The internet is a breeding ground for strange, and sometimes dangerous, challenges. Remember the milk crate challenge of 2021, which led to people injuring themselves after falling off unstable stacks of milk crates? Or what about the 100 layers challenge, where content creators were wasting hours and untold amounts of product to put on a hundred layers of lipstick, mascara, and nail polish — just to prove they could. Well, the latest challenge to gain attention is a solo venture by a man in Philadelphia named Alexander Tominsky, who challenged himself to eat a rotisserie chicken a day for 30 days straight. Later, he ended up extending the attempt to 40 days. His 40 chickens in 40 days journey has been documented on social media since Oct. 8, his 11th day of the challenge, when he invited people to follow along his journey.
I would like to Invite you all on a journey that I am on. I am eating a rotisserie chicken every day for 30 days. Today is day 11. I will keep you all updated as I get closer to my goal. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/HlFYrzGQIN
— smooth recess (@AlexiconTom) October 8, 2022
On November 6, Tominsky ate his 40th and final rotisserie chicken, and was celebrated among fans in Philadelphia. When The New York Times asked Tominsky why he took up such a challenge he apparently noted that he felt called to do something to make people smile, during a time when much of the world is in pain. “Sounds weird . . . but I just felt like I was doing this for a very important reason,” he said.
As you might expect, a daily diet of rotisserie chicken comes with some health side effects. When Tominksy first began, he was able to finish a whole chicken in 20 minutes. But as the challenge progressed, “he began feeling cramped up, bloated from all the sodium, and said that he came to believe that he could ‘feel the pulse of my heart in my stomach,'” the Times reported. His latest finish time? Two hours. Tominsky reportedly lost about 16 pounds across the 40-day challenge, as the rotisserie chicken was often his only meal of the day. (The Times and Tominsky did not say what size the chickens are. But the average rotisserie chicken is 2 pounds, or 32 ounces, per Betty Crocker.)
“This is just a little bit of an inconvenience and a sacrifice for the joy that it seems to be bringing people,” he told the Times. A rather selfless thought, if you ask me, especially considering that the side effects of Tominsky’s diet could have been much worse.
— smooth recess (@AlexiconTom) November 6, 2022
While a challenge like this “might not be dangerous in the short term, it is most definitely not healthy,” Marissa Meshulam, MS, RD, tells POPSGUAR.
For starters, “our bodies are meant to eat all the macronutrients — proteins, fats, and carbs — on a daily basis. If we were to eat only rotisserie chicken, we would be surviving off of fat and protein, but no real carb,” Meshulam says. “Our gut health relies on carbohydrates (specifically fiber) to survive. Lack of fiber in our diet can lead to gut health and digestive issues down the line.” Diets high in animal protein also contain a decent amount of saturated fat which overtime can raise our cholesterol, she notes.
“It can take time, but eventually our bodies would become deficient in the vitamins and minerals not present in chicken.”
The lack of carbs and the sat fat content aren’t the only problems. “Variation in our diets is vital to ensuring we’re getting all the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to survive and thrive,” Meshulam adds. “It can take time, but eventually our bodies would become deficient in the vitamins and minerals not present in chicken.” If you eat only chicken for long enough, you would become so depleted in vitamin C, for instance, that you could run the risk of developing scurvy, Meshulam says.
If you’re a die-hard rotisserie chicken lover and want to eat it every day, Meshulam says it’s possible to do so in a more balanced way. Sorry to Tominsky, but she suggests not eating the entire rotisserie chicken solo. “Ideally, we are eating the chicken with some non-starchy veggies (think: broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and a little bit of slow, fiber-filled carbohydrates (like roasted potatoes or quinoa),” she explains. You want to fill half of your plate with veggies and balance the other half with half chicken and half of another carb. “This will create a balanced plate that will provide us with energy and make sure that we are getting a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are key to survival,” she says.
As for Tominksy, he’ll be putting more variety back into his own diet. “My body is ready to repair,” he told The New York Times, noting that he’s eager for some sushi. Bon appétit!