- The Dropout -Elizabeth Holmes Really Did Learn To Love Green Juice
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are often said to have some unique living habits, be it basically living at their college campus-esque offices or wearing the same outfit every day in order to reduce decision fatigue. Elizabeth Holmes, who idolized tech leaders like Steve Jobs, is no exception to the Silicon Valley weirdness. Hulu's The Dropout, which stars Amanda Seyfried as the disgraced Theranos founder, the origins of one particular habit of Elizabeth's are examined: Her obsession with green juice.
In the opening moments of The Dropout, Elizabeth is asked, "If you are what you eat, what are you?" Elizabeth pauses for a moment before responding with, "green juice." However, Elizabeth didn't come out of the womb craving a glass of frothy grass. Instead, the show suggests that it was her boyfriend, Sunny Balwani, who encouraged her to drink the juice while flailing under the weight of Theranos failing. And by "encouraged," I mean he literally threw it on her when she told him that it tasted "disgusting" upon first sip.
In 2015, the real Elizabeth told Inc. that she adopted a vegan diet so that she could function on less sleep — she reportedly only got four hours of rest a night. John Carreyrou, who wrote the book Bad Blood about the fall of Theranos, wrote in the book that she never drank coffee, but instead downed juices made of spinach, parsley, wheatgrass, celery, and cucumber to stay awake.
While green juice was the core of Elizabeth's diet, it wasn't the only thing she consumed. She also enjoyed (?!) salads with no dressing, and spaghetti and tomatoes, with no oil.
Oddly, however, Elizabeth was allegedly quite private about what she ate. Her former assistant, Paige Williams, who worked for her from 2015 to 2018, told the FBI that she wanted to keep her diet a secret, allegedly because she was vegan and didn't want anyone making it a big deal.
Elizabeth's ultra-restrictive diet, however, isn't exactly brand-new for a Silicon Valley founder. Steve Jobs, who Elizabeth famously idolized, was also a plant-based eater, and, for a period of time, was a "fruitatarian," meaning he only consumed the reproductive parts of plants. (Think: Eating apples which grow on a larger apple tree.) Jobs thought the diet would help him stave off body odor, so he often skipped deodorant and showers. Sadly for Jobs — and those around him — he was incorrect on that point.
It's unclear if Elizabeth's diet choice was in direct response to Jobs' vegan diet, if Sunny really did pressure her to love green juice, or if it was a conscious choice she made to fuel her body in a way that felt best for her. Whatever the reason, however, Elizabeth's juicer certainly got a workout during her Theranos days.