Weird Diets

Some of the most fascinating tidbits in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio are about the Apple founder’s bizarre eating habits:

Carrot and apple fasts

Jobs was affected by the book Diet for a Small Planet in college: “That’s when I pretty much swore off meat for good.” But Isaacson notes, “But the book also reinforced his tendency to embrace extreme diets, which included purges, fasts, or eating only one or two food, such as carrots or apples, for weeks on end.” A friend told Jobs, “There is a story about Steve turning orange from eating so many carrots, and there is some truth to that.” As Jobs says, “Friends remember him having, at times, a sunset-like orange hue.”

Eating nothing but fruit, and shunning deodorant, in 1977

“Steve was adamant that he bathed once a week, and that was adequate as long he was eating a fruitarian diet,” Mike Scott told Isaacson.

His diet during the early years at Apple: spitting out soup that contained butter

Jobs daughter Lisa “watched him spit out a mouthful of soup one day after learning that it contained butter….Even at a young age Lisa began to realize his diet obsessions reflected a life philosophy, one in which asceticism and minimalism could heighten subsequent sensations. ‘He believed that great harvests came from arid sources, pleasure from restraint,’ she noted.”

More fasting, cleansing, and restrictive diets as he grew older

“He would spend weeks eating the same thing—carrot salad with lemon, or just apples—and then suddenly spurn that food and declare that he had stopped eating it. He would go on fasts, just as he did as a teenager, and he became sanctimonious as he lectured others at the table on the virtues of whatever regimen he was following.”

Steve Jobs Book

He coulda been a restaurant critic

“He could taste two avocados that most mortals would find indistinguishable, and declare that one was the best avocado ever grown and the other inedible.”

The fruit smoothie diet

After his liver transplant,”He would eat only fruit smoothies, and he would demand that seven or eight of them be lined up so he could find an option that might satisfy him. He would touch the spoon to his mouth for a tiny taste and pronounce, ‘That’s no good. That one’s no good either.'” His doctor finally told him, “Stop thinking of this as food. Start thinking of it as medicine.”

At the end of his life, he wanted to fast when he needed to eat

“When he was young, he learned that he could induce euphoria and ecstasy by fasting. So even though he knew he should eat—his doctors were begging him to consume high-quality proteins—lingering in the back of his subconscious, he admitted, was his instinct for fasting and diets…[his wife] would get angry when he came to the table and just stared silently at his lap. ‘I wanted to force him to eat,’ she said, ‘and it was incredibly tense at home.’…Powell talked to eating disorder specialists and psychiatrists, but her husband tended to shun them.”


Weird Diets
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