Boxer, grill-guru, and spiritual preacher George Foreman stopped by this morning to talk about his new book. WATCH VIDEO. This book is very different from his previous autobiography. This one focuses on his spiritual life and work as a preacher. He gave me a few minutes in the green room before he went into the studio to chat.
Q: Why did you come out with this book now? It's so different from your last one.
Foreman: You know I travel. I can be heavyweight champion of the world. I did an autobiography, and all kinds of books. And people are still meeting me in the market when I do signings and saying "I didn't know you were a preacher." I say "you didn't know that?" They know I recaptured the title, and I'm famous for the grill. But I had to make certain that people knew about my evangelistic work. And this book was to express my journey, my spiritual journey, so that once and for all people understand what I do.
Q: We live in an environment when everyone is always at odds with each other and criticizing each other, especially in politics. Just this morning we talked to Jimmy Carter about his criticisms of the Bush administration. And you write a lot in your book about forgiveness and coming together. What advice would you give to everyone, and all our leaders, why get caught up in this culture of criticism?
Foreman: You know I have to tell people, even in church all the time about voting and politics... these are babies. If you go look at baby pictures of even George Bush, Jimmy Carter, whoever. Just stare at their baby pictures and you realize they're just human beings, the same, and they're not worth criticizing or bashing that much. They're still somebody's first hope, or somebody's first baby. And if they can just visualize that, they can change the perception of just totally criticizing somebody day and night. It's like you're criticizing a baby! [laughs] Now who would go around criticizing a baby? Sometimes if you just flash a baby picture up of one of these great leaders, it changes you. That's what you've got to do. Reminisce and think about old times, before they became the people they are, they still are those babies. Maybe sometimes they've got gray hair but they still are those babies.
Q: I saw Madelyn Fernstrom just introduce herself to you in the green room. She is our diet and nutrition editor at the Today Show, and just did a segment this morning on food addictions. You certainly know a lot about food with your grills. What do you think about that? Are you addicted to food?
Foreman: Not at all. But I was born, just 4 years after the war when there wasn't much food at all. And everyone's big plan was to one day have food. Not so much because they were addicted but because they were in a time when there wasn't any food at all. So that leveled out into a society where there's lots and lots and lots. And now, the thing is to show your lack of desire for overeating. So fashions, I've seen them change. You go to a house and you see fruits and berries and everything, and we all eat fruits and veggies. Can you imagine that I had a little drop of oatmeal, fruits and berries, and an egg white this morning?! Because it's fashionable, not because I like it. Nor did I like the overeating years ago. But it was fashionable. It's all about fashion, nothing more. I don't think anyone's addicted. The love of food is just fashionable, that's all.
Q: What's next for you? You're writing, you're preaching, you're still doing your grills. What else do you have on the horizon?
Foreman: Well I'm busy. I'm just busy all the time. I've raised 10 kids. I've only got 2 left in the house... one's in high school of course, and then I have another seven-year-old. So I'm just going to raise kids and write books. That's what I really like. My wife is making certain that I don't go to the gym and box. Because that's what I was hooked on -- boxing. It was the hardest thing to get out of boxing. Because I still thought 'I've got one more punch.' And I wanted to go back at the age of 55 and my wife told me I'm not doing that. I said 'I can still do it!' And she said 'Isn't that the way you want to leave this sport? Thinking that you can still do it?' And I have a feeling she was right. I'd be 77 years old and thinking that I can still do it. So the one thing that's out of my life now is boxing. Saved by the wife.