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Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman have a new book Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever which I confess I didn’t read every word of, like the seventy pages of cooking recipes and the thirty seven pages of big rubber-band exercises.

The cartoon by Ed Fischen on page 207 showing a man reading the news headlines – NEW STUDIES SHOW ALL FOODS BAD FOR YOU – that attitude sums up the whole book for me. It seems that no matter which way I squirm modern life is bad for my continued survival. For example: on page 411 Kurzweil and Grossman tells me to – steer clear of produce that tends to be the most contaminated (bell peppers, spinach, celery, potatoes, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, apples, pears, cherries, imported grapes, raspberries). However, back on page 239 they list recommended foods – Eat unlimited amounts of low -starch aboveground vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, peppers of all colors, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, snow peas, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumbers, etc.) I don’t know about you but I have difficulty in seeing much difference between his highly recommended foods and his most contaminated and therefore highly unrecommended foods.

Other suggestions are more comprehensible and/or incomprehensible, like avoiding Trans Fat but then these authors go on to show how the food industry cheats on the labeling of food products and this artery clogging trans fat gunk is in almost every prepared food available in the market. Its the same with added sugar, they say it is to be avoided at all cost but unfortunately they also say, sugar is practically ubiquitous in modern foods. Then they warn us not to breath contaminated air but then goes on to quote Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler automobile manufacture, We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?” which explains to us that practically all air we breath is contaminated. There is then a list of things to do and avoid doing but admits that at best it will only help mitigate a health degrading situation. In the midst of all of this gloom about the uncontrollable crap of modern civilization killing us (they never mention that the total biomass of humanity is exploding which contradicts their that modern technology is killing us very quickly and efficiently) they then develop the idea that we can live forever by shooting little computer chips into our blood. They are not available today, but according to them they will be in a few years. Therefore, we should endeavor to stay healthy so we can have these nano-robots repair the damage the government is letting the food industry perpetrate upon us.

This is a long and tedious slog of a book covering the usual food faddist materials in considerable depth. If an average American were to switch from their current poor diet over to the recommended new diet and exercise program they would live longer. But, that really isn’t saying much because the average American is drowned in sugared pop, slathered with fat and pumped with poisons at every turn of the food machines spit. Their recommendations are reasonable enough but essentially impossible for anyone but a true fanatic to follow.

Just getting up from dinner and walking through the first TV show would do more good for more people than attempting to follow these arcane instructions because it is possible for actual human people to do.