The Girth Mother Sounds Off Again

What a food scary week it’s been! First we had the wonderful Hugh F. W. raising hen hell with the supermarkets and then our Jamie telling us the truth about junk and fast food.


Photo by Hans Splinter

Once I wouldn’t have bothered to watch all this, I’d have thought yeah, yeah but so what. Now, feeling rather smug, I switch on ready to metaphorically lap it up in the knowledge that he is preaching to the converted. I didn’t really expect to be surprised by Jamie’s programme, I half expected to take what was said by the ‘experts’ with a pinch of salt (if you’ll pardon the pun) but I was wrong on both counts.

Before I go further I’d like to report on my own discoveries since I last wrote from the Girth Mother. Having read Joanna Blytheman’s assertions that the food in the supermarket has less flavour, and seen all our celebrity chefs insisting that we should know where and how our food is raised/produced I still didn’t get it until I started buying good stuff for myself. Last week I purchased two particular items to drool over. The first was a piece of lamb from my local butcher that must have been living in heaven before its demise. It was succulent, juicy, tasty and tender, more delicious than any lamb I’ve had for years, possibly ever. I don’t know exactly where it was produced, I have just grown to trust my butcher’s recommendations. The second thing was smoked mackerel from the fishmonger at our Friday market. Being a complete ignoramus when it comes to fish, I was searching for the flat, orange articles available in all our supermarkets but what I was given was a golden and silver, glossy, whole mackerel, and I was amazed to discover that the flavour and texture were decidedly superior and the flesh was pinky beige, not orangy brown. I kept mmmming as I ate it, and while turning it into pate which, with hind sight, was possibly a waste of the mackerel. It’s on my shopping list again for this week and Whizz and I are going to eat it unadulterated.

I have realised by now that the Supermarkets have already won the ‘kill the High Street’ game in this area. It is not possible to buy ordinary foodstuffs in Tinkle High Street other than from Tesco or M & S Food. In the market there is a fruit and veg stall but its produce is as tasteless as that in the aforementioned supermarkets. This is probably, if I understand things correctly, because it is the same stuff, just the rejects that don’t meet the size/shape criteria of the big stores. The only fruit and veg worth buying are from the organic delivery company, which is fine but limiting. I now have a different method of planning my week, a more French approach i.e. find what is available then decide how to cook it and what to serve with it.

 Rubber glove by Rupert Ganzer

Photo by Rupert Ganzer

The real problem comes when I want to buy, say, rubber gloves or cottage cheese. The hardware store stocks Marigolds – too supermarkety for me or gardening gloves – truly enormous. There is a brand of gloves called Glovelies but they are all too small in the fingers, my hands do a work out just picking up a saucepan and they’re not exactly enormous hands, well, apart from my thumbs, which bear an uncanny resemblance to big toes! I have spent a fortune on rubber gloves and have yet to find any that are suitable. As for cottage cheese I have asked the cheese lady on the market to get some and I live in hope, but what about low fat fromage frais which I use occasionally? To me, these things are basics and would be available in small shops if such establishments existed.

The thing is, I have returned to Slimming World after a stone’s absence. Now I have to do without things that once I would have substituted with something lower fat or artificially sweetened: Hellmann’s Light, Diet Coke, sugar free yoghurts and desserts. Now I must be much healthier and have nothing on my bread, I used to use low fat mayo, nothing to sweeten my coffee and just fruit for dessert but oh, how hard it is!  One light on the horizon: I have discovered that Easiyo  (remember how I raved about the do it yourself yoghurt) makes a low fat ice cream mix so I have ordered some to try. It looks a bit full of E numbers but I’m going to go for it anyway, a girl’s got to have a treat occasionally you know.

I’m afraid the cats have won their battle. I couldn’t stand tripping over them any more as they begged for their old food back and looked miserably at the lovely free range chicken I served them. I have resorted buying the cat food from the Co-op. I reckon the Co-op and Waitrose are the best of a bad bunch. The Co-op seems to have good ethical policies and Waitrose doesn’t stock own brand rubbish and has a pretty small market share so can’t dictate prices and terms to such a great extent and Tesco and Asda.

Ben washing

One Eared Ben (He’s had a stroke. Boom boom!)

Photo by Horace

So, back to Jamie. I was shocked to watch a post mortem on a 24 stone man, we weren’t told his age but he didn’t look that old. His diaphragm was so pushed up by his fat encased and enlarged liver that it was level with his nipples. His heart was twice the size of a normal man and so his lungs were minute as there wasn’t room for them.  The organs and muscles were not just surrounded by fat, they were impregnated with it. He had no cartilage left in his knees and one of his legs was black because of diabetes.

We were shown a frozen cross section of a healthy (apart from the fact that she was dead) woman’s lower abdomen, and compared it with another suffering the effects of constipation. We saw from a body scan that fat looking people can have a lower fat to body ratio than much slighter people. We saw, through the recorded week’s diets of several people who enjoyed too much processed food, that the amount of salt and sugar they were eating was truly huge and that salt was added to food to disguise the low quality and therefore taste of cheap, mass produced foods; sugar must then be added to disguise the salt. It all reinforced my determination to continue to cook and to make most things rather than buy them, I already did this to a degree but I now source food differently.

And what about Poo? We saw a heap representing five years worth of poo defecated by a very healthy Ugandan It was truly enormous, 851k to be precise. This was especially impressive when compared with the equivalent pile from Dan, one of the ‘guests’ on Jamie’s program who pooed an average of 94g per day or 171.5k per year, or nearly one fifth of the Ugandan’s. In fact the average ugandan poos four times more than the average Brit.

So my challenge is to give my family more fibre and reduce the fat in our diet. This time next year Rodney, I’ll have them shitting like Ugandans (no offense intended to any Ugandans reading this)!


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