When you’re Britain’s top secret agent, you gotta be in fantastic shape. You need to excel in hand-to-hand combat with sinister henchmen, look suave in a tuxedo, and attract enough women that you rarely go to bed alone – and often all three of these in the course of 24 hours.
For this article, I went straight to the source – Ian Fleming’s original novels – to figure out how James Bond was able to stay very thin at six feet tall and 165 lbs.
James Bond’s Diet
Bond would have been horrified at the six-meals-a-day trend currently going on. Carrying around Tupperware wherever you go? Uh-uh. JB is strictly a three meal guy. Anything more would be too high-maintenance. And he’s right, too. The many-small-meals fad is mostly based on shoddy science. Much easier to do the traditional breakfast-lunch-dinner. Your metabolism will be just fine.
Also, Bond ate nothing but Real Food. Of course, these books were written during the 50s and 60s, when the Processed Food Revolution was still years away. But it makes you think… I’ve always maintained that the turn towards refined food has led to more obesity and illness than any other dietary shift.
If there’s a “signature James Bond meal” it’s scrambled eggs. He eats them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – generally with coffee and bacon or sausage. Bond ate so much that Fleming even included a recipe for them in his short story “Thrilling Cities”:
For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
5-6 oz. of fresh butter.
Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.
While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes.
Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music.
Most people would freak about that much butter – that’s a whole stick up there – but you should throw it in anyways. It will give you the creamiest scrambled eggs you have ever tasted and provide you with the important fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, and K. Besides, the low fat fad has been exposed for the sham that it always was. Time to celebrate by gorging on fatty foods!
Okay, Bond doesn’t eat scrambled eggs ALL the time. When he’s abroad, he likes to eat the regional specialties, and when he’s back in Jolly Old England, he prefers simple but tasty food. Here’s the typical fare for him:
- Soft-boiled eggs
- Whole wheat toast with butter, strawberry jam, marmalade, and/or honey
- Grilled sole
- Brie cheese
- White Bordeaux
- Baked eggs
- Cold roast beef
- Potato salad
The James Bond Workout
- Push ups
- Lying leg raises
- Pull ups
More importantly, Bond is a sportsman. He plays golf on the weekends, skis occasionally, and swims whenever he gets the chance. By making exercise more fun and less of a grind, he is able to easily integrate it into his life.
Oh yeah, a little hand-to-hand combat is always a great workout as well!
The Moral of the Story
I know, I know. James Bond is a fictional character and, as such, you should not be taking his lifestyle as written by his author as the way to get in the same shape as him. After all, Fleming also wrote that Bond drank half a bottle of hard liquor each day (wow) and smoked sixty cigarettes every day (wow wow wow).
I just felt like doing my own tongue-in-cheek take on all the celebrity diet and workout pages, and give my long-suffering readers a breather from all the heavy philosophizing I’ve been swingin’ around recently.
All kidding aside, it’s important to remember that these books were written at a time before everyone got worried about calories, started de-fatting all their food, and dropped big money on gym memberships, and yet on average they were in much better shape than we are now.
The James Bond novels described in great detail the things in Bond’s life, including his diet, lifestyle, and exercise. It’s safe to say that during the time these books were written, most people were eating Real Food and getting all their exercise outside the gym. And yet they still didn’t have the problems with obesity and the diseases of civilization that we face today.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my martini’s starting to get warm.