You're a reasonably healthy person, right? You're young, ish; you eat at least one vegetable that isn’t a potato every day. You occasionally have a rollie when it's sunny and you're in a beer garden, but there's a thing of multivitamins in your bathroom cupboard that you remember to take roughly once a week. So, again: healthy. Right?
Wrong. You don't know the meaning of the word healthy. It's laughable that you'd even mention it unless you're measuring the pH of your pee and adding mushroom powder to your hot beverages. At least, that's according to this insane article published by The Times the other week. It's behind a paywall, so allow me to summarise: basically, they got four wellness fanatics who are a little too into trying to never die to share their daily routines.
Dasha Maximov allegedly gets up at 5AM every day to "journal", before going to Hampstead Heath to stare at the sun. Tim Gray uses a device called a HumanCharger® that "shines light into my ear to give me energy". Madeleine Spencer lies on a bed of nails, "a plastic-studded acupressure mat which helps me connect with my body after a day looking at a screen", while Alex Beer works next to a quartz crystal "to absorb the magnetic and radioactive waves that are all around you from wifi and your computer".
Their daily routines variously incorporate coconut water, charcoal, liquid electrolytes, MCT oil, powdered glutamine, vitamin boosters, nootropic drugs, apple cider vinegar tablets, CBD oil, digestive bitters, live bacteria and chaga mushroom powder. It all sounds extremely like Patrick Bateman on a health kick. It also really fucked a lot of people off. Because aside from the pseudo-science on display (they're all terrified of toxins), their lifestyles are wholly inaccessible to proles like you and me, who can't afford to, say, Uber everywhere because the underground is too polluted, or pay daily visits to a "hyperbaric oxygen chamber".
To be honest, I probably wouldn't do these things even if I had the money, but it got me thinking: if I did want to, could I get in on this whole wellness thing on my measly budget of, like, a tenner at a push? If I too started journaling and sun-staring and scraping my tongue for toxins, would I actually feel any better for it? I thought I'd spend a day giving their routines a whirl to find out.
On a typical morning I snooze my alarm until about 8.15AM, but (surprise!) Alex, Tim, Dasha and Madeleine are all up earlier than me. Dasha gets up at 5AM! But the whole point of this experiment is to try to feel more human than usual – an aim that would be severely impacted by having to get out of bed before it's light outside – so I compromise and set my alarm for 7.30AM.
According to Alex, my body is "most absorbent" (?) just after I wake up, so it's important that I #hydrate immediately. Alex does this with some coconut water that costs literally a fiver, but I'm morally opposed to spending that much on any drink that doesn't get me drunk, so I use good old refreshing council pop. Delicious.
Time for my morning mantras. I don't actually have any mantras, so I go with Alex's, which is genuinely, "All of my relationships are harmonious and full of love." After reciting this a few dozen times very quietly so my housemates can't hear, I move on to journaling. I thought this was something you did when you were 13 and had a crush on your Biology teacher, but Dasha does it at 5AM every day, so maybe I'm mistaken? She usually "reflects on a dream", so I follow her lead and spend some time trying to decipher a particularly odd anxiety dream I had, which actually makes me more anxious.
Total outlay so far: £0.
Total net +/- feeling: Slightly worse than normal.
After a good half-hour of fannying about, it's finally time to get ready. Unfortunately for me, this involves taking a cold shower, because "the benefits for fat-burning, mental clarity, stress, energy and immunity are irrefutable". I'm also not allowed to use any of my usual products because they’re not "natural", so the chemicals in them are all toxic, according to Tim.
It takes me a while to work up the courage to get in, and ages to actually feel clean, because I'm not allowed to use any soap. After this I scrape my tongue for toxins and then have a wee. Part of Tim's routine is measuring the pH levels of his urine, along with his weight and hydration. I don't have the equipment necessary to do this, so instead I'm just going start logging the colour of all my wees. Nothing to worry about here.
By the time I’m done my housemate is pretty annoyed with me for making him late to work by spending nearly a full half-hour in the bathroom. I’m freezing cold, not actually that clean and starting to wonder if all my relationships really are harmonious and full of love. At least I’m toxin-free and my piss is normal. So far, so #well.
Breakfast time. Usually I have toast, but no solid food for me this morning. Dasha and Tim both have "bulletproof coffee", made with "grass-fed butter or MCT oil and cinnamon" or "a tablespoon of coconut oil, some chaga mushroom powder, a little bit of potassium, colostrum and collagen". It's also important to use a coffee that's low in mycotoxins, toxic chemicals produced by moulds. I've never done any of this before. It's truly a wonder that I'm still alive.
I do my best with some really old creamed coconut, way too much cinnamon and some probably toxic coffee; the result tastes slightly less rancid than it looks. Alex also has vitamin C boosters and some powdered glutamine ("to replenish my minerals when I sweat"), so I have some Berocca in orange juice, which is so much vitamin C it makes me feel high; some green juice from the back of the fridge; and a sachet of something called Dioralyte that I found in the bathroom cabinet and is apparently for "fast and effective replacement of lost water and body salts". I’m more hydrated than I think I've ever been in my life?
Squeeze in a quick yoga session; today, a 20-minute YouTube tutorial for complete beginners; tomorrow, a sponcon deal with Lululemon.
After waking up my body, it's time to wake up my brain. I don't have a HumanCharger®, because they cost one-hundred-and-seventy-five pounds. According to their website the device works by channelling bright light "directly to the light-sensitive regions of the brain, right where it is needed the most". Wonderful. I shine my iPhone's flashlight into each of my ears for five minutes, which surprisingly has absolutely no discernible effect on me whatsoever.
Before Tim's working day starts he takes around 15 (fifteen) different supplements, so I rummage around in the bathroom and find some A-Z multivitamins, cod liver oil capsules and some prescription vitamin D tablets left over from that time when a doctor told me I was medically pale and needed to go outside more. Do a quick Google to check I'm not going to overdose on vitamins and then have five of each, washed down with the lumpy dregs of my bulletproof coffee.
It feels like I've been doing work for several hours by the time I finally sit down at my computer, but I manage to get a surprising amount done with my phone on airplane mode, like Dasha, especially considering all I've had for breakfast is a load of juice, so I keep having to get up and go for a wee, then dutifully logging it in a notebook (a slightly worrying shade of neon green by mid-morning, which I hope is just an effect of the lifetime supply of vitamin C I've recently ingested).
Time for a quick break. Alex usually stops for some green juice mid-morning, so I have yet more juice too. My circadian rhythms are a bit off, so I decide to use the break from my laptop and its harmful waves to go outside and reset them. Dasha does this by going to Hampstead Heath, but I live in Stoke Newington and am not allowed to take the tube – "filthy and not good for your health" – so I just go and sit on the little patch of grass outside my building. It’s hard to properly sun-stare in such a built up area, and I also have to be careful to avoid all the dog shit, but I guess it does feel good to take off my shoes and get back in tune with the natural environment. N16 is so beautiful at this time of year.
Time for some solids! Dasha usually has some fish that is "high in DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid", so I stop by my local fishmonger to pick up some Birds Eye fish fingers, which are on offer and are rich in Omega 3, according to the packet. On the way, I stop in three different health shops to check if anywhere happens to do free samples of CBD oil, because it’s really expensive and I’m a freelance writer. No luck. Have my fish fingers with some salad leaves that are past their best – yum! Madeleine says it helps digestion if you can chew every bite 30 times, which is disgusting actually, but I do my best.
Snack time. I have an apple and (you guessed it!) some fucking juice. I’m starving and my wee is still green.
After finishing work for the day it's time to do some exercise. I cancelled my gym membership at Christmas because I hadn’t used it since September, so do a bit of Googling to see if I can get a free trial anywhere. I find one in a nearby bodybuilder's gym, but (mercifully) they can’t fit me in for an induction until next week.
Instead, I go for a very half-hearted jog to Dalston Junction station and back. Bekky, the photographer, is emphatically not allowed to join me for this bit, and I’m also very careful to use back roads in case I see somebody I know. The whole experience is incredibly stressful all the same, but I regretfully have to admit that I feel quite good after.
Dinner! Dasha says she often makes "a version of Mexican food", which I interpret as: fajitas, feat. my first actual carbohydrates of the day! And then a whole square of dark chocolate! Don’t think I’ve enjoyed a meal more in my life.
Like Madeleine, I go to bed while I still have the energy to read. I manage 20 pages of my previously untouched copy of Happy by Derren Brown, which my mum bought me two years ago during my period of postgraduate depression, and sounds exactly like something Tim would recommend. Really want to check my phone but it’s forbidden because the light will confuse my brain (this might be the only thing I actually believe works out of everything they’ve suggested).
Enjoy a delicious hot turmeric and almond milk before getting into bed. After such a busy day I don’t even think I need any CBD oil, niacin or vitamin B3 to fall asleep, which is just as well because I don’t have any of them.
What have I learned? I've learned that it’s possible to do neon green pisses, and that you probably have to do more than 20 minutes of yoga a day for it to work. I now know that shining an iPhone light into your ears has little-to-no effect on your general sense of wellbeing, but unfortunately eating well and doing ~some~ exercise does. And, most importantly, I’ve learned that sometimes health really is wealth. I suppose the real balance lies somewhere between "eating chips for literally every meal of your life, dying at 40" and "only chewing charcoal tablets and pucks of leftover green juice, living to 1,000".
Guess we'll never know the perfect way to live life. Guess we’ll never know.