The Designed Life – Part Six

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Is it dinner time yet?

Okay, then is it breakfast time yet? Is there any food in the house? Is it in any recognisable form? Will it need to be cooked for 8 hours over a cat to be edible? Should the sauce be that colour? IS that actually sauce or are we a month late?

If you are going to live a happy life, you will need to eat something. There are no end of people who will tell you what you must eat, not eat, and when. Some will do it for religious reasons, some for dietary reasons, and some just to enjoy a feeling of power over you. How you adjust yourself to the first and last on that list is your own affair – and whether you will be able to do it and remain friends with the rest of the household is a moot point. Please do not write in and say that I split you forever from your family or community by recommending that you eat boiled reindeer with pine needle sauce.

But how do you stay healthy at the same time as being happy…and need you take external advice to do it? When you remember that Mark Twain said his diet would surely assassinate others, yet lived to a ripe age, you see that there is a fair space to play around in.

For me, I think variety does the trick – with a sensible mixture of protein, carbohydrates, and lipids…plus a normal intake of vitamins through those other foods. You can incorporate a great deal of taste in whatever you do eat with little other effect on the nutrition of it by the use of various condiments and spices but again moderation is the key. This lets you have a few sweets, a few drinks, a few meats and breads, and a few vegetables throughout the week.

If you’re wise you take in enough to function well, but not too much  – most of it would be stored as unwanted fat. Mind you, if you need to be fatter, then it is not unwanted, and may be of benefit. A set of bathroom scales and a mirror works well, if you look at it over a year rather than a day. And don’t take selfies in a public toilet and expect to look good.

But here’s the best advice – learn to cook. You do not have to be Escoffier and please do not be Gordon Ramsay. You may be Nigella if you wish. Learn to cook 6 types of good meals – four everyday standbys that will feed the family – two for hot weather and two for cold. Then learn two party pieces that you can be confident will work every time. If you can afford the ingredients, these six recipes will feed you all week – two days with fresh cooking and four more with the leftovers. If the seventh is a day of rest for you, you can legitimately shut the kitchen and eat out – you’ll have done a good job.

Only six? Well consider that you can choose from five different types of meat protein without even considering the other sources. Crank in over a dozen common vegetables in regular supply even in outlying areas, and a nearly infinite variety of bread-like substances and other grains, and you have enough players in the food orchestra to make music for a long time. And the joy of discovering new combinations is all the more intense – who knew that you could dip reindeer meat in chocolate?

If you can cook you are free of the toils of the commercial fast food industry – notwithstanding their utility when you are travelling or overburdened – but the most part of your eating can be done on things you make yourself – and things that need no making. Fill up good on good fillers and you’ll find that the snack habit goes away.

Now, where did I put that water bucket full of chocolate bars?

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