Food has become our religion 

OPINION

Scrape. Drag. Puff. Phew! This is hard work. Scrape. Drag. That should do. I’m dragging out my soapbox because I feel a hallelujah  lecture comin’ on.

Repent my brother. Repent my sister. For you my people have fallen into lasciviousness and licentiousness and other lustful revellings beginning with l.

By ‘‘my people’’, I mean everyone except you, dear reader, and my good self as you and I, obviously, belong to the intelligentsia because we can spell intelligentsia for starters. I’ll drink to that. In fact, I find the more I drink the more intelligent I become with the uncanny ability to solve the problems of the world after the third chardonnay. But I digress.

Two score and 17 years ago our forefathers or someone’s forefathers brought upon the earth and gave unto you television. Thus thine lives were made complete. Lo! Thereupon this device, known as the idiot box, manifested as the opium of the masses. It came to pass that you became bored with the box of idiotry and sought the promised land of digital milk and honey. Now thou art full of wanton appetites. The new opiate of the masses is food. Food, glorious food! You can’t get enough of it. You watch the Gods of Chefdom on the television of temptation. You read about it in lustful books and magazines. You talk about it in reverent terms. You buy strange implements and build grandiose altars of adoration in your kitchens to pay homage to food. You indulge in orgies of bacchanalian banqueting. You join the righteous and the true believers on vial diets. Or you defile the tabernacle of your body with edible abominations of take away oxen burgers. 

And I say unto thee a fat man cannot pass through the eye of a needle and shall enter the kingdom of heaven sooner rather than later.

Enough of the biblical talk. We are a nation obsessed with food. Jamie Oliver would be our No1 top selling author except, amazingly, we managed between bouts of stuffing our faces with sauteed sword fish with jus of pomegranate and figlets to indulge in a little sadomasochistic erotica with Mr Fifty Shades of Grey.

Yet for all the talk, all the TV chatter, all the gushing restaurant reviews, all the finicky convoluted recipes, all the hysteria about obesity and all the maniacal diets, we seem to be breadpig ignorant about the science of food. I’m no expert, but I can’t stand listening to a self-proclaimed nutrition expert offer loony advice. Here are two loony diets currently doing the rounds. The first is the Fruitarian Diet favoured, apparently, by Steve Jobs. Movie star Ashton Kutcher, who is playing the iPhone guru in the soon to be released bio-pic, was recently hospitalised with stomach cramps after several days on the diet. So fruit may not be that good for you. The other diet doing the rounds is the Paleo Diet or the diet eaten by Paleolithic Man before agriculture, which began 10,000 years ago. This diet is based on anything you can spear or gather. It excludes grains, dairy, legumes and, of course, sugar. But the Paleo Diet includes fruit so fruit is good for you.

Now as Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, why would anyone think the Fruitarian Diet was, like, a really good idea? Meanwhile short, stocky, hairy and smelly Paleolithic man barely lived past the age of 35.

We’ve turned food into a religion. There are food saints and sinners now. Abstainers and revellers. And like religion, any extreme food fundamentalist is a total nutter.

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