He Did It Raw: How Musician Stanley Banks Shed 108 Pounds


Stanley Banks — looking great, having fun


Tipping the scale at almost 300 pounds, both legs went numb while struggling to climb the subway stairs, Stanley Banks, George Benson’s bass player, knew he was in trouble.  He had to do something to reverse his rapidly deteriorating health.

Stanley’s doctor told him that his circulation was terrible, but did not prescribe any medication.  The late singer, Leon Thomas, reintroduced Stanley to Aris Latham, a raw foodist and owner of a local health food store.  Aris Latham told Stanley about a course he could benefit from.  Stanley paid $900 for the 6-day, 4 hours a day course on the raw food diet.  Worth every dollar spent, now 16 years later, the svelte 180 pound bassist is on a totally raw food diet.

Traveling the globe on tour for 40 years as George Benson’s bass player, you must wonder how Stanley was able to maintain this fresh food diet for so long.  He was chided by other musicians for hauling his juicer with him while on tour.  Stanley said “Before 9/11, I would take what was referred to as ‘the kitchen’ on the plane with me.  It was used to juice in whatever country I found myself.  If I went out to dinner with the guys, I would order a salad.”  He said he didn’t exercise until coming down from 288 pounds to 150.

At that point, he felt really great and practiced yoga for a short time.  When asked if he was ever hungry, Stanley said, “No, not really, I’m in a natural state, the way God intended us to eat.”

Stanley is not alone in battling obesity and its side effects.  The casual observer can see that in the communities of color, especially in the lower socioeconomic group, the population of obese people is burgeoning.  The saying, “you are what you eat” accurately reflects the number of fast food restaurants in these communities.  While in recent years the fast food restaurants have made changes in their menus to offer some fresh items, their menus basically consist of high carbohydrate foods and sugary drinks.

Stanley recently conducted a seminar entitled, “Life or Death – which do you choose?” and described his road to recovery.

He said that “Heating food destroys the enzymes that all foods contain.  Heating food destroys many vitamins originally present, and reduces the oxygen that is available in fresh food that we need to resist disease.”

Information from the raw diet course, trial and error, and information obtained from “The Grape Cure” by Johanna Brandt , provided the research necessary to offer juicing recipes.  Some recipes for fruit and vegetable combinations were given at this seminar which aid in preventing or reducing certain ailments.  For example, grapes, ginger and lemon are good for circulation, Stanley said.  Pineapple and cayenne is great for arthritis.  Stanley gave several more combinations of fruits and vegetables, along with a brochure to refer to for numerous other combinations.  He said that it’s important that the juice and vegetables are liquefied since liquids go directly into the blood stream.

Robert Rutledge, also a musician who is the audience, said had been juicing for many years before he became a diabetic. Wondering why he was experiencing so much fatigue, Robert found out his glucose count was 500 – high enough to put the average person into a diabetic coma.  Robert said he’s sure that his excellent health prior to diabetes, allowed him to fight this chronic illness.  Today he is off of all medications and his A1C (measures the amount of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it), is well within the non-diabetic range.  He didn’t contribute his wellness totally to juicing, but is confident it was a contributing factor.

You mustn’t confuse blenders with juice extractors, Stanley said.  Juice extractors separate the pulp from the fruit and provide you with the fruit’s liquid – this is what you want.  You can buy manual extractors or electric extractors at various wattages.  Of course the manual is much less expensive, but the electric can be brought anywhere from $39.00 to over $300, depending on the features.  Stanley recommends the “Champion” and “Breville” brands for performance and durability.

This free seminar was one of several given by Stanley Banks.  In 2004, Stanley published an article in Living Nutrition, Vol. 15 magazine covering the benefits of a raw food diet.   He’s also nearing completion of a book on the same subject.  It’s targeted to be available around the end of the year.

Be on the lookout for Stanley Bank’s next free seminar.


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