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.


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?


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


photo source: abdulla falz: Karate Kid

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  • Steven

    HAHAHAHAHA… this was an epic read. I don’t read these often but this one was worth it.

    Craziest thing I’ve been told that is healthy. The whole coffee enema thing is pretty far up there. Oh and Botox, I’m not sure if you would consider that a diet thing, but the idea of injecting a known toxin that can kill, is just idiotic…


  • Sercee

    Lol Awesome. I think we’ve all rolled our eyes at the countless claims and fear mongering in the fit-industry. The two that drive me up the wall are that you need supplements (and they’ll cure your cellulite, we promise! Just touch your nose, spin three times, and wink! Like magic!) and that eggs will kill you.

  • Craig Hodson

    I love reading posts like this while thinking of all the people that I know that it applies to. So many drones happy jumping from craze to craze. It feels great being on the side of sense and AWSESOME.
    I think the absolute worst things are the “new” exercise crazes that come out every other month, and of course the pills that are guaranteed to make you lose weight. “Warning pills may not cause weight loss and are guaranteed to sell anyway”.
    Everything is AWESOME

  • Steven

    I always love the small print at the bottom of those commercials. “Customers also exercised and ate right” or something similar….


  • Kelly

    I got full-blown, crazy-obsessive orthorexia. It was a scary place to be. And luckily, my mom is a good enough mom to tell me I was being crazy. At the time I thought she was just a hater. But after saying it a few different times and ways and pointing out I wasn’t any healthier (or thinner – health actually WAS my goal, believe it or not), a light bulb turned on. I only ate organic/non-gluten/nightshade-free/dairy-free “real” food. Good wasn’t good enough. And everything I saw, even home cooked foods, was filled with “toxins.” I didn’t lose a single pound. In fact, I gained weight. I spent hours and hours every week researching food, making food, finding alternates or “safe” foods. There was no perfect enough. And I wasn’t meeting my goals because I wasn’t complying well enough. It was hell. I don’t miss it. And it is easy to jump back into the cycle despite no health, weight, or mental results. It really can become disordered. And the things you’re trying to “heal” are the very things hat feed he cycle.


  • Steven

    OMG… how could I forget, the new “Stop sweating forever” thing that’s starting up. Apparently it uses microwaves to fry your sweat glands and basically kill em.


  • catherine marshall

    My friend was told to have more greens, especially spinach because she’s anemic, so she was making green smoothies every day for breakfast and wasn’t feeling any better. Turns out cold things are not as easily digestible and she’s also not supposed to have too many raw things, which are also not as easily digestible. She’s done with smoothies now.

  • Sita Thomas

    I came to this exact realization when I read something like “KALE WILL KILL YOU” because it has some weird who-gives-a-crap. Everyone is different so everything each person should do is a little bit different, and we’re nerds, so we rock at being different.

  • Stephanie

    “Everything in moderation, even moderation itself.” <—THIS!!

  • Dan LeClair

    I seriously cannot stop laughing at this. The inner Ma$$hole in you is strong my friend!

  • Sarah

    bwahahahaha “the inner Ma$$hole”

  • Mariah

    This is why I love Nerd Fitness. It’s about a balanced and sustainable lifestyle. I went through this ‘everything will kill me’ phase about a month ago and I really appreciate this recall to common sense.

  • Mami Tomoe

    This. This is the thing. Everyone should read this and then ignore all other diet advice forever (barring, I suppose, specific medically necessary diet advice). I feel like a lot of this diet advice that goes around is just people wishing they could find The One Size Fits All Secret to Being Perfectly Healthy and Fit Forever, which no one will ever find.

  • Mariah

    This was pretty crazy–on the bag of sugar I bought the other day it said ‘Naturally Fat Free!’ It made me want to punch something.

  • Audra Lee Kelley

    This was the best read EVAR!!!

    I had a hard time finishing it I was laughing so hard by the end. Mostly because I know at least 6 of “these” people… LOL

  • Valerie G.

    Steve, you rock, my friend! I love reading your emails, even if I’m not always “on the ball” with what I should be doing. This was truly hilarious and so true! As my teenage son says, “the number one cause of death is life”. No one gets out of this life alive, so let’s live and enjoy and do the best we can at being healthy and active. Educate yourself, take everything with a grain of salt, try different things and see what works best for you.

  • Daniel Gould

    And people are surprised they’re not getting results. I think this describes almost everybody’s journey until they find this site, it certainly sounds a lot like mine.

  • I just ate about 4 grams of marijuana in 24 hours over Saturday and Sunday because it was just made legal in Oregon. I went to an extreme and noticing how I tend to go all or nothing – especially when it comes to sweets, caffeine, marijuana.

    I also know I tend to do better eating keto (low-carb) with little to no fruits, keeping my caffeine intake low, and not having marijuana at all since I did so much when I was a teenager. Now it seems like extremes whack out my mood and make me less dialed into staying connected with myself and others.

  • JennyLifts

    Dear Steve, I love you for posting this article. Seriously, this was the conversation my brain was having with me for the past year. I’m a long time Academy member, but still fell prey to the “way of eating” mentality that permeates society. I feel like diets have become the new religion or political party. I read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan; something clicked and I was able to take a step back from all the crazy and just decided to stop obsessing and do the best I could with whatever choices I have.
    Because guess what- chronic stress from worrying about food all the time wasn’t adding years to my life either!

  • Love this and especially how you said “we’re nerds so we ROCK at being different”!

  • JennyLifts

    Yep Kelly- me too- I first was a pretty healthy omnivore but ate “too many carbs.” That turned into low carb. Then I read about how bad meat was, so I became vegetarian. Except cooking foods kills nutrients, so then raw…. you get the picture. I wasted so many months making freaking smoothies and obsessing and lost about 3 lbs but made myself into an anxiety-ridden mess by the end of it. I had to delete my IG account and unsubscribe to lots of blogs so I didn’t get sucked back in that world.

  • Donna N

    This is one of my favorite blogs of all time. Yes. Yes to all of THIS.

    After spending years upon years of losing and gaining the same weight, I pushed the nonsense aside last fall and got healthier. In the process, I lost the 40ish lbs I wanted to lose. I’ve maintained for months now and I’m so much happier. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy, nothing that isn’t maintainable for the rest of my life.

  • AW

    Thank you for sharing this; it’s really hard to talk about these sorts of things & doing it took guts.

    I hope that you’re doing better now & healing a lil more every day. It’s a tough road, but it is possible. & it sounds like you have a wonderful Mom & kicka** support system in her.

    Best of luck!

  • whollyfool

    You write fantastic ironic posts. 😀

    I like to read fantastic ironic posts.

  • Becky Jahn

    I loved your scenario! Being 66, I’m guessing my “Oh-my-God-is-there-anything-I-can eat-or-do” story is twice as long as yours, but we’ve ended up in the same place! Amazing! MODERATION! And I think the craziest thing I ever heard is all about those cleanses! What kind of diet is puking and pooping?! Seriously!

  • Cornelia Schmidt

    Excellently written, as I was reading the fat girl in me went “told you this Paleo thing was another bs thing – youve been collecting underpants again” skinny went SHUT UP its working !!! I wish you would write more I love reading your common sense! Can never wait for the weekly The academy has inspired me! Can’t wait to be a success story, for now it’s one level at a time 🙂

  • Nol

    Oh, thank you so much for this article!!! So good to release the pressure and remember that in the end it’s all about being happy and well 😀 I went through a phase of complete obsession over pesticides. It’s not crazy, but as a student I couldn’t afford to eat all organic, and I became paranoid of how labeling is done, etc. That was not a happy time!

  • Jarrod CL

    I think I read the same thing. Some leafy greens are good at sucking up metals and they did a urine analysis on people and found thallium and cesium showing up in high numbers. *shrugs* I suspect you’d need to eat a LOT of kale to have an issue, which is only a problem if you don’t go with the first point on Option B 🙂

  • Rachel

    That was hilarious and sadly too true! I am a recent rebel convert- you guys are the best. Rachel

  • midgetphoenix

    I can’t express in words how much I love this.

  • cebinc2004 .

    LMAO, well said!!

  • Ann Plicque

    Crossfit and Bootcamp classes are the worst crazes. I stopped running when I was 34 after 11 years. I had nagging shin splints and knee pain no matter how long or thoroughly I warmed up and cooled down. I Ioved running. My body did not. So if a new exercise involves knee pounding, running, or hopping up and down on an exercise step, I stoll away. Swimming, Body Pump, biking and walking are intense enough, keep you fit and naturally toned. I read many years ago that it took an intake the level of the body weight of a chimp using artificial sweeteners to develop cancer. I also read that body weight levels of water, dilute electrolytes, etc., so far as to kill a person. As that old Roman said, moderation in all things. Three cracklings aren’t bad. A tad useless, salty and fatty. But a bag a day is. If you aren’t allergic to glutens, why worry? Listen and watch your body and find its balance.

  • Sondra

    I was just thinking, “where can i get Viking water?” But really. I’m sure it’ll give you a wicked hangover.

  • Cuitlahuac Rosales

    Haha! Oh my! I couldn’t stop laughing… All these reminded me myself! This is the story of my nutrition/ exercise research. Loved your article Rebel1!!!!

  • Gene

    Meaning… keep things moderately. Too much thinking will turn you to a legendary paranoid. Awesome article.

  • Tarek

    Amazing article… Sums up how I feel with all these fads that keep popping up!!!

  • Terrappyn

    Best thing I’ve read yet!

  • Justin Chaloupka

    The book “Drop Dead Healthy” by A. J. Jacobs is a fantastic parallel to this article. I highly recommend it. For those that don’t know, he is the same author that wrote “Living Biblically” and “The Know-It-All”.

  • Tiffany Nunez

    BWAHAHAHA!!!! this is the greatest thing i’ve ever read (which says a lot about how much i read) lol!!! hilarious stuff!! thank you Steve! can’t believe i’ve never been on this site before! you make fitness fun and funny! lol

  • wonderingpiper

    Several years ago I read an article in the newspaper about how too much sun exposure was bad for your health (cancer) … Then on the SAME PAGE of the newspaper was an article about how wearing sunscreen too often was bad for your health (vitamin D deficiency). That was the moment I threw up my hands and became highly skeptical of all those sorts of “health scare” write-ups.

  • pineconejoy

    Love the read. I think it hits exactly how we all feel. Still laughing!

    The craziest thing a friend told me a couple decades ago that was healthy and got me to eat was based on what a volleyball coach told her girls should eat to get strong…

    peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread It was considered healthy and the coach made the girls eat it each practice.

    Oh and that hula chair thing was supposed to help with exercise. Oh my…just oh my.

  • pineconejoy

    Love it love it love it! I can not wait to read your sucess story eventually and for the record I am shooting to be one too. Love NFA, love the articles, love the folks in the community forums.

  • Silverwolf

    Soooo wish I could print this and tape it on the wall of the organic health food store where I work!!!

  • Sue2

    This is the diary of my life for the past 30 years… It’s been exhausting!
    Well done ?

  • Danny Roth

    This is probably my favourite article in a while. Too bad reading this blog causes me to sit, and in turn is killing me.

  • Haha! Every time you mentioned a new diet or craze, someone new popped into my head. We all know someone who prescribes to this kind of radical thinking, I sure am guilty of it (was, kinda, whatever, I try not to be). Fish oil was my personal weapon of choice. Oh, DHEA? Let’s have 20 of those

  • Ahladita ActiveLife

    Love this post. Life is too short, don’t waste it, enjoy!

    Balance is everything. Nothing but healthy life style

  • Michael Leonard

    I remember one time seeing on the news that there was a study showing that tomatoes cause cancer, then a week later I saw another study that showed tomatoes prevent cancer.

  • Robert McManus

    Old enough to be aware of all those fads and conflicting expert opinion. Thanks for the concise summary , and go with your gut.

  • Heather Shelby

    Totally needed to read this today! In my head I am obsessing on how to do this or do that, how to plan it all out… and then nothing.. nadda.. I think my brain goes into overload and just shuts down and I am like ‘well.. doing this ONE thing wont help – so why do it.” Self sabotage at its best!