Randy Roach: The World's Best Fitness Author

Today, we begin a three-part conversation with Randy Roach, about Randy Roach. The Bodybuilding historian tells us about his life, his health and how a blind man came to write the most detailed single history of any sport. Part two will be published January 18-19.

There surely is no shortage of books within the genre of sports history. This is great news for football and baseball fans, among others. But for the enthusiasts of professional bodybuilding, the question persists as to whether it even IS a sport, making it perhaps the Rodney Dangerfield of athletic pursuits in that it gets "no respect." Though it traces its roots back for over a century, few outside the small world of iron pumping know much more about it other than that its biggest success story became a movie star and then the Governor of California. Beyond that most people draw a blank. That is all changing with the publication of "Muscle Smoke and Mirrors" by Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) historian and author Randy Roach who has published two volumes of what is to be a three volume complete history of "the game" as it is affectionately known by its devotees. It is probably no stretch to say that Randy has written the most complete history of any sport and, thanks to both his writing ability and story-telling gifts,  one which is universally proclaimed a "page-turner."

While Randy is providing us with some of the best reading material in all of sports history, we know little about the story of Randy himself. We mean to change that here so you feel you "know" Randy a little and are reading the work of a friend. I am privileged to know this good man as a friend and I want to help you become better acquainted with him yourself. With that as our goal, we present here and now the first installment of a three part conversation with Randy.

(For those of you arriving on this page via a search for Randy Roach or "Muscle Smoke and Mirrors" and want to know who is writing this blog, my name is Charles Welling, a one-time live-in student/"before and after" of  "Nutritionist to the Hollywood Stars" Rheo H. Blair whose ideas on nutrition and exercise played key roles in the history of bodybuilding. Rheo Blair is discussed at length in Randy's books and I am both humbled and privileged to be included in that conversation).


We begin with a brief biographical statement and then go to straight to the interview.

Randy Roach is a graduate from George Brown College in Toronto.  He is a retired computer programmer who spent over 15 years developing systems in both the museum and environmental engineering professions.  He has written and been published in 3 different fields.  Randy now makes his living as an author and private health and training consultant in his home in Ontario, Canada.  

Q) Randy, you have established yourself as THE undisputed expert on the history of Bodybuilding by virtue of the massive trilogy you are working on. Nothing previously written on the subject even comes close. Tell us something of your childhood, your growing up and how you got into this field. Did you always want to be a bodybuilding nutrition expert and author?

Randy Roach
Randy Roach

A) Well actually as a Canadian, my first love was hockey.  However, back
around the late 1960s, I saw 1965 Mr. America, Dave Draper first on either the "Monkees" or "Beverly Hillbillies."  it was also about that time that I
saw my neighbour, Bob Zarzycki, working for a landscaping company with his shirt off.  Actually now that I think about it, it was probably around the summer of 1966 when I saw him working outside.  Bob wasn't as big as Draper or guys like Don Howorth of course, but he still stood out from the average person and was a natural bodybuilder.  You just didn't see that look around very much, at least in Ontario, Canada back in the mid to late 1960s.   He was about 12 years older and I grew up with his younger brother, Steve.  I remember playing at his place and making Bob promise that before  I went home one night, he would go downstairs and lift the loaded barbell over head for me. I was so excited about that.
I did play hockey and participate in martial arts in the early to mid 1970s, but I had to withdraw from those activities due to my deteriorating eyesight.  I had contracted Steven Johnson's Syndrome (SJS) back in 1961, lost my left eye to it in 1962, and by the 1970s, I was losing sight in my right eye as well.  I had begun lifting puny dumbbells and playing with Weider spring sets around 1970, but when the sight started to diminish, I slowly began switching emphasis from hockey and karate to bodybuilding in the later 1970s.
Q) Interesting that the Beverly Hillbillies should come up.  My wife and I were just in Beverly Hills this last week on New Years Eve on Beverly  Drive --  the very road where the opening sequence of that show takes place with the cast in the old truck driving up that tree-lined drive. Well it turns out that Dave Draper was on an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies called  "Mr. Universe Muscles In." How old were you and what inspired you when you saw him? Have you ever spoken to him about that?

 A) Dave appeared in both the "Monkees" and "Beverly Hillbillies" in October of 1967.  I would have been a man of the world at the grand old age  of 8. I can't say for absolute certainty that I saw him at that exact time or shortly after in a rerun, but it was definitely around that period.   I am also quite sure that he was appearing on the back covers of hockey magazines advertising Weider products.  He had that classic pose with both arms extended out to the sides and looking very vascular.

I never did get to interview Dave over the phone.  I believe my timing was bad back in late 2002.  However, he did correspond with me several  times through email giving me some great personal quotes based on  questions I had asked.  He really was the face of bodybuilding back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  His physique looked phenomenal in those shows and also  in the 1967 movie, "Don't Make Waves."
Q) Did anyone else inspire you?

A) Yes, I was also heavily inspired by a photo of Don Howorth that appeared in one of my early magazines from the early 1970s.  The shot was actually taken in early 1968 I believe by Steve Downs and it was  that pic I used of Don for Volume I of
"Muscle Smoke and Mirrors".  Draper and Howorth were huge, but not crazy big or totally out of a cultural  context such as what we see today."
Q) Did your interest in nutrition come early as well?

As for the interest in nutrition, that did not come primarily from bodybuilding since initially I believed I would do just fine if I could land a can of Popeye's spinach.  Really, I remember bugging my mother so much to get me a can of that stuff until I tasted it.  The drive for nutrition came from wanting to know the foods that the real bodybuilders ate, but perhaps more so,  my exploration into diet was a venture to see if I could halt the loss of my eyesight.  This fascination with nutrition began around 1977, but picked up dramatically in the 1980s.

The eyesight loss was slow, but at times excruciating.   See, my conjunctiva and the epithelium of my inner eyelids began drying out causing the lids to turn inward and attack my cornea.  If you ever have had sand in your eyes, just imagine that feeling for weeks on end.  My teens were a terrible time
for me.

Q) So let me interrupt and ask you when the spinach didn't pan out, what did
you initially learn about the connection between nutrition and bodybuilding? You must have had some success if your interest in the subject skyrocketed. Did you have any success with your vision?
A) Yeah, the spinach was a real downer.  I mean, I was so hyped for that stuff!   My naivety back in the 1970s and 1980s was so extreme. I  basically believed in much of what I was reading.  When the spinach didn't pan  out, of course I believed the real secrets for true muscle growth came from Weider supplements.  In fact, I was so convinced that I actually stole a can of his protein in the early 1970s because I didn't  have the money to buy  it.  I mean, that is how bad I wanted it.  I didn't typically steal at that age. Well, it was either the desire for the protein or Betty Weider's huge knockers on the can label that led me to do so.  Although it was a chocolate based powder, it didn't taste much better than the spinach. However, Betty made it worthwhile.  

I used supplements on and off from the mid to late 1970s; primarily a
protein powder brand with Doug Hepburn's name on it.  Hepburn was a champion Canadian weightlifter from the 1950s.  The heaviest supplementation I engaged was from the early to mid 1980s.  However, I was also an idiot and smoked and drank through that era and that did not do my eye  condition any good.  Back at that time, you could actually smoke in your hospital bed forshit sake.  Compounding the bad habits, the botched surgeries where they were scraping my cornea and grafting mucus membrane from inside my mouth onto my eyeball didn't help my situation either.

Q) So, you mentioned that your interest in bodybuilding began to pick up in
the later 1970s?  What were you reading back at that time?

Many of the books I used for the
"Muscle Smoke and Mirrors" project, I had purchased way back when they first came out in the late 1970s when bodybuilding began to emerge into the mainstream.  My first bodybuilding magazines came just before turning 13 years old with the July, 1972 issue of Muscle Builder and the August, 1972 issue of  Muscular Development.  The former magazine had Ed Corney on the cover with Reg Park gracing the cover of the latter.  I then purchased Dave Draper's last magazine cover with the August, 1973 issue of Muscle Builder.

With my interest in karate and hockey, I  didn't buy my next issue of a bodybuilding magazine until late 1977 or early 1978 when I was in the hospital for an eye operation.  I picked up the February, 1978 issue of Muscle Builder with Kalman  Szkalak on the cover.  That guy had crazy peaks on his biceps.   That was when my interest in bodybuilding picked up along with my interest in nutrition.  From late 1976 until roughly 1983, I would undergo about 12 eye surgeries.  That was my second and last barrage of surgeries.  The first 12 to 15 came back in the 1960s.

Anyways, my fascination with nutrition was underway.  I was a ferocious
reader with almost a photographic memory.  I would go to the University of Waterloo book store and read their nutrition textbooks cover to cover along with a good number of books on diet that were hitting the shelves by the early 1980s.  Of course I would be distracted by the cholesterol nonsense for a number of years, but it did lead me to try other things such as vegan vegetarianism for about 4.5 years.  Regardless, that didn't work for me and it wasn't until almost the mid 1990s that I came to my senses about the lies being perpetrated on us regarding many things including diet.   From that point onward, I began reading the writings of Jay Robb, Mauro Di Pasquale, Atkins, Weston A. Price, Robert McCarrison, etc.  I began drinking raw milk around 2000, then Dr. Ron Schmid introduced me to raw meat and a bit later to Aajonus Vonderplantiz.  I have been a raw food eater ever since.

It was actually Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation who asked me to write an article on the diets of the bodybuilders that led to the
"Muscle Smoke and Mirrors" project.  Little did I know what that would lead to.

Q) Before we get into that, tell us about your experience with a vegan diet. How long were you on it and what happened with your health during that period?

In the fall of 1985 I lost all of my sight.  Some of it was restored with
drugs such as atropine, homatropine (pupil dilators) and cortical steroid drops.  I remember the one doctor telling me that they were going to put me on steroids and I said, "you mean like what the athletes take?"  He said, "Ah...no.  These are more the opposite."  I told them no way, but then they came up with the bright idea of injecting the drug directly into my eyeball. I laughed at the notion of me willingly holding my eye steady as they drove a needle into it.  However, the bastards came up with a way to do just that. It was actually more scary than painful.  Well, at least in comparison with some of the other procedures I had to endure.   

Anyway, those procedures were enough for me to begin thinking of other alternatives.  In the spring of 1986, my brother-in-law lent me his copy of Harvey Diamond's "Fit For Life."  His book considered with the cholesterol hysteria of that era.  Harvey convinced me that raw food eating could help reverse disease.  However, all animal products according to him were the prime cause of pretty much all disease.  So, at the age of 26, at the height of my lifting, I became a vegan vegetarian.

I probably lost 30 lbs in about 7 to 8 weeks. I just couldn't get enough food eating that way.  In fact, I wasn't digesting all those raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.   I had a terrible body odor and I thought my training partner was going to jump out the gym window just to get away from me.  I wasn't overly worried about that and just figured I needed time to adjust or adapt.  I stuck with it for about 4.5 years, but had lost all my strength as a bodybuilder. I actually stopped bench pressing, squats, and dead lifting since I was embarrassed over how much my poundages had fell.

I eventually broke out with terrible boils and a type of cystic acne.  It was brutal. I finally gave it up and I would say I haven't been totally the same ever since. 

Next time: Randy recovers from his vegan diet, takes up raw milk and joins the Weston Price Foundation. Also, an article for the Foundation becomes the launching pad for his  three volume Magnum Opus. We get into his research experience and learn just how he does it  all without sight.


 --- Part II ---

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. Part III will be posted on or around February 1st. To be notified please subscribe by email or reader; or, "like" our Facebook page.

Charles Welling:  Randy, no one can fault you for not sticking with the vegan diet long enough to give a fair try! What finally was the breaking point that got you off the vegan diet? Did you adjust your diet all at once or gradually? How did you come to experiment with raw milk? How quickly did your health begin to improve?

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.

Charles:  You say that your nutrition education began with reading the Weston Price book. Can you elaborate? And can I ask you also if you have ever used the mysterious Activator X now thought to be Vitamin K2?

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. 

Charles Welling:  So, you haven't used any supplements at all since?

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.

  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.


Part III

Randy Roach Part III: A Blind Man WIth NO Limits

Randy Roach in his office, January 2012
With this post, we conclude what has become a truly fascinating conversation with Randy Roach. The entire interview, all three parts totaling nearly 15,000 words, may be read start to finish on its own page, here; Part III begins directly below.

But I first want to express my profound gratitude to Randy for being receptive to actually putting all this information about him, much of it never before published, out there for all of us to enjoy and learn from. Knowing something of the author makes his work all the more meaningful and fulfilling to read. Randy has also supplied several brand new photos including the beautiful pic you see of him in his office on the left as well as others, seen below. I have had nothing but fun throughout the whole process of back and forth with someone I am privileged to call a friend. Randy, for all of us, thank you.

At the end of Part II, Randy was telling us about some of the fine people who had been very helpful to him in making Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors possible. He concluded with the words "So, a lot of good people were involved in this project." We pick up that conversation now with Part III.

Charles Welling: Two of those key good people, as you have told me, are Ron Kosloff and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale. Tell us about how you came to know these gentlemen and what role they played in convincing you that your article for Sally Fallon should be expanded into a full blown writing project for a book?

Randy Roach  I was given Ron Kosloff’s contact in 2003 by Bob Gajda pronounced   ( “Guy-Da”).  Bob has become a good friend, but my first attempt to interview him was actually wild…funny wild that is.  Bob can talk a mile a minute in five different directions at once.  He holds a doctorate in bio-mechanics and is the Director of the Gajda Health Plus Network in Palatine, Illinois.  Bob actually has become a huge supporter of the project.

Anyway Bob had purchased supplements from Ron Kosloff who owned NSP Nutrition (Natural Source Products).  Ron is a loyal student to the late Vince Gironda who also had a hand in the launching of NSP back in the early 1970s.  Ron had distributed for the east since the mid 1970s and bought NSP upon the death of Ray Raridon in the 1990s.  Ron is a big proponent of what has become labeled as Old School Bodybuilding Nutrition.

Obviously, I needed to talk to Ron about NSP and Vince Gironda.  Ron is very passionate about both subject matters and was even emotional on occasion when reminiscing.  He gave me tons of his time about Vince.  He even came up from Detroit to my place a few times along with a host of others from various locations in Canada and the US to shoot some Gironda training videos in my private training facility.

Ron saw how much effort I was putting into the article and wanted the project to carry on into a small booklet or book.  He wanted to see Vince’s memory live on.  He kept encouraging and nudging me in that direction when I had no intention of doing so.

With Mauro Di Pasquale, who came into the picture shortly afterwards, he seemed to have seen more in me than I did at the time.  I couldn’t understand why this man with the most intimidating resume who didn’t know me at all had all this confidence in me.  He never asked whether I was considering carrying the project into a book, he basically told me that this material had to be a book and I was just the man to write it.  Anything I needed, I was simply to ask him.

Remember, at that time around late 2003 or so, it was still an article in my mind.  The request came early in 2002 from Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation and   I began collecting data around mid 2002.  So, I had spent over a year of research on that subject of bodybuilding nutrition history.  Mauro said he wasn’t aware of anyone who had done anything of that nature before or had collected that much data on the topic and that is why he believed it should be pursued much further than an article.  And he wasn’t thinking a small book either at that time. I believe it was also Mauro who predicted more than one volume as well. As you are aware, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale wrote the foreword for Volume I.

Charles: Was there an "aha" moment, a defining moment of clarity where you realized "I have to make this a book?"

Randy Roach  Funny, I guess it was Ron Kosloff and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale who had the actual “aha” moments before I did.  I can’t recall any particular “aha” moments for me personally, but those two gentlemen had definitely convinced me sometime before the article was published in late 2004 to do some type of book.  This kind of made things tough on Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  When I decided to create a book, I just kept drafting and drafting, adding and adding, until I had this huge unedited blurb of historical bodybuilding nutrition data.  I intended to go over it thoroughly and trim it down, have it edited and such, but before doing that, I submitted it to Sally for her to give it a look over.  She ended up doing all the dirty work on the piece and called the article “Splendid Specimens,” not exactly my choice for a title.  However, I thought she had earned the right to name it what she wanted since she did so much work on it.  I was actually grateful since it freed me to begin writing the book.  So, I kind of lucked out there.

Speaking of naming articles though, I hadn’t necessarily cornered the market on title flair either.  I was originally planning to call the article and the book, “The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding.”  Dr. Kaayla Daniels, author of, “The Whole Soy Story,” liked the article and we chatted on the phone about it.  She thought I may have a bigger audience than I was figuring on  and asked me what I had planned to call my book project.  When I told her, “The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding,” she thought it sucked.  Kaayla didn’t seem to be too shy about telling me this.  I didn’t care, I kind of liked her straight forward manner.

Cover, Volume I
That night while laying in bed, I thought to myself, “Okay, what the hell do I call this thing then?”   I recall thinking that it was such a deceptive or “smoke and mirrors” industry I was writing about.  I liked the “smoke and mirrors” angle, but it needed something else to it.  I thought of, “Bodybuilding, Smoke & Mirrors,”  but it still didn’t click with me.  As soon as I said, “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors” in my head I knew I had it.  Kaayla liked it as did my friend from Chicago, Terry Strand, as soon as he heard it.  That was I believe back in 2005.

Charles: So, beginning in 2002 and by 2005 you had a title set. Just how much time were you spending on writing the book?  How did you get the time for such a project?

Randy Roach  Well, I did come up with my book title in 2005, but  in January of that year I lost the rest of my eyesight right in the middle of the project.  From July of 1993 until October of 2004 I worked as a senior computer programmer for Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA), an international environmental engineering firm.  I knew by mid 2000 that my days were numbered as a programmer with my sight going South on me.  I had indicated to a few of the shareholders that I would eventually be leaving. I was training about six of them around this time including the president, Ed Roberts.  

By the summer of 2004, I could not see well enough to carry out my job function as I thought it should be performed.  Although I was sincerely concerned over the fate of a very large program I had built for them, I told Ed that I was going to quit at that point.  I remember him coming up from the gym and sitting down.  He said, “You just can’t quit, what if the rest of your sight goes?”  I told him that was unlikely to happen.  He basically said that I was quitting due to my loss of eyesight so I was entitled to disability.  I had no idea that I had such an option.  He then said that they had been paying for insurance on me for the past 10 years and I was entitled to it.  In fact, the very next day I received a call from our HR department due to Ed’s orders.

To make a long story short, I was granted about 3.5 years of disability receiving 80% of my wage.  This was a totally unexpected turn of events.  I was ready to just quit and let the chips fall where they may in terms of making a living as a trainer and hopefully writer.  Writer was still kind of a pipe dream at that point since I think my article was just published.

I was worried over what the insurance company would want me to do. Of course I had those old stereotypical thoughts of them rehabbing me into advanced basket weaving or something like that.  They do try to refit you into the job market.  I knew programming was out and told them that there was no way I could be set up to continue programming at the level I was doing at CRA.

I said I wanted to be a trainer and a writer.  Now, who was going to teach me to be a trainer and write books blind?  So…they let me rehab myself.  Ironically, three months after I officially left CRA in October of 2004, I lost the rest of my eyesight; just what Ed was  concerned about.  This threw me for a loop. I had experienced periods of no sight several times over the years, but it always came back in a few days or so.  However, this time it did not return.  Nonetheless, the immediate stress of earning money was removed thanks to Ed Roberts and CRA.

So, for the next three and a half years, I stumbled around my gym and keyboard learning to train and write as a blind dude.  It was frustrating at times, but at least the first volume of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors” was basically financially subsidized for over three years.  At the end of 2008, almost six months after Volume I was released, I terminated myself from the long term disability. I remember the insurance rep being a little shocked as he wasn’t use to people removing themselves from financial support.  However, I wanted to make it on my own.  I told him I didn’t want anyone looking over my shoulder all the time.  He just laughed and said we are not watching you.  I guess they were not all that concerned since they let me do what I wanted anyway.  I was grateful to them.

Charles: So, you have been self employed as a trainer and writer since the end of 2008?
Randy Roach  Yep.  It was both a scary and great feeling not to have to answer to anyone.  I could do as I pleased.  Again, this is when a lot of good people stepped up around me to keep things going.

Charles: Was it financially tough without the subsidy or your previous programming wage?

Randy Roach
  Yeah, it was definitely tighter on the income.  However, I did manage to pay off my house and gym plus create a bank account in order to publish the book.  At that time, I was anticipating about a $30,000 outlay just to print 3,000 hard cover copies.   This of course was before I decided to go with Authorhouse and print on demand.

Randy works with Sifu David Moylan*
I had to learn a balance between training and writing.  Training brought in money, writing did not.   I was, however, beginning to receive royalties, but that went to recovering what I had put out of my own money.  Someone had accused me of being financed by the Weston A. Price Foundation which pissed me off since I have received no money from anyone.  As mentioned earlier, I have invested about $55,000 of my own money over the past 9.5 years. It isn’t’ really all that much when you look at the time span, but the vast majority of it went out from about 2007 onward.   I’ll get it back.  You have to invest money to make money or at least show some confidence in what you’re doing.

Charles:  Randy, where did you train these people?

Randy Roach  I have always maintained my own training facility since I was a kid.  Whether it was in my parents, sister’s, friend’s, or my own basement, I always collected and built equipment.  I was probably one of the youngest guys in Canada at 23 in 1982 who had his own Olympic barbell set and custom built power rack in a house basement.  Olympic bars and power racks were in most part confined to hardcore, commercial gyms at that time.

I always dreamed of having my own home with a great basement gym.  That opportunity presented itself in the fall of 1998. I knew my sight wouldn’t last forever and that I would eventually have to look at making a full time living as a trainer, so I had a house built with a raised basement ceiling and just one support beam with nothing else cluttering the room.  I had all the appliances, furnace, water heater and such placed in a back corner room.

 Randy Roach Gym, Waterloo, Ontario. Photo taken January 2012
Between the basement and connected garage, I placed a world class gym of over 1200 square feet.  I focused on paying off the gym and the house as fast as I could. I felt in my mind that it was a race between paying off the house and going blind.  I realize now that was not necessarily a constructive mindset to carry.

Randy Roach Gym, free weights
I have spent the past 13 years building and rebuilding the gym.  As I said, it is a world class commercial facility. People are literally shocked when they go down there.  In my own biased opinion, it is the best facility around per square foot.  The only private club that rivals it is that of a good friend of mine, Mike Petrella, who lives and operates in St. George.  However, Mike is not a rival.  He is more like an associate since we both engage similar endeavors.  He and Josh Trentine were highly responsible for helping move my gym to the next level in equipment.  Right now, I am the most pleased with the gym as I have ever been.

                                                                                Charles: Is it tough training blind?

Randy with Sifu David Moylan*
Randy Roach  My own workouts were not a problem as I hadn’t been able to see myself in a mirror for years and never really visually focused on anything physical anyway.  It was the personal training that concerned me.  I was worried how clients would respond to hands-on training, especially the women.  Fortunately, it worked out better than I thought.  People like the extra attention I have to focus on them.  I soon found that I was better off totally blind than just visually impaired.  While I was losing my eyesight, I didn’t use hands-on so I began to miss many things in terms of poor performance and technique. I was also surprised at how much you can detect with proper hand placement.  It has worked out thus far.

Charles:  So I am guessing it was when you left CRA in October of 2004 that you went to work in earnest on Volume I? How did you organize yourself on a daily basis in terms of balancing time between speaking with sources, transcribing those conversations into research notes and actual writing?  And balancing this with training clients? It sounds to me like you are highly organized and efficient and that time organization may never have been an issue.

Randy Roach  That is actually quite funny since I am not organized in many ways at all.  Remember, I am the programming guy who never wrote a flow chart?  I often do most things by the seat of my pants.  I started this habit when my sight began to diminish years ago.  I more or less just visualized everything in my head and often that could get chaotic.

Now, when I left CRA feeling that I could apply almost full time hours to the book, it was only about three months when the rug got pulled out from me with the loss of my sight in January of 2005.  We were replacing my living room floor and I should have kept away from that environment.  All the crap that kicked up swelled my cornea.  This had happened before so I didn’t panic or even think much of it because I thought it would come back like it always had over the previous 18 years or so.

When I realized it wasn’t coming back, I became quite alarmed over how I was going to proceed.   I could no longer pick up any book, magazine, or printed article and put it on my magnified screen.  This was very frustrating.  I did learn pretty

Fortunately, a lot of data came available electronically through the net.  Others did their best to send their contributions in that format as well. As mentioned earlier, many were reading to me and eventually I used scanners to read to me as well.  I used the drafts component of Microsoft Outlook to save notes as I went.   I think I am closing in on 3000 drafts saved there.  I would search many things on the net, block and paste it into a email, read it, then save it as a draft.  The drafts are sorted by subject and I always keep my Outlook open for email use so the notes are readily available.   Although I have developed my own techniques, I still need help.

At times I would be twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone to drop over because an answer was sitting inches from me in a book, but I couldn’t just pick it up and peek at it.  This has changed to some degree as I’ll get to in a bit.

Randy Roach dumps his "Arnold A-Shirt!"
A lot of information for Volume II came first hand through extensive interviews.  I have conducted hundreds of interviews over the past 9 years with some continuing since 2003 and 2004.  I must have exchanged hundreds of emails with Ken Sprague since July of 2006 before finally speaking to him late in 2011.  The same with Jeff Everson.  Both of these guys shared extensive personal information without ever meeting or talking to me.  That is the first time I had ever made such trusting friends in that manner.  I still haven’t spoken to Jeff.

I have no idea of how many different people I have spoken to.  I have been speaking to Wayne DeMilia regularly since 2004.  He is a wealth of information on the industry as is Boyer Coe who has become a good friend as well.  There are just oo many to mention.  I would take notes as fast as I could as they spoke.  They didn’t seem to mind me calling back for verification.  This was necessary anyway since you need to talk to them several times from various angles to get things as accurate as possible.  Remember, I am dragging these guys back decades to best recollect what had happened and when.  Ken Sprague has been rummaging through all his court and lease records for me.  In fact, he just found another today.  Again, Ron Koeberer flew across the country on a data hunt and obtained court documentation through other avenues.

Often trying to put a chapter together, I am talking with up to seven different people several times trying to get all sides of a subject. I am doing that right now as we are conducting this interview.  Again, I have no real method to my madness so I guess it is just madness.  However, I know it always comes together when I need it to.  I think Volume III has the potential to be the best of the three volumes if I continue to ride the madness.  Wayne still thinks I am going into four volumes, but I say no.  Any fourth volume would be a book on what I will have learned over the 12 year process.

Charles: You mentioned that things have changed a bit for you?  How?  In what manner?

Randy Roach  Back in 1985 when I temporarily lost all of my eyesight, I also stopped producing tears.  For the next 24 years I had to put artificial tears in my eye every 10 to 15 minutes.  No shit, I spent all day putting these tears in no matter where I was.  This was a a royal pain in the ass.  The artificial tears had preservatives in them that even the specialists in Boston didn’t like since I was using so many of them.  I ended up using my own urine as tears to rid myself of the preservatives.  Now, I didn’t’ receive too much support over that from the medical orthodoxy, but I had pretty much lost any hope or confidence in that field since they had made a mess of me.

Anyway, about just over two years ago, I began using an oil /herb mix called scargone as a tear.  I thought it may lube better and last longer than 5, 10 or 15 minutes if I stretched it.  Well, it worked  and lasted up to two hours.  This was so much more convenient.  Nonetheless, I was thrilled to see that some of my sight started to come back.  It would still fluctuate wildly, but I was getting some back.  I was worried that I may lose my source if Eva ever stopped making her blend so I switched to raw butter.  This was actually the advice of Dr. Aajonus Vonderplantiz.  The butter seemed to work even better and I liked the idea of using a raw food with its healing properties.

Bowl of melted butter
The white wall that I was staring at from 2005 to 2009 cleared to the point where I didn’t have to always use my white cane in the gym.   It continued to where I could read the large print on my computer screen.  Now, it can change within hours, but it is good to see that it has potential for coming in again.  I still need my cane outside of my home and this has kept me from traveling.  That and the fact that I have to keep this glass jar of raw butter gently melted beside me on a coffee warmer.  I have gone up to four hours without another drop of raw butter.  I have hopes of getting more back.  Well, att least to the point where I can surf porn again.  Haha That is probably what made me lose my sight in the first place.

Charles: Can you elaborate more?

Randy Roach 
On the butter or the porn?

Charles: The porn…I mean the butter. 

Randy Roach  Okay.  I was originally going to use coconut oil since I tried it and the oil feld good and served as a great lubricant.  I thought I would bounce it off Aajonus since he also had to deal with extensive cornea scarring from a cancer I believe. He had used raw egg whites to reverse some of that scarring.  He thought the coconut oil may be too aggressive in its detoxification effects and recommended the raw butter instead.  Raw fats pull toxicity from the body and you have to be careful as to how you approach any type of body detoxification.  Sometimes people learn this the hard way.
I also firmly believe that drugs do not and can not heal anything.  They just don’t have that capacity any longer since all their natural healing components if derived from the botanical world have been removed or chemically synthesized.  Drugs often just block a natural bodily function in order to invoke their affect.  This is exactly what statin drugs do; they inhibit the liver’s natural production of cholesterol.  I mean our livers have been producing this essential multifunctional compound since the origins of our being, yet this arrogant group of private medical/financial politicians summarily ruled the human body to be in error with this process and decide to make hundreds of billions of dollars off a group of bullshit drugs that do nothing but elevate your risk of cancers.  And to make things much easier for them, they purchased the ruling elite and had them ban all things natural so we have to run around like criminals to get raw dairy.However, that is another story.

As I mentioned earlier, I also use urine as a tear.  As bizarre as this sounds,  I couldn’t’ help but just shake my head when I found out the main ingredient in an old eye drop I used decades ago, called “Murine” was “Carbamide,” a synthetic version of urea.  Take the “M” off “Murine” and what do you get…“Urine!” The pharmaceutical industry knows all about urine and its thousands upon thousands of constituents many of which they are clueless in terms of their functionality.

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski identified specific peptides in blood and urine which appeared to have a varying relationship with cancer.  He called these protein fragments, “Antineoplastons” and began treating cancer patients with them.  Of course, like anyone who challenges the cancer orthodoxy, he has been professionally crucified for his efforts.

About two years ago my brother, Tom, burnt himself on a hot weld while working out in the country.  He didn’t have any immediate facilities around him where he could go.  He had done this a year earlier and the burn left a scar.  Tom knows what I mess around with and is open to many things so he called me from his truck and asked what I thought he should do.  He had already been thinking of the urine, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  I just told him to piss on a clean rag and wrap his hand with it.  He said the burn was every bit as bad as the one he had sustained the year before that basically went untreated.  He was surprised to find out the next dday that the burn was virtually gone.  For those who are still a bit squeamish over dropping their pants and self dispensing, raw honey workds very well also.

Raw unprocessed foods, especially fats, have a natural and gentle healing capability.  Food really is medicine so why mess it up?  Well, for one thing, you can’t patent food so why promote its raw healing capabilities.  Food has the longest historical precedence as a healing agent.  It is just that our chemically forged culture has been on a purposeful dietary dumb-down from our physicians, dieticians, through the whole general public for the past 100 years.

For me, I allowed mainstream medicine its chance for over 20 years before I opted for alternative measures.  The frequency at which I had to use the artificial tears often irritated my skin as they would spill out over my cheek.  The raw butter and urine does not bother my skin.  In fact, the urea in urine is admitted to be one of the best natural moisturizers.  I hear Madonna uses it on her skin.  I still use the urine to flush out the butter if the butter builds up too much in my eye.  As mentioned, chemicals can mask symptoms, but they do not cure.  Raw foods have healing capability and this is probably why Hippocrates  said, “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”  We know for a fact that the body heals itself with its own intrinsic knowledge.  We are kept alive by foods.  Food is information and I believe in keeping the language open and clear by not processing and cooking the words. The subject is just too extensive and probably not fully understood by anyone..

I don’t know where my eyesight will be in the future, but I know chemicals are not the answer.

Charles: So, would you say these past 7 years have been the toughest you’ve had to ever deal with?

Randy Roach  I would say it was a more challenging time for me, but not necessarily the toughest.  I mentioned in Part 1 of this interview the two barrages of surgeries I had first in the mid to late 1960s and the second in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  When you are in your late teens and early 20s the last place you want to be is patched up blind laying around in a hospital for a month at a time.   That second cluster of botched surgeries I would say were the toughest time of my life.

Volume II is dedicated to three individuals who passed away within a six month window late in 2010 to mid 2011.  One of those was Fred Kropf.  Fred was my best friend growing up and the best friend one could have had under my circumstances.  When I was stuck down in Toronto’s St. Michael’s hospital all the time for lengthy periods, Fred was down  there (along with other friends) all the time.  The bastard would make me laugh knowing it hurt like hell after an operation.  I never had to worry about money or anything because of his generosity.

It was hilarious some of the things he would do during his workouts in his basement.  He would lay on his back on a bench and somehow get a 200 lbs or so barbell up locked in his toes and start doing free weight leg presses.  In between his sets, he would smoke a cigarette.  Then we’d go drink beer.  The Saxon brothers would have been proud of us.  He didn’t care I was half blind at the time, he would let me drive his vehicles both on and off road.  He was crazy at times.  He would hit a jump in his jeep at 30 miles an hour just to see how airborne he could get us!!!     He had a lot of friends and we all miss him very much.

Charles: Your Dedication also includes the following: "To Dr. Michael Haynes, one of the very few I called Mentor. He alone invoked the biggest change in my thinking and life direction." This sounds critical if we are really going to get to know Randy Roach. Would you care to tell us about Michael and the role he has played in your life?

Randy Roach  Hmm.I am not sure how much I want to go into Dr. Michael Haynes at this time. He was definitely an amazing man with extraordinary abilities.  I have to say that I had never met anyone like him before back in late 2003.  He certainly did have a profound influence on me and how I would look at life from that point in time onward.   I do appreciate you asking Charles and I will write more on Michael in the future.  The substance and quality of my project grew substantially because of Michael.

Randy and Ron, superb raw-diet specimens
Charles:  And another friend is that beautiful dog sitting at your side in this picture at the right. I bet there's a story behind him?

Randy Roach  He is a great dog, but he isn’t mine.  Ronin, we call him Ron, belongs to my tenant, Tristan.  Ron is a Doberman that weighs close to 95 lbs., 85 lbs. muscle and 10 lbs. teeth.

Charles:  Does Ron eat raw food also?

Randy Roach  Yep, he eats about 90% raw beef, eggs, and dairy, with the rest of the 10% made up of postman, couriers, and occasional clients. He is a friendly guy, but has a big bark that does scare people at times.

Ron hopped into the picture taken in my office.  Actually, we tried to get him to pose, but we couldn’t get him to stop looking over at his agent, Tristan.

Charles, you must hold a special status with me since I hate my picture taken, but I did so for this interview.  My friend, Patti Fievoli, loves shooting photos and has taken quite a few of my gym.  In doing so, she pulled me into more than I intended.

That biceps shot in Part 2 was taken just two weeks after the Christmas holidays and  I have already received some digs about the tank top with Arnold on it that I won’t repeat.  Steve Speyrer, the guy who reads me gay porn over the phone, also asked me where I came upon that shirt.  Actually, Steve is a top seasoned trainer out of Louisiana.  The truth is that I have never worn the damn shirt before.  My brother, Tom picked it up for me as a gift from Venice Beach back in 1988.  Patti took a shot    of me wearing a black tank top, but I kind of blended into the dark background.  So, I remembered having that white one in my closet for years and I grabbed it for a pick...I Should have put it on the dog. 

Charles:  Speaking of pics and Arnold, how did you get away with using Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover of Volume II?

Randy Roach  I originally had this concept of a cover with Ed Corney and a ghost image of Arthur Jones’s face in the baqckdrop.  The problem was that I wanted the same picture of Ed Corney as used on the cover of “Pumping Iron.” It is an iconic shot that captured 1970s bodybuilding.  I needed to get George Butler’s permission and I had my doubts.  In the meantime, Boyer Coe gave me the green light on anything of his and he did have some awesome shots that I liked.  However, Boyer pushed hard for me to get the Corney shot.

Cover, Volume II
I was having trouble getting a hold of George Butler because he travels so much working on his film projects.  I resorted to asking Wayne DeMilia to helping me again.  Wayne originally connected me with George in the first place for interviews.  The men have been close since 1975 or so.  I remember Wayne calling me and saying something along the lines of:

“Okay, I have some bad news and some good news.  George is hesitant in allowing you to use the shot of Ed Corney because it is so tightly sewn to Pumping Iron.  George said to ask Randy if he would like a photo of Arnold instead!”

Then I said something along the lines of, “Wel...OKAY!!!!”

We never thought anything of  Arnold because we just  never felt that would or could ever happen.  So the concept remained but now it would have Arnold at the forefront and Jones in the backdrop.  Ron Koeberer found the shot we used and  George gave permission to publish it as long as I placed the proper credit and copyright for that photo inside the book.

My friend  and computer guy, Chris Pearcey, helped me develop the first cover and knows very well how to work with me.  He  knew what I wanted and began drafting prototypes.  He added his touch and we came up with about three to choose from.  Then one of my clients, Gary Neeb who is a professional in the marketing and advertising field,  brought out the final details.  I knew I had it when another friend and bodybuilding champion, Josh Trentine, said it was by far the best bodybuilding photo concept he had ever seen.   We are all very happy with it.

Thanks very much to George Butler.

Charles:  So the Arnold pic for the cover was an unexpected bonus. Were there any
other unexpected turns of event during the research and writing of the books
that merit some mention? 

Randy Roach  The biggest change of events other than the sight going in the crapper was when the book went from one volume to two, then two volumes to three. They were totally unplanned. Remember, I told you that I do most things by the seat of my pants.   When I first came to the realization that I couldn't finish the project in one volume, I was already into the 1990s trying to unravel the METRx and EAS web with the help of Jeff Everson.  I didn't know where I would split the book, so I did a word count and low and behold the mid point came pretty much at the end of the 1960s.  I remember thinking at the time that I probably couldn't have intentially planned that any better
if I had tried.   It was the perfect break. The same thing happened when Wayne DeMilia told me that  one book would not be enough for the 1970s and 1980s. Now, Wayne still believes that one book is not enough for the rest, but I want it to be.

I had another last minute change of events for Volume II.  The book actually ended with Charles Frazer, a vegan athlete who wrote some articles for Iron Man back in the 1970s.  I was finished and about to begin the editing process when I received an email from Richard Tucker from New Zealand.  He was thanking me for mentioning him briefly in Volume I.  Richard had written a book back in 1974 called, "Biblical Nutrition."  I was pleasantly surprised since I had tried to track him down several years earlier.  We began some email exchanges and I came to realize that he was a raw food eater as I am.  I asked him if he was eating this way back in the 1970s. Not only was he eating raw, but much of his diet consisted of raw animal products.

See, I have made it clear for the past years that I am a raw food proponent. However, just because I eat that way, I could not inflict this into my book projects any more than it was being portrayed within Iron Game history. Ricard was not only eating raw meat as a staple back in the 1970s, he had also grown up in Chicago and trained with Bob GAjda, Terry Strand and the boys at the Duncan YMCA during its heyday.   He had also interacted with Arthur Jones back in the spring of 1972.  Richard was a natural fit to balance off Charles Frazer in my last chapter.  Richard Tucker is a chiropractor with years of training and diet under his belt. I want to get him on Carl Lanore's Superhuman Radio show sometime. 

Charles:  Raw animal meat is about as controversial a subject as one is likely to encounter in the nutritional food wars. I remember Rheo Blair one time telling me that if I ate raw hamburger, it would make me very strong. But legally, he said, he could not tell me to do that (and I had no interest in doing so at 16 but have done so since). What are some of the similarities and or differences between Richard Tucker, and Dr. Aajonus Vonderplantiz. How have each influenced you?

Randy Roach  Both men are highly educated in the history of nutrition and where raw foods were a key factor in the cultures throughout history.  Both would probably agree that 21st century Western culture is most likely the most nutritionally retarded mass of humanity to ever grace the planet.  I was impressed with the fact that Ricard was already reading on Dr. Weston A. Price in high school back in the late 1960s.  Both men had also experimented with many ways of eating including veganism.

I know more of Aajonus than I do of Richard right now.  Richard, as mentioned, is a practicing chiropractor who eats I believe about 80% raw.  I don’t think there is anyone out there as strict as Aajonus.  Raw food research is his life and I don’t think he bgudges from his raw menu other than perhaps to conduct an experiment.  He has written two books and has derived dozens of remedies composed of various combinations of raw foods for healing purposes.  He carries a large cancer based clientele.

It is always great to connect with guys who have been doing it for decades and happy with what they are doing.  Both men state that nothing makes them feel better than raw animal foods.

Charles: Well, it sounds as though you have connected with a good number of people on this project of yours.  Volume II of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors was released in late November of 2011.  How is the book doing out there?

Randy Roach  I won’t really know officially until the beginning of march this year.  That is when the publisher releases their statements.  However, from all sign I believe the book is selling very well.   I had a lot of people watching for it who read Volume I.  Paul Solotaroff of Men’s Journal and Rolling Stone gave me a great plug in his latest article in Men’s Journal.  It is the February, 2012 issue in an article they called, “The dawn of Huge.”  Muscle & Fitness which is probably the most circulated bodybuilding magazine is doing a review on the book in their March issue which should be out next month.  Health and Strength over in  the UK is also going to review as will more publications as time goes by.  The book is still early in its release and it takes most  people a month just to read it.  We have posted already a good number of endorsements and reviews on my site at www.randyroach.ca.

Charles: Let's conclude our discussion by finding out how these books have changed your life. Can you share two or three principal lessons you have learned as a result of your research and writing experience over the past decade? And can you tell us, finally, in what ways you have evolved and grown over the past decade -- and -- what might the next decade hold for you?

Randy Roach  Sure, leave the toughest question for last!

The past 10 years have in fact been an amazing experience for me.  I would have never dreamed back in 2002 that I would have two books of such volume and be given the credit I’ve received.  Had you told me that I would be on the radio close to 30 times I would have laughed and called you absolutely delusional.  Just thinking of making a living on my own outside of the secure programming job I had was almost more than I could handle.  However, here we are in 2012.

I have grown more in these years than at any other point in my life.  ‘I’ve learned to never say “never” and don’t think you know everything or anything as a certainty.  Looks can very much be deceiving.  There is always another perspective for almost all situations.  Trying to write any historical documentation on the Iron Game industry and remain objective is not easy.  This is a very convoluted industry with so much polarity amongst its factions and a good eal of animosity separating them.  Nonetheless, I have still had the pleasure of meeting a lot of great people on the way.  I have had to learn how to best put my own judgements aside and tell the stories from the varying opinions.  Obviously, I have interjected myself to some degree which is certainly an author’s prerogative.  There are a number of things I have written that I did not necessarily believe or support, but still felt it needed to be stated.

Michael Haynes and others like him who now seem to surround me have been guiding forces over this venture of mine.  I am grateful for them and this experience.  Hell Charles, how do you think I met you??

I will write more on my learned experiences probably in a few years.  However for now,  the story still continues…

Thank you Randy. We look forward to Volume III and to your many radio and magazine appearances in the years ahead!  

*Sifu David Moylan, pictured above in the training photos with Randy Roach, is owner of the Waterloo Kung Fu Academy 

ALL images of Randy Roach, his office and his Gym, seen in this post, were supplied by Randy Roach for Charles Welling. They have never been previously published. They were all produced in January, 2012.

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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment