Richard Ord: Why are healthy diet fads always so unappetising?
In an effort to live forever, I've taken up yet another fad health diet.
The last one, giving up caffeine, turned out to be an exercise in futility.
It took me about three weeks to get off the stuff, kicking coffee into touch and swapping ordinary tea for decaf.
After suffering withdrawal headaches, listlessness, irritability and a constant craving for a large latte, I emerged at the other end what I thought would be a caffeine-free superman. Not so.
Once free of the caffeine cravings, I checked up on the health benefits of a coffee-free existence, fully prepared to smugly bask in a new healthy glow. There were none to be had.
Caffeine, it turns out, isn’t bad for you.
Unless you’re snorting a dozen strong espressos through your nose for breakfast, there are no discernible health benefits of cutting it out.
I did vaguely remember one health consequence of caffeine consumption, but the exact details escaped me.
On searching the world wide web I found it. Caffeine improves your short-term memory. Something I may have remembered if I hadn’t given up caffeine!
There’s only two things wrong with me.
1. I’ve got a terrible memory, and 2. I’ve got a terrible memory.
Needless to say, I returned to caffeine. That listlessness and irritability was clearly just my normal state of being.
Sounds about right.
My latest health fad, is to replace ordinary cow’s milk with soya milk.
Again, however, I’ve started this new regime without checking out the facts.
For all I knew soya milk could be the modern equivalent of Soylent Green.
For the benefit of those under the age of 50, Soylent Green was a movie in which the starving inhabitants of a dystopian future world ravaged by global warming and where food was scarce, lived on a diet of biscuits called Soylent Green.
And, spoiler alert here, the biscuits turn out to be made from dead people.
Soya milk - though I haven’t checked this out - is unlikely to be made of humans.
Some of the advertising does feature cartoons of people leaping about, but I suspect that’s to indicate the health benefits of the product, not the ingredient. I’m willing to take the risk.
The alternatives on the supermarket shelves include almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk.
Almond milk sounded appealing but the price put me off.
I guess it costs so much because, unlike cows, almonds are difficult to milk. You must need very small nimble fingers to milk an almond teat.
Still, if it’s prolonging my life, it’s worth it, surely.
I thought I’d take inspiration from Russian Koku Istambulova who was interviewed on the eve of her 129th birthday. Big mistake.
She said: “I have not had a single happy day in my life. I am tired. Long life is not at all God’s gift - but a punishment.”
Jeez, hold the soya... I’ll have a bag of crisps, a Mars bar and a large latte please. Extra sugar. And full fat milk, naturally.