Apparently Everything Will Kill You. Yes, Even That.

Life was so much simpler when I didn’t know anything.

Happily eating fast food, occasionally exercising but not really. Going to work and living in an “ignorance is bliss” existence.

Then I learned all about how fat and cholesterol are bad for us. So I stopped eating eggs, cut back on meat, switched to low-fat cookies, fat-free muffins, margarine (boo butter!), and skim milk.

I soon read some research that gluten is bad for me. I think I have a gluten intolerance? My neighbor did, so I bet I do too. So I switched over to gluten-free pizza, gluten-free pasta, and gluten-free gluten. I still feel like garbage and everything I eat tastes like cardboard, but I’m healthier so that’s good.

But then I stumbled across this idea of eating like a caveman. Maybe that will solve my problems. And eggs are good again? And so is bacon? Great, those are two of my favorite things. Time to pig out (ha! get it?). Let’s load up on steak, chicken, bacon, bacon-wrapped steak, and vegetables that are also wrapped in bacon.

Because, bacon.

cook bacon

But then I read this article that said meat will kill you. And there was this one group of people in China who didn’t eat meat and they have less risk of heart disease than we do. I’m not Chinese, but I like the idea of living longer.

Okay, maybe going all-in on only meat was a bad idea. What about the people of Okinawa? They have the longest life expectancy apparently. And Mr. Miyagi was from Okinawa, and he was good at karate. Maybe if I eat like they do, I’ll live a long, karate-filled life.

karate

Shit, wait. Fish has mercury in it. And mercury kills people. Plus it was used by Tommy Lee Jones to make a bomb in Blown Away.

Okay, fine, it’s back to only fruit and vegetables. Blend that shit up! And now I’m a vegetarian. And guess what… donuts are vegetarian right?! So, donuts are okay. And so is fruit. Fruit comes from the ground, and the ground is nature, therefore I’m going to eat all the fruit.

Why did I get bigger? I thought fruit was good for me. Okay, 600 grams of sugar a day through fruit might have been a bit much. In fact, I just read that sugar helps cancer cells grow. Steve Jobs was a fruititarian, and he died of cancer. Ipso facto: fruit is the devil.

Got it. No fruit. Meat is bad. Fish has mercury. Thankfully we still have vegetables. Except that they’re genetically modified. Robo-vegetables! How long before they take over the planet? 

Okay, so let’s eliminate all of the vegetables that are GMO. Probably go ahead and get rid of any clothing that was made using GMO cotton or synthetic materials too.

Whew – this healthy eating this is exhausting. I need a drink!

What’s that you say? Wine has antioxidants AND resveratrol in it? WTF is resveratrol? Just kidding, I don’t care. I just wanted to an excuse to tell people wine is healthy. Another bottle please! I’m doing this for my body.

Damn you wine. This is the worst hangover ever. That’s the price of being healthy, right?!

Finally, I think I’m healthy. I found a place that stocks heirloom tomatoes, non-GMO asparagus, and water sourced from Norwegian glaciers, which is truly the only pure form of water out there.

Adventuring in the Valley (and a new NBC TV Interview)

Nothing beats a good book, a comfy chair, and a tall glass of viking water. Wait, what!? Sitting will kill me, now too?

I’ve been reading this article for five minutes, which means that took…approximately 30 years off my life? Eh, I was never good at math. Got it, I should be standing. Time to go buy a standing desk, and probably one of those treadmill things. Can one really put a price on your health? Well, it’s apparently $1,740 for a standing treadmill desk.

Oh boy, even the shoes I wear are killing me apparently. They constrict my toes’ freedom to move. Stupid shoes.

Perfect. I’m down to wearing a loincloth, made from an naturally raised cheetah named Chester (get it!), and only walking barefoot on my treadmill desk and working at my computer. I should probably start running, because I know fit people run. And so do cheetahs. And they’re fast.

Crap, shin splints. Maybe running 50 miles a week after years of doing nothing was too much. What about Crossfit? I saw them on ESPN and those dudes are ripped. Off to my local box to complete my WOD! Look at me, speaking the lingo. I even bought my Reebok Crossfit approved shoes, shorts, and shirt. I assume this will shave at least 10 seconds off my Fran time!

Crap, blown achilles. Maybe doing 100 reps of olympic lifts after jumping up and down on a box for 5 minutes and running half a mile wasn’t too smart.

Boy, this getting fit thing is tough. And painful. Literally anything and everything I eat can kill me. Any place I visit will kill me. Anything I do will kill me. I guess I have two choices:

  • Live life like the Bubble Boy in Seinfeld.
  • Use common sense. Do the best I can with what I have. And don’t take anything to the extreme.

I’m gonna go with option B:

  • Enjoy everything in moderation, even moderation itself.
  • Eat more to gain weight. Less to lose weight.
  • Drink mostly water. Occasionally drink other things. Even alcohol.
  • Pick up heavy things from time to time. Make running fun. Walk as often as you can.
  • Don’t eat only one type or category of food. Lots of veggies, some meat, fruit and nuts.
  • Focus on big wins, and stop stressing over the minutia.

And play some video games. Just kidding, those will rot your brain. My mom told me.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve been told or believed when it came to getting healthy, and how did you take it to the extreme?

-Steve

P.S. This post was inspired by The Tragedy of the Healthy Eater!

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photo source: abdulla falz: Karate Kid

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  • Alisha Kinney

    I bet if you look hard enough, someone out there will tell you water is the enemy. My theory is everything is deadly so you might as well eat and drink what you please!

  • Guillaume Cabrit

    “Salmon is bad because it has to many calories” … “But … but … 180 kcal/100g isn’t that much and it has plenty of good fat” “FAT ARE BAD OMG !!!”

  • Doug

    Anything with the word “detox” usually throws up the fad warning signs.

  • Martin Riedlberger

    For me it’s more important how the food effects the evironment and the people involved in the produkction than how healthy it is for me. Of course, this is a controversal and unclear topic either. But in general I have no doubt that according to this, organic, fair trade and animal free products are much better. And in the end, they probably are more healthy, too

  • selling_air

    I’m not afraid of dying, cuz we’re all gonna do it, sooner or later. I’m more worried about being a vegetable, or a fat blob and somebody(i.e. my wife / family) having to take care of me for 10 years before I kick the bucket. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  • Kristina Wright

    Well, the tapeworm diet was a real thing. That’s pretty crazy. In day-to-day life I’m still stunned that people believe that butter is lethal and margarine is healthy, or that it’s 1,000% healthier to eat artificial foods than to eat real food. How about, instead of eating artificially sweetened cheesecake, you eat more salad, and SMALLER AMOUNTS of REAL cheesecake LESS OFTEN? Maybe? No? Okay, fine… enjoy your inflammatory response. I admit, I get a little judge-y when it comes to not-food. I try to employ the poker face as long as I can.

  • Kristina Wright

    Did you punch the sugar? I would have punched the sugar.

  • Kristina Wright

    The other mad thing I encountered when trying to start running again. Paralysis by analysis. I have shin splints, so I read and read and read about running and how to run right. Heel strike. Never heel-strike! Run on your toes. Land on your mid foot. Chi running. POSE running. Barefoot! Minimalist shoes! Stability shoes! Run turned out. Run turned in. Don’t run, ever! Sprint! Don’t sprint! Use this plan! No, use this one. How about this one? Eat this! Don’t eat this! Do these stretches before. Do these exercises after. No, switch that. Why aren’t you running yet? Running is easy! Gaaah! I finally got gait analysis and learned that years of ballet made my calves WAY stronger than my anterior shin muscles and that’s why I run on my toes and stress the shins, so I got shoes to support the goal of heel/midfoot striking and off I went. Going to run in them for the first time today and make myself deaf to the insanity.

  • Kristina Wright

    OMG, I’m sitting, too! Crap!

  • Mariah

    I really should have.

  • 24601

    Love it! Well done!

    Part 2: Cleanses (AAAAAAAHHHHH!)

  • http://www.goliftlife.com Steve Clarke

    Without a doubt probably the most horrific advice I was every give was:

    Fat makes you fat
    Carbs are bad for you

    When I was younger and uneducated in nutrition what people said had a huge influence on my diet. What I didn’t realise is most of these people didn’t know what they were actually talking about!

  • Mari Lu

    Grains are not only about gluten, they’re also about phytates and lectins too – not good for you even if you are not gluten sensitive. Crossfit is crazy? If you do it the right way, you can heal your body with it. Obviously you have not much knowledge about it. Your sports routine seems rather intense to me, too. Are you not afraid that it is burning you out? Is sugar good for you, if you eat it in moderation? No, definitely not. Your body might be able to deal with it, but you would be better of if you didn’t eat it at all. Of course you will not find out about it, because you do everything in moderation. At least moderate health is better than no health at all.

  • Ann Plicque

    Mari there is no way crossfit will work for someone with knee and shin splint problems. It has nothing to do with intensity, but what fits MY body. Maybe crossfit works for you, but running on hard surfaces, such as concrete, is a least-best choice. If an exercise I’m doing causes me PAIN, it is NOT healing me. I walk, bike, lift weights and swim. I lift two-three days a week, bike once or twice a week, garden, walk some every day. I incorporate fitness in my living routine. Walk to and from store, carry my two bags of groceries, clean out my gutters, paint my house, mop the floors, sweep the porch. I swim once a week at most. This keeps me fit and I’m always active. Phytates and lectins occur in certain vegetables and soy and some can be dissipated, as in legumes, by soaking before cooking. The commonsense route is to eat less and the fact is the body naturally clears itself of them in occasional amounts. No food is completely bad unless it’s poison or builds toxicity. There are issues with some foods. Taking supplements helps. Don’t insult me by saying I don’t know something or I won’t find out. There are no BAD foods. People eat foods to excess and run into toxicity, weight gain, phytates, lectins, gluten, sugar issues. If allergic, stop or lessen exposure to known toxicities. Crossfit works for you, not for me. I believe exercises that impact your knees aren’t good in the long haul, which is why I don’t run. I know runners with laundry lists of injuries after 20-30 years of running. Not worth it. But a delicious cookie? I can brush and floss my teeth and work it off. It’s not a couple of cookies, or two glasses of wine that mess you up or a serving of “bad” kale. And don’t think you know the state of my health. You don’t. But if what you’re doing works for you and you’re happy, do it. Can’t argue with what works for YOUR body. I do what works for mine, am happy and evaluate knowledge updates. It’s why I’m part of Nerd Fitness.

  • Cristina Rose

    Oh, I love this. “Gluten free!” on something that doesn’t naturally contain gluten, proving that probably 80% of the people who follow that craze a) don’t need to sustain a gluten-free diet and b) don’t actually understand what gluten even is. Or “fat free!” on something like jam, which is all sugar to begin with.

    It’s sad how companies can do stuff like this because what they’re saying is technically correct, but they’re effectively tricking people with little to no knowledge of nutrition into thinking their products are “healthy.”

  • Mariah

    Totally agree. It’s unethical and slimy. And it’s insulting to the intelligence of consumers who do know something about nutrition.

  • SirHammerlock

    When I tried to loose weight seriously for the first time, I thought I’d just need to count calories, so I restricted myself to 1500 cals per day and because I just love(d) greek feta cheese, I ate 250 grams and almost had half my calories ;). Ohhhh, the horror…. (hunger horror of course)

  • SirHammerlock

    And of course, I considered this “healthy eating”… Regarding the article, I just couldn’t help to remember the phrase of one nutritionist (dunno what his name was), that “50% of what we know about nutrition is wrong, but the question remains, what 50% it is”.

  • adrenaline_jen

    Wow! That was like the Cliff Notes version of Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs, but still very funny! Thanks Steve for the reminder to not let the wacky health trend of the moment become the focus rather than living a life you can enjoy. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

  • Maria

    Hey guys, I just wanna ask… what does moderating the use of carcinogens mean? What does moderation mean anyway? Would you smoke on moderation? You wouldn’t smoke at all. Would you eat moderate amounts of lettuce? You would eat as much as you want. The use of the word moderation is more like a marketing scam than a word with substance. If something is bad for you, you take it out of your life and if it’s good you keep it. Moderation is used here to caress people’s ears and to encourage them into bad habits. You just can’t compare carcinogenic substances to gluten or even gmos. Whatever can cause cancer should be banned, that’s the healthy and responsible choice.

  • ally7288

    This was a very good post. And isn’t it the truth in the world today? One minute, they say that butter is good for you but then the next minute, margarine is what you should eat instead. This goes back and forth with almost everything. And wasn’t it the best when we could just go to Burger King and order a Whopper and not care a bit about what was going on in our bodies. I am similar to you in the fact that I now know what this food really does to us. I am on a low cholesterol diet due to my sweet tooth and occasional order of curly fries. And like you said…now all meat is bad for you. If it’s not one thing, its another….and what a job it is to stay ahead of the game!