So if you are in your 40s and starting to get a bit chubby – or at least your wife starts making comments about your tummy – what do you do? Well, if you are A.J. Jacobs, you of course see it as a chance to take on a new project. A.J. has previously spent time living biblically as well as reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. So of course, after taking care of his mind and spirit, he now focuses on the body and he decides to become the healthiest person alive. To be as healthy as humanely possible – or even more than that – from head to toe.
To do so, he puts together a 53 pages long list of things to improve, things to try out and daily tasks to perform. He embarks on a series of diets, exercise programs and health appointments. He dedicates weeks and months to various parts of the body. He is tested and prodded and probed. He tries to live as a raw food vegan, eating a paleo diet and more. He buys gadgets and head phones and generally annoys his surroundings with his behavior. He tries to eat as many super foods in one meal as possible – while also discussing if such thing as a super food even exists. He learns about hygiene, the best way of chewing, finger fitness and so much more.
The book was a funny journey through the health industry’s many twists and turns and what it reveals more than anything is that although we know a lot about health, there’s also a lot we don’t know. And what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for another. He does try to show both sides of things – raw food vegan diet v. the paleo diet or bacteria phobia v. the ideas that we are quite capable of dealing with the bacteria in our surroundings.
There are a few things you can take with you from this book. It is important to be mindful when you eat. Maybe not so mindful that you visualize eating a blueberry for 10 minutes before actually eating it, but pay attention to what you put in your mouth. Also move more. It’s undeniably healthy to move and even though one doesn’t have to do it the A.J. way where you run errands or write while walking on a tread mill (although it does seem proven that sitting is just about the worst thing we can do), we just need to move, move, move. And then also remember to take care of ourselves by paying attention to our sleep, notice our surroundings and how noisy they are and spending time with our loved ones.
It’s a very personal journey A.J. takes. It’s not a book to read if you want clear cut advice about what to eat if you want to be healthy but as a funny backdrop to listen to while walking the dog or doing the dishes, it’s excellent. I didn’t learn much new information but even though it was a bit of old news, the presentation of them is so full of humor that it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it before. A.J. himself narrates the audio version of this book and it makes it even more personal to listen to his various successes and failures, his relationships with his wife, sons, parents, grandfather and aunt. He brings even more life and humor to the text and he did inspire me to take some really long walks with my dog to keep on listening.
- Title: Drop Dead Healthy
- Author: A.J. Jacobs
- Publisher: Simon & Shuster
- Year: 2012
- Pages: 402 pages
- Length: 10 hrs 10 mins
- Narrated by: A.J. Jacobs
- Source: Own Collection (Audible)
- Stars: 4 stars out of 5