Thursday, August 2, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily PerfectionDrop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J. Jacobs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending a copy of this ARC to the Barnes and Noble where I work part time. I was so thrilled to see this, as I loved The Guinea Pig Diaries by this same author. Although, when I went to to see what I had rated that book, I found I'd never marked it read! I must have read it before Goodreads was around, or at least before I found it. All I can say that A.J. Jacobs is hilarious. Once again I laughed out loud as I read about him throwing himself wholeheartedly into his experiences in order to write his books and articles.
In Drop Dead Healthy, Jacobs has decided to become the healthiest man in the world. This after a health scare on a vacation with his family. This isn't just a book about losing weight, although he does discuss this, it is about all the different parts of the body (almost all) and what you should do to take care of each part. Also during this time we get a window into what is going on in his life, and we get to learn about his grandfather, and his relationship with him, and as is fitting (but very sad), we also learn about his grandfather's health descent and death. Again I love his talk about his family, I just would love to meet his wife, or see her talk on a talk show, just to find out how she puts up with him. Now, because this was an ARC, I know there are things that weren't put into the book, it even says that as you read with pages reserved for things that aren't there yet. So I can only talk about the things in the book that I could read. Jacobs goes basically with a new body part or system for each chapter, although some of them could be tied together. I like how he not only follows up on what you have heard about in the mainstream media, but even searches out lesser known "experts" and ideas for health. I really like how he points out how so many health reports are either conflicting, soon discovered to not have scientific evidence to back them up, or maybe slanted by who sponsored them. I feel like these are things the American people don't always think about when a newscaster announces some new, big health news. I also liked how at the back he condensed several things into the top 6 things for you to remember about that topic. For example he gives tips on how to eat less, both for the normal person, and for the obsessed. One of the main ideas that carries throughout the book is one I wish I could do. It is the treadmill desk. I know that I watch a lot of tv and play on the computer a lot. And as a teacher, I do a lot of grading as well. I have always thought it would be perfect to have the treadmill every day as I watched my recording of The Young and the Restless. But just to have a treadmill to be constantly walking during that stuff would be great. My problems are I have nowhere in my house to fit it, as well as money, and I'm not sure what my new puppy would think of it, I'm afraid she'd get hurt. Sooo, maybe someday I'll enact that idea.
I want to point out a couple parts of the book that I had to mark the pages to share. First, in the chapter about the adrenal gland, or having less stress, he goes to a laughter club. And at one point he talks about there being a young adult author in the club with him. Well of course, I'm curious as to who this YA author is, because I'm nosy and love YA authors. Also, he talks about she catches him chuckling, which makes her start laughing, and then he starts laughing harder. I love moments like that. They seem to happen to me and my mom a lot. One of us will just get so tickled by something, we can't stop laughing, to where we snort when we try to stop and hold it in, and finally just give in and are crying from laughing so hard. And forget looking at each other when we're trying to stop, just a look and we bust out laughing again. But again, I want to know who this YA author in NYC is. Anyone know? :-)
And the other thing I marked was about smoking. I have been anti-smoking as long as I can remember. So much that while I don't remember it, my step-dad says he quit smoking because at about 5 years old I came home with a kit to quit smoking, and he figured if a 5 year old knew how bad it was, why didn't he? I've also lost both my grandmother and grandfather to lung cancer from smoking. Neither one was fun to watch, and my grandmother was so young when it happened. In the book Jacobs mentions a fact that Cigarettes are still the leading preventable cause of death in America. And that just astounds me. I don't understand the draw of them, I've never had ANY desire to even try one. But I guess I've just had the examples in my life to show me. Not that those examples always work, I have a cousin, who also was there watching our grandfather die a few years ago from lung cancer, and he still smokes. I just don't understand it.
Once again the book is hilarious, and I know I just have to read the author's other books, The Year of Living Biblically, and The Know-It-All.
**EDIT**  I forgot to mention one of the things in the book that did really stick with me!  You are not supposed to read while going to the bathroom.  That is supposedly bad for that part of your health.  Unfortunately, some days that is one of the few times I get to read, so probably not going to stop that!  :-)

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