Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Do or diet

Happy New Year to you all!
I have been ashamedly silent for the past month. This has been because of the manic activity surrounding Christmas. Church services, school events, family get-togethers... it has been non-stop. Now it feels odd to be so quiet. Do any of you feel the same - that you just don't know what to do with yourselves now that you're not rushed frantically off your feet? I always dream of these times - to sit down and read a book or do some writing. But when it arrives I find myself toe-tapping and fidgeting. So really, I had no excuse not to update my blog and start this year off as I wish to continue.

Since new years are synonymous with diets I thought I could dedicate this post to that very theme, especially since the BBC has some juicy articles on the subject. The first was this piece on Lord Byron - first of the faddy flab-busters. Mind you, his diet sounded appallingly awful for the man who advocated hedonism and pleasure in many of his writings. I wonder if he had a special exercise routine that he could have made a DVD from nowadays - Look Pale and Interesting in a Month! This is what a fascinatingly named Victorian had to say about it all:

[Dr George Beard wrote] "Our young ladies live all their growing girlhood in semi-starvation...[in fear of] incurring the horror of disciples of Lord Byron". It didn't help that Byron himself had suggested that "a woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be lobster salad and champagne, the only truly feminine and becoming viands".

To be honest with you, a diet of lobster and champagne sounds rather delicious, and certainly much more interesting that rice cakes and miso soup. And as for women never to be seen eating, well that could explain a lot behind secret snacking nowadays. But was Lord Byron anything to write home about? Judge for yourself from this image:

Lord Byron
He's looking the other way. Quick! Grab a pasty and eat it in one!
A pasty? Yes, indeed. Because this is the second item that caught my attention today, and which flies against the grain of any diet, celebrity or not: the combination of starchy potatoes, fatty pastry and red meat - which will be the subject of the world's first pasty competition in March, as the BBC revealed
Cornish pasty 
The humble pasty, which is Cornwall's first and arguably most famous foray into fast food, now has EU protected status which hopefully means that any shocking adulterations of its natural state will be vilified. Just the other day I walked past a Cornish Pasty Company stand that was advertising apple pasties alongside other bizarre combinations. In my mind, this is like putting chicken tikka on pizza: a culinary culture clash.
Unfortunately I can't indulge in pasties anymore, my digestion being rather delicate these days. The combination of fat, starch and protein is just too much unless I want this Cornish celebrity to keep visiting time and time again. Armed with digestive enzymes I might be able to tackle on but would need to be kept in solitary confinement until the digestive processes have run their course.
So what will my diet be for this year? Well it certainly won't be the following: 

An old advert for bathroom scales

I don't allow scales in the house because if I did they would end up being hurled out of the window in rage and despair. I live with two people who seem unable to gain weight, leading me to the conclusion that I am absorbing their fat through osmosis or similar. It's settling happily on my upper arms, tummy, bum and thighs each time my husband or daughter eat a doughnut or chocolate bar whilst I munch boredly on a lettuce leaf. My daughter has taken to loudly reassuring me in public: 'You're NOT FAT MUMMY!!!' while I bumble along in my puffa jacket which, despite being in slimming black, is not slimline.

What the above illustration does not show is the mother balaning precariously on her tiptoes, other leg in the air, trying to bring the weight down a stone or two. She'd have lost the sheet too covering her modesty - it all adds extra pound-age. On the rare occasions that I do weigh myself this is what happens, as I squint at the figure through nearly-closed eyes, so worried am I to see the amount. This nearly results in serious injury as I crash into a cabinet or flat on my face on the bathroom floor so I think I will play it safe in 2012 and follow the delusion diet. That way everyone is happy.

All the best for 2012!