Online conservatives claim that left-wing politics are the result of feminization caused by consuming everything from soy milk to tap water. And while there are endocrine disrupting chemicals in seemingly everything --a fact that should set off alarm bells for the left, right and center-- this feels like a mostly insufficient explanation.

In recent years, the internet culture wars have focused on sensational stories like Buzzfeed writers with low testosterone levels and a much debated study published in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal which found that physically weaker men are more likely to have favorable opinions on the redistribution of wealth and income.

I had always thought that my political leanings were the result of rational economic planning and a general commitment to the project of human freedom-- but maybe I had been poisoned by modernity. This summer, from June 1st to August 31st, I decided to try every internet folklore male improvement technique and see if it changed my beliefs. Here’s what happened:

• Mewing is an exercise technique for the tongue and jaw muscles with the goal of reshaping one’s face. In most cases this involves overpriced plastic bite guards or (much more affordable) mastic gum, derived from the sap of a rare tree that grows on the Greek isle of Chios. Increasing one’s bite strength helps to build up jaw muscles and create a more desirable Chad-like appearance.

This totally worked and has visibly improved my face. At first, I had a lot of jaw pain and frequent tension headaches, but overtime I refined my technique and got better. The trick is to chew up-and-down but *never* side-to-side! Doing it the wrong way can result in permanent joint damage. If you catch yourself doing weird jaw stuff, or rolling the gum between your teeth, immediately spit it out. Poor form is a sign that your muscles are getting tired. Remember to periodically take breaks from chewing and flatten the gum into a pancake shape on the roof of your mouth. By the end of three months you will see visible results. I recommend sugar free Falim gum, original or fruit flavored.

• Lifting has been an on and off hobby at various points in my life. At times, I have pursued it seriously. The program I’m currently doing is a variation on Zyzz’s personal workout routine mixed with a few posts taken from 4chan’s /fit/ board. Remember: half of all bro science is true. But you never know which half.

• Raw Onion Juice is a meme that has circulated on /fit/ for a few years. I mostly assumed it was a prank played on new posters who were unfamiliar with the customs of the community. As the legend goes: drinking raw onion juice will increase testosterone levels and result in bigger gains at the gym. Supposedly this has been proven to work on rats. On /fit/, new posters relay stories of violent stomach cramps and projectile vomiting onion smoothies. But these are impossible to confirm as actual experience or merely in-group collaborative fiction. I had to know for sure.

I chopped and blended two full onions: 1 white and 1 red. I drained this mixture through a coffee filter to separate the vegetable fiber from the pale pink liquid. During this time, my eyes were stinging extremely badly and it was difficult to pour accurately because I could not open them fully to see where the cup was. Spilling this mixture will fill the room with a powerful onion smell that is very hard to get rid of for days.

It didn’t taste good but it was not nearly as bad as I imagined. Lots of stomach pain, burps and hypersalivation (as if I was going to puke!) but this subsided after a few minutes. Afterwards, drink as much water as you can and eat some bread. Also, brush your teeth because this will be the worst breath you have ever had in your life (you will be able to smell yourself exhale, breathe through your nose as much as possible). For 48 hours after ingesting you will have noticeable body odor as the onion juice is excreted through your pores. Plan your IRL meetings in advance. You can't wash off the smell because it's coming from inside you.

Raw Onion Juice (yes, I took a video...)

• Phthalates are toxic chemicals that are everywhere. Right now, it's already in your blood and in your pee. Avoid drinking from flexible plastic containers. Basically, don’t touch plastic at all. I switched to fragrance free Simple soap. Soda cans are okay but most other canned goods have a thin plastic lining on the inside which must be avoided.

From here on, it gets harder. I remain in a constant state of anxiety trying to manage my consumption while avoiding toxicants. I buy fresh produce and when possible I bring my own cloth bag to the store-- the real worry is long term storage in plastic (especially for high fat foods, those are the most absorbent). Any cheese in a plastic container is leeching up tons of xenohormones. I now use glass and/or stainless steel containers for food & drinks.

• Xenoestrogens are an umbrella category for endocrine disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. To avoid these I had to cut out all seed oils; soybean, canola, sunflower, sesame, etc. This is tough because seed oils are used in all sorts of products from bread to chocolate. If you’re insane enough to eat out, avoid ordering fried foods because these will usually be cooked in canola oil (because it's cheap). Absolutely no alt-milks of any kind, they all have hydrogenated seed oils. Also, no cow’s milk: it has recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBHG). No beer: hops are full of phytoestrogens.

Honestly, you're going to have to pre-plan most of your meals. This is much easier if you work from home. This summer, I’ve basically survived on eggs, meat and vegetables. On the positive side, I feel great! I have sustained energy throughout the day and my mind feels sharp. If you can manage your consumption this will really improve your life. These rules are extremely tough and you're going to slip up once in a while-- but you’re also going to feel so good that you won’t want to cheat on the diet.

MOST IMPORTANT --if you take one piece of advice from this whole experiment-- do not touch receipts!!!!!!!!!! Ever. Do not let anyone hand it to you and definitely do not let the clerk put it in the bag with your food! As I pack up my groceries at the store, I am sure to make eye contact with the cashier and say “Thank you, I don’t need the receipt.” As an extra level of safety-- I attempt to walk away before it finishes printing.

I distinctly remember this one interaction: I was standing in the kitchen with my father as he recounted an exchange he had in the grocery store that afternoon, all the while holding a receipt in his hand. I felt overwhelming anxiety and began to slowly back away as if he were wielding a weapon. Even looking at a receipt now fills me with existential dread.

Seriously, thermal paper is the single most toxic thing you can come into contact with. It is literally covered in BPA or BPS and these chemicals are immediately absorbed through the skin. Remember, xenoestrogens are not “real” hormones. This stuff does not belong in the human body. It is poison. Be safe.

• Seed Retention is the holy grail of internet bro science. While one is tempted to assume this is purely a myth spread by pornography addicted internet lurkers, the science does seem to show a positive correlation between abstinence and testosterone levels (for at least the first week). However, as I soon learned, this is not a test of your body but of your soul.

To be clear, during no fap: ejaculation is permissible so long as it is not self-induced. But seed retention is the total preservation of your vital essence. Not one drop, under any circumstances.

There were many moments where this was extremely challenging. Cutting out porn was no problem-- for all my other internet weirdo habits, I’ve never had an issue with that. The trouble really begins around week 2 or 3, where interrupting thoughts will randomly pop into your head throughout the day. Thinking about not thinking about it is part of the problem. The most effective way of managing your mind is to physically shock the body. Immediately drink a tall glass of ice water. The cold sensation will force you to refocus your thoughts. Repeat as needed. After two glasses, a cold shower is the ultimate fail-safe. This is punishing but necessary. Weak men create hard times.

By week 6 or 7, you will feel like a completely new person with boundless energy and focus. Your mind will become sharper. Remember: you will not have gone this long without doing it, since you started doing it. You may not yet know your true potential. The hedonic treadmill is its own trap: an unending cycle of appetites that leaves you stuck in the same place. By stepping off, you are becoming free to truly move in the real world. Time will open up in new ways. This is a mental, physical and spiritual test that will change you.

I’m writing this part several days after August 31st and I’m still going. I think I might just live like this from now on.

• InfoWars: Super Male Vitality is a testosterone boosting supplement sold by the infamous alt-media conspiracy godfather Alex Jones. It contains a mixture of various supplements including: ashwagandha, maca root and tribulus terristris which has been shown to increase libido in rats. Super Male Vitality arrives as a liquid filled vial and is administered by dropper: two in the morning and one in the afternoon. The first shipment broke in the mail and I absorbed many weeks worth of doses through my skin while opening the package. It was euphoric.

This stuff will seriously fuck you up and I strongly recommend not doing it. The morning dose was extremely energizing. This isn't taking a multivitamin, it's getting high.

While I was able to maintain rigid discipline and commitment with every other challenge, I only made it two weeks on Super Male Vitality. Towards the end I found myself muttering out loud as I walked down the sidewalk while pumping my fists (after having spent over an hour at the gym). At the time I remember thinking-- if I can tell I probably look crazy to other people, my awareness of this fact must mean that I am still mostly in touch with reality.

The following day, I had a rage fueled outburst when someone linked a Bell Hooks PDF in the Discord. (That might have happened anyway.) I think I would have been able to ride this out if I slowly eased into these changes but doing them all at once while drenched in InfoWars juice pushed me past a hard limit. I stopped after the first two weeks. I’ve had a few hits recreationally since then.

Taking Super Male Vitality resulted in increased gains at the gym. The physical effects are great but the mental cost is too high. I think I have a new patch of hair on my back. My beard is fuller. And I’ve noticed a slight increase in overall body hair.

• Sunning your balls is definitely a made up meme designed to trick gullible internet weirdos into exposing themselves in public. My friend David told me that the best technique was to sun for 5 minutes daily to maximize virility. And that I should be careful to not overheat myself as doing so would reduce my sperm count. Midday is the ideal time for sunning because those hours have a broader spectrum of daylight, including UVB which increases vitamin D production. Pro-tip: you want to get direct and unmediated solar energy-- open up the windows so the glass doesn’t absorb any vital rays.

Five minutes of direct sunlight caused a moderate amount of discomfort and a general feeling of tightness that remained throughout the day. I didn't do it again.

Lessons learned:

This has been a miserable but enlightening summer. I’ve been thinking about doing a project like this for years. I’m glad it's finally done.

First major takeaway-- You’re not going to be able to manage your consumption thiscarefully. No one can. Living like this is akin to a religious or military type of discipline without any external support. You’re going to screw up. A lot. But this is actually the point-- more than the bodily transformation, the constant anxiety is the experience. Living in a state of vigilant paranoia is more potent than any xenohormone. I’m terrorized in the grocery store. I’m gang stalked by chemicals. The feeling never shuts off because it’s never safe. This stuff is literally in the water.

For me, this project was not about a simple before-and-after photo (gym selfie) or measuring a numerical increase in my T levels. Instead, I wanted to experience a material and spiritual transformation to learn if my worldview might be rooted in something of which I was previously unaware. After 90 days, my health has greatly improved. I no longer suffer from frequent headaches. My energy is constant and sustained throughout the day. I feel mentally sharper and more assertive. But I don’t feel as if my political leanings have changed. If anything I became more enthusiastic about data and planning. Its almost like fitness and policy are two separate things :thinking:

We’re already in a modern world where chemicals reshape our bodies. There is no possibility to exit and no viable path back to a “natural” equilibrium. The only clear position is to acknowledge this reality, to grasp this process and to steer it towards a future of our own intentional design.