My eighty-eight year old father has a slight tendency to repeat himself, for which he gets teased, but two of his favourite sayings (“Growing old is not for the faint-hearted” and “If there are any advantages to getting old, I’ve yet to discover them”) do not detract from his still-lively interest in most areas of human endeavour and his strident views on what’s going wrong with the modern world.
For my own part, ‘a little bit of what you fancy doesn’t do you any harm’ is one of my principal for life.
There was a story about actor Marlon Brando arriving in Australia to make a film and giving a rare press conference at the airport. One local journalist referred to Brando’s magnificent physique in his early films (e.g. Julius Caesar, The Wild Ones, On The Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire) and asked if he didn’t regret having let himself go. Brando grabbed the mike and responded “Listen, I’m fifty-eight-effing years old and if I can’t let myself go now, when can I?”
I can empathise with that.
One the media’s obsessions is in the reporting of medical breakthroughs and/or research that tells us that we are too fat, too thin, that we should avoid butter because it’s bad for us … or, alternatively, that we should eat more butter because it’s good for us … and a constant barrage of advice on what is best for us in terms of diet, exercise and our general ongoing health. Inevitably, we try to follow them – I do quite well on the well-regarded Mediterranean diet (fish, oil, vegetables etc.) because I quite like those ingredients. Salads I can consume in small doses and in certain situations, but as a default position I’m not a particular fan of rabbit-fodder.
One of my habitual practices is to have a good breakfast. They say it’s the most important meal of the day from a constitutional point of view and I tend to agree. I love the traditional English full cooked breakfast, especially if black pudding, bacon, egg and beans are involved. However, most days I go for some combination of fruit juice, black coffee, a bowl of cereal or porridge and perhaps (if the means are available) a bacon or sausage sandwich.
Received opinion around me is that cooked breakfasts are not great – this primarily from the high-calorific content point of view, rather than any concern that the constituent parts are bad for your health. I suspect the theory behind this theme is close to the adage ‘All things in moderation’, which lines up with my ‘A little bit of what you fancy …’ attitude that I mentioned earlier.
Today, however, the British media reports the latest research and medical advice that all processed meats – not least sausages and bacon – are bad for you, to the extent of doubling your risk of heart failure. I’m none too happy about reading the details, both because I regular eat bacon and sausages (often two at a time, the number specifically mentioned by the research study concerned) and – if I was to take this latest advice and cut out all processed/cooked meats – as I sit here typing, I find myself hard pressed to identify what few pleasures in life would be left to me!
See here, via a link on today’s website of the Daily Mail, for a typical piece on the subject – HEART RISK