Diet. The papers are full of it - too much sugar, go vegan, vegetarian, pecan, paleo, clean and macro. Each dietary revolution is is explored while half the world starves. This gloomy scenario doesn’t preclude a basic problem: I’m not a Space Oddity who can orbit the issue by swallowing a daily protein pill - at some stage of the day I have to take a massive gamble and put food in my mouth that some expert somewhere will probably declare disastrous for me.
The fact is I frequently, whatever I eat, feel tired and although I try and comfort myself that there are other matchstick men such as John Cooper Clarke and Ronnie Wood who have made it to old age despite having the physiques of broom handles there is a real reason for taking this unwholesome dietary mania seriously. Coeliac disease is potentially in my genes although this particular bone breaker seems to have skipped my grandparents’ generation over.
Whenever I get bludgeoned with the latest dietary thing I think of my Grandad - few weeks went by without a trip to the chip shop, potatoes boiled in oil and cod entombed in gluten and every Sunday was marked with a roast, the congealing joint and potatoes basted in the fat of the goose. Less days still passed that were not washed down with beer and breakfast was invariably fried. After this strict diet of beer and chips Grandad died at eighty nine and most of his pals pegged it at a similar age.
My blood test was negative except deep down I do not believe it because I’m a whippet no matter what I try. Perhaps I should be grateful - there are even some who envy me. ‘All he needs is a plate of steak and chips’ my Uncle, heavily anaesthetised on Fosters lager and something of a lifestyle guru declared. So that is what I had for a whole week - to no avail, not a single pound adding its contribution to my meagre weight. Nothing, cakes and ale included makes any difference.
Once, my partner decided to get scientific and explained with charts and graphs how I could attain my calorific count for the day based on the needs of a ‘typical man’. It was impossible. Being somewhat atypical I came to the conclusion that to hit the required number of calories I would have to spend the entire day and half the night eating at the exclusion of all other activities. There is another practical difficulty too.
As soon as I have the feeling of being full the sensation nearly always knocks me more than half comatose. For this reason I try to put off eating for as long as possible, sometimes with cruelly comic results.
On Boxing Day morning at around 11:30 I finally gave in an knocked up what my Uncle would have approvingly described as ‘a bloody good fry up’ for four people - and yes, one doesn’t eat eggs, another won’t touch gluten and the other’s a pescatarian vegetarian turning the whole act into a performance of mental gymnastics. By the time I had the whole shebang of beans, eggs, hash browns and bacon perfectly coordinated the door bell rang and a further four people arrived. With the influence of The Muppets’ Christmas Carol still upon me I upgraded the breakfast to include our unexpected visitors demolishing a tray of eggs and two packs of bagels in the process. It was a mighty challenge trying to incorporate the raw with the cooked and serve the whole lot with satisfying synchronicity sans frayed temper - it was a modest achievement especially as I was trying to adjust to the giddy ship sensation that accompanies rapidly plummeting blood sugar levels.
Naturally, by the time I’d flipped the comestibles onto the platters and ran back and forth in a sort of relay race where the baton was replaced with sauce bottles and pepper grinders the feast was done and there was none left over for me helping me maintain my strict adherence to the highly recommended clean diet espoused by celebs and rock stars.
|Photo: Su Joy - A delicious free from breakfast. Of course, you could play it safe and nibble the flowers|