is it football or baseball, he's not quite sure yet. But he's never ever watched "Barney", "Sesame"- any of that stuff. He's never seen a video of any kind. Uh. So he doesn't relate to those characters, doesn't want the various toys you see on- none of that stuff-because he doesn't see it. So we were concerned when he went to school that he wouldn't relate to the other kids, because they'd be talking about Ronald McDonald-
Russert: Ronald McDonald and Ernie. Yeah.
Imus: Well that is not the case at all. He talks about his experiences on the ranch. He's enamored of horses and the whole cowboy thing, and so, uh, so the other kids are more interested in hearing his experiences out on a ranch than they are about sitting there like a little dope watching television all jacked up on donuts or whatever else.
Russert: How- what a contrast to the way you were brought up. (pause). I mean you were brought up on radio and television and junk food, right?
Imus: (after another straight faced pause) No I didn't. I grew up on a cattle ranch. I didn't grow up in California, I grew up in Arizona.
Russert: And California.
Imus: Well, yeah, but I didn't grow up on any television.
Russert: But you weren't this hothouse creature like Wyatt.
Imus: No. No, I wasn't. But I mean uh, even my parents. We didn't have white sugar, white bread. My mother was a wheat germ nut and my grandfather was a wheat germ-
Russert: Really?
Imus: Yeah.
Russert: But your dad died at 58.
Imus: Well he had a couple of cocktails and he smoked 5 packs of cigarettes a day. You know.
Russert: That's what did it-
Imus: Didn't work out for him-
Russert: That's what did it. How about your mom...she lived a longer life.
Imus: 72. yeah. She didn't take very good care of herself, so.
Russert: Do you and your wife Deirdre ever fight about how to raise Wyatt- whether you should sneak him a little milk dud or Hershey chocolate on the side, or maybe one shot at McDonald's?
Imus: You know, I don't believe in that. He and I, as I've told him, I said, "we don't have any sickness from your mother". He said, "well how about if we get her a present". That's different. Then we can keep that a secret. But I'm not the kind of, I don't believe in that. I don't believe in saying, "Well we're not going to tell mommy." That, that sends a bad message to kids. A bad message to boys about how they should treat women. We don't do that, I don't do that with him.
Russert: So. She runs the house.
Imus: Yeah. I thought we made that clear (smiling). (Another big relieved laugh from Russert). I'm not unhappy though.
Russert: (still laughing) You're along for the ride, old man. We're going to hear a lot more from Don Imus....

[End of segment]

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