I have now returned from a holiday in two senses of the word. A real going-away holiday and a holiday from my diet. It’s time to go back to Paleo. It’s time to resume dieting as best I can and lay off the bread and other carbs as much as I can.
I am doing this partly to try to get back on track and because it would be such a shame to lose all I’ve lost and regain it if you see what I mean and I think the dieters among you will. But also because heartburn returned when I again ate bread! It’s horrible. Really painful and I’m tired of living on a mixture of Gaviscon and strong mints. If nothing else I’ll do this as an experiment to see not if I lose more weight but to see if the heartburn desists. In that way I’ll be telling myself this isn’t a diet – oh no! – it’s a way to use food to stop the heartburn – and the heartache! A psychological trick I am hoping…
I’ve also still been suffering from nausea from time to time the reasons for which I just can’t fathom as there isn’t a pattern to them. One day I thought it might have been caused by the sun. Another time from afternoon drinking. As these both occurred on holiday they aren’t regular events but I did feel sick on one occasion once back home too. It might’ve been the pain au chocolat I ate… pain is right, ho ho ho…
Anyway I hope that by going back to Paleo it might cease. I can eat bacon again! Which I wasn’t able to do for ages after my incident. No idea why since it definitely wasn’t caused by eating bad bacon or bad meat of any kind. I guess if you’ve had an episode you become more sensitive to certain strongly-flavoured foods is all I can think.
Anyway to prove to myself that I back on Paleo I bought a new muffin tin. You bought a WHAT I hear you quizzically ask. Surely Paleo is… yes yes yes, it’s low-carb. The muffin tin is to make baked mini omelettes. My last pan lost its non-stick so I bought a much better one and it’s divine to use and the omelettes are lovely. I bake in batches so they’ll see me through the week but they never seem to last that long.
Food in books
While away I read two novels. Now this may seem an entirely normal thing to do on holiday but for me, it indicated I was truly relaxed! Able to sink into a book and not worry about mind flitting about elsewhere as it usually does. What I noticed about both books was that they mentioned food. I do like that in a book don’t you? It is relevant to the period it’s set in and it tells you something about the characters and their lives. One thing I didn’t like about Chris Mullin’s political diaries which are a fabulously long gossipy read I do highly recommend is that he never mentions food! Talks about dining out a bit and the House of Commons tearoom – inevitably – but never says what they eat. Maybe that’s why he’s so thin – for an MP. Though he’s an ex MP now which is a shame. He added much to the place in view.
Anyway I read Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell which was a delight I gobbled up in three days flat and Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley the latter bought it haste because I only took one book with me and that clearly wasn’t going to be enough. How fab to be on holiday and need to buy new reading material. So often I lug a book or two along and they remain unopened by the bed the whole holiday long. Like dieting or giving up smoking, your head has to be in the right place to read I think. I hope this is a good sign that my head is back in the right place now for reading, dieting and maybe some other need-to-get-around-to-it things too.
Should you care, short book reviews follow….
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell.
I bought this book solely because it was set in July 1976 during the heatwave/drought of that period and I have very strong and very happy memories of that time. I had no idea what I was getting! What a treat this turned out to be. It’s all about an extended Irish family living in North London and their various travails and troubles. It’s a gorgeous read full of detail and emotion and incredible heart. I confess I dissolved into tears at the end. I really believed in these characters and cared about them. Also I can “see” their lives after the book ends. This was my first Maggie O’Farrell but soon as I got back I rushed round to our local independent bookshop and bought several more. If you’re a reader don’t you just love finding new authors with a fab back catalogue?
Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley
This was a very different book from the above but I bought it because the jacket cover said it was set in the 1960s in a bedsit in Bristol. And I thought, that’ll do! Another period piece. Kind of. If the narrator hadn’t been born in the same year as me I’m not sure I would’ve persisted. It’s a very odd book. Highly readable and unputdownable and has an essence of what happened nextness about it but it’s told in a very flat style I thought. Aspiring authors are always told to “show me don’t tell me” but telling is exactly what this novel does. It’s a kind of autobiography. This happened then that happened. Despite hugely dramatic events I found it hard to be engaged with the characters even though it was written in the first person which is supposed to be more immediate. The O’Farrell in the third person was a much more emotional, warm, read.
In the end I was rather fed up of the lead character in Clever Girl – Stella. Who has a friend called Sheila. Another rule broken! For aren’t authors told to have clearly separate names for characters? Anyway Stella does the hippy thing to an extreme – living in a commune which truth to tell very few people actually did in the 60s. Then she ends up in a very materialistic life at the end which she always swore she wouldn’t. Oh boy was it hard to care. I just felt relief when I put this down. So her back catalogue I won’t be pursuing. I’m so tired of that old cliche of babyboomers turned breadheads. As if you grow up when you put money at the centre of your life.
Next up for me is Alys, Always by Harriet Lane. A book I bought to take on holiday but left behind assuming I might not finish one book let alone have time for two! It feels glorious to be reading again.