Kale and Coffee: A Renegade's Guide to Health, Happiness, & Longevity

By Kevin Gianni

This book was given to me on accident, but since it relates to nutrition I decided to give it a read. It is both frustratingly and hilariously bad. The author, a caricature of a new age health hippie, makes unsubstantiated, intensely emotional claims about how one should eat, drink, exercise, and deal with stress throughout the book, which is divided into small chapters featuring click bait-esque titles like “How One Crazy Technique and an Herb from India Could Add Years to Your Life.” In keeping with the vapid theme of the chapter titles, readers are encouraged to avoid chemicals and processed food, in addition to a dozen other buzzword-filled phrases that have no usable meaning. Occasionally studies and objective measurements are cited, but they are regarded as less convincing than more trustworthy sources, like a thing the author once saw on TV that convinced him stress-tapping is effective for curing phobias.

Equally as striking as the book’s disregard for facts is the extreme economic privilege that the author apparently unknowingly exhibits via his advice. Readers are encouraged to get full blood tests and brain scans, to eat only artisan salt and grass-fed meat, and to consider a multi-day water fast. Apparently, if you can’t afford salt from Ireland, several days without the ability to be productive, and daily green smoothies, then you may as well give up now.

If you’re looking for manageable, humble nutrition advice, look somewhere else. If you’re looking for about 200 pages of some crunchy, well-funded, uneducated dude who calls himself a renegade’s personal opinions, look no further. Use this book as I did: a whetting stone for one’s own beliefs regarding healthy practices. Or use it as a way to find citations for studies, which can then point you to other studies. Or use it in a party game called “Do People Really Think This?” But whatever you do, dear God, don’t use it as a guide to health, happiness, and longevity.