Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Steve Jobs Diet

Last year for Christmas Niek got a copy of the Steve Jobs biography. It took him all of a few days to read, and I think he came away with some more insight into what has made Apple so successful.  I have never read it, but the only fact Niek chose to share with me was this: Steve Jobs was a fruitarian. Just fruit, all the time. Apparently, he also believed that his diet prevented him from having body odor, so he didn't wear deodorant.  He was wrong about that, by the way, but I guess the people he worked with didn't really want to tell him about it.  Maybe they needed one of those deodorgram services.

For the last few months I've been kicking around the idea of doing a--I still can't believe I'm doing this, because it sounds like something I would never do--diet cleanse once January rolled around. I actually wanted to do it last January, but Johanna was just so young, and I didn't want to do anything too drastic while she was fully dependent on me for her nutritional intake. Multiple injuries in the past year have also made it difficult to get back into a running routine, leaving me feeling pretty disgusted with myself at times. In the past year I've tried a few times just not to eat refined sugars for a given amount of time (a few days at the most), and I never successfully made it more than a day and a half. I wanted to see if I could live without sugar, but it turns out I couldn't. One part of me has absolutely no problem indulging in a treat once a day (or even multiple times a day), but there's another part of me that thinks I should be able to live without processed sugars without feeling like I'm going to go crazy.  I like balance in my life, especially when it comes to food. There should be room for all types of food in a balanced diet, and food should bring joy as well as nourishment to our lives.  Something, however, has just felt off lately, and I don't feel balanced.  Who knows what it is. If I actually knew why my diet felt off-kilter I would just go ahead and change it, but at this juncture I feel the need to take a step back.  Here we are, then, willingly choosing to eat a fairly restrictive diet for the next three weeks.

We're following the suggestions set out in the 2012 Action Plan from Whole Living. [As an aside, Whole Living has just been dumped by Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and it doesn't look like there's going to be a 2013 Action Plan.] As far as fluffy, wellness-type magazines go, I liked Whole Living pretty well. The Plan is 21 days with a bonus week at the end, although the recipes for week 4 look a lot like what we would eat on any given week, anyway. We started this morning, and while not awful, I am hungry. This week we are eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and nut oils. Meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, and processed foods are not allowed. During the first week even legumes aren't allowed. I think the lack of protein is what is leaving me feeling hungry; there are only so many nuts I can eat in a day.

Our friends and family think we are crazy.  My mother-in-law almost lost it when I told her coffee was off the table.  She offered to bring us a caffeine-free variety. One of Niek's friends, who came over for our Second Christmas pork belly, said that nothing on earth could move him to give up meat and bread for three weeks. My dad made a face every time I brought it up during their stay, and my best friend thinks it sounds unhealthy. I'll keep you posted about how I feel about dabbling in "cleansing" diets as this thing progresses.  I'm still not totally sold on the idea, but I'm willing to try it out.

Ever since Niek agreed to do this with me, he's been making jokes about our "Steve Jobs Diet." While not as restrictive as what a fruitarian eats, it does take some of Niek's favorite food staples (re: bread, bread, cheese and more bread) off the table, so to speak. He jokingly threatened to do it only if he also gave up deodorant for the duration.  Dutch people are much more forward than Americans, and Niek isn't the head of a ridiculously successful technology company, so I don't think his colleagues would hesitate to tell him that his diet doesn't prevent odor. Yeah, the rest of our life is staying the same while we consume unnatural levels of squash and sunflower seeds.


  1. Whenever I think of Jobs (which is seldom), I think of his being on LSD and "the wheat fields were playing Bach" (or maybe it was Mozart) - while Wozniak did actual work.

    I don't get the whole cleanse thing [food or hygiene ;) ]

    1. I'm not sure I get the whole cleanse thing, either. Thought I'd give it a go at least once. I am truly doubting its effectiveness, which is probably a bad way to start!