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Maintenance Phase Has Made Me a Smarter, More Annoying Person and I Love It

I have one New Year’s resolution and that’s to become an insufferable person. That’s right, you heard me: I started listening to podcasts.

Turns out it’s actually a lot of work to become the worst person ever. There are just too many options. Plex has a lot of podcasts and they’re categorized – music, science, fiction, true crime, TV/film, health and fitness. But it takes a special kind of pretentious sociopath to listen so diligently and also absorb all the information. I always found myself tuning out like I do when people talk to me in real life.

But I finally found the one. Maintenance Phase has been my greatest podcast discovery and you all need to start listening to it if you eat food and exist in this world, but especially if you’re one of those people who’s still striving to “lose weight and eat healthy” as your New Year’s resolution. Not that that’s a bad resolution. I make that resolution every Monday when I buy kale (and throw it away on Friday). But there’s so much misinformation about the health and wellness industry, especially where I live. In LA, everyone is a “healer” pushing supplements and oat milk, and I feel like this podcast has given me the tools to yell at my friends about all the bad health and lifestyle takes they keep preaching as truth.

The hosts, Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes, are incredibly funny and smart, and I can’t confirm this, but they may be a little drunk during their show. Aubrey is an author, columnist for Self magazine and a “fat lady about town,” and Michael is a HuffPost reporter who talks super fast, like he’s just snorted some cocaine before turning on his mic. (Not mad about it.) They can have a whole episode about NFTs or sheep herding or whatever and I’ll be super into it because they not only do their due diligence with the research, but their delivery is just so fun and brilliant.

The sole purpose of the podcast is to debunk “the junk science behind health fads, wellness scams, and nonsensical nutrition advice.” This is exactly my jam, validating everything I instinctively know: celery juicing is stupid, diet foods are worse for you than regular food, Dr. Oz seems like a charlatan, mom influencers and anyone wearing a long flowy white dress selling adaptogens is suspect.

Sometimes it sounds a little like AP history class, and it sort of is, but it’s more like if your high school AP history class was Comedy Central’s Drunk History. And also told you the actual truth about the ethics of big corporations, the incompetence of our health and legal system, and how our racist past has shaped all of it. Super chill.

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One of the first episodes of Maintenance Phase I listened to was “Celery Juice” (“It tastes like a hate crime”). This is the one that actually hooked me, that put me on the path to being your annoying podcast listener friend, the life of the party.

At some point right before Covid, there was a literal celery shortage in LA because people were juicing like it was the elixir of life from the Philosopher’s Stone. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s put up signs either that they were all out of celery (so please stop asking) or limiting the amount of celery for each household. It was chaos. Like when we all started hoarding toilet paper, except it was celery, the thing that causes you to need toilet paper in the first place.

I have a good friend who swears by juicing celery. She drinks it every single morning on an empty stomach as prescribed by the self-proclaimed Medical Medium, Anthony Williams, who gets his “medical” advice from Spirit. Not a spirit. But Spirit, a presence that’s been speaking to him since he was 4 years old, and instead of his parents getting him treatment, they cultivated his delusion into a multi million dollar business.

Here he is curing Kim Kardashian’s psoriasis.

My friend would call me to grab her a couple of bags of celery on my Trader Joe’s run. And I did because I’m a ride-or-die friend even if you do stupid things, as long as you’re not hurting anyone or yourself. But I did feel like I was committing a crime buying celery for a household that had already met its limit. I’d be sweating at the register like they were going to send me to Trader Joe’s jail, put me in a hibiscus-patterned jumpsuit, and demand to know where these bags of organic celery were going and if I’d received the latest copy of the Fearless Flyer.

I was not far off from hiding a bag of Trader Joe’s organic celery in my vagina to sneak out for my friend.

Celery juicing is not even their craziest episode. It’s just the one I found most relatable because it’s such an LA thing, like discussing which freeway you took every time you arrive somewhere, intermittent fasting, and life coaches (many of whom are complete messes and highly unqualified to give life advice). But really it’s all an LA thing: the Master Cleanse, Moon Juice, detoxing, Halo Top ice cream diet, Goop. You name it, there’s a pocket of LA that’s dedicated their lives, money, and time to it. (“It’s like the wine moms who do yoga and they’re just on the border with anti-vaxxers.”)

There’s always something being sold to you as the ultimate cure-all remedy for weight, aging, depression, digestion, and “beauty,” whatever that means, and I want to be the annoying person who tells you that none of it is real.

Like Aubrey and Mike mentioned on Maintenance Phase (see, I’m already getting to my NY resolution), we’re resigned to the fact that the worse something tastes, and the more it costs, the healthier it is and the longer you’ll live. But I have no interest in committing to a life of misery so I can live long enough to watch most of my family and friends die.

Maintenance Phase is not a show about canceling people or guilting anyone out of doing what makes them feel good. I love that about this podcast. Get your Marianne Williamson crystals, watch your Oprah, and use forceps up your nose to cure your breast cancer if that’s what makes you happy. If you don’t like gluten (and know what it is), leave it out! If your low-fat diet works for you, godspeed. And if you’re a big fan of juicing celery (who hurt you?) by all means, poop your guts out.

Just know that I will be there reminding you that none of this is backed by science or medicine, and you will die sad and alone with bad knees and osteoporosis like the rest of us.

Anyway, I’m available for parties. HMU.

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Written By

Orly Minazad is freelance writer and regrets it every day of her life. She moved to the States from Iran in 1991 with her family seeking better opportunities only to waste them earning a Masters in Professional Writing degree from USC which no longer exists, cost a lot of money and for which she has nothing to show. No, she is not bitter at all. Why do you ask? Oh you didn't, ok. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles where she spends the day loading and unloading the dishwasher.

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