Idyllic walks figure prominently in The Jane Austen Diet

Illustration for article titled Idyllic walks figure prominently in The Jane Austen Diet
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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.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!



The thing about England is, their countryside (where a predominant part of Austen’s books take place) are riddled with walking paths/trails. Same goes for Beatrix Potter. Her love of walks meandering her parents’ estate fostered her love of that land (and thank god at that, but that’s another story). Take Tolkien and his famous book, it’s one long walk with yer mates. I went on one once, and only after I’d booked the flight and was on my way did a friend mention that it was the very walk Tolkien went on many times that became the spine of The Lord of the Rings. I went on one that was called The Coast to Coast Trail. It went from one end of England to the other, sea to sea. I walked the length of England, but the weird thing was, having seen LotR (which was filmed in New Zealand) so many times, I felt like I’d already hiked it, in the order it appears in the book/movie. I was crossing “over hill and dale” which was a beautiful hobbit like setting, then the hellish-scapes of, well you get it. England. LOTS of trails of beautiful countrysides. LOTS.