Friday 13 December 2019

Eat, drink and be merry - but take exercise too

Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales

John Masterson

Whether it is the power of Operation Transformation or an increase in New Year resolutions that are sticking, the roads are full of exercisers.

Sunday is the colourful Lycra cycling day, every other day is for walkers, joggers, even runners. People are talking about boot camp, or thinking about it. Twitter is awash with photos taken from the tops of mountains.

This all has to be good.

Alongside all this good behaviour and community support there is also the detox industry. I have always been suspicious of 'detox' unless you are a junkie or raving alcoholic.

They talk about your liver as if it was an air filter in a car. They will tell you about all of the toxins building up in your body, but just ask what particular toxins and you will not get any sort of a sensible answer. Or even a smattering of biology. You will be told your body needs to be flushed out. It doesn't. They will try to scare the living daylights out of you with suggestions that undigested food has been lodged in your colon for years.

No. It hasn't. Eat some porridge.

Princess Di's addiction to colonic irrigation has a lot to answer for.

Some years back I collected a woman friend to go out for dinner and a drink after she had done a residential detox. She was delighted with herself and felt great and as we ate a normal meal with wine she proceeded to tell me about her adventure and all that she had learned. Over the next half hour she came out with the greatest load of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo claptrap that anyone ever heard.

In her defence she is not strong on science. She is not good at big sums and if you threw a few percentages into a sentence she would glaze over.

She is very good at a difficult job but has a black hole when it comes to scientific method and evidence. She had believed all this nonsense and parted with a good wad of cash for the experience. As far as I could make out it was one giant scam, and she had paid a lot for a few days of good nutritious food, a comfortable bed, lots of exercise, no alcohol, and time to do some reading, all of which could have been, but perhaps would not have been, done at home.

Detox is stupid. That is what your lungs, liver, kidneys, skin are doing 24/7 and they are very good at it. So look after them well. Don't smoke. Keep fit. Don't go mad on the drink. Don't fry yourself in the sun. Eat a good mixed diet and you will probably give yourself another decade on this wonderful planet.

And if you don't believe me then take an hour and read Five Go Gluten Free and see the torture Anne inflicted on George, Julian, Dick and the poor dog Timmy.

That is the other important thing to do. Have a good few laughs every day.

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