The Bell’s Palsy diet. Extreme (but effective)…

Last Wednesday the NHS in Devon announced that they were restricting elective surgery for those who were morbidly obese. This was amongst a number of measures that they hoped would go some way towards having reduce their deficit of £14.5 million. Which kind of makes sense if you think about it. Someone needing elective surgery – that is a planned surgical procedure not an emergency – you would think would have a vested interest in maximizing their chances of a successful outcome. You might also think, that given that two-thirds of Britons are overweight and that the change needed to effect better surgical outcomes requires simple lifestyle choices, exactly how comfortable can comfort eating be when one is culinary challenged, the challenge being to say “No!” to food.

(At this point I must point out that I have very little sympathy for people who are no stranger to the light of the fridge at midnight and who consequently look like a bin bag full of yoghurt. If you find this and other comments about the abstemiously challenged distasteful – no, no, no, too obvious – I ask you this. Exactly which part of the first line I ever wrote on my first post did you not understand??)

Therefore in this spirit of wishing to do a public good I give reveal free to the world a revolutionary – some might say unorthodox – approach to dieting. It’s extreme but I say no to the wishy-washy and yes to the demonstrably effective. Because far too many fat people look as if there’s a thin person inside them waiting to get out, the problem being that they look like they’ve eaten the thin person. With this diet ones ability to consume what one used to is severely restricted. This state of affairs is however, not one you can opt out of and can last for some months. Ladles and jellypoons I give you the Bells Palsy diet.

Whilst I concede that temporary facial paralysis might be seen as a radical – some might say idiosyncratic – means to lose weight, as it can potentially be necessitated by having one of your eyes taped shut – seeing things properly isn’t really an argument against it. And not only does it reduce ones ability to eat, it also reduces ones desire to eat as well. It’s a win/win situation (or maybe that should be a thin/thin situation?) The N.H.S could deliberately infect people with it; namely the people you hope don’t sit in front of you on a long flight. With Bells Palsy, if you are lucky one side of your mouth is as much use as a eunuch at an orgy. By this I mean one side of the mouth is effectively on strike. The first intimation I had that anything was wrong with my face was a couple of Sundays ago, was when I was attempting to spit out some mouthwash. It felt like when one is at the dentists and the dentist has finished and invites you to gargle with some mouthwash and you spit it into a bowl provided. Even though you are consciously aware that your mouth has been numbed, you foolishly think it can’t be that bad. Until that is, you realize the mouthwash is dribbling down your chin.

Consequently, I eat only soft food and only then food that has been cut up into small chunks that I then carefully place in the right side of my mouth. If for some reason some the food makes a dash to the left side of my mouth then by a combination of either tilting my head to the right, or by a suction motion borne out of necessity, whereby I maneuver the errant food back on the right side of the mouth. However this suction motion proves that the law of unintentional consequences is undeniably true. Because when I engage in this suction, the noise that is produced invariably leads to what Avril calls ‘mouth farts.’ This occasions much hilarity on her part, but which for some reason I fail to see the funny side of. (Which is ironic, given that I frequently make much ruder and personal comments about her, yet expect her not to be in a grump about. Although to be fair, she hardly ever does.) And because I have no control of the left side of my mouth, food can get stuck there, without me always being aware. Therefore, I wash my teeth in the shower, for reasons of practicality when you consider the dentist comparison of my mouth action given previously.

One of the other less edifying aspects of temporary facial paralysis is that when you do manage to eat it can often feel as if I’m trying to paint using only my feet to hold the brushes; messy, humiliating and ultimately frustratingly annoying, with effort not matching reward. Having only one fully operational eye – because Bell’s Palsy also limits my spatial awareness – is much the same as having a blind spot, so as the eating utensil gets closer to your mouth, the less of the business end of it you can see. Thus it becomes a very messy affair and soon you grow bored of wearing and not eating your food. This again could be of some benefit to people who look like barrels with arms. Because, as we all know, a diet can be summed up in four words; eat less, do more. Everything else is just garnish, which of course you can eat on a diet because they’re low in calories. Another painful lesson concerns the exiting of what goes in. By necessity I can only eat soft foods, which by definition are not high in fibre with, wholly predictable results. (If any does know of a soft food that’s high in fibre, I implore you from the heart of my bottom to share your knowledge in the comment section) So Matthew has been making me high fibre smoothies which are not as worthily tasteless as they sound, containing as they do raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, various seeds, bananas, apples and orange juice. Right now I’ve urgently to take the kids to the pool because I can feel the smoothie working…..

I know I wrote a few posts back that the next series of posts would be about me coping with Bell’s Palsy, and I meant it then but I’m bored now, so next time…How the maxim ‘charity begins at home’ is true in the case of Bono, with his Dublin mansion, New York apartment (and not forgetting his beachfront villa on the French Riviera….)