The Robbins grew up in a house with an ice cream-shaped pool. John had access to “too much ice cream” and was prepared to take on this extremely lucrative family business. John recalled: “Most people think that inventing ice cream flavors would be a dream for anyone, but the more I learned about the health effects of milk ice cream, the more I learned about how cows were treated, the less fun I got and the more I got it. worried. I felt at a crossroads. On the one hand, I wanted to please my father, and he certainly wanted me to follow in his footsteps and one day lead the company. It was an obvious and profitable path, but on the other hand, I felt that I had to contribute and be useful.”
Eventually Robbins packed up, met his wife, and together they built a cabin on a small island off the coast of Canada where they grew food and lived on $500 a year. During this time, they had a son, and they named him Ocean. “I remember saying to my father: “Listen, dad, we live in a different world than the one in which you grew up.” The environment is seriously degraded by human activities. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening. We live under the threat of catastrophe, and at any moment something unthinkable can happen.”
His father was excited. How could his only son just walk away? Robbins was ostracized by the family and his father ended up selling the company. But Robbins has no regrets. “My wife Dio and I have been married for 52 years and have been eating plant foods all that time. Those two decisions – marrying her and going on a vegan diet – are things I don’t regret for a second.”
After years of a meditation-centered vegan lifestyle, Robbins published his first bestseller Diet for a New America in 1987. This book describes the ethical, environmental and health implications of animal husbandry, and dairy ice cream is part of this global challenge. Despite the book’s direct criticism of the dairy industry—the same industry that supported his father’s business—it, ironically, saved him in the long run. According to Robbins, his father, being dying, read this book and immediately changed his diet. Robbins Sr. lived another 20 years.
When Baskin Robins decided to create vegan ice cream, Robbins said, “I can say that the company did it because they realized that plant-based food is the future. They did this because they want to keep doing business and make money, and they see sales of herbal products skyrocketing. Plant based nutrition has become an unstoppable force and everyone in the food world is taking notice. And that’s very, very good news for all life on this beautiful planet.”
Robbins currently runs the Food Revolution Network, an animal rights organization, with his son Ocean. The organization helps people adopt a plant-based lifestyle to restore health and improve the health of the planet.