A.J. Jacobs likes to take on difficult tasks. He's read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for his book The Know-It-All, he took the Bible literally for a whole year, inspiring A Year of Living Biblically, and now, in Drop Dead Healthy, we get to see what he does to become the healthiest person possible. A challenge for sure!
Everything from food and sleep patterns, to exercise and skin care regimens, and all sorts of stuff in-between is covered on Jacobs' journey to health. He consultants a huge panel of experts to help make the best decisions for his overall mental, physical, emotional, and sexual health. As all of his books are, this one is incredibly informative, while being laugh-out-loud funny. I read so many passages to my husband, he may as well have just read the whole book himself!
Over the course of this experiment, the author does become a much healthier than he was prior to beginning the structure of exercise/eating/etc. He loses weight, gains muscle, and learns other methods for total healthy living. Definitely a good thing. He is also able to learn that sometimes we're just bombarded with information regarding what is bad for us, what is great for us, and all that jazz. And then, just when you get used to something, it's flipped upside and all of a sudden the same things that were bad are now good. One of my favorite pages illustrates this well:
"Overall health: I'm finding the project exhausting--but oddly, mentally as much as physically. Dozens of times a day, I try to figure out what's the healthiest course of action. But often, I feel lost in the fog of conflicting advice.
Take the treadmill. After about three hours, my treadmill starts to stink like burned rubber. My son Jasper holds his nose when he's nearby. So are the positive benefits outweighed by these noxious fumes?
If I have an extra hour in my day, should I go to the gym or visit my family? All the health books emphasize the importance of family and friends.
Should I get a carpet because it blocks noise, or will that send allergens into the air?
When I have water at a restaurant, should I ask for a twist of lemon, because lemon juice lowers the glycemic index? Or demand that no lemon get within a yard of the glass, because microbe experts say restaurant lemon wedges teem with germs?
I bought a steamer, because you can't get much healthier than steamed vegetables. But my steamer is made of plastic. Am I making myself some hormone-disrupting broccoli?
I need to relax." (pg 138)
Therefore, the overall lesson is one that I am also living right now: everything in moderation and don't freak out.
If you've never read an A.J. Jacobs book before, I highly recommend all of them. Funny and educational! A great mix of wit and information, this one definitely taught me something, encouraged me on my own health journey and made me giggle. Loved it!
Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection
Simon and Schuster