It's time for a confession. I'm not quite as thin as I would like to be. There, I've said it. Phew, I feel better. To be fair to me, I can still see my feet. My own personal gravitational field is not yet pulling planets out of alignment. But, with summer here, there are issues, not least of politeness. Two weeks in Turkey loom. I will be exposed and I want to limit the volume of that exposure, so as not to ruin the holidays of other people around the pool. Ah, the joys of a negative body image.
The result of all this: many more chickens are dying. And a few more pigs. And the odd cow. I am low carbing. I won't use the 'D' word. Diets are crap and I know because I've done them, first when I was eight, then again at 12 and at 16 and ever after. Diets are the King Canute of human behaviour. They will never turn the tide, not long term.
So instead I'm off the bread, potatoes, pasta and rice. It's not the full Atkins. After all, the good doctor died young (admittedly from slipping over on an icy pavement, but you can never be too careful). It's a moderated kind. Atkins calls for the withdrawal of all sugars including, for a while, even fruit. That's not an eating regime. It's a fetish. Plus people on Atkins have smelly breath and headaches. I'd rather be fat.
Better still, I'd rather eat like a caveman. Hell, I've got the hair for it, and a taste for it too. For here is the truth: eating lots of meat may not agree with the animals it comes from but it definitely agrees with me. I feel more alive, less dopey. And combined with exercise it works.
Don't get me wrong. I love bread. I adore sourdough and rye, and a soft white loaf with a crunchy bronzed crust, spread with cool salted butter. But I also know that bread is the enemy. A couple of months back I saw images of myself and gasped. Under my T-shirt I looked in need of a trip to Rigby and Peller. Bits of me were moving in three directions at once. I hadn't been like that for a long while.
What had happened? My wife had gone on a home-baking frenzy, that's what. From here on in, she said, she would buy no more bread. And so every afternoon the house smelt of freshly baking breads: of granaries and glazed rolls and something soft and plaited. I like to think of myself as strong-willed but in the face of all that I was powerless. My name is Jay and I am addicted to bread.
And so, save for when reviewing, I'm off it, along with all the other carbs. Of course vegetarians, and what Anthony Bourdain once called their "Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans", will despair.
A lifetime of my self-indulgence is leading to mass slaughter. They have a point, if only from their perspective. It's not an issue as far as I'm concerned. Humans eat meat. It's what we do. The problem is the environmental one, the nagging fact of how much grain goes to make each kilo. An awful lot. That cannot be denied. And so I have become obsessed with the prospect of lab-grown meat, of animal protein from insects. This caveman, his mouth slippery with rendered animal fats, is placing all his hopes on the white heat of technology. The boffins have to make it work. My waistline depends upon it.