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On eating and drinking simultaneously


Flanders, Netherlands

And not a glass in sight… or is there?

It has been a few weeks not so much hectic as rather completely crzay, hence my kind and loyal readers might with reason consider themselves somewhat neglected by this blog. In order to put that right, I shall attempt a brief post on a useful topic which may be of help to many people.

Some years ago my dear friend Leslie Grufford informed me that you should not eat and drink at the same time. I was not convinced of this at the time as I knew that Mr Grufford was prone to making statements that I didn’t agree with, although with the passage of time some of them have increased their plausibility and this statement of his is no exception. Looking at the matter today I trawled the internet looking for opinions on whether you should avoid fluid intake close to mealtimes and if so why?

Of course I had an inkling myself of why this should be, and this was confirmed by those who said that the stomach contents are flushed into the lower reaches of the Alimentary Canal more quickly if you drink fluids, whereas it hangs around longer in the “pouch” as some commentators put it, if you don’t drink at the same time, which not only enables the feeling of fulltitude to happen with less food, but also better digestion of the nutrients in the food.

Which all kind of makes sense. The best reason to have liquids at hand is of course in case you find yourself choking, but hopefully that doesn’t happen very often and if anxiety to avoid choking makes you eat slower, then well, there’s a third advantage.

It is one thing to know the above though, and quite another to put it into practice. People like to have a drink with meals and there are some social kinds of eating which rather call for the drinking of fluids at the same time.

Maybe we need to change social morays and other sociable eels like the conga in order to reflect what actually is conducive to better health. Maybe we should wait for a good hour after desert before we start to drink coffee. In a lot of restaurants I’ve been at that tends to be what can happen anyway even whn you don’t want it to, so maybe that should be formalised and written into the newest editions of Debretts?

Aperitifs and wine with meals which are included in the price with certain set posh meals are a big temptation to let all that go by the board on occasion, but if that happens at least we need to get back on the programme when we are eating in normal life. It isn’t what happens on conferenced that determines if we are fat or thin, but what happens in our own kitchens and dining rooms and at our desks or canteens at work.

I will say this – an unexpected side effect I noticed when becoming vegetarian was that the desire to drink while eating automtically went down. I need to remember to drink after meals.

The recommendations people on line say that their doctors had given them is not drinkning from 15 minutes before eating a meal to 30 minutes or in some cases 60 minutes after finishing eating. Maybe 45 minutes is a good compromise. I like the 80:20 rule but I’m not sure it would apply here very well.

A Mediterranean Morning of Misunderstanding (short story in the style of P.G.Wodehouse)


This was another of my entries to the Daily Telegraph Short Story Competition that made it to the Top Six, but didn’t win – I never did. It seems to have been removed maybe on suspicions that P.G. Wodehouse‘s estate might have something to say about me borrowing his characters and putting them to work again 80 years later. But I expect that it will be safe in a readership as small as this blog now is to share it with you, and I’ve been saving it up a bit. As ever there was a limit to the number of words and certain words like Diplodocus and Ginger Beer Plant had to be used in it – there were about five of these words that had to feature somewhere, I can’t remember them all now and My.Telegraph has been through too much of a transformation for me to be able to access that one now. Here goes, enjoy…

I awoke from dreams of performing “Burlington Bertie from Bow” to a packed music hall populated entirely by an audience of Bow Street magistrates of the Sir Watkyn Bassett ilk and kidney – you know, the sort that would fain and gladly hand yours truly down a short sharp sentence of fourteen days inside of one of Her Majesty’s decreed stately pleasure domes, as the fellow said, without the option, to the voice of what at first seemed to be a distant harpy eagle shrieking after its hapless prey, “Bertie! Bertie! Wake up, you cowperian sluggard! It’s already half past ten, you lazy, glassy-eyed nephew of mine, come and get your breakfast before it all goes cold!” Read the rest of this entry

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