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Anthony Bourdain vs. the Tyranny of Wellness

In Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain wrote: “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” Bourdain encouraged us to travel to far-flung regions to experience other cultures through the communal act of eating. In Bourdain’s philosophy, food brings strangers together, so eating unfamiliar foods is a way to embrace other peoples and cultures and to welcome the unknown. Food—like life—is adventure and risk. Eating with others is choosing to live while we can.

Bourdain was at the height of popularity in an age defined by the sometimes perverse pursuit of health and longevity. Modern diet and health culture has become exactly what Roland Barthes predicted in a 1980 Playboy piece: its own religion and mythology. For perhaps the first time in history, fasting is more readily associated with the concept of “intermittent fasting” (which promotes autophagy, or cellular cleansing to increase lifespan) than with the idea of prayer. Put another way: we fast to cleanse our cells, not our souls. 

Bourdain, on the other hand, represented a refreshing escape from the religiosity of the wellness movement, and from the burdensome responsibility it imposes. As Michelle Allison argued in her Atlantic essay “Eating Toward Immortality” last year, “If you are free to choose, you can be blamed for anything that happens to you: weight gain, illness, aging—in short, your share in the human condition.” With regard to diet culture, we are, as Sartre would say, “condemned to be free” to choose every morsel that passes our lips, and thus responsible for any disease or ill mood that befalls us.

The cult of wellness commands: Thou shalt not contaminate the sacred body. We are told to avoid what is ‘toxic’ and ingest only what is ‘clean,’ even as definitions of ‘clean’ continue to shift and vary. To stave off disease and aging, we must learn not only what to eat, but also how and when. We must eat at appropriate times of day, and in the right combinations and ratios, to ensure optimal circadian rhythms and the proper balance of gut bacteria, among other things. To regularly consider each of these factors is a full-time job, and one that is nearly incompatible with eating with other people. This is because eating is now less of a social bonding ritual than a solitary religious rite. In this current framework, food has the power to cleanse, purify, and redeem—and with that power comes an enormous capacity for error and a crushing accountability.

The Internet abounds with accounts of people who have used diet to cure themselves of every condition from OCD and psoriasis to depression and cancer. Although evidence is clear that nutrition is inherently medicinal, the current thinking has taken it a step further to suggest that diet represents a way to control for every possibility of disease, or even general unease. Barbara Ehrenreich describes this phenomenon in Natural Causes, citing public reactions to the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, who both died in early 2016 at the merely respectable age of 69 of an unspecified cancer. As Ehrenreich writes, “some readers complained that it is the responsibility of obituaries to reveal what kind of cancer. Ostensibly this information would help promote ‘awareness’.” To withhold this information is to put public health at risk. Rickman’s death might have taught us something about our own mortality if only we could know what type of cancer he had and what he ate every day (or better yet, what his mother ate when he was in utero). As Ehrenreich puts it, anyone who dies at an ‘untimely’ age has to undergo a “bio-moral autopsy.”

Another manifestation of the crass pursuit of health is the ‘Live to 100’ movement, in which the body is a battleground on which we fight disease with antioxidants, superfoods, positive thinking, and the like. If we consume the ‘right’ things and avoid the ‘wrong’ things (and it is never self-evident which is more crucial), then we can postpone death, or at the very least, die peacefully in a state of relative vibrancy. Centenarians and super-centenarians around the world are scrutinized in an attempt to identify their secrets. In this modern mythology, the hero is the person who manages to live to a hundred with all mental faculties intact and the ability to run a decent marathon, prolonging her own mortality by skirting the infinite number of things that can go awry.

One of the reasons I loved Bourdain—why so many people strongly identified with him—was that his apparently uncontrived posture was one of rebellion against the overwhelming responsibility imposed by modern diet and health culture. Bourdain’s stance in Kitchen Confidential might, for good reasons, sit uneasily with anyone who believes the body should be viewed as more than a playground. To live good lives, or even to function at all, we should be discriminating with what we consume. Or as Warren Buffett recently reminded young adults, “You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime.” Yet, despite these reasonable objections, something within me rebels against a health culture that has developed its own mythological structure bordering on religious mania. Wellness culture says: pursue health and wholeness and you will be long-lived upon the earth; but it eliminates a fundamental question: to what end? Indeed, there will still be one.

Bourdain would say: focus on the people around the table, wherever on the planet that table is, and eat what you are damn well served. Savor the company of people whose lives and backgrounds are unimaginably different from yours. In short, prefer people to the pursuit of that otherworldly glow, the attempt to lengthen your telomeres, and the dubious ‘achievement’ of living to be 110.

This is one of the many reasons why Bourdain—and all that he stood for—was so appealing, and why, as CNN Executive Vice President Amy Entelis recently said, “his death still feels unreal.” The final season of Parts Unknown is about to air. When it ends, who or what will provide that much needed escape from the tyranny of wellness?

 

Jenai Engelhard is an essayist and doctoral student in French literature at Boston University.

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80 Comments

    • ForestCreature says

      R.I.P Mr. Anthony Bourdain…

      It would seem that the question is — why did this man take his own life.

      This adulation of a troubled man who struggled with the self-destructive tyranny of mental illness misses the message that in reality this man could not fill the yawning empty maw of himself which caused his own brutal sabotage of life.

      If he had been a rock collector, would he have had the emotional courage to look inside himself to tinker with mental wellness instead of looking for those things outside himself in a desperate running dialogue to hide the deep dark empty hopelessness of dissociative despair.

      Many only quietly collect rocks and yet retain the courage of the unsuspected hero to brave the terror of their own mind to live to give — remaining in the fight with both feet on the ground — providing the secret sauce of graciously giving to the mystery of this Life.

      • Area Man says

        @Forest:

        The unstated premise of both your comment and the ideas this article addresses is that the state of being alive is always a good thing.

        While I think we all want everyone to be happy as much as possible, I think we need to grant people with the agency to decide when they no longer wish to be alive. Would Bourdain have chosen a longer life in which he was happy over killing himself alone in a French hotel? It’s not unreasonable to think that may be the case.

        But he chose to kill himself for whatever reason. It’s reasonable to assume the act was deliberate and only taken upon after much introspection & external exploration. For what it’s worth, he seemed to have been very enthusiastic about jiu jitsu. He also seemed to have been emotionally involved with a person of questionable character. In the end, who knows? Suicide is a deeply personal act that only the person who engages in it can understand.

  1. I think that the author of the piece has to be a little bit detached from the real world, where obesity rates are climbing steadily since the seventies.

    • E. Olson says

      Everyone says they care about nutrition and health, but junk food sales and the bathroom scale tell a far different story. Then you have a health gurus who become celebrities for their beauty and slimness and use their fame as a platform to berate the public for their unhealthy lifestyles and excess weight, but who are also too frequently later found to have eating disorders and be heavily reliant on cosmetic surgeries and Photoshopped images.

      • Vincent Vega says

        The American diet is indeed appalling so it would be welcome if we did develop a better food culture, But like so much else in our country, much of the health-craze hoopla is not created to make us healthier, it’s just more junk we don’t need that some shyster is trying to sell you.

    • Conan the Agrarian says

      “I think that the author of the piece has to be a little bit detached from the real world …”

      WHAT?

      A doctoral student of literature at a modern American university ‘detached from the real world’?

      The very suggestion is a microaggression.

      It’s not like the old days, when such people read classics in garrets written by dead people with pink skin and a dongle that came factory-installed.

      Critical theorists cured that. Simple: you can reengage with the real world by reading things written by people with non-pink skin and/or no dongle. It’s called authenticity. It’s best if it was written in the last five minutes.

      Do not doubt what I say. Behold what college students read today (yes I rhyme, it’s not a crime):

      https://www.city-journal.org/first-year-experience-16032.html

      • Michael Layden says

        The garret I read in wasn’t written by a dead person, pink or otherwise 😊

      • Dave Bowman says

        I’ve never read “Classics in Garrets”, or heard of an author called “Dead People with Pink Skin”. Please advise ISBN number.

    • Michael Layden says

      Not detached from “the real world”. Just capable of seeing the world from more than one perspective. Fat Lives Matter, but are not the whole story.

    • Maybe that’s the point. Personal happiness for one’s self and not society’s.

    • There’s no detachment, just differences. Some are religious, and some are not. Some worry about food, some do not. This country also touts itself as “Christian” while seemingly not behaving much the way Jesus told them they “should” for a good life.

      • Phadras Johns says

        Are you describing your own behavior?
        Don’t think for a moment that you understand Christians or Christianity.
        Why did you even mention Christianity?
        Because you are a pitifully soulless human?
        Yes, yes I very much think so.

        • chowderhead says

          God, I love this shit! No such thing as a human without an opinion he/she/zhe/fuckit wants to share!

    • Cornfed says

      refreshing. To what end, indeed? Live to 60 or 70, and you will see that it all seems like a blink of the eye. You will also see people who did all the right things and died young, and people who did all the wrong things and lived long. There are no guarantees. Live life to the fullest, including experiencing the sensory wonders of food!

    • I am recovering from a heart attack I had three weeks ago. Having deliberately lost 5kg since then, I am now all too aware of the number of extremely obese people (mainly lower-class females in their 20s and 30s) that are to be seen in British towns.
      This cannot be cured by legislation, but what is it that has made so many of us so unconcerned with the state of our bodies?

      I can assure you that a heart attack is a good ‘wake-up’ call!

  2. Kristine says

    Well, its precisely that obesity and diabetes and poor diet co- exists with the phenomena of wellness culture with food as virtue, for the fancy schmacy are you only in season vegetables/pink sea salt. But virtous eating at least ilas conceived as some kind of political do- gooderism has gone down with the advent of the new political climate (which it never was, stylized its self as eco and conscious but was side effect of increasing food inequality) but the messaging of “Wellness” as life style content is as alive and profitable as ever. Also highly gendered as in diet disguised as pretending to be health advice aimed at already thin women on how to be even thinner. That is a missing piece to this article, to move away from the tyranny of wellness, women need to be aloud to partake, which yes includes less scrutiny and more positivity.

  3. Emmanuel says

    “Your body is not a temple but an amusement park, enjoy the ride” sounds nice when a famous chef says it. When Bubba says in the prison shower room, not so much.

    • Phadras Johns says

      Rings completely hollow when you consider the fact that Bourdain killed himself.

      • chowderhead says

        No it doesn’t.

        It’s no crime to live a short, intense, and personally meaningful life. I get to decide on all counts – how intense, what constitutes meaningful and for how long. Mr. Bourdain lived his life on his terms and ended it when he saw fit. Good for him. It’s far better than sitting on the sidelines moralizing all the while completely unaware of what an intense life even is.

  4. Sarah Van Pelt says

    I am so thankful that I came across this article. I generally agree with the Bourdain’s perspective as presented, and with the author’s assessment. Food, nutrition, wellness should be balanced against having a good life, experiencing other cultures and their foods, even if you never consume them again. You can enrich your life without affecting it’s length.

    • Johnny Sacks says

      I interpret his perspective as more ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’ than promoting destructive behavior as my religious brothers would see it. And his culinary enjoyments have nothing whatsoever to do with the typical american diet of crisco and corn syrup spread on wonder bread.

  5. I made a choice to lose weight and get fit. Not for the sake of it or for a desire to live forever disease free, but because, like a good education, being fit and healthy means more opportunities are within my grasp and, hopefully, for longer too.

    • Morgan says

      Life is indeed about opportunities. Your body is a temple. Enjoy the ride.

  6. De Liely says

    I just wish all the diet gurus would agree on what makes one healthy: coffee, eggs, paleo,. They are getting rich while we are getting fat!

  7. Beastly nonsense!
    There are tolerances within bodies. Exceeding those tolerances with food which are slightly toxic, filled with cumulative poisons or toxins is tragic.
    Health is your best health.

    Anthony Bourdain is not an exemplar of Humanity. His life was taken when he went against the elite. His usefulness seems to be tricking humans into beastly behavior.

    • All the wellness brigade need and western society in general is a good dose of hunger, brought about by economic madness and a total disdain for everything about western culture that drove hunger away in the first place!

    • WH: There is an excellent chance that Bourdain lived several more lives than you in his one existence on this planet.
      You make your own choices in this world and he chose death, much better than hanging around in an old peoples home with your brains and you bowel control gone!

    • Larry Siegel says

      No, actually he took his own life. He did not go against the elite, he was a member of the elite. I don’t understand your comment.

  8. Perhaps Bourdain taking his own life, combined with his perspective of living to eat rather than eating to live, can usher in an era of learning what diet can do for mental health.

  9. The author has conveniently neglected to mention that while Bourdain may have enjoyed his food and drink, he was very involved with preserving his physical and mental health. He was a practitioner of Jiu Jitsu, one of the most physically demanding martial arts. Wherever he found himself, he would find a gym and practice. This was a daily regimen for him.
    Now stop making excuses and go eat, drink, and exercise properly.

    • Dave Bowman says

      he was very involved with preserving his physical and mental health

      Does that include his early-life addiction to booze, cocaine, heroin and PCP, freely acknowledged and discussed in Kitchen Confidential ?

  10. Stephanie Mack says

    Its all about balance. I loved Bourdains attitude about food, culture and adventure. He brought the world to our living rooms. Yes eat healthy but don’t deprive yourself of something decadent or different if your heart and stomach desires. Life is short. Enjoy that glass of wine, cheesecake, whatever. There is no right and wrong way to enjoy a meal with people. You are in charge of making that choice not what the health gurus are telling you to do. I don’t eat the best at times but I sure as he’ll enjoyed that cheeseburger with bacon. Ill eat better the next day. Balance

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  12. Wentworth Horton says

    I’m not sure the wellness movement holds sway to the extent the author would have us believe, certainly not to the level of tyranny. Perhaps her lens is focussed more online than reality. Anecdotally the people I see more concerned with diet and health are also more likely to enjoy food in the manor Bourdain suggested. Not to say there is no lunacy out there but that’s par for course on any topic these days, especially on the internets.

  13. Imagine that, a drug addict and alcoholic telling people how to live their lives. And oh yes, he hung himself – the ultimate in selfish acts.
    Enough about Bourdumb.

  14. Farris says

    I’ve never understood the self righteousness that surrounds diets. Some one wants to eat a box of doughnuts a day, who cares, their life and their body. Some wants to share dietary information great. I just don’t understand the smugness that comes with telling others you don’t consume something. Why some demonstrate the need to look down their nose at the listeners when proclaiming he/she doesn’t eat meat, carbs, dairy ect… is down right bizarre. Where does this feeling of moral superiority and preening come from? Perhaps it is the pride in refraining from a perceived vice. But you don’t hear people sanctimoniously proclaiming, “I don’t rob banks!”

    • The superiority comes from the moral judgement attached to food choices. As the essay describes, choosing what one eats becomes an end in itself, following an edict to “live righteously”. Like any ideology, it does not tolerate any shade other than black or white. If you eat a box of donuts, then you’re polluting your body. Eat a box of kale instead!

      As for me, I will make the calumnious decision to enjoy food because I enjoy living, to share it with friends because their company gives me greater pleasure, and to discover new culinary experiences because of the pleasure in discovering new things and the fullness of the world. Along the way, there will be accidents and detours, blemishes on apples and pears, and I won’t avoid them, but simply scrape them aside.

    • While generally I agree regarding the self righteousness that surround certain diets, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes (which is an epidemic, in the US anyhow) you’re driving up the cost of health care for the everyone else. So I do think on some level it can be more righteous, definitely more considerate to attempt to eat healthier simply for the concern for your fellow humans. That’s also not even taking in mind having people “spill over” into my seat on public transportation or being trapped behind people in a store unable to move faster than their automatic-cart type things can take them.

      • Farris says

        @Chase

        “if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes (which is an epidemic, in the US anyhow) you’re driving up the cost of health care for the everyone else.”

        Be careful with this type reasoning. Riding motorcycles, scuba diving, enjoying a brandy, pot smoking, sky diving, mountain climbing, participating in sports and other risky behaviors can escalate health care costs. Too much self righteousness can lead to less freedom. It is always the other guy’s vice that is the problem.

    • What about how we have to carry the burden of the unhealthy people through the rise of health insurance costs?

      Just let other people sap money from the “system” through, selfishly, over eating without saying anything about how their actions are taking away from others collective pile of hard earned money?

      But yeah I agree there is a self absorbed smugness better than everyone else attitude coming from the folks with the almighty we figured out the best diet ever crowd. Vegans and so on.

      How about this for smug, I work my butt off, physically, and I’m as healthy as an ox never been on a diet in my life.

      The whole “your body is not a temple it’s an amusement park” thing is straight what is it called… blasphemy? Terrible terrible quote to have your name behind.

      • @Farris: I realize the slippery slope that is – but I wasn’t necessarily calling for gov’t intervention – just lack of gov’t intervention on me paying for it. And the disgust thing may be cruel – but it is a factor whether some of us want to admit we’re below it or not.

        @ Tim: I hope “As healthy as an ox” is your mantra. Cheers.

  15. False dichotomy perhaps? The modern wellness idea says that eating is an end in itself, and the more free spirit of Bourdain offers essentially the same message. The traditional body-as-temple idea puts food and eating in better perspective and recognizes that “To what end” is a critical question.

    • Michael Layden says

      The “traditional body-as-temple idea” comes from Corinthians, is generally read more in relation to sins of fornication than to those of gluttony, and points to the end of maintaining the sanctity of the body, bought by the blood of Christ, as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps not so much the preoccupations of our contemporary “wellness” worship.

  16. Bryana Beecham says

    As anyone who has read his books and watched his shows knows, the man was a hard-core addict. As a fellow addict, I can attest to the energy it takes to rationalize your vices, be the rebel you need to be to maintain them, and counter-act them with equal amounts of physical fitness to overcome the depletion of your resources. He may have given up heroin, cocaine and cigarettes, but he never gave up alcohol. I loved Anthony Bourdain from afar, as did most of his fans. He had a lot more substance than this article reveals, and I think he would have cringed to have see his life philosophy summed up in this cute and fluffy way.

  17. Eating used to be just eating. We didn’t go on diets, fad or otherwise, because we didn’t need to. I know it’s hard to believe but growing up I knew only two fat people, a mother and a daughter, and I doubt if they would be considered fat by today’s standards. Ah, but today. Watch any video or look at any news photo about a demonstration or a public activity. Check out any group photo from a social organization or a business. Walk down any street or stroll any shopping center. Virtually every woman and many of the men are fat. If fat is not an epidemic, I don’t know what an epidemic is.

    But we must not fat-shame, even though smoker-shaming was exactly how cigarettes were declared taboo and smoking was nearly eliminated from the social scene. Fat is unsightly and it is unhealthy. That is a fact which has been completely proven. Why do we insist that it’s just another lifestyle choice that should be respected? Why do we apparently not give a damn about the health of fat people when all of us once swore that much of our antagonism toward smoking was about the health of the smoker?

    Obesity, even a national tendency toward obesity, is not inevitable. There are countries in which the population is reasonably slim and fit. We could still eat what we want to eat if we would just limit our eating to meals or combine it with activity. There was a time when we walked or bicycled wherever we wanted to go. We could even occasionally eat a doughnut because we walked to the doughnut shop to buy it. We could enjoy family meals of fried chicken and biscuits or gumbo and rice or carne asada because that was dinner, which was an actual meal, not chips from a package or something we picked up at the drive-through.

    We could eat like Anthony did if we took the time to actually prepare and share meals. And maybe it would help if we took an after dinner walk, something that was once a custom even in middle-class America.

    • @Margaret: answer to your question why fatness seems to be considered these days as merely a lifestyle to be respected (and it’s the 3rd time to tell this here on Q.): it all started in the Oprah Winfrey shows some 15 yrs ago, though, she popularised this change only of course, made it something normal and well known, it was already creeping and sneaking in our veins for some time.

  18. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    Not for nothing but he left a young child behind. His depression must have been dark. His friends were within reach and he did not reach. Waste, something he loathed. Damnit Tony, the world still needs you. Was his work schedule so taxing it allowed for no health crisis break? I am still so angry at his loss. Angry at depression and angry at the bloody work ethic that partially drained him. RIP Tony. May we all learn something from you that keeps us going and loving.

  19. Much as I admire Warren Buffett, he’s an odd choice for a quote on wellness. Isn’t it well known that his favorite foods are burgers, Coke and ice cream?

    • Five cans of full-sugar Cherry Coke daily. His firm owns 400 million shares, so it’s a matter of literally eating his own dogfood. He says he only buys what he can understand, and he understands Coke. (Same with Kraft.)

      That and the burgers and ice cream; Buffett’s perspective on “wellness” does not include a diet that is either healthy or adventurous. You can imagine him putting ketchup on his well-done steak and pasta.

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  22. I wonder whether Bourdain has ever be compared with Saint Augustine. Both are famous for their confessions (Kitchen Confidential has been translated in Dutch with Keuken Confessies). Confessions about sins as commited in their early life (Augustine was the first author to do so), and rules and beliefs to overcome these sins, the Path to Perfection.
    In my youth, food was something to fill your stomach after work done or before starting the day (the times that you had food as something to enjoy was the exception, at certain festivities, a wedding, birthday parties).
    Nobody at that time would ever have thought that it would once become something close to religion.

  23. Candace Saunders says

    I boycotted watching Bourdain after he came to my home state Arizona and showcased Ted Nugent the rabid bow hunter sexually aroused from killing.

    There were so many more credible cuisine topics traditional to Arizona than featuring lunatic Nugent and his thrill killing and in general the show documented animal slaughter.

    Traditional maybe but not forward looking given the disastrous consequences of over reliance on meat like factory farms (flooded sewage lagoons of pig excrement contaminating Carolinas)

    Still he was an authentic voice and condolences to his family.

  24. Teeana says

    Isn’t it wonderful for us that we, the first-worlders with too much time and relative wealth on our hands, have the luxurious choice to eat healthy or not? Millions of people on earth have no frame of reference for either. Indeed, they go to bed without any food at all.

    • Nobody on this earth goes to bed without food Teeana, except maybe in war situations or hunger strikes. But what most people eat, and the choices they have, yes, that is quite different. I have worked in the third world. What struck me most, children there never shout, or complain, refuse or throw with food at dinner time. They are happy with the simple food they get, maize porridge and some simple greens and sauce, nothing sweet to end with. What a difference with the West, almost every meal a war situation of obstructing children. I am so happy to have lived in a world where such situations are unknown! May we call it western decadence??

  25. John Cusick says

    “We are told to avoid what is ‘toxic’ and ingest only what is ‘clean,’ even as definitions of ‘clean’ continue to shift and vary.”

    When you consider the level of toxic Monsanto products and microplastics in almost every bite of food most Americans consume daily, obesity is the least of our worries.

    Bourdain is more or less correct in his attitude and people spending too much of their days concerned about the proper “clean” foods are wasting a good part of their lives.

    • I’ve noted so many “clean eaters” complaining of feeling ill after eating a burger or slice of cake, which begs the notion they are healthier or happier.

  26. “For perhaps the first time in history, fasting is more readily associated with the concept of “intermittent fasting” (which promotes autophagy, or cellular cleansing to increase lifespan) than with the idea of prayer.”

    That’s weird. Never heard that before. I do intermittent fasting because I find it to be the easiest and most convenient way to consistently reduce the amount of calories I consume. I believe there’s research suggesting it may have a variety of health benefits in addition to those of having less bodyfat. But ultimately, the bottom line is: being fat is really, really bad for you, and the only sure way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you burn, consistently, week after week, month after month.

    I like IF precisely because it allows me to lose weight while eating what I like, without worrying about any of that “Thou shalt not contaminate the sacred body” crap. The idea that you have to eat the right magic combination of special foods to be healthy and lose weight… Nonsense. There was a nutritionist who used himself as a guinea pig, and lost a lot of weight on a diet of nothing but Twinkies, Doritoes, and one can of vegetables per day. The surprising part was that not only did he lose weight, but pretty much ALL his markers of health (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) improved.

    I don’t recommend trying this yourself, but the point is if you want to lose weight, eat less and excercise more. Period. But there’s no need to obsess over what you eat.

    • Nikolay Petrov says

      Everything you said there – I agree. I do IF as well and I absolutely love the clarity and flexibility it gives me (although I am a bit more strict with my macro nutrients as I have some specific goals but the principle still stands). I also find the “balance” approach very reasonable, although it does raise some ethical and moral questions, at least in my opinion, that are beyond the scope of this article.

      What I don’t agree with is the story about the nutritionist guinea pig. I’ve read and though about that and if I am not mistaking, he did his “bad” diet for less than two months or so. Given his history of eating cleanly and “healthily”, eating crap was an exception for him, not the norm. So I find it extremely likely that his body would find it easier to go back to its norm…. Reverse that for a person who has been eating “badly” their entire life – that’s their norm. And falling back on that is as easy as it was for the nutritionist to get back his shape. Your body is simply craving what it is used to.

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  28. 1. People who moralise about the health care costs of unhealthy activities and life styles fail to consider that there is a cost to dying that hits regardless of when it occurs. My parents were health food and supplement freaks. They lived into their mid 90’s, both healthy and active until the last 5 years. For dad those years were bought by 3 major vascular surgeries with expensive complication, and in the last 5 years, more surgeries, prothetics, thousands of dollars of drugs and care. Mum was cheap until the last 5 years, and then needed 24/7 care and multiple rounds of antibiotics. In addition, between 65 and 95 they collected from government pensions and income support. Compare this with a smoker who pays extra taxes on cigarettes and has 2 years of cancer treatment, and never collects on any government superannuation schemes. Then compare it to the the hang glider who bangs his head and needs care for the rest of his life.

    2. The recent medical literature says it is not really bad to be a little bit fat in middle age (ie, BMI 25-30 no worse than 18-25), but for over 70’s, fatter is better, and weight loss or variability bad. These data are for all cause mortality which is the relevant measure.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4022712/
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Xiang_Gao5/publication/284020177

    3. The key is social eating – regular meals with family.

    • And there are so many medical dollars and medical services, with such end of life care often consuming far too much, raising the prices for all others. Econ 101.
      Of course, if you want to spend your own money, that’s fine. Others may prefer to leave that money with the next generation and keep everyone else’s costs down.

  29. Holidays and vacations are made much less fun with the never-ending need to deal with the dietary restrictions various relatives place upon all others. Can’t such eaters at least give into the notion of a shared meal to celebrate togetherness and a shared culture for just a little while? You can eat your miracle food tomorrow, no?
    Like reformed smokers, reformed eaters are often the least fun to be around…

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  31. David, do you miss the antenna for the time texture we live in these days? It’s identity time,meaning, everybody his/her own diet and eating habits, plus drive to explain and proselite! No more sharing, but divisions.

  32. Warren Buffett has never seemed to be a particularly healthy looking individual to me. The fact of the matter is genes have a very large role in longevity. Bob Harper, one of the trainers on the big loser tv show, almost died of a heart attack. He was probably fitter then 95% of people. He has bad genes.

  33. Bradd Graves says

    By all means, follow his advice. Oh wait, he offed himself. Apparently, he didn’t really have any answers.

  34. There are a number of people who don’t believe Anthony committed suicide but was murdered. He certainly said things that made enemies. His Significant Other accuses Harvey Weinstein of rape. It is above my pay grade to have proof or definite knowledge. Their are many instances of official declarations of suicide that are obvious murder. For example, “A life insurance company withheld a $100,000 payment when the FBI declared Paisley’s death a suicide
    A lawyer hired by Mrs. Paisley said, “Jumping off a boat with a gun in hand, pulling the trigger while in the water is, to be charitable about the matter, a weird way to commit suicide.” Paisley was an ex-high level CIA guy.
    It does seem like a worldly wise guy such that Anthony was would choose a better way to kill himself. “Inside, the 61-year-old TV host had used the belt of his hotel bathrobe to hang himself in his bathroom.” No article says it was on the doorknob but that is the usual place. There is also the usual auto erotic speculation.
    Not knowing the man and not being suicidal myself I don’t really have an opinion.

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