CAMBRIDGE — Eric Wayne sips an avocado and kale smoothie, then sits the glass next to two empty bottles of raw coconut juice. Moments into his lunch at Life Alive, Wayne considers his next course. “I think I’m gonna get a shot of wheatgrass,” he says.
Wayne is a Lowell police officer, but his passion for raw food has prompted many to call him the city’s unofficial vegan mayor. “People are attracted to him because of his vitality,” says Heidi Feinstein, who started Life Alive, raw food restaurants, in Lowell in 2005; a third location is in Salem. The year Feinstein opened her place was the same year Wayne turned off his stove in an effort to combat work stress and excess weight. “I feel like I haven’t aged in seven years,” says Wayne, 40, who, like many friends on the force, used to eat a diet of “your typical muscle building shakes or drinking six eggs.”
Life Alive even named a dish, “The 5-0,” after him. “It’s everything — shiitake mushrooms, beets, carrots, seaweed, kale, broccoli, squash, brown rice, quinoa, and two different sauces,” says Feinstein. “It should be called the Kitchen Sink.”
The police officer, who loves a physical challenge, ran the Marathon this year. He met Kevin Corcoran, whose wife, Celeste, lost both legs in the bombings, and Wayne chose to run to benefit MyTeam Triumph, a nonprofit that pairs able-bodied runners with the handicapped; he has run several races for the organization. During training, he wasn’t thrilled with his nutritionist’s recommendations of Gatorade, salt tablets, and Gu energy gels. “It’s not a healthy thing to do to your body,” says Wayne. After each training run, he thought it took another day to feel good again.
He credits his wellness transformation to a book Feinstein recommended called “Eating for Beauty,” by superfood proponent David Wolfe. Wayne was an instant convert, and now, he says — and friends agree — he has limitless energy.
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