The Hypocritic Oath

The Middle Years

When I was young we had an allotment garden where my old man grew many vegetables. We had a butcher and baker who called round to the house. We had a fish shop, and greengrocers. Pretty much everything else came from Sainsburies, where they patted butter with little wooden paddles and sliced bacon while you waited, and you got a ticket with your purchase at the counters which you then took to the cashier’s window to pay for it.

Wartime rationing had pretty much ended, but sweets and such things were a distinct luxury. I ate lots of meat and vegetables, fish on friday, and bread and home baked cakes. Lots of bread, oh and cornflakes or similar breakfast cereals (no muesli yet). My teeth used to come through with holes already in them for which I was always berated for eating “too many sweets” when I damn well didn’t!

When I left home and went to college I was sucked in to Vegetarianism and the Benefits of Wholefoods and Healthy Whole Grains. OK yeah I used to weaken and get a Chinese takeaway, or fish and chips, or rarely eat out, but in general Ancel Keys (or any dietician) would be proud of my diet.

The benefit was that I learned a lot about cooking, and different vegetables, herbs, spices and all kinds of things that father called “Foreign Muck!” and wouldn’t allow in the house, such as garlic and peppers. I became an expert baker, people would travel miles to demolish one of my wholemeal loaves. A friend put one of my muesli recipes into commercial (local) production.

Curiously though despite this Healthy Diet I still had these weird episodes of feeling quite ill for no apparent reason. Also my teeth were still crap, and just as throughout my childhood I would be prone to minor and irritating things like skin infections, including but not limited to spots, boils, blebs, pustules, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, thrush, athlete’s foot and crotch rot.

I could and did walk for miles through the Pennines and the Scottish mountains, and yet at other times I would just have to slump immobile and unable to move for a while.

The only thing I knew for certain was that this couldn’t POSSIBLY be due to my diet.

Later I drove trucks for five years, then drove an office.

I added back meat into my diet, but I still mostly avoided crap food, I’d drive out of my way to a cafe for a decent bacon sarnie rather than go to a motorway services. When I was home I’d cook for myself and sometimes also friends, or they’d cook for me. When I was out I’d spring for a decent restaurant in the evening, and again for some of my nights out I’d stay with friends and either take them to the restaurant too, or they’d cook for me. I was fortunate to know very few poor cooks and even a couple of chefs so I had a lot of sources to learn from.

I was still the skinny bastard I’d always been but I became a strong skinny bastard. I still walked a lot even though I spent a lot of time sat down, for a long time I never had a car – short distances I’d walk, longer distances I’d take a bus or train and walk, and when I wanted to go further I’d rent or borrow a car or van (and walk).

In retrospect I used to still get hypo attacks. The good thing is I have always had good hypo awareness and could feel them coming on in time to find somewhere to pull of the road. My “treatment” was to get my head down for a few minutes, when I’d zone out into a sort of “microsleep” then jerk awake refreshed. I’d eat some slow carbs like a wholemeal bread sarnie washed down with some fast carbs like a cup of sweet coffee, sometimes a bar of chocolate and/or a packet of crisps or nuts, then I’d be fit to go again. I blamed the lifestyle aspects of alternating early and late starts, long days and short days. Oh, and the depression which I’d been diagnosed with as an extension of the “neurosis” and “anxiety”, or the side effects of the antidepressants.

All I knew is that my healthy diet couldn’t possibly be responsible for any of this.

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