BRAVE CUSTOMER STORIES
Chris Rogers truly brings to life the phrase "the sum of its parts." He's a Buddhist. A hardcore vegan. A climate change fighter. A father. A grandfather. And a "supposedly disabled" military veteran who just so happens to also be a daily fitness fanatic. Check out our convo with him to learn more about this modern day Renaissance man.
You're a veteran. Can you tell us about your life after service?
When I got out of the service, it wasn't the greatest of situations. I've been blow up a couple of times and when I say blown up, I mean blown up like they called my mother in Florida and said we're flying you out here (to Germany) to say goodbye to your child. I was in a coma for six and a half weeks. She expected that I was going to die in that hospital and I came back from the brink of death.
I was in a bad spot for two years. They pretty much told me I wasn't able to do my job anymore because of my injuries, and that kind of hurt. I had never been an alcoholic, but I was in the bottom of the bottle for about two years, and I ballooned up to 467 pounds. On the day, I got married to my wife, I was 467 pounds seven years ago. Today, literally today - 5:30 this morning - I'm 242 pounds.
I got really, really sick right before I got married... went to the VA hospital, and my cardiologist told me "you're either gonna do what I tell you or you're gonna die. There's no in between. This is what's gonna happen, this is the shape you've got yourself in." I listened to what he told me, started cleaning up my diet. Got a little smarter started, educating myself. I love the outdoors so I started caring a little bit more about climate change and things going on in the world. Me and my wife committed to being complete vegans. Never forced our kids to, but just wanted to show them through our lives that there was a clean, sustainable way to live their lives.
WOW, THAT'S SOME STORY... WE'RE ALL SO HAPPY FOR YOU, CHRIS! HOW DID YOU GET YOURSELF TO COMMIT TO SUCH A DRASTIC CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE?
I came out of that questioning why I was here, why did I lose so many people I cared about and I'm still here? And when I came out of that, I knew I had to do something to be better because my kids were watching, you know what I mean? My kids needed their father and my kids were watching.
We moved here to Myrtle Beach, and I was like "I gotta figure something out." I'm a big reader, and I ordered a book on Amazon. And I promise you to this day, I ordered a book on Gandhi and what showed up here was the Dalai Lama's "The Big Book of Happiness." I read that book from cover to cover in about three days, and I was absolutely just moved by his story and I was like "this is something I want to look into." I just Google'd "Buddhist temple near me," and about an hour and 20 minutes from here in Bolivia, North Carolina, there's a Buddhist temple stuck out in the middle of nowhere.
Me and my wife went up there to see him (the monk) probably two and a half years, three years ago and I've spent a lot of times with him over the last few years to help cleanse my soul and my life. Totally change my beliefs system and how I feel about humanity and people in the world and everyone matters.
Some people call it a religion. It's not seen as, from a monk's perspective, as a religion. It's a way to live your life with spirituality
We hear you have a pretty intense morning routine...
7 days a week. 5:30AM. Maybe on Sunday 6AM. Meditate. 6:15 to 6:30... out the door. I run 5k a day. 18 months going on consistently every day... 5k a day. It's got to be hurricane weather for me to not get outside. Between 6:50 to 7:00AM, I'm back in the door. Depending on the humidity and how hot it is still in the South right now, I'm either eating then or at least taking a couple bites [of Brave], and like I said, just throw my cup right in the saddle bag on the front of the bike, and then I'm gone.
I feel like if I stop, I may stop... you know what I mean? And sometimes around that three mile mark, I'm trying to find every excuse I can not to go in the door and get on the bike. And if I listen to myself too much, maybe I won't. The cycling part of it came kind of gradual and then it became my obsession. Usually 7 to 10 miles in the morning... I get on the bike for my soul because it takes that beating up of the body away.
When I get to the beach, I just kind of enjoy the view, sit on one of the benches at the beach, eat my breakfast there. And then, you know, maybe go pick up a little trash on the beach or something or ride the beach.
Picking up trash on the beach?
A couple of years ago, we got involved with an organization called Dirtbag Runners. We live at the beach, a big tourist area and we love being outdoors... and our beach gets trashed. I mean, it really gets trashed. People come here, they're on vacation, they're doing their thing, and there's plastic and garbage all over our beaches.
So usually at least twice a week, at least once on the weekend, me and my wife will bike down to the beach, enjoy the morning on the beach and just, you know, walk up and down the beach - a mile or two -we have little sleeves and little grabbers, you know, little pincher things. Yeah, we just go down there, and we pick up trash. I'm just a firm believer in every little bit, you do matters.
How does brave factor into your new lifestyle?
The Eat Brave line falls right into everything we like. I like the fact it's simple, whole ingredients. Can I read the label? Do I need to Google this 16-letter word that I absolutely know is chemically based?
I mean, just fuels me all morning long. I tried Nature's Path which I love. I have nothing to knock on Nature’s Path… it just doesn't carry through the day. And the fact that I don't have to worrry about any of that [with Brave]. Like I said, at night a cup of my milk, stir it up, make my toppings, put it in the fridge… boom I'm done. It's just too easy not to… it’s just simply too easy not to. I'm absolutely a creature of habit, and if it works for me, I stick with it.
EVERYONE EATS IT A LITTLE DIFFERENT... HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR BRAVE OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST?
They’re all good. Apple spice is my money though, that's that's my money all day long. I usually skin an apple the night before, cut it up, saute it with a little cinnamon in a pan. Throw it in my lid with some walnuts. And if I know I'm going to the beach or something - it’s a 14 mile ride away from here - so if I'm going to clean the beach that morning or something, you know, I'll just throw my cup right in my saddlebag on the front of the bike and I'm gone.
And yes, we make our own almond or coconut milk here.
Overnight breakfast made from a delicious combination of apple slices, warm spices, and sea salt. 100% no BS.