Tag Archives: Eating

Becky says things about … how to detox

My name is Becky and I am disgusting.

And if I’ve got to admit it, my darling Listener, then so have you. Admit it. You are disgusting. We are all disgusting. We have spent the last fortnight slouched on various sofas scoffing various beige food (the best party food is always beige), chucking endless booze down our flabby throats, and passing out into bloated, saggy comas.

It’s been wonderful.

And then came Monday morning and we put on our work trousers.

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I shall admit, dearest Listener old pal, that I was alarmed on Monday. I thought someone had kindly placed some cushions in the seat of my desk chair, and then I realised that I was in fact snuggling into the comfortable squidge of my own love handles. I spent the day gently perspiring, which I can only assume was my body finally ridding itself of two weeks’ worth of non-stop festive alcohol.

So, naturally, and along with literally everyone else, I decided to detox.

And as I have just completed my first day of detoxing, I thought I’d write you, my lovely listeners, a helpful guide to assist you in your quest for cleansed perfection. You’re welcome.

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What you will need 

  •  Willpower
  • Motivation
  • Delusions of success.
  • Approximately £10,000’s worth of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, wholegrains, ominously-named health food shop items, and some form of mystical rare plant powder off the Internet that claims to boost your vitality, purify your system and improve your football dribbling skills.

Day 1 Detox Plan

07:15 Wake up with vague sense of dread. Quickly cast aside the implausible yearning for a bacon sandwich and a cheeky morning pint.

07:33 Let the struggle with which you pull on your previously loose-fitting skirt encourage you to make this day brilliant and to be the healthiest and most motivated person in the world and to transform yourself into a vision of saintly excellence. 

07:46 Retrieve from the fridge the unidentifiable-green-sludge-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-juice-but-you-don’t-have-a-juicer that you made last night using thirteen different green ingredients, including moss, algae, seaweed, pond scum and the mystical Internet powder, spent twenty minutes pulverising in your inadequate blender which resulted in your kitchen looking like Fungus the Bogeyman had had a particularly violent cold up the walls. Remind yourself that this green sludge is breakfast. And lunch.

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08:24 Order a flimsy black coffee instead of your normal frothy latte. Tell yourself you’re doing it for King and country.

09:03 Finish watery coffee and, in a single, glorious second, think ‘Well at least I have a lovely bowl of sugary granola smothered in thick, creamy yoghurt for breakfast’. Then remember about the green sludge.

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09:58 Breakfast. Retrieve green sludge from the fridge. Quickly realise you can’t drink it from the flask because its sludgy, thick consistency means that thick blobs of gloop simply slide onto your face, and instead eat it with a teaspoon. Try to ignore the mounting bitterness that is not only filling your mouth, but your heart.

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10:07 Put remaining green sludge in fridge. Ignore colleagues’ questions, remarks, and utterly unhelpful comments about how tasty their own breakfasts were.

10:11 Experience a brief but pleasing sensation of smugness as you consider the goodness that you’ve just put in your body.

10:12 – 12:10 Throw yourself into your work, and imagine your body exorcising itself of evil.

12:15 Ignore colleagues’ declarations of where they are going for lunch, or how many types of cheese they have stuffed into a French stick. Continue to work doggedly. (Useful tip: have some tissues at hand to wipe away the solitary tear that will fall from your eye as you consider the green sludge waiting for you in the fridge.)

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13:00 Moodily stomp outside for a walk, then experience the astounding revelation that you only ever step outside your office during the day in order to hunt for food, and thus are now utterly directionless because you have no need for food as you have the green sludge.

13:02 Walk moodily round the block, and stomp moodily back into the office. Tell your colleagues it’s just started to rain.

13:28 Sit hunched at your desk in front of Google images of ‘best burgers in the world’ and slurp green sludge from a teaspoon. Follow with a cup of peppermint tea and a healthy dose of resentment towards humanity.

13:47 Feel momentarily euphoric because you don’t feel full or sluggish, and remind yourself that the green sludge gives you nothing but goodness.

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13:48 – 15:09 Get on with your work, and genuinely forget about the green sludge.

15:10 Get up to go to the toilet, and walk straight into the hard wall of hunger. Realise you are dangerously hungry. You have probably never been this hungry. Look wildly around the office. Note the tin of sweets left over from Christmas. Squeeze out an ounce of willpower and try to focus on the taut stomach and inner peace you will achieve if you stick to the green sludge.

15:39 Give the following response when one of your colleagues says they will bring to the office the enormous unopened box of Christmas biscuits they didn’t eat at home.

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15:43 Weep softly.

15:44 – 17:20 Finish the working day with increasing fatigue, bitterness, and irrational rage.

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17:21 Crawl home. Do not for one second contemplate the prospect of a glass of wine or a chocolate biscuit. Instead, get home and immediately put on your jogging pants.

18:12 Flap-arse about in your bedroom with a couple of dumbells, download the 30 Day Squat Challenge app, do half the squats you’re supposed to do because they’re uncomfortable, and lug your drooping, groaning buttocks out of the door for a jog.

18:30 Jog.

18:33 Seriously contemplate going back home.

18:39 Experience an endorphin.

18:41 Realise you have the actual ability and physical fortitude to run a marathon. Make mental note to sign up for one when you get home in four hours’ time.

18:42 Get an excruciating stitch, trip over a stick, hack your guts up into a bush and try to tell yourself you don’t need an ambulance.

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19:01 Having crawled home, have a shower and prepare dinner. This will involve 23 green and obscure ingredients and won’t use anything normal like potatoes or pasta.

19:25 Consume your virtuous green creation in front of Man vs Food. 

19:31 Sit very still in front of an empty plate and fight urge to order a pizza.

19:45 – 21:30 Absorb yourself in something engrossing, like a Netflix binge or mountaineering.

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21:49 Make tomorrow’s green sludge.

21:56 – 22:33 Clean the kitchen.

22:38 Crawl into bed in a cocoon of confusing mixed emotions over the day’s apparent success and the excruciating hunger that is literally consuming your entire being.

22:52 Text your work colleague and ask him nicely to please bring in that unopened box of Christmas biscuits to the office tomorrow.

 

Repeat the above on days 2 and 3, and on day 4 replace green sludge with brie and bacon baguette, three packets of crisps, a sausage roll, two doughnuts and four pints of self-loathing.

Good luck!

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Filed under Embarrassing Revelations, Food, Health and Exercise, Life eh?, People, Rants, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

Becky says things about … food

Food, Listener. Food.

You know what I’m talking about. That limitlessly versatile concept that can make you weep with joy, laugh with elation, and soil yourself with excitement.

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Having been through the dark and exhausting world of an eating disorder and emerged the other side, I’ve finally reached a point in life where I can consume food without fearing that my bum is suddenly going to balloon outwards to resemble a small elephant. This is not because I have discovered the secret to eternal slender-lithe-slim-lean-ness, or have taken to wearing incredibly tight steel support pants, but because I am finally comfortable with my body. And consequently, I’ve rediscovered my love of food.

I’ve always loved food. I loved food even during my eating disorder – I was just terrified of it at the same time. It was a bit like having a dragon as a pet. You really love it, you think it’s really cute and you love hanging out with it, but you’re always conscious that it might suddenly blow a jet of fire out of its nostrils and burn your face off.

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I am inherently greedy, Listener. If I ate everything I wanted to eat, in the quantity and with the frequency that my gluttonous stomach desires, it wouldn’t take me long to grow to the size of the Arctic Circle, and meet an untimely death that would cause problems for those that entered the afterlife at more reasonable proportions.

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Food is exciting. And not just crazy food done in crazy Heston Blumenthal ways, like a Scotch egg in the shape of an aardvark with a fairy wing-infused golden goose egg in the centre, or a pureed bumble bee thermidor that turns to diamonds in your mouth and then sets your teeth on fire – ordinary food is brilliant. There are trillions of blogs, like the fabulous Food for Fun, dedicated to the majesty of food, because food floats people’s boats. Come on, who hasn’t been so excited over a piping hot spoonful of succulent beef stew that they have recklessly forgone the essential blowing technique and instead shoved it in their mouth and consequently experienced the hellish pain of a burnt oesophagus, or swallowed a mouthful of double chocolate fudge ice cream the size of a badger and cried?

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Food makes people happy. I love that it makes people happy. Are you eating something delicious right now, Listener? Is it making you happy? Well, I love that your tasty treat is making you happy. I have just eaten a slice of soft toast excessively, almost histrionically, slathered in Marmite. It’s made me extremely happy. (‘What’s Marmite?’ you lovely US of A Listeners cry. It’s a little black jar of a thousand hallelujahs, my friends. That’s what it is.)

The fact that eating is a basic human function and that we need to do it several times a day is also marvellous. There are relatively few basic daily human needs that are quite so enjoyable.

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I love all  food. I am the least fussy eater this side of Mars. All those foods that people can be a bit weird about – olives, seafood, Brussels sprouts, cottage cheese, liver, stomach lining, cow colon residue – I just can’t get enough. Tuna and cottage cheese sandwich? Why, yes please. Olives stuffed with anchovies? Don’t mind if I do. I am unfathomably grateful that I’m not a fussy eater. One, I would never have been invited round to chums’ houses to play as a child because no one likes the kid that only eats breadstick shavings, and two, isn’t it boring????

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(A thought – I like every food in the world apart from banana-flavoured products. I love bananas – I really enjoy a lone, uncontaminated banana – but hand me a banana-flavoured yoghurt, or milkshake, or ice cream, which will all, without shadow of a doubt, be the same sickly-phlegmy yellowy colour, and I will simply make a dignified exit and send you a follow-up email politely asking you never to speak to me again.)

One of the many joys of food is that we all have our dark little food secrets. These are the food secrets that make us a slightly less dignified, slightly more greedy, and slightly sillier person that we make ourselves out to be. An example, if you will permit me, is that I have just this minute finished a jar of peanut butter. All gone. Empty. (Very sad, I cried a bit.) And did any of the peanut butter in that jar see a slice of bread? Not one bit! I consumed the entire contents by periodically visiting it with a teaspoon and standing quietly in the kitchen making the very peculiar facial movements that a mouthful of peanut butter necessitates.

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This is one of my food secrets: I will eat anything from a jar with a spoon. I mean anything. Marmite, lemon curd, pickled onions, chutney, jam, chocolate spread, piccalilli (don’t ask me to explain that one, my American pals – even we Brits don’t know what the hell piccalilli is), mustard, capers, baby food (one of the darker food secrets there), anything. Not mayonnaise. That would be vile.

Another food secret is that I am an avid consumer of raw cake mix. Yep, I have been known to eat so much raw cake mix (a heavenly cocktail of raw flour, raw egg, butter and sugar, anyone?) that I’ve been forced to make some more in order to manifest a cake. It can take me a very long time to bake a cake.

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I can also eat anything for breakfast. None of this ‘Ooo, no, my stomach can’t deal with eggs in the morning’ or ‘Chocolate??? For breakfast???’ nonsense with me. Nope, I’ll have my head in a bag of chocolate buttons and a plate of cold lasagne before you can say ‘Becky, you repulse me’.

We all have these food secrets, these little moments alone when we check that no one’s watching, then shove our face through the skin of some day-old custard, because food is ours, it’s part of and borne from our personalities; the joy of food is a universal and yet personal thing.

Food brings people together. People get very passionate about their food preferences. Some of the most animated conversations and vicious arguments I have witnessed have been over food. When I used to work in a pub, I would amuse myself on a quiet Monday evening by asking the locals important questions such as ‘What’s your favourite sandwich’ or ‘What’s your ideal three-course meal’. I would go to the other end of the bar and return half an hour later to find grown men embroiled in a heated debate along the lines of:

‘Prawn mayonnaise? Fucking prawn mayonnaiseYou want your head examined, mate. Egg and cress all the way.’

‘Egg and cress? You’re talking out your arse, mate. Salmon and cucumber or nothing.’

‘Wanker.’

‘Tosser.’

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We Brits can be very territorial about our food. We love food. It gives us something to do during those moments of devastating social awkwardness. And we get particularly territorial – riled, even – when we go to places like, oh, I don’t know, the United States of America, and find that the Americans are using food out of context. A prime example of this is the concept of biscuits. To us Brits, a biscuit is an everyday sugary treat, a necessity of life. We dunk them in our tea. We eat them at parties. We like them so much, websites have been dedicated to the concept of having a nice cup of tea and a sit down. 

So when we get to America and ask for some biscuits and are presented with a thick, glutinous flob of soggy dough that is then smothered with thick, glutinous gravy (gravy, Brits! Gravy!!!!) made from pork meat, flour and milk – we are, to put it mildly, absolutely ruddy furious.

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We will also be plunged into tremendous confusion and emotional upheaval when we see signs for ‘jelly on toast’. Jelly on toast??? we will mutter fervently to each other. What kind of perversion is this??? Because, you see, jelly in Britainland is your jello. We Brits do not eat jelly on toast. That would be foolish and distressing. No, we eat jam on toast. Because that is what it is. Jam. Get it RIGHT, America. Stop putting food out of context. 

However – and I say this at risk of being pelted with banana yoghurts by my fellow Brits – I have had one of my most magical food experiences in America. In Las Vegas. At the Wynn Hotel. The Breakfast Buffet. 15 food stations. Two hours. Heartburn to take down an entire city. The most heavenly morning of my life.

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So, dearest and most hungry of Listeners, enjoy your grub, stuff your face, tell me your darkest food secrets, and, if you are American, sort out the biscuit / jelly thing. You’ll be a better country for it.

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Becky says things about … the epic fail of an eating disorder

I greet you, dearest Listener, a perturbed Becky. Something happened yesterday that has made me want to say some very important things.

Whilst in a shop, I overhead the following conversation between two young teenage girls. I’m appalling at judging people’s ages – I thought Mick Jagger was 348, turns out he’s only 70 – but I’m guessing these two girls couldn’t have been more than 14.

Girl 1:  I really need to lose weight.

Girl 2: Do what I’m doing.

Girl 1: Yeah, you’ve lost loads of weight.

Girl 2: Yeah, over a stone! Seriously, just spit everything into a tissue, you never actually swallow anything! I’ve been doing it for ages.

Girl 1: I might start doing that.

Girl 2: Do it, we’ll be well skinny.

Girl 1: (Smiling) Yeah.

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Listener, this conversation left me colder than a polar bear who’s fallen into a frozen lake, climbed out, spent all night in the rain, then been told the local shop has no woolly jumpers left.

These two girls were healthy-looking and slim – in fact the one who said she’d been hawking food into tissues was erring on too-skinny (unsurprising, as she’s probably ingested about 7 calories in the last month) – and neither of them needed, by any stretch of even the wildest imagination, to lose even an ounce.

Yet here they were proudly discussing the merits of what is essentially a form of bulimia. In a bid to get ‘well skinny’.

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Every gram of fat, every ounce of muscle in my body wanted to grab them by their perfectly lean shoulders and yell

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T EVEN GO THERE. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, STAY WELL AWAY FROM ALL THAT, AND JUST EAT.

The thought of these two healthy girls slipping into the bony grip of an eating disorder was horrible. Depressing, and horrible. Two words that exactly describe an eating disorder. Or, if you’re less wordy, the word

SHIT

will do nicely.

I’m not just having an aimless rant, I know what I’m talking about: I spent nearly two years in my early 20s starving myself in a bid to get skinny. At the end of 2005, the world had a healthy, happy, curvaceous, 9 and a half stone Becky. By mid 2007, the world was frankly bored and rather irritated by an unhealthy, miserable, bony, 7 and a half stone Becky.

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What started as a bid to ‘lose a few pounds’ and ‘tone up’ plummeted into an uncontrollable need to control what I put in my mouth, and before I could say ‘I don’t have an issue with food and I could never be anorexic’, I had a monumental issue with food and I was anorexic.

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An eating disorder is basically the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. In fact, I’m surprised some English literature professor hasn’t written a thesis entitled “Feed Me, Seymour: Audrey II as a Metaphor for Anorexia”. (That one’s mine, hands off.)

It starts as an innocuous seed in your brain: I want to lose weight. You start eating less, you start losing weight. You get smaller. The seed gets bigger. It wants more of your flesh, more of your blood. You duly provide. The less you eat and the smaller you get, the more it consumes and the bigger and more monstrous is becomes, until it’s got you dangling from its greedy, slobbering lips and you realise with a sudden terrible certainty that there is no escape.

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At this point you may as well say goodbye to everything that shapes you as a person. Any aspirations, hobbies, enjoyment, pleasure, hopes, sparks of character, or that fire that burns inside you with your name on it – forget it. You are one thing and one thing only: an eating disorder. Every single second of every day is consumed with focussing on losing fat, with not eating, with trying to avoid eating situations. Food is your nemesis. Yet you can’t think about anything else. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, who says what to you – there is only one thing you can think about.

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The enjoyment you took in everyday things – hanging out with friends, dinner with your family, shopping, lounging around being yourself – disappears. Suddenly everything is a terrifying problem. An invite to a house party becomes a desperate quest to look skinny and avoid those evil plates of nibbles on every surface. A harmless question from a parent – ‘Are you in for dinner tonight’ – is a gut-punching, brain-screwing imperative to lie. And lie you will. You will become an expert fabricator of life’s minutiae, and you will be ruthless. 

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To avoid having to stay in and eat what was put in front of me, I once told my mother I was going out for dinner with friends. I wasn’t going out for dinner. It was a massive, slimy lie. I borrowed her car and drove round the streets of South West London for three hours, then came back and gushed about what a lovely meal I’d had. Not only did my eating disorder turn me into a slithering, pathetic liar, it rendered me single-handedly responsible for England’s carbon emissions.

An eating disorder makes your once happy, sparkly life utterly miserable. And now let me tell you what you achieve in your diehard quest to be skinny:

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The tragic irony is that in your quest to be skinny, there is no such thing as ‘skinny’. There is no single weight, no end goal, that will satisfy an eating disorder.

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‘Skinny’ is a terrifying, bottomless concept that you will never, ever reach. Even when everyone in the world is telling you

YOU ARE REALLY SKINNY

it is never enough. Comments like that are a sign you are doing well, and you should carry on. Basically, in today’s lingo, an eating disorder is an epic fail. Before you even start, you have failed. You will never reach your goal because your goal will scuttle off into the gloom like a cockroach. Even when you can happily see your cute little collar bones strain through your skin, and you can admire your twig-like arms in the mirror, it still will not make you smile. I have never been so miserable, so wretched, or cried or shouted so much, as I did during my eating disorder.

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Eventually, if my experience is anything to go by, your willpower and your self-control will snap like a piece of taut string – it may take one year, two, ten – it may never happen – and you will plunge into a desperate, blacked-out world of uncontrollable, panicked binge eating. Late nights in the kitchen, tearing through cupboards like the Tasmanian Devil, shoving anything and everything you can get your hands on. I probably owe my parents hundreds of pounds in binged-on food. And the bitter truth is that I have lost more hours to the blind frenzy of binge eating than I have to starving myself. An eating disorder has one hell of a long hangover.

And even if you make a full recovery, like I did (and guess what: I love food and I’m bloody happy about it), and get back to a healthy weight and stop viewing food as the Devil incarnate, your body image and your self-control will always be a little bit broken. 

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I didn’t say anything to the two girls in the shop who wanted to be ‘well skinny’, and I spent the day wishing I had. True, they may have told me to Fuck off, and remarked amongst themselves that I could do with dropping a few feet from around my bum – but on the other hand, they might have thought about the stranger that felt strongly enough to say something, and they might, just might, have packed the whole thing in and gone for a pizza.

So I’ve said it on here instead. Trying to be skinny is shit. It is impossible. You will never reach it. It will get hold of you, and it will never quite let go.

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Becky says things about … drunken eating

Remember that clip of a completely obliterated David Hasselhoff eating a burger on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel room? Of course you do. It was the most painful video filmed by the daughter of an international star and then posted on the Internet, like, ever. If you found the image of your Baywatch hero slurring into some reconstituted meat too painful and you’ve blocked it out, it looked something like this:

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Pretty epic.

But, in the same way that we would be lying if we said we didn’t rummage through friends’ bathroom cabinets whilst using their toilet, we would be lying if we said we haven’t all done a David Hasselhoff.

Come on. Tell Aunty Beck. You know you have. When you get home from a night out with a hunger that could extinguish entire species? When the only course of action is to lie with your face in the fridge, or to climb into the condiment cupboard and just open your mouth until you’ve absorbed everything, like one of those speeded-up sciencey videos of insects devouring a piece of fruit? You know what I’m talking about. 

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Yes, there is undoubtedly a gratuitous indignity of shoving your silly drunken face into a cling-filmed block of stilton, but let’s look at it another way. How about the glorious, unadulterated, uninhibited freedom of it! At what other point in your day-to-day life can you really throw all moral, social, personal, and hygienic caution to the wind and just pig the hell out? There are no ‘If I eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau it’ll definitely go straight to my hips and I’ll be left with an acute feeling of self-disgust’ worries here. Quite the contrary: your brain is saying ‘I must eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau. I need it. If I don’t eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau something awful will happen. It is my duty to eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau.’

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And what of culinary conventions? Those suffocating dictations that tell you it is not appropriate to make a sandwich of hot buttered toast filled with Coco Pops, or that it is unseemly – depraved, even – to eat a can of cold rice pudding using a Kit Kat as a spoon? In a fit of drunken eating you can shun such stifling conventions! Stand up for what is good and true! Open that tin of sardines and that jar of peanut butter, consume the two with the same spoon, and to hell with the consequences!

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Drunken eating makes food fun. Small conquests are made. It becomes paramount that you must seek out all of the sultanas in your box of Sultana Bran. You can spend whole minutes staring into a flaky brown utopia, exclaiming ‘Aha!’ when you spy one of the sneaky little buggers, fish it out with your sweaty drunken fingers, consume it, and the search continues. Do you want a packet of sultanas? No, you do not want a packet of sultanas! You want the thrill of the chase, the glory of the conquest! You want to fundamentally transform the very essence of this product: you have the power to turn it from ‘Sultana Bran’ to simply ‘Bran’! You are God!

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So do not be ashamed next time you find yourself with your head inside a chicken carcass at half past one in the morning. You are only doing what is right. You, and David Hasselhoff, are merely obeying nature’s natural order. Run with it. Enjoy it. Create. Experiment. Who says sliced ham doesn’t go with chocolate spread? You are your own man.

I would like to conclude by stating that I have never indulged in such drunken eating behaviour, and I certainly didn’t do it when I got home at half past two this morning.

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Filed under Embarrassing Revelations, Food, The Beauty of Life