From: Howard Jacobson <>
Subject: The Existential Agony of the Roomba

Confession Time

I spent 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon watching an infomercial about a vacuum cleaning robot, named Shark IQ or something like that.

It's a competitor to the Roomba, and the key feature of this remarkable little machine was that it solved Roomba owners' most pressing and horrible problem: having to clean out the little garbage tray and the filter every couple of days. 

How thrilled were these people, now that they could go an entire month without having to deal with the dirt on their floors!

I nearly wept with joy at their inspiring stories, one stacked on top of another, so happy to be alive at a time when humans are no longer relegated to spending up to three minutes a week keeping their floors clean!

Or something like that.

Looking back now, what I may actually have been feeling was despair for our entire f-ing species. 

But in another way, I totally get it.

'Cause man, we hate having to deal with filters.

I've got several filters in my house. One for the big Trane HVAC that sits on a slab outside the bedroom window.

One for the whole house dehumidifier in the crawl space (that sucker's filters are no fun at all to remove and clean, involving tools that I can never find, 20 feet of some awkward cross between crawling and spelunking, and a headlamp that chooses the most exciting times to run out of batteries). 

And one in the rolling vacuum cleaner that, in my Luddite stubbornness, still requires a human hand to turn it on and off, and guide it across the wood, linoleum, and carpets of my domicile. Not to mention the bags that get full enough to replace every month or so.

And maybe you can also count the lint catcher in the dryer. 

And I don't much enjoy dealing with any of these filters, I admit it. If I weren't so damn mature, I'd probably just let them be until some motor dies and a pump or fan craps out. 

Sometimes I wonder how the filters themselves feel. Do they sense the great responsibility that we foist upon them? Do they start getting nervous as their load of dust and debris approaches their carrying capacity? Are they like, "Hey, human, a little help here, please?"

Which brings me to the topic of health. 

This week, I've been talking with Josh LaJaunie about filters quite a lot. 

He's had to buy a bunch of new pump motors because the customers of his sewer company keep throwing "flushable" (they're not) wipes down the toilet.

He's working on improving his long distance race experiences and results by understanding and improving how his liver processes toxins.

He told me, "I used to think that I should eat for my heart. But now I'm understanding that I should really eat for my liver."

In other words, the pump or motor may be the sexy part of the system, but the filter is the first line of defense against damage.

You don't have to schedule maintenance on your internal filters. Your body wisely doesn't trust you to remember to pee and poop - if you try to put off the task, it just informs you that you really don't have much of a choice and you'd better find a bathroom right now.

Sneezing and coughing and vomiting are likewise involuntary actions. 

Where you do have a choice is how hard you tax your filters. Eat a junky diet, and your liver and other eliminative organs are going to work harder and wear out sooner than they need to as they try to protect your heart.

Drink a ton of booze and your liver is going to scar itself keeping the rest of your body from becoming toxic.

Smoke cigarettes and your lungs' alveoli are to burn themselves out trying to keep your brain well oxygenated.

Sure, your filters are going to do their best to spare your heart and brain from the consequences of a bad diet for as long as possible. But don't be fooled.

Those wipes say flushable, but they ain't.

That keto diet says healthy, but it ain't.

You're the filter, and the whole machine. You're the little dust tray, and the whole Roomba. 

Unlike the Shark IQ, you don't get an AI upgrade that allows you to go weeks without taking a dump. The only way you have of caring for your filtration system is by controlling what gets into that system on the front end. 

So the next time you're tempted to put something harmful in your body, think of that poor Roomba, fated to circle the dining room endlessly until its owner takes pity and empties its bin and cleans its filter. 

Take care of your liver, so your liver can take care of you.

This Week's Podcast: Healing Asthma with a Plant-Based Diet, with Margot Freitag: PYP 347

Continuing the theme of filtration, this week we cover the connections between asthma and diet. Margot is a health coach who survived the confusing teenage years trying every diet under the sun. In our conversation, we cover her journey from Sick to Fit, and also get a little nerdy about coaching and helping clients change entrenched patterns of behavior.

Special Deal: Get the 12-Week WellStart Health Program for Free (US and Canada only) - 3 spots available

I'm looking for three new 1-on-1 coaching clients, and I'm willing to make a deal to get them!

If you want to change your health habits and destiny, this is my flagship product. A full year of unlimited laser coaching (15-minute sessions), mp3 recordings of all calls, homework that we agree upon together, and as much accountability as you want or need.

That's just my coaching package. 

For the next 4 days only, I'll throw in 12 weeks of WellStart Health for no additional cost ($497 value). All you need is a valid US or Canada cell phone number (since SMS texting is an important element of the program). 

This includes:

  • short (2-4 minute) daily video lessons
  • coach moderated forum for questions, challenges, and community building
  • private SMS coaching with WellStart coaches
  • group video coaching calls
  • group video dietitian calls
  • large online library of action guides, recipes, and "No Recipe Required" meal ideas

The next WellStart cohort begins this coming Monday, November 11, 2019, and may be the last one we offer this year. If you'd like to participate for absolutely free, sign up for laser coaching with me by this coming Friday, November 8: 

Deep Thoughts About Vacuum Cleaning

"I've decided to sell my Hoover... well, it was just collecting dust." - Tim Vine

Why couldn’t the Buddha vacuum underneath his couch? No attachments. - Random amusing joke in a very bad subreddit on vacuum cleaner jokes

"The day I worry about cleaning my house is the day Sears comes out with a riding vacuum cleaner." - Roseanne Barr, from back in the day when it was OK to be a fan

Be well!