The tech world has a fascination with what they call "biohacking" or experimenting with your environment and diet in order to gain control of your biology. Though, the rest of the world might just call this "wellness" or "healthy habits." Along with bulletproof coffee and intermittent fasting, two popular "bio hacks," many Silicon Valley dwellers have taken to eating a diet of one specific food all the time.
Tech bros are drawn to Soylent, the soy-based meal substitute, because downing a bottle is faster than eating real food. Steve Jobs famously ate an all-fruit diet. Similarly, Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of the biotech company Theranos and longtime fan of Jobs, also had a very specific diet consisting of green juice and bland salads.
Holmes's rationale for her unusual diet was also driven by her utilitarian, workaholic tendencies. Early on in her career, Holmes adopted a vegan diet, because she found that staying off animal products allowed her to work later without sleep, according to a 2015 Inc. story. She worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and allegedly slept four hours a night. And working long hours was simply part of Theranos's toxic company culture; security detail would clock when people entered and exited the building, and Holmes would question people who didn't want to work over the weekends.
Despite her gruelling self-inflicted work schedule, Holmes never drank coffee, although she occasionally would eat chocolate-coated coffee beans for energy. Instead, she ran on a green juice blend of spinach, parsley, wheatgrass, celery, and cucumber. In John Carreyrou's book, Bad Blood, he writes that Holmes had a personal chef who made her salads and green juice throughout the day. A 2014 Fortune profile about Holmes described her typical dinner as "spartan": mixed salad with no dressing and oil-free spaghetti with tomatoes.
While we don't know exactly what drove Holmes's particular — and oft-publicised — diet, her quirks mirror her attitude toward clothing. Famously, she only wore black turtlenecks, black pants, and a black jacket as a way to simplify her routine. "It makes it easy, because every day you put on the same thing and don't have to think about it — one less thing in your life," she told Glamour in 2015. "All my focus is on the work. I take it so seriously; I'm sure that translates into how I dress." It certainly seems like her idiosyncratic diet was another way to simplify her routine.
Although you may feel intrigued by Holmes' diet — along with her clothing, hair, makeup, and voice — it's important to point out that this "bio hack" isn't advised, and could harm your relationship to food. "Food and nutrition is about so much more than just the macronutrients and micronutrients," Alissa Rumsey MS, RD, a dietitian who specialises in intuitive eating, and creator of the Ditch the Diet Challenge told Refinery29. "Food is something that is meant to be enjoyed, not for the vitamins, minerals or fibre it provides, but for the taste and the pleasure it brings us." And, for what it's worth, green juice isn't that good for you anyways.