James Altucher described his current diet on episode 236 of his podcast as the “Airbnb diet.”

James recently threw out all his possessions and lives permanently in Airbnbs out of a single travel bag.

He has become known for a minimalist lifestyle (although he doesn’t like to call it that) and his eating habits are a component of this.

James’ Airbnb diet consists of no cooking and no shopping.

This is fascinating to me because it challenges the mainstream ideals of what is required to be “healthy.”

Most of us assume that in order to be healthy, we cannot eat out frequently and we must shop for groceries and cook our meals.

In the podcast episode (about 30 minutes in), James identifies the flaws in this model and describes how he beats the system by taking advantage of today’s “access economy.”

No cooking

By not cooking, James has his meals prepared by “world famous chefs.”

This is undoubtedly expensive, especially in a place like New York City where James lives. But he argues that you don’t have to order food from top-tier restaurants. Most people can get healthy takeout meals from Whole Foods or other local restaurants no matter where they live.

By ordering takeout, James saves time on cooking and cleaning, which he reinvests in sleeping 8–9 hours a night. This makes him healthier and more productive.

No shopping

There is no shopping in the Airbnb diet because there is no need to keep groceries on hand for cooking.

Avoiding shopping also empowers James to avoid mindless snacking. He knows if he sets foot in a store, he’ll be tempted to buy a bag of Doritos, which will inevitably end up in his stomach.

His argument is that even a single serving of dessert at a local restaurant is better than eating an entire bag of Doritos and he is absolutely right. Calorie-wise, a piece of pie is much better than an entire bag of chips.

James does not keep any snacks in his Airbnb. In fact, he doesn’t snack at all. He only eats twice a day, which is exactly what I do.

I’ve found that fasting daily not only helps me stay lean, but also prevents decision fatigue, which is one of those hidden dangers of everyday life.

The James Altucher Show is one of my favorite podcasts. James always brings incredible guests and insightful ideas to the table.

You can check out episode 236 and other previous episodes on iTunes here.


I’ve been experimenting with my own form of the Airbnb diet lately by cutting back on cooking and shopping.

I thought it would be more expensive, but surprisingly, it isn’t noticeable.

I can go to the grocery store and buy ingredients to cook a healthy dinner for me and my wife and spend maybe $15 on some protein, veggies, a starch side dish, and some salad stuff.

Or, I can get an equally healthy and filling dinner for two at Chipotle for $20.

The benefit of an extra 1–2 hours a day saved from cooking and cleaning and more sleep far outweighs the additional cost.

I’m now experimenting with eating family style takeout over the course of multiple days.

For example, I can get a 10-chicken kabob family meal from Zoe’s Kitchen with a side of roasted veggies and grilled potato salad for $32. This feeds us for about 2.5 meals.

As I tweak the system, I’m sure I’ll make it even more cost-effective.

You should always question the status quo and experiment with different routines that might make your life better.

Just because a certain approach is the gold standard, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to achieve a desired result.

In this case, the desired result is a healthy diet.

You might have been led to believe that takeout is a wasteful way to achieve this. But if you look at the big picture (e.g., not just money, but money, time, and mental energy), it might actually be the most optimal way.

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