5? 7? 10? (and 5:2)


That’s it. I’ve had it with numbers. Or at least numbers and food. After two years I’ve modified the 5:2 to scrape a scant 6:1. I try to live by the five helpings of fruit and veg per day. But now we’re supposed to be eating seven helpings a day (five veg and two fruit). Which is a step up from five overall, and several below the 10 that someone (Australia? Fruit bats? The man from Del Monte?) opine that we should be getting through.

This is all very well, but my tummy can’t cope. By the end of last week I’d lost count, quaffing so much green and leafy and orange and red and yellow and back to green again, in the belief that they’d help me live for-roughly-ever, that I’d turned into some kind of aerobic compost digester slurry tank thing, with an abdomen like a drumskin, feet a distant memory, peculiar gurglings and considerable discomfort. But Ireland saved me. For three days over the last weekend I ate nothing but hot cross buns, toast, bagels, croissants, pasta, sandwiches and, in my last hurrah on Sunday afternoon, just bread bread bread. Result: gastric calm, flat stomach, abdominal silence. Marvellous.

But, as we have established in the past, despite working in the media I remain incredibly suggestible in matters that tweak my hypochondria. So the news that I haven’t been eating enough fruit and veg NOT FIVE DAYS AFTER I FOUND THAT YES I RUDDY WELL WAS – AND THEN SOME, pushed me to try and find out whether it’s actually possible to eat 10 helpings of fruit and veg (mostly veg) a day as the experts recommend. And ta-da! Yes it is. If they had said it’s possible to eat 10 helpings of fruit and veg (mostly veg) a day without discomfort, then ta-da! No it isn’t. Try and get through that lot, my friends, and you’ll either be sitting beside an open window in a room on your own, or on your hastily packed suitcase outside the house, with the rest of your belongings thrown out after you.

Surely we all respond differently to foodstuffs? Surely our ancestry plays a major part? Given that I am freckly, fair, hefty of calf and blue of eye, I can only conclude that I am from Celtic, mud-caked, animal-herding stock. And those genes are reclaiming the menu. Porridge, potatoes, bread, crumble with custard, a nice pork chop, a few peas, plate of shepherd’s pie and green beans, all these add up to digestive tranquility. Following the experts’ advice add up to whimpering gastromageddon. Call it growing up in the 1970s, but from now on, Mr Kipling’s Cherry Bakewell and a cup of tea count as health food.


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