Diets, clean eating, celebrity cookbooks and dry January, I’m on a rant. Newspapers, magazines, the internet, TV, its full of all things dry January, healthy eating, back to the gym and which diet to choose. You would have a pain in your face looking at and listening to it all. I’m not generally one for a rant because I tend to just do what I want, when I want, with who I want and exactly how I want. There are enough rules at work (although I’m lucky there too) without limiting your life with a whole host of self-imposed joy killers.
Beware, some general sweeping statements are coming up, but mostly they are just my own opinion on things (that way I can’t be wrong). I’m not an expert on health, nutrition, exercise etc but I do eat a varied diet, I have a Diploma in Sports Nutrition and I do exercise. This isn’t advice, this is just me rambling on, so seek professional advice if you are doing anything drastic with yourself. You wouldn’t rewire your house if you weren’t an electrician so don’t suddenly reconfigure your body/diet without a little thought first.
Let’s be honest you hear the word ‘diet’ and you are already starting off with a negative. Diet to me means I’m giving up something. I’m sacrificing something I love like crisps or chocolate or booze in the hope of gaining something else; a smaller belly, clearer skin, more energy or an ass that isn’t running down my legs like slow molten lava. There are as many fad diets as there are hot dinners and quite frankly I’ll choose the hot dinner every time. It fills my belly, comforts me and if there is a bit of gravy I suspect its tasting great too.
Everyone and their mother has heard of the latest great diet that will turn your muffin top into a crop top in under ten minutes. What they don’t tell you is that it is a short-term solution. You will terrorise yourself eating cabbage soup for a week to be rewarded with losing a few pounds. You will feel constantly guilty if you so much as read the word calories never mind actually consume them. Your short-term win is exactly that, short-term. No-one is going to live on cabbage soup for the rest of their lives.
What exactly is wrong with just making small changes to what you already eat. Be smart about it and use your common sense. I think everyone knows it’s probably not a great idea to eat burgers and chips everyday, so simply don’t do it. I also think everyone knows it does no harm to switch off Netflix, get off the couch and do a bit of exercise. Rumour has it, it actually releases endorphins which make you feel good. Granted, it takes more effort than sticking a spoon in a tub of ice-cream but you actually will feel better for it.
That whole clean eating movement where pretty people tell you that almost everything is bad for you and their books can cure cancer, What The Actual F*ck?. Just because they talk in whispers and tell you eating twenty butterflies a day and drinking snow drops (I exaggerate) will make you live forever, doesn’t actually mean its true. When did people forget to question information they were given? Stop telling me butter is bad for me. How can something that feels like a warm hug on the coldest day possibly be bad for you. To hell with clean eating and its judgmental and frankly dubious claims. Live your life and don’t be afraid to challenge what you are told. You asked a million questions as a child, ask a few more now as an adult.
Celebrity Cook Books:
I love food. I love to cook. I own lots of cookbooks. I don’t spend enough time cooking and I certainly don’t open my cookbooks half as much as I should. Now some of those cook books are I suppose what you call ‘celebrity cook books’. Jamie is a celebrity chef. Nigella is too. They are also properly trained, talented and credible chefs. Grand they pass the test. It’s the other bunch of overnight celebrity cooks that make my eyes roll.
Tom Daley has a cook book out. It’s called ‘Tom’s Daily Plan‘. Clever little title that. Tom is an Olympian. An excellent one at that. Tom (in my opinion) has no business being launched into the world as a chef, cook or whatever you want to call him. Stop it Tom. Step away from the kitchen and get back in the pool.
Bear Gryllls has one. Its called ‘Fuel for Life: Achieve maximum health with amazing dairy, wheat and sugar-free recipes and my ultimate 8-week eating plan‘. Jesus ! if the recipes don’t fill you, that title will, what a mouthful. Bear Grylls eats maggots and all sorts of disturbing looking things. I’m not taking culinary advice from him. Bear get out of the kitchen and back into the wilderness where we can all swoon at your masculinity and MacGuyver like skills.
I can’t blame Bear or Tom for making the most of their respective spotlights and no doubt the team around them are flashing pound signs under their noses. As we know every tadpole becomes a frog so Tom is not swimming forever and even the manliest of men slow down and get old. I’m sure Bear is being smart padding his nest with fresh crisp banknotes. I don’t’ have to like it however and I’m quite within my rights to say, I really don’t agree with it and I won’t be buying their books anytime soon. I should for the craic point out that I actually own a cookbook called ‘Cookin with Coolio’ which was a gift and it’s hilarious. Yes Coolio of Gansgstas Paradise fame. That’s it there just below. I’ve not yet been brave enough to use it.
Dry January is a funny one. I sometimes do what I like to call ‘cutting down January’. It’s kind of like dry January but it’s based more on the fact that my wallet is usually on a diet of its own the first few weeks of January. Luxuries like tasty bottles of wine and slap up meals are in short supply until pay-day comes around.
Now everyone can make their own choice. I know lots of people giving it a bash. Most of them have gorged for most of December celebrating the festive season and for various reasons are kicking booze to the curb for a month. Those reasons include wanting to lose some weight and January is the new year and they adopt that start as you mean to go on stance. Generally short-lived. Some of them are broke like me so dry January is actually relatively easy. Others are a little more religious in their commitment and like to frequently quote the benefits of it. That doesn’t sway me either way. My choices are for me and no-one else.
If you do give up the drop for the month, there is however the other typically Irish side effect of it. What is that you may ask?
It’s the uncomfortable feeling that everyone drinking in your company feels. We all know what I’m talking about here. You are on the dry and out for a night with some friends. They are drinking and you are ordering a non alcoholic beer (which leaves you feeling bloated and reaching for Motilium) and one starts the chorus of ‘will you not have a drink’. You politely decline. There is a face. Someone else says it. Then there is a chorus of ‘why aren’t you having a drink’ followed by three verses of ‘don’t be a dry shite’. The result being you get pissed off, think your friends are tools and you really just want to go home. Not drinking in the company of those drinking is not for the faint hearted. You need a strong will, incredible sense of humour and the patience of Mother Theresa.
So if you do it, do it for yourself. Feel good about it. You are in charge of your choices and don’t let others opinions (like mine) sway you. Refusing a drink is not akin to murder and rumour has it that there are benefits like, no hangovers, better sleeps and being more alert. I did recently try out an non-alcoholic wine (which was a gift sent to me) and I’ll be posting a review of it later in the week. It wasn’t bad I have to say and it might just be the perfect antidote to the ‘why aren’t you drinking’ brigade should you pop to someones house for dinner.
So that’s my mini start of the new year rant over with. I’m going to do what I always do. Eat what I enjoy. Be smart about it. Too many Chinese take outs mean I have to buy new trousers and that’s just silly. Exercise regularly. Most Netflix shows are about 30-40 minutes long. Skip one or two and have a walk instead. Use your common sense. Don’t berate others for what they choose for themselves and for Gods sake while you are busy counting calories, feeling guilty and gaggin for a drink, just take a minute and ask yourself why? That’s me below there attempting to combine relaxing, dieting, exercising and enjoying a beer all at once. God if only I was that thin again.