The Healthiest Person Who Ever Died

In a recent column here on BIZCATALYST 360˚ — “A Calling to Purpose” — I philosophized about the difference between a calling and a purpose. At the time, I was sure writing was my calling and my purpose. But sometime shortly after publishing that column, I found a story published by NPR in 2016 — “50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat” — that changed everything.

Writing had been an internal compulsion; that is, a gift bestowed accidentally and congenitally. I was born a writer. My new calling and purpose, on the other hand, was an external compulsion; that is, a gift bestowed equally accidentally but environmentally, deriving, as it did, from the very milieus in which I live, learn, work, and work out. It’s existential, rather than artistic. It’s pragmatic, rather than creative. It’s physiological, rather than imaginative.

Yes. It’s true: I was re-born a health nut.

It’s all those things and more because, in reading the NPR story, I learned this:

An industry group called the Sugar Research Foundation [SRF] wanted to ‘refute’ concerns about sugar’s possible role in heart disease. The SRF then sponsored [alleged] research by Harvard scientists [$50,000 in today’s dollars] that did just that. The [ostensible] result was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, with no disclosure of the sugar industry funding … [John Hickson, SRF vice president and director of research said], “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.”

That was it. Content no more to put the fate of my health in the hands of ever-changing and ever-corruptible science (if nutritional science can be bribed and if climate science can be settled, God knows to what myriad manner of perversions other sciences are susceptible), I determined to take on my own health as my calling and my purpose.


I immediately adopted the Pre-Paleo Diet. Consisting only of rocks and bugs, it admits no processing, no preservatives —  indeed, no additives of any kind — no gluten, no dairy, no red meat (except Red Lily Beetles, Red Flat Bark Beetles, and the occasional Lady Bug), no fish, no fowl, no flesh reptilian or amphibian, nothing deriving from creatures with brains (which precludes the possibility of its adherents cannibalizing each other), and no sugar.

The nutritional benefits of the Pre-Paleo Diet are as significant as they are largely misunderstood and frequently overlooked. They include but are by no means limited to the facts that rocks are:

  • High in fiber
  • High in minerals
  • Good for promoting mandibular strength
  • Good for removing plaque from teeth
  • Effective breath fresheners.

Beyond the benefits derived from eating rocks, the benefits to eating bugs include but aren’t limited to the facts that bugs are:

  • High in protein
  • High in healthy fats
  • High in iron
  • High in calcium
  • High in vitamins
  • High in micronutrients
  • High in prebiotic fiber that promotes gut health and aids digestion
  • Low in carbohydrates.

In short, the Pre-Paleo Diet satisfies all of the militantly avant-garde dietary manias. Organic? Check. All-natural? Check. Non-GMO? Check. Local? Check. Raw foodism? Check. Low GI? Check. Low fat? Check. Clean conscience? Check.

Healthy to the End

This is serious business. I have one life to live. And life is not be squandered on the faint of heart or the commitment-averse. There’s a world of difference between what one would like to do and what one wants to do. If we would like to do something, we may or may not ever get around to it. On the other hand, if we want to do something — and if we want to do that something bad enough — we’ll find a way to do it, regardless of the effort, discomfort, exertion, or time it takes.

As a result of this new calling and purpose, then — as a result of what I want to do —  I’m committing myself to my health and to the brutal austerity of the Pre-Paleo diet. No cheating. No snacking, No deviations. No breaks. No distractions. No compromises.

I’m going to strip-mine the requisite rocks from my own yard. I’m going to harvest the bountiful bugs from what’s left of my dwindling lawn and my increasingly fallow gardens. I’m going to prepare nutrient-rich meals without regard for taste or texture. I’m going to adopt a suitably spartan lifestyle, fit for a self-sufficient, self-sustaining masochist.

I’m also going to adopt a relentless regimen of muscle-building, fat-burning, joint-saving, artery-clearing, brain-rejuvenating, anti-oxidating, stress-reducing, cartilage-regenerating, bone-densifying, hormone-enhancing, health-ensuring supplements guaranteed to keep my energy level and my metabolic rate high, my blood pressure and my body fat low, my muscles huge and my prostate the size of an un-ripened chia seed.

Then I’m going to die anyway.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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