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Louis Armstrong controlled his weight by using laxatives and even published a book entitled “Lose Weight the Satchmo Way”

Domagoj Valjak

Louis Armstrong, popularly known as “Satchmo” or “Pops”, was one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century; his impact on the development of various styles of jazz was immense.

His extremely prolific and versatile career lasted for over five decades; although he was primarily known as a trumpeter, singer, and composer, he also appeared in a number of movies and even wrote several books.

Louis Armstrong in 1953.

Louis Armstrong in 1953.

One of the books Armstrong published was called Lose Weight the Satchmo Way. He was always worried about his health and he considered his weight to be the biggest source of his health problems. Food was one of his greatest pleasures; he even dedicated several songs to his favorite dishes, but he needed a way to balance his diet. Lose Weight the Satchmo Way was a series of various diet plans; they included different techniques for healthy and enjoyable weight loss, and one thing that they all had in common was laxatives.

Armstrong was a big fan of laxatives; he used them in combination with a variety of other food supplements to control his weight. At first, his favorite laxative was “Pluto Water”, a type of mineral water that contained several natural laxatives, but he later switched to a herbal remedy called “Swiss Kriss”.

Antique bottle of Pluto Water. Photo Credit

Antique bottle of Pluto Water. Photo Credit

In fact, his initial favorite laxative was officially banned in 1971 because it contained lithium, which was a controlled substance used for the treatment of various psychoses.

Pluto Water newspaper advertisement from 1918.

Pluto Water newspaper advertisement from 1918.

Armstrong was so convinced in the remedial properties of natural laxatives that he often gave bottles of them to his friends as presents. He also propagated his laxative-based diet in the media, and he produced a series of humorous flyers that depicted him as sitting on the toilet with a content smile on his face. He reportedly even elaborated his love of laxatives to the members of the British Royal family when he was their guest during his 1956 Great Britain tour.

Another important part of Armstrong’s balanced diet regime was marijuana. He was a passionate marijuana smoker; he advocated both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. At one point he stated that marijuana was a thousand times better than whiskey and that it served as an inspiration for many of his innovative jazz compositions.

Louis Armstrong in 1953.

Louis Armstrong in 1953.

He was arrested several times for possession of marijuana during his youth, and in 1930 he had to spend nine days in jail.

Read another story from us: Louis Armstrong popularized scat singing after he dropped the lyric sheet while recording the song “Heebie Jeebies” and started improvising syllables

Armstrong’s diet regimes were perhaps unorthodox, but despite leading a dynamic life full of turbulence he managed to stay reasonably healthy until his death at the age of 69.