Tag Archives: food

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 … not concentrating

could say I’m a daydreamer. I could say I’m a fanciful, away-with-the-fairies sort of girl, who stares out of the window with her head in the clouds, dreaming of pink palaces and meadows and Prince Charmings.

Look what happens when you google ‘daydreaming’. Lots of pictures of people gazing at the sky, photos of clouds, flowers, fantasy lands. But is that really what daydreaming is?

You can dress it up all you like, but let’s face it: daydreaming is not concentrating on what you’re supposed to be doing, like when you suddenly realise you’ve just driven 40 miles up the M4 and you don’t remember any of it. 

This morning at work some dude was explaining to me, very comprehensively, the fundamental differences between GMS and PMS GP contracts (it’s fascinating – remind me to tell you about it some time). I was doing all the right things, everything that’s conducive to the absorption of important information: maintaining eye contact, nodding in the right places, making acknowledging ‘Hmm’ noises, saying ‘Right, yeah, right’ every now and then – all signs pointing towards the fact that I was listening very closely and taking everything on board.

The only problem was, I was thinking about trifle.

I don’t know why it was specifically trifle – it’s not even in my top five favourite puddings – but there it was. One minute I was hearing and the PMS contracts can provide what we call mandatory and optional services to their patients… and the next I was seeing a big glass bowl filled with sherry-doused Swiss roll, tinned peaches, bananas, jelly, custard, cream and topped with crumbled flake. For probably a good few minutes, this is all I had in my head.

And as soon as I realised I was thinking about trifle, I tried to stop, and concentrate on GMS contracts. But the harder I tried to not think about trifle, the more I thought about trifle. I nodded away, saying ‘Yep, hmm, right’, like I was absorbing everything the dude was telling me – and all the time all I could see was a man with trifle for a head.

So that’s hardly daydreaming, is it? That’s just thinking about trifle when I should’ve been thinking about NHS contracts.

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Becky says things about … over-indulging

Sometimes, when life gets you down, or even when it’s just plodding along perfectly acceptably, you just have to spend a weekend eating.

That is what I have done.

On Saturday, some buddies and I had a posh lunch at The French Table in Surbiton, a much-revered local restaurant that I’ve often gazed at from afar, dribbling slightly and cursing the mocking emptiness of my pockets. It was like having lunch in Masterchef: everything came with a foam, a froth, a cream, a mousse, a jus – even an emulsion.

So I feasted on mackerel with a vodka and lobster froth:

Check out the froth!

Hake in a bisque with roasted vegetables:

And the best sticky toffee pudding I have ever tasted, paddling serenely in pretty much half an inch of toffee sauce:

It is a miracle I was able to take a picture before pretty much slamming my face right into it.

You’d think all that incredibly rich food would be enough for one day. But it wasn’t. About two hours later, in Gordon Bennett’s bar and after several drinks, we decided we were hungry again and feasted on a banquet of nuts and Japanese rice crackers. Then, after several more drinks, I found myself at home eating chilli-stuffed tortilla wraps.

WHAT A PIG.

So when I woke up on Sunday, I thought ‘I’ll eat nothing but lettuce and air today, for I over-indulged yesterday and must cleanse myself today’. Did I hell. It was Mother’s Day, for Pete’s sake, I had a roast dinner to eat.

So at Mum’s, after ripping apart the leg of lamb and gnawing on the bone, I had to eat the obligatory roast dinner:

And then I had to eat the brilliant lemon pudding, made by my own fair hands, and the gooey lemony spongy sauciness of it was so amazing that I didn’t take a picture. Look, there was only time for me to have two helpings and then lick out the serving dish, okay? There just wasn’t time for pictures.

That should’ve been enough. A good Sunday roast and a stodgy pudding.

But, you know, sometimes you just have to think ‘Today I shall mostly be eating’, and you have to follow through with that. And I did. Half a box of Cadbury’s Milk Tray and a chocolate brownie later, I waddled home, looking, and feeling, like a pregnant mallard on its way to the hospital to beg a midwife to please, just get whatever’s in my huge feathery stomach OUT.

That should definitely have been enough. A good Sunday roast, a stodgy pudding, and a lot of chocolate.

But, you know, I’d started, so I had to finish. After a few cheeky Sunday drinks at the pub, myself and my boyfriend (who hadn’t had a roast dinner, a stodgy pudding, or lots of chocolate) got a takeaway curry. A big, steaming, totally unnecessary takeaway curry.

And to top it all off, because I hadn’t quite over-indulged enough over the weekend, I found some sweets. And because I found some sweets, I had to eat them.

Bit uncalled-for, really.

But it was a bloody good weekend.

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Becky says things about … disappointing breakfasts

The complete joy of breakfast is that, by its very nature, it is a meal that can be eaten literally within seconds of waking up. None of this ‘Dinner will be in an hour’ rubbish, or ‘You can’t possibly be hungry Becky, you only had lunch forty minutes ago’. No. The moment you stir from your slumberous coma and become aware of the world around you, it is perfectly acceptable to think ‘I want to eat something. Immediately.’

Whether that something be a simple bowl of cereal – perhaps your wholesome multigrain or something more exotic, like Coco Pops – a couple of slices of toast lovingly swathed in butter and Marmite, or a perhaps a smattering of jammy sweetness; a pair of plump, shining poached eggs wobbling on top of toasted rye, nestling in earthy spinach with a vibrant streak of smoked salmon; or a full English breakfast with all the trimmings, a veritable banquet of joy – whatever that something, it shapes your mood, sculpts your day. It is the most important meal. Ever.

So imagine my disappointment when I was faced with this this morning:

It’s a simple bowl of All Bran and Cornflakes, both of which I love, separately and united. Usually, the All Bran settles into a fibrous soil underneath, while the Cornflakes provide a pleasing crunch on top – a breakfast I am happy with. But this morning I got distracted. I made the breakfast, poured the milk, set the bowl down – and wandered off. I had a conversation, I put some washing on, I got myself a glass of water, I put on my dressing gown – all of which took a matter of minutes, but those minutes were enough for some kind of terrible reaction to take place in my breakfast bowl.

When I returned, I was faced with this:

The All Bran had formed some kind of branny cement, compacted to the extent that I could have used it to build foundations for a small house:

The Cornflakes had congealed to an unrecognisable soggy stodge. There was no trace of milk left, no liquid relief from the bowl of stodgy doom that was my breakfast.

I mean, look at it.

If I had had the time or the inclination, I could have used the All Bran to fill the pothole outside our house, or sold it to NASA to help build their spaceships, because nothing was getting through that stuff.

Why, WHY did I let this happen????

The one positive to come out of this breakfasty hell is that my day can only get better. The most traumatic event is surely over. Nothing can come close to the bitter, crushing sadness of a disappointing breakfast.

I still ate it.

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