Detox drama

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Neanderthal Man is a 40-something, ex-British soldier who collects exotic knives and can strip down a semi-automatic rifle blind-folded. Until recently, he thought ‘chakras’ was a Latina pop star whose hips don’t lie. But things changed for the card- carrying caveman when he met the Tree Hugger… this issue, he survives detoxing… 

Detoxing. Whose bright idea was that then? The health evangelists would have me believe I’m loaded with toxins. Not sure I believe them. I’ve never seen any and don’t know how they’d have gotten inside me. Do they hitchhike in on cheese toasties?

Tree Hugger though, has it in her lovely little head that we’re full of these toxin things, whatever they are. She says this is very bad and that we need to get them out! How do you get them out? No surprises for guessing; it involves raw vegetables. Why can’t toxins be flushed out with beer? Why can’t they be chased away with ice-cream? It’s just so typical. Raw flipping vegetables.

Yes, even I accept that we’ve been over indulging recently. The problem is, there’s always a reason. Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, the sun’s shining, the neighbour’s cat had babies… and yes, perhaps blaming Tree Hugger for boil-washing my clothes till they shrunk was not an entirely accurate explanation for why I’m not fitting into my trousers so well anymore.

To do this detox, Tree Hugger booked us into a wellness resort for seven days. Apparently, we can’t just eat vegetables at home. We need to pay an eye-watering fortune to have chefs highly trained in not doing very much with vegetables and seeds prepare our food. I can grate a carrot but you don’t find me calling myself a gourmet wellness vegan chef.

Anyway, so we get to this resort and we’re told that because we’re on the detox diet, we can only have food from the buffet that has a yellow label. Any purple-labelled food is strictly off limits and all the staff had been briefed so don’t try sneaking any, it would be confiscated. Naturally, there was to be no carbohydrates, caffeine or alcohol but we could have all the wheatgrass and spirulina juice we desired. No limits, knock ourselves out.

After the first day, I woke up with this strangely familiar gnawing feeling in my stomach. Then I remembered; it was hunger. Hadn’t felt that in a while. We went up for breakfast. Not a sausage or piece of bacon in sight. Breakfast options were several vegetable dishes, vegetable soup, grapefruit, pumpkin seeds, salad (salad!) and all the herbal tea or caffeine-free coffee alternative sweetened with dried stevia leaves we could drink. Anything worth eating had a purple label and the breakfast buffet was guarded by a swarm of SS Waffen storm troopers dressed as waiters.

After breakfast, what were we going to do? No TV! Entertainment options were: read a book; listen to a talk on nutrition; have some kind of therapy, and lay by the beach or pool. I read a lot of books that week. Cookbooks mostly, the pages are a bit sticky now from where my tears fell onto the recipes for mouth-watering delights like Beef Wellington (‘… sit the beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil… sob…’) and Chocolate Marquise (‘… pour the melted chocolate into the butter mixture, and carefully stir… boo hoo’).

It was the longest week of my life. If this is detoxing, I’d rather keep my toxins thanks very much. I’ve told Tree Hugger that I’m choosing the next holiday. There will be enough food and drink to sink a ship and an IMAX- sized, flat-screen TV in our room. But she really is going to have to stop boil washing my clothes.

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