Walter "Killer" Kowalski
Barry: How did you become vegetarian?
Killer: It was 1953. I was reading alot of books, studying the effects of food on the body. At first, I wasn't too sure about becoming a vegetarian. Then I heard about these two runners, Roger Bannister and John Landy. They were the first two men to break the four minute mile barrier. It was at the British Empire Games which were run in British Columbia. Roger Bannister, from England, won in under four minutes. And the little guy, John Landy, from New Zealand, he was just behind by a foot, so he ran under four minutes also. They both broke the four minute barrier.
Barry: They were both vegetarians?
Killer: Yes, when he was interviewed he was asked what do you attribute your feat to, Roger Bannister said, "Well, I'm a vegetarian." So they asked John Landy said the same thing and he said, "I'm a vegetarian." And so I thought, I better give it a shot. Overnight, I became a vegetarian.
Barry: It sounds like you became vegetarian primarily for athletic prowess and to perform better athletically.
Killer: In the beginning it was for athletic reasons, but later I became more concerned about life itself. I won't go too deeply into it, but there is a religious part and meditative part of vegetarianism for me.
After I made the change, people asked me different questions about being a vegetarian such as "Where do you get your protein?" I would say to them, "Elephants, they're vegetarians. They grow up big and strong. And horses, they have tremendous endurance, and they are vegetarians. But meat eaters, like lions and tigers, they have a short lifespan." The meat industry cons people into thinking you must eat decaying rotting flesh to get your protein. Bullshit, that's a lot of baloney. Big, healthy, strong animals get their protein from vegetarian sources, grass even!
Barry: Yes, with very little harmful waste products, and without all that saturated fat, hormones and toxic additives.
Killer: The dairy is now coming out with that advertising campaign with all those people having that white stuff on their lips, that white garbage on their lips, conning people into thinking that you must drink milk. People who watch television, naturally, they go for all that garbage and baloney.
Barry: It's such a joke.
Killer: Let me explain something. If you can take a raw almond, which is high protein in protein, put it in the ground and get a big tree, that's protein for you! If a tiny little almond can grow into a big tree--and animals can eat vegetarian foods and what not, then I think you'll be OK being a vegetarian. That's why summertime is the best time for me. Why? Because I mow all my neighbor's lawns with my teeth!
Barry: (Barry laughs)
Killer: So, there you are! All my neighbors love me. "Get Kowalski over here, he can help mow our lawns." I don't think it does a lot of good, but I try to do a good job anyway.
Barry: Do you feel you had an influence on other wrestlers to consider becoming vegetarians?
Killer: As far as I know, I was the only vegetarian wrestler around. To this day, its the same. They still drink beer, booze, they go after broads, you know, it's all the same. Even today, I'm still considered a nutball in the wrestling world. In my day, as a wrestler, they thought I was a real crackpot anyway. I still work for World Wrestling. I still go to the matches and they have me check out some of the new kids, take them into the ring, even at my age.
Barry: There are all sorts of vegetarians, even junk food vegetarians. What kind of a vegetarian have you been?
Killer: I didn't ingest all the garbage that people do today. The prepared foods, with all the preservatives, these have a harmful effect on you, too. I do take vitamins and minerals. Because some of the food that's out there, it's so depleted of natural elements. Also, in my whole life, I don't even remember ever taking an aspirin. I got away from medications all together. I never smoked in my life. No alcoholic beverages---well, I have to admit, I'm lying. One time, a guy says to me, "Let's have a beer." So I said, "Okay. I've never tried a beer before." So they poured a beer into a glass. I drank it...and I coughed it up. And I never tried it again. So there it was, no more beer even.
Barry: Were there any spiritual reasons why you became vegetarian?
Killer: Well, when I got away from animal foods, I became closer to God. That's what happened to me. I was more conscious of the good things in life. I was more conscious of other people. And I was conscious of love. In fact, when you eat more animal food, you hate more, you become more aggressive.
Barry: I'd like to get an idea of what your diet is like now, and whether its changed since you started being a vegetarian or whether its the same now as when you started?
Killer: Well, my first meal of the day is just fruit. That's all. Maybe once in a while when I went to bed very late after a long trip, I'd wake up a little late and I'll have a regular meal. A regular meal is salad. I eat salad, I eat avocados. I do not eat head lettuce. I eat romaine---romaine lettuce and green leaf lettuce, that's what I eat. And cucumbers. I eat celery in my salad. And I do eat a can of beans or something like that. But I do read the label beforehand and make sure the beans are packaged only in water, no potassium sorbate and chemicals like that. I read labels very consciously. And I don't drink milk, it makes me gag. I eat some pasta. I do not eat eggs. That's what my diet consists of mainly. And the strange part of it, when I make my salad, I put everything together in a great big bin---I put everything together, not separately, raw cauliflower, raw broccoli, everything together.
Barry: Are you careful about your salad dressing?
Killer: Yes. I'm very particular about my salad dressing. My salad dressing is raw---I mean virgin olive oil. And I don't use salt, I have that thing on the market they have in the health food store---amino acid salty.
Killer: Yes, Bragg's. So I use that for a little seasoning. I do put oregano and a little herbs like that in it also. I also use lemon and pure organic apple cider vinegar. That's why I make my own dressing. I don't buy the commercial dressings at all.
Barry: So basically your diet has been the same then since you first started as a vegetarian?
Barry: What do you think vegetarians can do as far as their contribution to help heal the planet?
Killer: Well, I don't know how vegetarians can make a contribution---but every individual is just that, an individual---and so what he feels he can do, he can go in that direction. For myself, I try to think clearly. Every thought you have has an effect on you. If you have discordant thoughts, they have an affect on you. Thought, feeling and the spoken word are the main creative activities we have at our disposal. In other words, what you say, you can become. If you swear at somebody, those vibrations travel through your body, and your feelings are affected by that---if you just swear at somebody---so your feelings they become discordant, they can have a definite effect on how you progress. And same with thought, feeling, spoken word. Bad thoughts, they have an affect upon you, and others, because you create these images around you.
So in other words, think clearly, think positively, and when you say things, be kind to people. Once there was this lady screaming at me, just hollering at me, and I'm just calmly looking at her and I say, "I love you." That broke her up. I won. So, I won with a little thing like that. So these things help.
Barry: It sounds like what you're saying is that a major problem in the world today is that people don't take responsibility for their thoughts, for their life-styles.
Killer: You know meat has harmful effects on people's spirits and souls. But how can the world really be saved?---by love. So we should pour out more love. Unfortunately, it's common that people judge people by how much material things they have, from their accumulation of things, that's what we rate them by. Why don't we change it around and rate people by love, how much love they pour out, rate them that way? And all of a sudden the vibrations of the individual will rise, the vibrations of your home will rise, the vibrations of the whole planet will rise, because now people are loving more, and becoming more positive---the outlook changes. Why? Because all of a sudden, we're all becoming what. We're all becoming angels---and the earth can be another heaven.
Barry: That is really beautiful, Walter.
Killer: I don't know where that all came from---I guess I was just a channel. The last part about earth being another heaven---I just love that.
Barry: You're surprising yourself. You're really eloquent. I'll say one thing, people that come here for wrestling training from you, they probably get something more than they bargained for. They might realize that you have a real effect on their lives that they didn't expect.
Killer: They come here to be trained physically. But I try to help them also emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Barry: Wonderful. So let's see if I have any other questions?
So, do you feel like John Robbins, author of Diet For A New America, that there is a connection between ecological problems, animal rights and becoming vegetarian?
Killer: Yes, and people can also change this planet by love. You can pour out love to an animal. The way you feel towards an animal has a definite effect upon them. But if you look at an animal and show fear, then the animal tries to overtake that fear and he comes at you, but if you pour love at the animal---if you know how, this takes training to do it---then that animal responds to that.
Barry: Do you feel there is a use for vegetarianism in reaching higher spiritually elevated states?
Killer: Yes. The more you back away from meat products, the more you elevate yourself, the vibratory level of your whole body changes and you become more conscious of higher levels of existence---of other things.
Barry: And you've experienced this yourself?
Killer: Yes, higher levels of experience. People who eat animals take in low vibrations. You need to elevate yourself above and beyond all that and the next thing you know, as I mentioned before, you become an angel walking this earth.
Barry: And that's one of the reasons you're vegetarian too, to raise yourself to that level?
Killer: Look at me, Walter Kowalski, the angel!
Barry: (Laughter) Walter, do you feel a personal responsibility that you can have an influence in bringing about a more conscious vegetarian planet?
Killer: Well, I do have a name. My name is Killer Kowalski. And that's a very striking name to the people. But when you get to know me, I become WALTER Kowalski, a very loving person.
Barry: Lover Kowalski?
Killer: Yes, you could say that---NO, NO, NO, DON'T SAY THAT, the girls might get the wrong idea. (Laughter). When you meet me, you'll see that I have an entirely different attitude about life. And my attitude is that I try to help people. I go out of my way to help people, to raise them above and beyond. For instance, I was talking to one of my students today, and he was having a lot of difficulty doing a wrestling move. And so I tell him, "Stop, don't do the move." He was building a wall, looking negatively at himself and getting into a bad habit of thinking. So I told him to go home think of it this way---"I can do it easily, it's really simple." We can learn how to program oneself positively and become a champion. Everything you do, try become a winner.
Barry: Do you feel there's a way to influence others through the political process, like picketing McDonald's and things like that---do you think there's a place for that?
Killer: Most of the time, people who picket, there's hate in their emotional body. But look at it this way about McDonald's. Every time you think of McDonald's, think of an angel. Think of an angel standing over McDonald's with great light around it. That will have a better effect than you showing hate towards them. In other words, be more of an angel yourself. Pour more love. Pour more love to everything. Don't go out there and try to show people about McDonald's. Try to be an example yourself, but when you do demonstrate, they have people looking at you, and they throw direct hate at you, and say, "Look at those crackpots out there." And they start cussing you out, and you start cussing back at them. What do you gain by all that? Absolutely nothing, nothing at all. Hate produces more hate. So if you pour out more love, that love has a higher vibration and you'll see, McDonald's will start serving more vegetarian foods. And you know, another one of those fast food restaurants started serving vegetarian meals and they found more people were asking for the vegetarian dishes. And all of a sudden they were getting more business. So maybe McDonald's will then come up with a vegetarian frank or a hamburger or something. If people want it, McDonald's will change---you don't change it by picketing.
Barry: Well, we've had quite an interview. Thank you so much, Killer. I've learned quite a bit from you, and enjoyed this immensely. I've found you fascinating and I'm sure the readers will also.
Killer: Thank you, Barry.
Interviewed by Barry Harris