Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs (Book Review)
The stack of books on my nightstand table are ridiculous. But the latest one that I read was absolutely hilarious and I can't believe it took me this long to get to it. I knew when I got the e-mail from the publisher that I was about to fall in love with this book:
DROP DEAD HEALTHY by A.J. Jacobs
A.J. Jacobs is Esquire magazine's editor-at-large and a bestselling author. When he was diagnosed with pneumonia his wife said to him, "I don't want to be a widow in my 40's... you have to shape up!" And from that day, Jacobs started to pursue a healthy lifestyle. He knew he had to be around for his young children and he wanted to feel good from head to toe. So, he looked at how to make everything in his body healthy. Jacobs' goes on a quest to have the perfect diet, get more balls, have more sex, hurt less, be smarter, lower his stress level, run right, and how to not get killed in an accident.
The problem with health these days is that people only look at the new health research oppose to reading about the 200 other studies that have been done in the past. As a society, we are too quick to embrace new theories. "Latest study syndrome" has led people to believe that the juice fast is a great way to get healthy. The fact is, there is very little evidence that the juice fast actually works.
Whereas "chewdaism" has proven that if you chew your food slowly, you will get more nutrients from your food and you will become thinner because it takes you longer to eat. Also, fidgeting is a good thing because you are burning more energy by every movement that you make. Which brings Jacob to his next quest: to get his blood pumping.
So, Jacobs hit the treadmill. Or, as a lot of people like to call it, "the dreadmill". At first, Jacobs loathed it but then by the time he got to his study on his butt (aka badonk-a-donk or junk in his trunk), he learnt that sitting at a desk all day is actually one of the worst things you can do. Sitting puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, colon and ovarian cancer. By this point, Jacobs was with Michelle Obama: chairs are our enemy.
Jacobs started writing this book while walking on his treadmill and managed to do over 1,100 miles. This has become the latest trend in offices but not all work places like to look at treadmills so I wouldn't expect it happening in very many. The good news is, even if you get up every hour and walk around, you are helping your health.
Getting a treadmill as a work station seems extreme and might make you look like a complete fitness psycho to the average person. But a real problem that health crazed people can encounter is "orthorexia." You are always worried about how healthy a superfood actually is for you and you won't go out for dinner with your friends because you won't eat anything on the menu. This is a serious condition that can make your stress level so high that it is actually bad for your health. The solution?
Seriously, meditating about eating a blueberry and taking five hours to eat one does not sound fun or satisfying to me. People actually do this-- it's all in chapter two.
The reality is, people can get deadly illnesses even though they have the healthiest lifestyle. You can't control everything in life. We can control 50% of health by making good choices and eating healthy but the other 50% that we can't control is genetics and getting into accidents.
Look at Jim Fixx, he was an avid runner who was out on his routine 10 miler run and suffered a fatal heart attack and died at the age of 52. There are some things you just can't control.
Jacobs is all about balance in this book. He tests out the extremes because the benefits of having a healthily lifestyle can increase the longevity of your life, raise your IQ level, give you more energy throughout the day, and most importantly, you must live for now.
While living for now, Jacobs conquered a tri-freakin'-athlon:
Now that this experiment is over, Jacobs continues to live a healthy lifestyle. Although, his kids think that his next book should be about eating nothing but junk food which would be amazing. Until the sugar coma kicked in.
Drop Dead Healthy
was an amazing read and I would highly recommend it to all my health and non-health addict friends.
Have you ever tried an extreme health kick?
Do you only read new health research or do you look back at old studies?
Disclaimer: I was provided with this product from Simon & Schuster at no cost to me and they were not guaranteed a positive review. All opinions are my own.