When one considers the key takeaways from the works of Jane Austen, one probably comes up with a list that looks something like this: Don’t be an asshole, don’t be insanely greedy, be super practical about money but not if it means marrying an asshole, falling in love with your cousin is cool sometimes, don’t write letters to dudes you’re not going to marry, don’t catch a cold or you might definitely die, funny is good, stupid is bad, walks are nice. Also don’t jump off ledges, elope with miscreants, gamble, assume your paramour’s father murdered his wife, try to fix your annoying friend up with the local pastor, or play the piano badly.
Now, imagine you focused on the “walks are nice” bit, and went from there. That seems to be the premise of forthcoming book The Jane Austen Diet, and we are intrigued.
Cooking Light first pointed us in the direction of Bryan Kozlowski’s book, which arrives on March 19, and we’re... pretty into it? From the CL piece:
Kozlowski was working his way through all of Austen’s novels while attempting a “personal wellness project” to become healthier and happier as he entered his thirties. However, he kept finding the latest evidence-based research on health, diet, and exercise lined up with much of the wellness beliefs Austen shared in these writings over 200 years prior. …
“Living in a culture that embraced excess in all its unhealthy forms, Jane peppered her novels with counter-cultural solutions meant to inspire and gently poke us to better alternatives,” Kozlowski said.
And yes, walks are a big part of that. Per CL, Kozlowski added a pre-breakfast walk to his morning ritual, and found that he “started to feel more energized throughout the day and slept better at night after adopting this principle.”
The Cooking Light piece doesn’t detail all the practices Kozlowski implemented (and that piece is worth reading in full), but it suggests that unlearning “some of the worst prides and prejudices I picked up from our modern dieting culture” plays a key role. And that makes some practical sense. If his pursuit was a healthier and more mindful lifestyle, not a strict calorie-counting regime, adhering to the principles of a novelist who valued self-knowledge and fresh air almost equally would seem like a good fit.
We’re sincerely hoping that the book includes a chapter on the value of jumping into a lake with most of your clothes on before heading back into Pemberley. That’s not a Jane Austen principle, that’s a Pride And Prejudice miniseries principle, but we think it’s worth exploring.