A plate of raw broccoli with a knife next to it on a light blue table cloth - it looks very sinister.
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I Tried Bryan Johnson’s Extreme ‘Age Reversing’ Diet

“The shit you do is absolutely enormous.”

In the world of men and questionable diets as a means to health and fitness goals, there are two “Bryan” Johnsons. One is Brian with an ‘i’ – AKA ‘Liver King’, the man known for gobbling up raw organs and not-so-secretly taking steroids. The other is Bryan Johnson, the Silicon Valley tech guy trying to reverse his biological age by spending $2 million a year.


Bryan Johnson is 48, but claims his biological age is about five years younger, and for every calendar year he’s reportedly only ageing nine months. This is according to numerous tests that he’s spent millions on, regular ones include colonoscopies, MRI scans and blood tests. All of these are said to determine his biological age, which is the age your cells are functioning at based on averages across the world – not the number of candles you should have on your birthday cake.

In the world of biohackers, he’s the ultimate boundary pusher and his end goal is to have the biological age of an 18 year-old. Clearly, a ten-step skincare routine isn’t enough for some people.

The millions he’s putting into getting young were made by selling businesses to PayPal for a reported $800 million. If the original idea was to extend blissful retirement forever, it seems he’s perhaps lost track of the blissfulness en route. But he’s not gatekeeping it, oh no – like all rich bros who slurp algae, he’s democratising the space. The Blueprint, as it’s called, is his step-by-step guide: Every bite and every micronutrient can be replicated in your own pursuit of becoming younger than your birth certificate. 


According to his website, you’ll be spending £16,791.26 a year on The Blueprint way of life, which is currently £322.91 a week. That’s fine if you’re Johnson, but what happens when you – a mere mortal paying a sizeable portion of your salary on a mould-infested box room in the outskirts of London – decide to take it on? I tried The Blueprint so you don’t have to.

The Blueprint can be split into three aspects; diet, exercise, testing. I’ll exercise throughout as I normally do (three high intensity classes and some pilates) so it’s not that far off from what Johsnson does. The tests are daft and I can’t afford them, so we’re sacking that off – plus it’d mean doing this experiment for months and I don’t want to. 

The diet is 1,977 vegan calories (though the food comes to 1,223, so I’m not sure where the rest is) and literally over a hundred supplements a day. Most of them aren’t easy to find outside the U.S. and frankly they cost far more than I can afford to drop on “living costs” – especially if they’re going to make me live longer. Instead, I prioritise buying the food that’s available in local supermarkets and this £63.45 shop lasts me three days.


For supplements, I scour the list for ones I can find around my house – just creatine and vitamin D3 because I’m a sad girlie who’s trying to gym a bit. There’s also a bottle of multivitamins: I figure there’s plenty of shit in them, so I take three and call it an approximation. Besides, The Science of Nutrition author Rhiannon Lambert tells VICE, “It’s not recommended to be taking hundreds of supplements. In most cases, following a balanced, healthy and varied diet will be sufficient to get all the nutrition we need.” 

Supplies gathered, at 10AM on a Tuesday I sit down to make “The Green Giant” morning drink – where the main ingredients are water, chlorella powder and collagen peptides. All of the instructions are on the website, so a bit like an Ottolenghi recipe it’s, um, easy to follow.

Two photos of the green, horrible looking "Green Giant" drink.

“The Green Giant” drink. Photo: Rhys Thomas

The drink is fucking minging. I don’t normally mind algae-green looking things, but this is absolutely horrendous: It’s thick and when you get a lump the texture makes you want to vomit. Sure, a proper blender might help but even the lumpless moments were bad. I also used the drink to wash down the supplements – I can confirm they go down like a mistake.

The rest of the food was actually alright-ish. “Super Veggie” is the name given to the savoury meal you’re supposed to have daily and you can either blend it or have it whole. I chose whole because everything else in this diet is liquid, powder or pill-based – bar a few strawberries. The meal is basically just broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower with lentils, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar, seeds and spices. Honestly, it’s decent enough – until it comes out the other end. 


After eating 300g of lentils, a head of broccoli and the rest, the shit you do is absolutely enormous – easily getting above the surface of the water in the bowl.  It’s also black lentil-coloured and so vegetal it almost smells like a really bad bag of skunk. I can’t imagine the slurry I would’ve excreted if I chose to liquify this.  

The other compulsory meal of the day is a “Nutty Pudding”. This is similar to something I’d eat for breakfast anyway; almond milk, some blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, three macadamia nuts and half a brazil nut, plus sunflower lecithin and “non-dutched” cocoa. As I don’t own a blender, I made this into more of a fruit and nut cereal than a pudding and it was pretty nice.  

The last meal of the day is a 500 calorie freestyle of sorts, with a suggestion of “asparagus almond beet salad”, “orange fennel salad” or “veg-stuffed sweet potato”.

A photo of the “Super Veggie”, a plate with a mound of broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, lentils and

The “Super Veggie” meal. Photo: Rhys Thomas

By day four, this all got pretty boring (shock) and I was absolutely starving (double shock). For context, my Nando’s order is a whole chicken with two or more large sides, which as you know sits on the sharing platter section of the menu, but if you’ve got a smaller appetite than me then maybe you’ll be alright? I just can’t fathom the pain of blending Johnson’s meals into a liquid every day for the rest of my sad – though very long – life.

When it came to exercise, on the first two days I actually had a pretty good workout. My energy levels were higher than usual, but by day three it was an absolute slog to leave my bed, let alone exert myself. This might’ve evened out long-term if I was jobless and had $800 million, but I don’t – and I was a sleepy boi. 


Fatigue and hunger aside, I also had some headaches, I was often very thirsty, my concentration was absolutely non-existent and my skin went quite oily. Following Johnson’s rule of no screens for two hours before bed, I did sleep well but I was also tired all day – I was less bloated though, so hey.

I decided to stop on day five after dropping well over £100. Just as well, because Lambert believes “much more research is needed to be able to comment on the benefits and risks” of Johnson’s diet. “Biohacking, in particular, may be dangerous as it goes against the body's natural process of ageing,” she says.

Healthy or not, I’m not sure I want “the best” if it’s The Blueprint. Maybe if I had nothing to do, loads of money and children, I’d start making myself a human lab experiment – maybe. But who wants to live forever anyway? I don’t and while I’m alive I want to be healthy, sure, but I don’t want to be living a life of blended lentils and pills. Bryan, good luck to you, but if you’re reading this, it’s all a bit excessive isn’t it? And how do you plan on surviving global warming? Food for thought.