The joy of vinegar

One of the incomparable advantages of being overweight, about Shrove Tuesday, is that you have acquired enough body fat to last through Lent. And one of my personal advantages, as your nutritional adviser, is that I have myself received enough unsolicited dietary advice in the last two years to rotate a horse. I’ve been told all about keto, and “pre-diabetes,” and a dozen more technical terms, and have listened involuntarily to some of the dullest credentialed specialists in our (surprisingly mediocre) healthcare system, who got my number from a hospital directory and won’t leave me alone.

I was reduced, during open-heart surgery in Lent 2021, to skeletal dimensions, and whimsically diagnosed with whatever disorders the doctors find most commonplace in their rounds. Oddly, notwithstanding what they had concluded, I did not have a sugar addiction (as my oldest comrades will attest), nor other alimentary self-abuses going into surgery; and have only developed wicked cravings since I came out.

But my combined proficiency in the principles of religious fasting, and pagan dieting, can now be drowned together in a glass of vinegar. The trick, according to the wisest of my nutritional examiners (who came from Sri Lanka, where everyone is now starving by government policy), is to mix a shallow ladle of pretty much any kind of vinegar into enough water to be able to swallow it, and swill this back. Frequently repeated, it will cover for a host of dietary sins.

This lady had other hints, for instance a counsel against nudity. You’d be wiser to eat what you instinctively want, from the list of attractive starches and carbohydrates, after they have been dressed in virtuous clothing, such as healthy fibres, fats, and proteins. This will prevent scandal in your digestive system — the most judgemental, Puritanical part of your physiological order.

But vinegar is my chief recommendation, for the days preceding Good Friday. Not only will you lose weight. You will be reminded, every day, of the Passion of Our Lord.