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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.

Diary for a New Decade #1 – 1st January 2011


Butterbrotes with caviar of trout

They were not unlike these wikipedia ones, but on toast instead of bread and cheese.

So here I am embarking on the first of many posts for this year. I woke up ridiculously late this morning, in fact I’m not sure that morning is actually the correct word to use, and the first thing that I thought about was to make sure that I drank coffee before breakfast because we had planned to use the red caviar that my wife’s sister recently brought from Russia for our first breakfast in the year.

Now I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t like drinking coffee straight after eating red caviar. Or black caviar for that matter with the slight proviso that I don’t buy black caviar. I worry too much about the plight of the sturgeon, and also I don’t even like it as much as I like the red caviar which comes from the salmon, and is not endangered in the way that sturgeon-derived caviar is. It is a little bit endangered but then so is everything little bit endangered. Whereas sturgeons are more than a little bit endangered.

So I took my coffee without sugar, and perceived on my weight loss initiative. I should say that I weighed in last night just before midnight at 131.6 kg.  This means that in 2010 I lost the grand total of 0.4 kgs. Before you laugh and pour scorn upon my weight loss efforts, I have to say this is a bigger success than you might think. I am perfectly capable of adding on 40 kg in the course of a year just be eating what I feel like and not watching what I am about. So all I really need to do is redouble my efforts and there should be a healthy weight loss. Anyhow the target is 101,6 for the year – a loss of 30 kg.

But I decided not to be weighing myself every day or week, I decided to make that a monthly event. For the first month to be on track I need to lose about 4 or 5 kg. It does slow down as a diet progresses, you see. I will not be crash dieting, just burning more by walking instead of using the car (which remains unrepaired while I get my teeth repaired, which appears to be a long-term construction project) and having smaller portions. The key is to avoid the things which are simply empty calories, to eat less at meals so that I still think I probably haven’t eaten enough when I push away from the table, to leave food when given too large portions, to order fewer courses, and to drink water instead of juice or anything with calories in it.

Calories taken in as fluid are a particularly deceptive thing – you don’t feel full but you’ve had some of your food allowance.

Anyway, I did some Czech Goldlist and then went for a walk with my son, George. He is a bit snuffly so it was a short walk. The weather is about plus 2 outside but there’s a bit of a wind so the so-called chill factor was much in evidence. I listened to the Michel Thomas advanced Japanese course a bit while walking. I do think it’s very good despite some of the mean reviews it had on Amazon.co.uk. One person didn’t get on with the presenter’s Irish accent, but I find it quite endearing, so I do. I know Paddy O’Donohue would love it. He would probably be wanting Niamh to be his colleen if he wasn’t already wanting Enya to be. 

And then I came home and had some soup and one of my wife’s ‘kotlyety’ (Russian meatballs) and then it was now!

Hopefully that wasn’t too boring, as there’s plenty more where that came from, so there is…

“Packed lunches not safe” – latest UK Gov-no advice.


A UK Gov-no Quango, the oxymoronically named “School Food Trust”, in the person of its chairperson Mr Rob “Daylight” Rees, has been quoted in today’s online Torygrass as saying that parents “are hampering efforts to cut obesity in children by sending them to school with packed lunches”.  Mr Daylight said “the best solution would be the parents to pay for their children to eat healthy hot meals and canteens rather than giving them lunchboxes”. He also wants to give schools the right to open packed lunch boxes at the school gates and ensure that inappropriate content is not allowed onto school premises. Apparently he wants sophisticated entry controls at school gates similar to those at airports, with students being asked if they packed their satchels all by themselves, and mineral water only being allowed on board if it is bought in the airside shops and has high enough fluoride levels in it to control all risks of explosions or independent thought. Read the rest of this entry

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