If you are what you eat, then the average person is a doughy mess. Today, more than 1 billion people worldwide are obese. In the U.S., one in three adults is obese. That’s about 66 million people. By 2030, that number will be close to 100 million. The average person’s diet is, for lack of a better word, atrocious. We are guzzlers of inordinate amounts of processed foods. Not surprisingly, what we’re consuming appears to be making us sicker.
Among the legions of self-proclaimed experts on health and diet, one internet personality who goes by the name “Raw Egg Nationalist,” is attracting quite a lot of attention — not just for his fitness tips, but for his searing condemnations of the Western culture and politics that have created this rampant obesity. He has built himself a cult-like following dishing out unorthodox advice that goes well beyond fitness — and while he is eccentric and amusing, his sensibility and humor are at times offensive and challenging to traditional conservatives.
So far, the anonymous bodybuilder has amassed 100,000 followers on Twitter, authored three briskly selling books, and has been publishing his own magazine, “Man’s World,” which is currently on its eighth issue. As his sobriquet indicates, he’s most famous for resurfacing one of the chief dietary prescriptions of pioneering bodybuilder Vince Gironda — men should chug raw eggs in order to improve their testosterone levels and build muscle.
To that end, Nationalist recently appeared in “The End of Men,” a documentary produced and hosted by Tucker Carlson. The message throughout the oddly entertaining documentary is clear: People are getting fatter, softer, and weaker. One of the major reasons for this has to do with the foods they are putting in their ever-expanding bodies.
Nationalist, who speaks with a rather posh British accent, comes across as an interesting character. A cross between Jordan Peterson and The Most Interesting Man In The World, Nationalist blends the sensational with the scientific. Dr. Peterson shot to fame telling young men to clean their rooms; Mr. Nationalist is busy telling men to clean up their diets.
Two of his books are essentially opinionated cookbooks that read like Gordon Ramsay telling gym rats what’s what. The first cookbook, published back in 2020, is called “Raw Egg Nationalism In Theory and Practice.” “Forget what you know about nutrition,” we’re told. Forget the “nostrums of a medico-political regime that has done nothing but sicken the world.” Instead, embrace “the wisdom and diets of mavericks like Vince Gironda, the Iron Guru.”
The second cookbook, published in July of this year, is called “The Eggs Benedict Option.” In this book, Mr. Nationalist warns readers that the globalists in Davos and beyond are preparing to implement “a new worldwide diet.” This diet, “almost entirely plant-based,” seeks to eliminate animal agriculture from the food-fueled equation. The globalists, we’re warned, are attempting to push “new alternative forms of protein” on the masses. While some might dismiss this as paranoia, it’s increasingly hard to dismiss the fact that there’s a concerted effort, particularly in Europe, to make life incredibly difficult for livestock farmers. At the same time, there is a genuine push to promote plant-based diets.
At the start of 2020, Nationalist told me, right-wing bodybuilders, very much his demographic, started knocking back raw eggs and sharing their experiences. Mr. Nationalist, who has “a deep background in health and fitness,” was intrigued. He hopped on the Rocky Balboa-inspired train and started slugging raw eggs. Although there is the slightest risk of salmonella poisoning from the ingestion of raw eggs, he remained committed to the yolky goal. “With raw eggs and heavy strength training,” he said, “I’ve gone from being a very lean 150lb martial artist to a 220lb powerhouse, in less than two years.”
Perhaps it’s credulous to believe one can add 70 pounds of muscle merely by “slonking eggs,” as Nationalist’s followers refer to the practice of drinking raw eggs. However, there is some sound scientific support for the idea that consuming raw eggs is particularly “anabolic,” i.e. muscle building. An oft-cited medical experiment found that burn victims who were given three dozen eggs a day experienced similar healing results as the victims who were given Dianabol, a steroid that’s also popularly used by bodybuilders to produce large amounts of muscle.
Nationalist also cites the work of Steve Riechman, an exercise physiologist based in the U.S. whose research suggests that “cholesterol consumption is actually more closely correlated with muscle growth than protein consumption.” Cholesterol has been demonized by the public health establishment for decades for causing heart attacks and high blood pressure, but now many are starting to question that assumption. In fact, in the experiment with burn victims being given three dozen eggs a day, doctors found that even though they were giving their patients upwards of 7000 milligrams of cholesterol a day, the eggs did not seem to affect serum cholesterol levels.
Nationalist observes that aside from being “one of the most anabolic [i.e. muscle-building] foods known to man,” eggs are “packed with protein and a whole host of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.” Further, consuming eggs raw “allows you to consume them in their purest form and in much greater quantities than if you cooked them.” If you’re so inclined, he insists, you can “slonk 50 raw eggs in a matter of seconds.”
It’s certainly true that raw eggs are packed with valuable nutrients and protein, as well as antioxidants that help keep our eyes, brains, and hearts healthy. But according to the egg-crazed, shaman-like enigma, “eggs have a symbolic and social value too. … They are the antithesis of the kinds of food — if you could even call it that — which we have pushed on us by our corporate overlords.” Eggs are also readily available to the masses; they “are cheap and can be produced easily, by just about anybody.” “You can’t patent an egg,” he says, “but you can patent a plant-based ‘egg,’ which corporations are doing at this very moment.” And, in fact, they are.
Even if slonking eggs proves to be good dietary advice, the idea that it’s at the core of a larger worldview may seem like a stretch. However, the enigmatic Brit told me the idea behind the movement is pretty straightforward: “A nation is only as healthy as the people of which it is comprised.” If the people are sick, then the nation is sick — mentally and physically. We do, after all, live in a world where the celebration of obesity has become a regular occurrence. We also live in a world where testosterone levels among young men appear to be dropping at an alarming pace and male fertility is on the decline.
For men, a healthy diet is directly associated with higher-quality sperm and increased testosterone levels. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to take as many as a minimum of 17,000 steps per day. The average human is likely to take fewer than 4,000. A century ago, obesity was extremely rare. Today, it’s omnipresent. Only the most myopic and/or delusional could look around and argue that humanity is on a path to nutritional progress.
Nationalist believes mass obesity is no accident — we are “encouraged to be sedentary passive consumers, stuffed full of disgusting food, hooked on so-called medicine, poisoned by the environment, and morally and spiritually weakened by pornography and a culture which denigrates masculinity, and male striving and achievement. … This can’t go on.”
Where Nationalist becomes controversial is that his health advice and cultural criticism are largely centered on helping men become strong and virile in a culture that is hostile to the very idea of valuing masculinity. The idea of “toxic masculinity” — a set of attitudes and behaviors common to men that are considered harmful to broader society — is nothing new. This deeply flawed term, according to the author Richard Reeves, is counterproductive in the extreme.
“Very few boys and men,” Reeves argues, “are likely to react well to the idea that there is something toxic inside them that needs to be exorcized.” Of course, bad men exist, and bad men do bad things. But men don’t have a monopoly on toxicity.
Given the open hostility to masculinity that has taken root in mainstream Western culture, it’s no surprise the Raw Egg Nationalist worldview is compelling to young men. “My message to men is quite simple,” he responded, “the world needs you. The world needs you now more than ever.” “Contrary to what you might be told,” he added, “masculinity is not toxic and men are not a threat to a healthy social order.” A healthy social order, he concluded, is “precisely what we don’t have today.” Instead, we have a slothful society, full of people eating themselves into an early grave.
Like cutting your toenails, perhaps the open consumption of raw eggs is not something to be done in polite company. It’s messy and not exactly appetizing, but Nationalist and many of his followers insist the raw egg diet is worth it. Slonking eggs isn’t just a matter of health, it’s a symbol of the commitment to restoring men’s rightful place in a world that still needs the strength and daring only men can provide.
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and cultural commentator. Follow him on Twitter, @ghlionn