Sunday, July 1, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy

Happy Sunday, and Happy July! It's a gorgeous day in LA, and while I miss waking up to the sound of waves in Cabo, I'm not complaining. We woke up this morning with a three-mile run in our neighborhood, which was extremely difficult for me. We took it easy in Cabo, so perhaps I just need to get back into a routine again. Struggling through three miles wasn't easy, but it was a good start to that routine.

Luckily, we came back to one of the most delicious batches of overnight oats I've ever made. 

The secret ingredient? Mexican Vanilla! I had heard about it from Courtney, so I made sure to pick up a small bottle at the airport before we left Cabo yesterday. 

Now on to the book review! The most recent Peanut Butter Fingers book club selection is Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. This book follows the author on his two-year journey to become the healthiest human possible, whatever the cost. 

5 Reasons You Should Read Drop Dead Healthy
  1. It’s funny. Actually, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, as demonstrated by my three separate outbursts on my plane to Denver. Jacobs makes the business of learning about health hilarious. Of course, he goes to more extremes in two years than most of us ever will, such as going two weeks on raw food, installing a treadmill desk in his home office, and joining a barefoot running group. But ultimately, Jacobs made me laugh through his observations, honest opinions, and interactions with others.
  2. We can all relate. Jacobs is an average dad, living in New York, who wants to be healthier. I think we can all relate to such a down-to-earth guy. Sure, he’s a little nutty and more willing to venture out of his comfort zone than I am (he wears noise-canceling headphones everywhere to protect his ears), but he’s normal. He acknowledges that there are some things he learned that seem valid but impractical, but he also incorporates new foods, techniques, and routines into his daily life that we could all certainly try.
  3. It’s informative. I feel that I have learned a lot about health this past year, and I had a decent base of knowledge before that, but I still learned tons while reading Drop Dead Healthy. Jacobs doesn’t just read about health; he makes appointments with world-renowned leaders in various fields. From psychologists to urologists, Jacobs receives expert advice about his entire body for all of us to become more knowledgeable.
  4. It’s motivational. Jacobs tracks his progress, providing various updates about his health, including:

    “Trips to Whole Foods this month: 8” (163)
    “New vocabulary words learned to keep brain in shape: 301” (210)
    “Times unsuccessfully attempted to switch to green tea: 7” (277)
    He shares his struggles (snacking) and his triumphs (I really want a walking treadmill), and he shows that we can’t do it all (who has time for hand workouts?), but that we can certainly do a lot to improve our health. He even includes a few lists in the back of the book that I would call his conclusions, including “Five Toxins I Now Avoid” and “The Ten Best Pieces of Food Advice I’ve Gotten All Year” (ßMichael Pollan is mentioned…)
  5. It’s thought-provoking. Between reading this book and others and attending the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference last week, my mind is muddled with what to think about diet, fitness, and health. It’s baffling how many different opinions are out there and how two experts can recommend the exact opposite of each other. But I believe that reading about health and learning what we can makes us healthier in general, no matter how confusing. And Jacobs makes an overwhelming subject quite fun to read.
I absolutely recommend Drop Dead Healthy for a light, fun read that teaches you more than you expect without making you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. He doesn’t just explore diet and exercise; he looks at stress, hearing, breathing, the brain, and more. Enjoy!

Questions for Drop Dead Healthy for those who read it:

What did you think of Jacobs’s approach to holistic health?
I thought he attacked too much, even over two years. The safety expert, for example, seemed a bit excessive and didn’t really fit in with the rest of his goals. But I liked that he thought outside of the box and didn’t just limit himself to diet and exercise. His goal wasn’t to lose weight, after all, it was to become the healthiest he could. I thought the laughter club and focus on eliminating stress were both fun and great reminders.

How did you feel about the inclusion of tales of his grandfather and aunt?
The visits to his grandfather and stories about his “eccentric” aunt made me like Jacobs even more, as did reading about his relationships with his sons and wife. He made himself extremely relatable and showed that family came first. I thought it was touching to see his respect for them and his openness to Marti’s beliefs.

What one “quirky” thing would you want to incorporate into your life, or at least try for a while: the walking treadmill, noise-canceling headphones, laughter clubs, or barefoot running?
Walking treadmill for me. Hands down. I would only use it at home, though, because teaching is a stand-all-day-don't-sit-down-even-for-lunch kind of job.

As always, consider joining the next book club selection fun. Keep up to date with Julie's blog so you can vote on the next book!



    1. Oooh, interesting idea! I've never tried it, but I've heard of people who use oatmeal in salmon recipes. Do you have a recipe link I can check out?

  2. I liked his approach - though going into the book I thought it would be more focused on diet and fitness and didn't realize he was including everything that he did. I liked his inclusion of his wife in the book the best - it really added more humor to the book and made it relatable. I'd really like to try the desk treadmill - I would have to buy my own treadmill first though!

    1. I loved his wife, too! It was so funny how she rolled her eyes at everything he tried. I can see myself doing that with my husband--and vice versa!

  3. I would definitely use the walking treadmill as well. I have minimalist shoes so that's enough for me.

  4. What a great review. I've been wanting to read this.