December 17th, 2010
02:28 PM ET
Author A.J. Jacobs’ books include “The Know-it-All,” “My Life as an Experiment” and “The Year of Living Biblically.” For the last, he spent a year trying to follow every rule and guideline in the Bible – more than 700 of them. In his current project, he’s trying to follow every piece of verified health advice that he can find, testing everything from barefoot running to calorie restriction diets. He sat down with me to talk about his goal of being “The Healthiest Person Alive.” And our chat extended to more than three questions.
CNN: What was the first thing you did? How do you go about becoming the healthiest person alive?
A.J. Jacobs: Well I got a board of advisers – doctors and scientists and researchers and trainers and then I just changed every part of my day. So I changed my diet and my exer – that's one of the shocking things is how much I have to do to be the healthiest person alive. I mean my day is packed because you got to do aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, you got to meditate, you got to go out into nature, because nature is healthier, you got to pet a dog because there are studies that show that helps lower your blood pressure, it's just never ending
CNN: One of the things that frustrates people about health advice and medical news is that it's just one thing today, another thing tomorrow, there's a flood of it. How do you decide what I'm going to do, which ones you're going to follow?
Jacobs: Right. Well one of the big challenges is that there is just a tsunami of health advice. There's are so many conflicting pieces of advice… Like just to give you one example, like the fight between the vitamin D advocates and the dermatologists, it's like a feud, it's like the Crips and the Bloods because the dermatologists say cover up everything, everything on your body. Don't let an ounce of sunshine touch you. And the vitamin D people say you’ve got to get 10 to 15 minutes of sun, three times a week.
CNN: What do you do? Do you cover up?
Jacobs: What I do is I cover up my face, but I left some of my arms, I do try to get sun on my arms.
CNN: Cell phone? Do you use a cell phone?
Jacobs: I do use a cell phone. I know there's a question of whether its safe, whether there's a link to cancer, I don't think the evidence is there yet, but to be extra safe, I use an earphone.
CNN: Your advisers are split?
Jacobs: My advisers are split on the cell phone question.
CNN: Who is your competition?
Jacobs: For the healthiest person alive? Sometimes I feel like I'm doing the opposite of what Morgan Spurlock did in Super Size Me. I've actually become friends with Morgan and we're working on a TV project together. So it's kind of a battle between the healthiest and least healthy person alive. We'll do a cage match.
To see more of A.J. Jacobs, watch “Sanjay Gupta MD” Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. ET.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.