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Ten portions a day? Yeah right…

February 23, 2017



Last night my wife and I enjoyed a delicious dinner consisting of baked plaice, carrots, cabbage, broccoli with cheese sauce and a single potato. Healthy, huh? Well maybe.

Except for the fish and the cabbage, everything was leftovers. No apologies for that. We had people over a couple of nights ago, and we don’t chuck out food if we can possibly help it.

But here are the downsides. The potato had been roasted in oil. The carrots were glazed with butter and a little sugar. And the cheese sauce was made from full-fat cheddar. All of which the nutritional Nazis would probably claim negated the benefit of the three – possibly four if you include the spud – portions of fruit and veg we consumed.

Still, in the morning I had a banana halfway through a round of golf. So using the widest interpretation of “five a day”, I hit the target. All the ingredients were fresh – nothing frozen. However, if I’d consulted one of the gauleiters of the gut, I know in my heart that I would have been found wanting.

And now comes advice from University College London that I should really ramp up my consumption of plant products to ten portions a day. If, that is, I want to live a long life free of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

All things considered, I propose to ignore that advice.

If I lived in a society that was custom-built so that the elderly could live a decent and fulfilling life without having to be as rich as Croesus, I might reconsider.

But I don’t, so I won’t.

As things stand, there are innumerable other factors that contribute to a less-than-optimal lifespan. Pollution, pesticides, stress, loneliness, alcohol abuse, worry about the future and a sense of bitterness for reasons real or imagined at aspects of society over which we have no control.

And should we be “lucky” enough to make it into our ninth or tenth decades, many of us can look forward to aches and pains, drugs and operations, being accused of bed-blocking in an underfunded health service and spending endless years parked in a care home staring into space as we descend into dementia.

If we can fix all the other factors that cause us to keel over before our time, or leave us meandering without purpose or enjoyment through protracted old age, then maybe, just maybe, I would spend much of my day stuffing myself with raw carrots, quinoa, and endless plates of fresh fruit salad.

Until then, I shall continue to eat just as much fruit and veg as suits me on a given day, as well as all the other stuff that’s more likely to send me to an early grave. Nor will I measure calories or buy myself a step counter.

And if thereby I can avoid the dreaded seventh age of man described by Shakespeare as “second childishness and mere oblivion/Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”, so much the better.

I reserve the right to change my mind when the end approaches, but right now, I’d rather have a relatively short but sweet life than a long sour one.

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