Fried chicken, mac and cheese and a side of civil rights — the third item on the menu may seem out of place, but not when you are talking to Rev. Al Sharpton. He’s lost over 100 pounds and is determined to keep it off. Even President Barack Obama recently urged him to “go ahead and let loose a bit on Thanksgiving.” Sharpton responded:

“I will not break my diet even with a presidential pardon.”

The reason is all very simple for the host of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation. “I can speak much more easily now. I’m gliding rather than struggling.” (Politics Nation with Al Sharpton airs on MSNBC, a division of NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of theGrio.) The new stamina comes with sacrifice and one of the first thing chopped out of the Reverend’s diet was meat. As for the payoff, he says he hopes it’s one the entire black community reaps. “You can’t address our issues and demand social justice when you are a prisoner in your own body, and you can’t have a reckless social life when you are looking for social justice.”

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