So much food for thought in your response, Allan Milne Lees… thank you!

The one point I wanted to address is the above as I am not convinced it is necessary to have an omnivorous diet to be healthy. I’m a strict vegan and my blood works always get amazed comments from doctors because they seldom see anything like them. “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it” is the standard reaction.

And that “whatever” involves a lot of fat, as in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds, which are all self-limiting. And a lot of veggies, which are also self-limiting because they contain so much fiber. It’s impossible to eat five apples in a row for example.

I do however take a B12 tablet every day and have done so for years. One problem that did show up in my last labs is way below average ferritin levels, which my GP suspects are linked to constant stress and exhaustion over the last year so I’m on iron and B9 for three months until we rerun labs. He is adamant my thyroid might be malfunctioning, which it certainly was a year ago but seems to have righted itself so we’re trying to get to the bottom of that, too.

Foodwise, I’m a gourmande like any of my compatriotes so I’ve been enjoying marrons glacés because it’s the season. In practice, that means I had a grand total of two this week, on different days. And that’s quite enough. They’re so sweet it takes me at least 15 minutes to eat one, crumb by crumb.

I do have chocolate most days however but it’s the 100% cocoa type, also self-limiting because only a couple of squares suffice. It is a product meant to be savored, not wolfed down.

I too have gone through periods of eating everything in sight — as I did the first time I went back to Amsterdam last June and discovered vegan ice creams made locally with real ingredients and no additives — but those periods are generally brief because such products are prohibitively expensive, offer little to no nutritional value, and my body has never handled sugar well. And my definition of eating everything in sight likely is different from bingeing.

I wasn’t blessed with my father’s constitution which earned him the nickname of Benny Bouffe-Tout, alas. I’m a celiac with a very whimsical digestive system and I’m hugely allergic to dairy. (It wasn’t a happy day when I found out as I used to adore cheese and was a vegetarian for years before switching to an all plant-based diet. Then again, I was also a poorly kid always in and out of hospital for tests, often on antibiotics, and often missing school because medicine at the time wasn’t able to identify the problem. When I cut out offending substances, all my health issues vanished so I’ve never looked back. I’m not wedded to veganism though: If my body tells me it wants fish or meat, I’ll have it.)

Also, many food additives have strange and unexpected consequences so I have to avoid most of them, too. The weirdest thing that happened to me in the US was eating a mouthful of ready-made salsa and having an asthma attack, which hadn’t happened for 20 years. The culprit? Sulfites.

So garbage food isn’t even an option even though I can be as lazy as the next person, which means throwing mixed frozen veggies into the wok with olive oil and some herbs, and adding some nuts and seeds on top, or some cubed tofu, and calling it dinner.

Lastly, my mom lives in Northern France in a town with a total population of some 55,000 souls. There are no less than four Golden Arches locations, plus at least two others that are similar but a Belgian franchise so with slightly better standards. And on top of that, there’s no shortage of burger bars and kebab shops springing up left, right, and center. Encouragingly, they’re often closed which means they likely won’t survive much longer. But this shows you how widespread the reach of MacSlop is, even in France.

As for Britain, there are people fighting back and the formidable Jack Monroe is the best example and someone who deserves all the kudos, all the support, and all the publicity so people start eating better. That she already has such a massive following goes to show what she’s doing is working so I think Britain still has a chance to reverse the MacSlop trend even though I believe it would have had a far, far better chance hadn’t it decided to split from the EU.

PS/The best way to get good bread is the US is to learn how to make one’s own. If a six-year old kid can do it…

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