1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
Rich Franklin, Professional Athlete, 3X UFC Middle Weight Champ and co-founder of Ze/Lin Organic Juice & Fusion Café, age 39
I gained a reputation for being the hardest training guy in my sport with a strict nutritional regiment, when the UFC featured me in a television show before a fight. My previous career as a high school math teacher instilled a passion in me for sharing knowledge. So…I recently decided to open Ze/Lin, my organic juice and fusion cafe in Beverly Hills. When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I change lives, whether inside or outside the ring.
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
I grew up in a Midwestern family raised on biscuits and gravy for breakfast and meatloaf for dinner. My junior year, I decided to run track in the spring to help my speed for football my senior year. When I attended the preseason track meeting, the coach-Mr. Z, who happened to be my history teacher, talked about eating like an athlete should. It wasn’t a lengthy speech, rather a simple comment about taking care of your body if you want it to perform at optimal level. Although I had been an athlete my entire youth, that comment was my introduction into eating properly.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
Other than a simple comment in a preseason track meeting, Mr. Z didn’t do anything to inspire me. It sounds kind of anti-climactic when I say it like that, but the truth is you never know how much impact a “simple comment” can change another person’s life. It translated into my differentiating factor from all the other high school athletes playing sports. It was my extra mile I was willing to go.
4. How did their lesson change your life?
Every day for lunch I ate a Nutty Butty and 2 chocolate milks with my pizza, burger or whatever other nutritious choice for lunch they would serve. The day after the pre-season track meeting, I did not get my Nutty Butty, and changed my milks to white. It was the first step of the journey that has ultimately led me to opening Ze/Lin.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
I don’t have children of my own, but I convey my message to kids, my friends, family members, the customers in my store and even occasionally speak to the military about healthy lifestyles on various bases. My lifestyle was my preflight life passion, turned job as a professional athlete competing in the UFC, to opening Ze/Lin in Beverly Hills. My game plan is to go into the Beverly Hills school district to speak to their students about the importance of nutrition and how it translates to a winning lifestyle. We are currently working on farming programs where our store could use the produce a school would cultivate.
6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
To the athlete, my message is always the result impact Mr. Z’s comment initially had on me. What makes you different than all the other athletes you are competing against? You train hard, but so do they. You study the game, but so do they. Again, nutrition is often the differentiating factor. To all kids, I always try to explain how damaging poor nutrition is to the body. Since young people don’t see the effects of poor nutrition until they are many years older, it is difficult for that age bracket to comprehend. The outward manifestation of poor nutrition is not noticeable to most people until many years into their adult life. I also stress that physical activity has much less impact on health than the food you consume.
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?