After reading a large amount of reviews on the book Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs, I knew I had to check it out for myself.
Even though I love to read, I rarely ever do. Most of my reading ends up being devoted to magazines and other blogs.
It definitely takes a lot for me to really become interested in a book, so the fact that I was actually able to finish this book says a lot.
Whenever someone asked me what this book was about, I always responded in the same way. “It’s an author doing exactly what I am doing with my blog… he’s trying to find out what IS the healthiest life.” Granted, he did this in a much more extreme way, but the same premise is there.
In each chapter, he explores a different body part. Whether that be the abdomen or the skin, he covers it all. Or at least the basics, he admits at the end he missed some parts such as the spleen and the liver. Which is completely justifiable considering he devoted a whole month to each part. If he went through them all or completed his full list, I don’t think he would ever finish his experiment.
Now, let me stop for a second and describe this “list” to you. This was probably one of my favorite things that I might start doing here on my blog in a separate section. He wrote down each health claim or “healthy” claim that he read or heard about with plans to test whether or not they work. All the way from wearing soundproof headphones almost all day to walking like a monkey because apparently that’s the healthiest way to walk. It also included studies that quite often were contradicted by other studies. I’m assuming most of you are healthy-blog lovers as much as I am. If you are, you probably have stumbled upon many different health articles, quite often against your own will. I wish I could ask for a show of hands on this one, but how many of you have ever read that soy milk is horrible for you?… and how many have heard that it’s the worst possible thing? What about meat? How many of you have heard eating meat will kill you?… and what about help you become super fit?
I feel that there are only two real ways to combat questions or skepticisms that come from these articles.
1. Find a common agreement between the two
2. Check to see how credible the studies are
Okay let’s focus on each one of these in more detail.
For the first one, think about it. We’ve been told the same thing since we were kids: Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Everything in moderation (I’ll touch on this at the end of the article). Let’s look at the meat claim for example. Having only meat is going to void you of other nutrients. It is also an excellent source of protein along with being filling. Yes, you could live without having meat, but it’s not going to kill you… unless prepared improperly, but that’s beside the point :). The same can be said about soy. You’ll have really bad effects from it if you have a TON of soy… and I really mean that. You’d have bad effects from having a ton of broccoli too, so again… it’s all moderation.
Speaking of moderation, A.J. Jacobs quoted one statement that I thought was one of the most well said statements I have ever read. “Everything in moderation- including moderation.” It’s okay if you indulge with your family or have that extra piece of cake. That’s life, and in the long run, the happier you are, the more likely you’ll live longer. That’s just a claim though, happiness won’t help you if you get hit by a truck. Scary but true! 😀
Finally, I’m going to address my second point. You need to check how credible studies are. You can pretty much find a study that anything causes cancer. We can only avoid so much in everyday life, so rather than become paranoid about every claim, we should choose our battles. Like wash your vegetables and buy organic on imported produce.
No one can tell us what our own healthy life is. Our genetics are the way they are, and unfortunately, there are just some things we can’t control. Be conscious of what’s good for you and works for you, and don’t force yourself to do things just because that’s what your favorite magazine told you to do.
Your happiest life IS your healthiest life :).