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Rapper-Chef Action Bronson’s Lockdown Brought Insight and a Plant-Based Diet

Image used with permission by copyright holder

When the shutdown happened in March 2020, Action Bronson decided to make a major change in his life — getting healthy. It was a thought that been brewing in his mind for a long time.

“I just became a different man,” Bronson tells The Manual. “I had a brand-new child, so much to live for. I just didn’t feel good. I just didn’t feel healthy. It was time. We’re all getting up there in age and it gets harder and harder as you age. Honestly, if the pandemic hadn’t happened, who know if this would have happened? This took time for me. ‘Yo, chill the f*ck out and get your shit together and stop playing around with yourself.'”

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A rapper, cookbook author, and food television star, Action Bronson is a modern day Renaissance man. Now with his passion for health, he’s on mission to create content that matches this new outlook on life. Besides hitting the gym every day, a big factor in Action’s health journey has been a focus on his diet, particularly plant-based foods. Recently, Action has teamed up with Field Roast on their Make Taste Happen campaign. Field Roast is a Seattle-based food company that makes a diverse range of plant-based products, including Spicy Mexican Chipotle Plant-Based Sausages and Chao Creamery Dairy-free cheeses. As a chef, Action loves the creative energy of working with these plant-based products.

“It’s very versatile. I’m able to take things from my pantry, cause you know everyone’s been locked up and shit,” said Action. “I’ve been able to take things and create masterpieces from whatever I just have around. I challenge myself. I kinda do Chopped, you know what I mean? I do Chopped in the house.”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

This journey and story are now also showcased in Action’s own words in his latest book, F*ck It, I’ll Start Tomorrow. It’s a genre-bending book — part memoir and part self-help guide. The book defies convention and easy categorization. Instead, its a mix of funny and wild stories straight from the mind of Action Bronson. It also details his state of mind right before his big shift toward the pursuit of health.

“I was 400 pounds trying to bullshit my way through a book,” said Action. “But it became kind of like a guiding light for me because it shined a mirror on myself and my bullshit. So it actually helped me change. It ended (the book) in the beginning of the pandemic so it left off where I started taking control of my life. So it’s kind of a good precursor to what has been going on. It was a mess to write because I hated every moment of it. But looking back on it, it was needed. It was like a purge.”

From his food inspired rap lyrics to his cookbook,

F*ck, That’s Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well

, food has always been a central component to Action’s creative ventures. His popular food documentary, F*ck, That’s Delicious, is now exclusively on YouTube after four seasons on Vice. The YouTube episodes are shorter in length but still raw and relentlessly entertaining. So far, the episodes have ranged from Action cooking stuffed Sicilian style calamari in a gym parking lot to doing kettlebells while eating pizza at L’industrie pizzeria in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This new season is just the beginning according to Action.

“It’s all independent. It’s all YouTube. It’s back and better than ever,” Action says. “Everything is my control and I feel amazing about it. It’s getting amazing reviews. People wish it was longer, but it is what it is. At the same time, this is just me getting my feet wet in producing it all on my own.”

Whether it’s music, cooking, or writing, the core of Action’s creativity stems from a desire to be authentic. Eventually, Action plans on growing the YouTube videos, making longer and more ambitious episodes. He believes the show will only get better with time. But for now, he’s just enjoying life.

“I just vibe, you know? It’s just to have fun,” said Action. “Sometimes shit doesn’t become fun. I just want to have fun doing what I do.”

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Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
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