Diet, Health and the Mechanical Extraction of Facial Meat. Hmm.

On New Year’s Eve my husband and I joined our friends for a meal and drinks across the road from where we live. (When I say ‘road’ I do of course mean that our friends own the house there; we didn’t just decide to hold the dinner party on the pavement opposite my forecourt.) Whilst there, and during a discussion about vegetarianism, the subject of chickens came up. Specifically, the subject of facial meat. (If you are of a queasy disposition then I advise you skip the following paragraph.)

It transpired during our conversation that Andy (a friend of our friends) had once bitten into a chicken pie, only to be confronted, orally, with something that appeared not to be chicken. Or at least, not one of the bits of a chicken that you would generally consume. To be precise, he bit into a whole chicken skull. In his pie. In his mouth. Urgh.

Upon realising what he had chomped into, Andy wisely – as would the average consumer upon finding skeletal remains in their lunch – wrote to the supermarket from whence his pie came. Rather than receiving vouchers or grovels of apology (the very least I’d bloody expect after that grisly experience), Andy got a letter through the post, which stated very clearly that there is apparently always a risk when munching a food item that contains meat because of … brace yourselves … that’s right – the mechanical extraction of facial meat. Eeeeeeew!!! What a sentence – what a thought! As you will know Dear Reader, I myself am the proud co-owner (have to stress ‘co’ else the husband gets cross) of the delightful chickens that are Barbara and Peggy, and I am therefore well qualified to let you also know that there ain’t much in the way of facial meat to be found on a chicken. Aside from its bone structure, and assuming that your chicken is not a mutant hybrid that has been cross-bred with Godzilla on steroids, then it’s a pretty small face we’re talking about here. It merely goes to show that when we imagine the making of a pie or similar, we think of plump juicy pieces of chicken breast, cooked tenderly and added to the other ingredients. What we do not imagine is the scraping and scratching and digging, via machine, of tiny little shreds of facial carcass, all squished together and marketed by the money-grabbing supermarkets and global pie companies as ‘lunch’. Shudder.

It is because of more knowledge of issues such as these, as well as having to admit that I am now physically older than 18 (though never mentally past 12), that over the last two years I’ve radically changed lifestyle. My diet was never diabolical, but now it is almost entirely unprocessed and involves much in the way of good fats. I shunned fats of any kind for years after the 90’s propaganda of ‘low fat’ this that and the other, but since finding out that the majority of low fat products, such as yogurts and so on, are full of chemicals and sugar to make up for the lack of taste caused by the loss (mechanically extracted no doubt!) of fats, I avoid all forms of ‘diet’ food. Instead, I now gobble good fats, partly due to my own facial meat – now there’s a lovely expression that’ll be sweeping the nation once this blog is published I’m sure. It is said that after a certain age, a woman has to choose between her arse (size of) and her face (wrinkles of). And it’s true: fat don’t crack. You need a healthy toned body with enough fat to keep your cheeks plumped out: let them lose weight and that’s it. Jowls begin, saggy long lines start to stretch from eye to jaw when you smile, and your neck starts to shrivel like testicle-skin. Pretty.

It was with this in mind that myself and my James Duigan-inspired diet (Clean and Lean: not rocket science but genius nevertheless) pedalled off into Southsea today in search of something to make me feel less ‘insidey’. This is a phrase coined by my mate Emma (hostess with the mostess of the New Year party) to describe the post-Chrimbo hibernation sensation. We’ve all been locked indoors like shivering, alcohol-swigging, stodge-stuffing squirrels (suspect those rodents don’t drink booze but bear with, bear with – couldn’t think of another hibernating creature at short notice), only to emerge from our homey-hobbit-holes in the new year, blinking like anaemic moles, stumbling into the grey, thinning half-light of January. (Emma, by the way, does not look insidey. She looks like she’s just stepped off of a yacht in the sunshine; I look as though I’ve just escaped from Azkaban prison, only minus the look of sheer relief that would presumably follow such endeavours.)

After 5 days (since the schools went back) of Clean and Leanness, including much green tea, lack of coffee, 3 x alcohol free days, 2 x decent cycles, 2 x decent swims, I awoke (loosest sense of the term) this morning barely able to lift my head out from beneath the duvet. I fear that even if I had been sharing the duvet with Colin (our ludicrously-named, not by us, dog), who is unashamedly flatulent, I still would not have wished to exit the bed area, such was my exhaustion – and general insideyness. When finally I swung a creaky leg out of the bed (don’t get me started on the dodgy leg; still awaiting MRI, still unable to run), I peered in the bathroom mirror, and decided that enough was enough. Help was needed. Cue: Budd’s Herbal Apothecary.

As soon as my youngest was safely ensconced in pre-school, off I pedalled down to Southsea, first stop the Garage Lounge. I had seen earlier in the week that the gorgeously eclectic and chilled Garage Lounge is now stocking some of Budd’s herbal teas, but I had already supped a caffeine-free americano, so today was the day to try the Ginseng and Liquorice that I’d had my eye on. One of the fab ladies who works there stood with me, sniffing the jars of shredded herbs and leaves, as I made my choice. And I can confirm: yum. Very light, very mild and refreshing. I’ve shopped in Budd’s before when Wendy, the lovely owner, made me a bespoke face cream late last year. Having been very pleased with the cream (mixed in front of you, to your specifications after a consultation about your skin, for the absolute bargain of £8!!) I thought that discussing the insidey situation would be a good plan – and I was right.

The apothecary is a beautiful shop, very traditional, and a treat to be inside. Wendy is a walking advertisement for her products (twinkly-eyed, youthful, cheerful and chatty) and that alone is enough to convince me that the banishment of my insideyness is possible. So, after a chat and a description of my lethargy, bleurgh-ness, and all-round wish to hibernate, I am now the recipient of one tea (mate and marshmallow), and one tincture (schisandra). The latter has a fab reputation as an adaptable herb, in that if you take it in the morning it can help to give you a little oomph, and if you take it when you’re stressed it can help to give you a little aaaah. The mate (pronounced mah-tey) can give the boost of coffee, but without the horrid jitters, and can also benefit weight loss, skin, anti-stress, as well as having antioxidant properties. Bring it on I say!

I shall report back in a fortnight on the success or otherwise of Mission: Banish Insideyness, and if you too Dear Reader are on such a mission, then I should love to hear about it! You can contact me at either of the following email addresses, or via facebook, and I’ll be happy to mention you and your insideyness (hopefully lack of!) and/or any tips that you may have, in the follow-up to this blog. If all else fails, then I’m off to take up pole-dancing (for exercise, not wages), which I hear is a fabulous all-round toner. After the previous experience of the Doctor and the Thong though (see earlier blog), I am not sure that I could bear to.

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7 thoughts on “Diet, Health and the Mechanical Extraction of Facial Meat. Hmm.

  1. Hellooooo, it all sounds very promising, I look forward to the results in a couple of weeks!! p.s hold hooping is meant t be pretty good too, I have one lurking under my bed and its only been used once, it is weighted and still in its wrapper, (you know me and exercise don’t go we’ll together) x

  2. Verity, There has been so much dietary disinformation over the last few decades and perhaps the most insidious is the so called “Healthy Diet”. Like you, I’ve always tried to eat natural home cooked foods but on reaching later middle age and gradually giving up playing many sports, I took up biscuits, cakes and pastries with real enthusiasm. After about four years of this I ballooned to an obscene 16 1/2 stone – so I went on the “healthy diet” substituting polyunsaturates for dripping, porridge for toast, fruit and salads for cream and cheese etc. etc. Eighteen months later I’d lost about three stone but gained a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The Nurse said that in view of my “sensible” diet, I was very likely a potential Type 1 diabetic in the making and prescribe some awful drugs to ensure that her prognosis would be correct. Luckily for me my daughter Wendy has more sense and put me in touch with one of her herbalist colleagues whom specialised in diets. She advised me to go on a “Low carbohydrate/High fat” diet. My blood sugar declined to acceptable levels within a week and a year on have stayed there and I have lost another half stone in weight. I have avoided all drugs relying only on diet and Wendy’s bespoke preparations.
    The moral? Don’t put your faith in the pharmacologically controlled NHS – Herbalists like Wendy are a much safer bet.
    PS
    Regards to your mum and according to the location maps on Facebook pages, George (son of Andy, an old friend from schooldays) is a very near neighbour of her’s

    • I absolutely agree Brian! I don’t know if you’ve delved into much earlier blogs (It’s All About The Little Things, The Sweet Vulnerability … etc) but my husband had his first general anaesthetic in August for a minor procedure. Within 12 hours he had 98% kidney failure, began to suffer seizures, pneumonia, and was pumped full of more and more drugs. It was touch and go but we are so lucky in that he recovered. It was clearly a drug within the GA that caused his body’s breakdown but even now further investigations are on-going to discover what. And for the 3 weeks he remained in hospital the majority of consultants, bar two, were in firm denial that the GA drugs could have been responsible. Scary terrifying stuff!! (I’ll gave your regards to mum, she sends her love 🙂 )

      • It is so easy to become paranoid about the NS and the drug industry, my health centre has threatened to report me to the dvlc as a driving hazard for not following their diabetic regime of drugs, group therapy and lots of other mindless trendy bollox. I refuse to be defined as a medical condition, particularly one that I can easily control by diet as could the rest of the population if the powers that be were not frightened that the power of the food and drug industry if broken would destroy the economy. What’s more I want to be treated as a person with a problem: not as a problem. The fault is in the business model, the NHS is not run on a clinical agenda but on a budgetary one. The reason for their threats is that they are losing funding through my unwillingness to subscribe to their regime. I am not anti NHS, if I break a leg or or pick up a nasty disease that a cup of camomile tea won’t cure then I’ll be grateful for their help. I do have a B12 injection every 3 months. The problem is we all know of friends and family who have suffered from their carelessness, they treated my father for a lingering cold when in fact he had a tumour in his nose which killed him, and they induced a heart attack in my sister (she at least fully recovered). Pharmacological drugs are very much a last resort for me. When your mum and I were teenagers Roger Daltry sang “Hope I die before I get old..” well, I hope I die before I get so ill that I’m dependent on the NHS.
        I apologise for slipping into rant mode but lives are being ruined in the pursuit of profits. I do enjoy your blog, it makes me quite nostalgic for Pompey even though the quality of life and the scenery here in the north makes me happier than the above lines make me sound.

      • I’m pleased that you’re enjoying the blog. It is all too easy to lose faith in conventional medicine. Like you I’m more than happy to take necessary treatment, I just like the idea that there are natural sources that can complement modern medicine. Budd’s is wonderful – I’m lucky to have it on the doorstep!

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