I finally plucked up courage to consult my G.P. about the pain in my butt. For months I put up with it (it’s a fissure) but I’d reached the stage of taking pain killers three days out of five (an indulgence I would not grant to my arthritis). I promise that’s the limit of too much information.
The doctor prescribed a low fiber diet. The day before I had routinely filled my fridge with healthy items: lettuce, leeks, celery, spring onions, cucumber and whole-meal bread. “Cut out all green vegetables and fruit,” he said, sweepingly. “That will make me constipated,” I said. “I will give you a prescription for laxatives,” he assured me. “That doesn’t seem logical to me,” I said, “How can it be better to take laxatives than to eat a diet that keeps me regular?” “Trust me,” he said, and mentally I added (“I’m a doctor”).
“You need to lose weight too,” he said (that’s true). “I suggest the Atkins Diet. Cut out all carbohydrates. This means you should not eat potatoes, corn or lentils, beans except green ones,” (forgetting he had banned them in the previous paragraph), “rice, pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits, and you know not to eat ice cream?” I nodded. “And don’t eat fruit, it’s full of sugar. You can eat all the meat, bacon, eggs and cheese you want to on the Atkins,” (but not if you have high cholesterol like me). “What did you have for breakfast today?” “A slice of dry toast with marmalade and a banana.” “What did you have for lunch?” “A green salad with dried figs, grapes, nuts and a piece of cheese.” “Why do you need to eat nuts?” he asked, “they are fattening.” He approved of carrots. “What about parsnips?” I asked. “Ugh,” he said, with a shudder. “But parsnips are delicious! You haven’t tasted mine,” I said. (Blanch and roast with a little olive oil.)
“If I leave out all carbohydrates and fiber including porridge oats, grape nuts and green vegetables, what’s for dinner?” I asked. “You can eat meat, stewed or grilled, and peas.” I don’t know how the peas slipped through, they are green vegetables.
Next morning I started as I didn’t mean to go on, with an Atkins Diet breakfast of bacon, mushrooms and a poached egg. By lunch time I remembered that friends who lost weight on the Atkins diet also lost friends from their bad breath, and suffered constipation, the enema – I mean enemy. I’ve joined Weight Watchers and a water aerobics class and am following what seems to me to be a sensible diet. I’m doing OK.