Steve Jobs' food weirdnesses: Fasts, living on apples or carrots for weeks on end, fruit smoothie diets


Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Some of the most fascinating tidbits in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio are about the Apple founder’s bizarre eating habits:

Carrot and apple fasts
Jobs was affected by the book Diet for a Small Planet in college: “That’s when I pretty much swore off meat for good.” But Isaacson notes, “But the book also reinforced his tendency to embrace extreme diets, which included purges, fasts, or eating only one or two food, such as carrots or apples, for weeks on end.” A friend told Jobs, “There is a story about Steve turning orange from eating so many carrots, and there is some truth to that.” As Jobs says, “Friends remember him having, at times, a sunset-like orange hue.”

Eating nothing but fruit, and shunning deodorant, in 1977
“Steve was adamant that he bathed once a week, and that was adequate as long he was eating a fruitarian diet,” Mike Scott told Isaacson.

His diet during the early years at Apple: spitting out soup that contained butter
Jobs daughter Lisa “watched him spit out a mouthful of soup one day after learning that it contained butter….Even at a young age Lisa began to realize his diet obsessions reflected a life philosophy, one in which asceticism and minimalism could heighten subsequent sensations. ‘He believed that great harvests came from arid sources, pleasure from restraint,’ she noted.”

More fasting, cleansing, and restrictive diets as he grew older
“He would spend weeks eating the same thing—carrot salad with lemon, or just apples—and then suddenly spurn that food and declare that he had stopped eating it. He would go on fasts, just as he did as a teenager, and he became sanctimonious as he lectured others at the table on the virtues of whatever regimen he was following.”


Image Credit: Albert Watson

He coulda been a restaurant critic
“He could taste two avocados that most mortals would find indistinguishable, and declare that one was the best avocado ever grown and the other inedible.”

The fruit smoothie diet
After his liver transplant,”He would eat only fruit smoothies, and he would demand that seven or eight of them be lined up so he could find an option that might satisfy him. He would touch the spoon to his mouth for a tiny taste and pronounce, ‘That’s no good. That one’s no good either.'” His doctor finally told him, “Stop thinking of this as food. Start thinking of it as medicine.”

At the end of his life, he wanted to fast when he needed to eat
“When he was young, he learned that he could induce euphoria and ecstasy by fasting. So even though he knew he should eat—his doctors were begging him to consume high-quality proteins—lingering in the back of his subconscious, he admitted, was his instinct for fasting and diets…[his wife] would get angry when he came to the table and just stared silently at his lap. ‘I wanted to force him to eat,’ she said, ‘and it was incredibly tense at home.’…Powell talked to eating disorder specialists and psychiatrists, but her husband tended to shun them.”

‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson: EW Review
Steve Jobs: Famous folks he met and what he thought about them

Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • Ray

    That guy is a f**king weirdo. As smart as he was, business-wise, his diet made him look like a scarecrow.

    “He lectured others at the table on the virtues of whatever regimen he was following”. This is even more hilarious. With not enough protein, his body was probably burning off muscle tissue, hence the hipster scarecrow look.

    • arsl

      With all due respect, I believe the above comment is simply rude. (I’m taking offense at the fwierdo)
      Yes, the eating behavior/mental eccentricity of Steve Jobs is strange, but it’s also fascinating. An interesting insight into the mental mechanisms and foibles of a genius innovator. But at the same time, there’s a level of sadness to it – a surprising lack of joy in living that can be inferred from his angst in eating,

      • Ray

        weirdo : (slang) A strange, odd, eccentric person.

        Rude or not, you called him eccentric too. So, with all due respect, get over it.

      • Matt

        Actually Ray, given the context (that he just died due to cancer), your comment is insensitive, and providing a definition does not change it. You’re mad at Arsl for getting emotional about your insults, but you are cursing and getting emotionally charged about stories of a man you never met. Maybe you should get over it.

      • Matt

        Oh Matt, don’t be such a f**king melodramatic queen. I was over it before I even commented. Get over yourself, sensitive boy.

      • Steve’s Ghost

        Ostrich tickle feather treatment each and every Wednesday. Warm milk baths. Virgin goat weekend rides on the beach.

        You just didn’t know me. Face it.

      • trevor

        People like Matt make me question the entire world. People like Ray give me hope. Its never ending. People are pansies

    • Jane

      Well, if anything, he did “Think Differently.”

      • solomon

        jane it was really “think different” and not “think differently” as presumed by you.

  • Saultxy

    Well, the food asceticism obviously didn’t help his health, did it? Thinking different is not always genius or a win. Eccentric is putting it nicely.

  • Vicki

    I think this is pretty sad news- he obviously had an eating disorder.

    • Steve’s Ghost

      It isn’t easy being a big eater when your insides look like an Alien movie. Cut me some slack people.

  • Saultxy

    I agree with the above comment by “arsl” that there is something very sad, punishing and pinched about Steve Jobs. … It is said that the flip-side of huge ego is no genuine self-esteem.
    There may be an unwind by family, friends and close associates, not unlike detox from a cult. Time will tell.

  • Saultxy

    You know that ancient saying: sound mind, sound body …

    • Kimberly

      makes for a very creepy looking fellow

  • Shemale

    He was his own worst enemy.

    • Ap

      Pretty much

  • amy

    Very odd! Does seem like as intelligent as he was he would’ve recognized that he had a problem and got help.

  • frank

    The more i read about this guy, the more i think i am reading about Howard Hughes. Let the guy rest in peace and listen to your ipods. Enough already. The guy was smart but he wasnt immortal. If he lived on earth with the rest of us, he might still be alive.

  • wow

    What a psycho. I would kill myself if I worked for a guy like that.

    • Steve’s Ghost

      I heard that.

    • MAC


  • kerry

    Maybe that psychotic food regimen actually helped fuel this disease. Food for thought (pun intended).

  • Noble

    Sounds like he was anorexic. That certainly couldn’t have helped with his illness. In fact, it probably exacerbated the cancer.

    • janine

      Self-destruction certainly. He needed a psychiatrist.

  • marissa

    The man was not a genius, maybe he was smart but he didn’t know anything about health and wellness. Fruit is high in acid and people should be high on the GREENs that are raw and low on the fruits. They also should have a balanced diet with alot of cardio. Yoga is good but not a great cardio exercise. Lack of oxygen feeds cancer cells. Oxygen kills cancer cells. Green food is high in oxygen. Fruit can feel cancer cells. Lack of cardio feeds cancer cells.

    • Dan Golay

      You’re right, Jobs should have been using greens such as Brocoli that fight cancer, increase circulation, oxygen and alkalinity. He was completely on the wrong track and why did it take him 9 months to figure it out. Effective, safe and natural cures were out there all along. Why he missed the effective therapies is a real mystery.

  • Jerry Porter

    Steve Jobs was a rare person who could focus his very being on a current problem or situation and reach an instant brilliant conclusion; most important was he simply recognized the significance of his own insignificance. For that he should be envied and respected forever.

  • Dan Golay

    On Steve’s Fatal Alt Med Course of Treatment.

    Steve looked especially gaunt after his liver transplant. He followed the low fat vegan diet of his heart-diet doctor Dean Ornish to treat his cancer. There are a lot of different roads to take in alt med and apparently Steve didn’t pursue any that led to a cancer cure.

    If he had done sufficient research he could have found strong effective natural therapies such as vegetable juicing that use Sulforaphane to kill cancer cells without dangerous side effects. He could have found valuable resources and web sites that could have helped him overcome his cancer like, or followed the research of alt med pioneers like Drs Lorraine Day, Cynthia Foster, Richard Anderson, Richard Schultz, Andrew Saul, Stanislaw Brezinski and Nickolas Gonzalas.

    The information is available on the web for anyone to cure virtually any disease with powerful natural cures that are suppressed in the media and by a powerful, deceptive and vicious monopoly-medicine machine called conventional medicine.

    At least Steve tried to save himself, albeit with an ineffective diet regimen that didn’t remove poisons from his body – otherwise known as detoxification.
    He failed to do his homework and chose a wrong fatal path. The cures are available to those courageous enough to explore alternatives and save themselves.

    It puzzles me that Steve chose such a lame alternative method such as a low fat vegan or macrobiotic (brown rice based) diet with vegetables. Diet alone doesn’t remove any toxins or waste from the body which is necessary to heal anything. Fasting as a detox method only works when one is young and healthy. Only powerful juices and superfoods (see can remove poisons and detox the body enabling the body to heal itself.

    I’m sure now the sheeple mass media machine will now blame alt med for Steve’s death. What a PR bonanza for them. I admire Steve’s courage and independence but he failed to sufficiently research alt med cures for cancer.

    The books like Politics in Healing and Knockout by Suzanne Somers are available on the web. Thank God the word about natural medicine is finally getting out to a suffering humanity.

    There is a vast area of worldwide university research on natural remedies that are ignored in the mass media that’s provided at Steve, otherwise a smart guy, didn’t do his homework and chose a weak ineffective course of treatment, As John Wayne said once, “Life’s tough – it’s even tougher when you’re stupid”. Rest in Peace Steve, You were one of our best.

  • aughra

    I wonder if he was a supertaster? They have a billion more tastebuds than average (slight exaggeration), so the food world is quite different. The rest of the disorder would be trying to make a virtue out of this weakness/different relationship to food.

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