Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

If you want to look absolutely fabulous, just eat more lettuce

Food glorious food, vexed subject for bluster, while we're in the mood, cut back on the custard. Apologies for butchering the lines of the song from Oliver. But food is everywhere. We're drowning in the stuff. We swallow it, we fight it off, but still it assails us.

It's at the heart of life, helping us survive and killing us slowly. From the moment we're born, the first desperate need is to consume pabulum.

It's even worse for wild animals, who don't have shops, but have to forage and kill.

Every day, the desperate itch must be scratched. It'd be fine to be free of it, but it seems to be the circular purpose of being.

I read recently that The Hobbit - subject of a forthcoming film, for which I already have tickets, natch - is all about devouring or being devoured.

It's about curbing excess and greed. And you thought it was just wee men capering aboot with swords.

The Hobbit's highest form of life, the saintly Elves, are pretty much vegetarian. The lowest, the Orcs or Goblins, eat anything that moves, including their own kind. You do the maths.

Los Angeles City Council has calculated the answer: one. Just one day a week meat-free is what it's asking of its citizenry.

No problem to a man of my victuals.

I eat meat but once a week, though I get through quite a bit of tuna and salmon.

But the proposal has caused a hullabaloo among sensitive commenters online, with accusations of social engineering. That's what you get for trying to make folk healthier.

Similar thing happened in Denmark, where they tried to impose a "fat tax" on blobular food. The Danes, like the Dutch, don't have those waddlers with the wide behinds that you see hirpling down our high streets.

But some still like their saturated fats and so have been sneaking over the border to Germany to stock up on stodge.

Now the Danish authorities have thrown in the towel and said: "Fill your boots, fatties. Have your heart attacks. See if we care."

Wading into the debate comes Joanna Lumley, star of Absolutely Fabulous, who fulminates: "Lots of people nowadays are too greedy. People think 'I must have a cupcake.'"

A cupcake? Do they really? How extraordinary. Nowt as strange as folk. Strangely, Joanna didn't stop there but went on: "What do you mean you must [have a cupcake]? You'll get fat, you fool."

A good point, intemperately made. Yummy Lumley (66) is a vegetarian who describes her diet thus: "I eat lettuce, followed by some lettuce, with lettuce." And do we want to take a leaf out that book, readers? Er, no thanks.

To what else does Joanna, who hates gyms and exercise, attribute her lithe frame? Answer: rushing about generally.

Hmm, not sure about that. Surely best to be a mellow fellow. However, it's hard to be mellow when life keeps poking you with a sharp stick.

My advice for inadvertent exercise is to buy two things: (1) a pair of reading glasses (2) a house with stairs in it.

Guaranteed that, when you're upstairs, the damned specs will be down. And - all together now - when you're downstairs, they'll be up. Correct.

But food, eh? By banging on about it I've made us all hungry. Lettuce be sensible about this: fill your face with fish.

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