Sunday 25 February 2018

Working it out - A diet in case I meet Juliette Binoche

Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche

John Masterson

It always amazes me how often other people mention the doctor. I am disturbingly healthy. I last missed a day's 'work' when I was in secondary school and was poleaxed with the flu. The result is that I never believe people who say they have the flu now, unless they are properly ill. Most have a head cold, and I do get those. Being male, I keep going and infect everyone in my path. I do concede that this is bad manners, but it is part of what I am.

Some years ago, I began to feel unwell and tired. I didn't even have a GP. I found one and after a while he discovered that I was coeliac. He also told me I had high cholesterol but I think they all say that. I ignored his advice to take some drug. I like my drug-free life and will probably drop dead tomorrow. Doctors think of cure. I think side-effects. All doctors tell you to lose weight, and there is no need to pay for that.

The coeliac cure is simple. Do not eat gluten. Within days, I felt better. Within weeks, I was back to myself. I could eat vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruit. I could not eat bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and the like. This was not a problem except that it is a bit a pain when you want a quick snack. A burger is out and a sandwich is as welcome as strychnine.

Frequently, these munchies strike at the middle of the day. One of the faults with male psychology is that if we have been well behaved, and our standards are low, then we deserve a reward. It is very easy to say that because you haven't eaten biscuits for a year you deserve an ice cream or a bar of chocolate. And to convince yourself not to look too closely at the label in case there is a tincture of gluten in there. Before long, I found that I hadn't eaten biscuits or cake or bread for several years and had rewarded myself most weeks with more chocolate and ice cream than any primary schooler would put away at a birthday party. I learned this from the only thing in life that doesn't lie. The weighing scales.

After years of never quite giving up the junk, I have now come up with a method that works. I call it the Free Pass diet. My Free Pass is Juliette Binoche. This is not a problem. Anyone smart enough to love me would also be smart enough to know I hadn't a chance. Myself? I fondly think I might have a slim chance under the right circumstances. One never knows when those particular circumstances will materialise. And this is the key to eating well. Juliette could be at the petrol station where I'm buying my treat. So I conjure up the image of having my gob wrapped around a choc ice with melted bits dripping on my shirt when there is a knock on the window and there she is, asking directions to Kilkenny.

Junk food has not passed my lips since. I live in hope.

Sunday Independent

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