Life

Nuala McCann: I have a list of fresh resolutions as long as your bingo-winged arm

Willpower is not something which comes in bucket loads about here. In truth, he has a lot more than me. It shows when he steps on the scales. Think Jack Spratt and his wife. Think the two of us on a seesaw – he's high in the sky waving his legs, I'm flat on the ground, unable to rise

Nuala McCann – our son assures me I've 'just got the wrong genes'

IT’S Veganuary about here – A bit like Movember but without the moustache. No worries, I could grow one, I choose not to.

But, given the season and In an effort to be healthier, I’m changing my diet. Out go the jammy dodgers, in go the energy balls. Out go the rib-eye steaks, in go sustainable fish, sweet potatoes and tahini. Anyone for a chia seed? I’m streaming my inner hamster.

Frankly, it’s a bit of a cod. Fish are fair game. I’m not quite going the whole hog – forgive me for that one – but I am downing the meat intake.

Forget a la carte Catholic, I’m an a la carte vegetarian with the occasional lapse when I’d kill for a Big Mac and I hate myself afterwards.

The whole world is in on this Veganuary thing. So it is important to make a small effort.

It’s willpower, I tell my husband. Bosh, he says. How dare you rubbish my aspirations, I say. The vegan recipe book, he explains.

Willpower is not something which comes in bucket loads about here. In truth, he has a lot more than me.

It shows when he steps on the scales. Think Jack Spratt and his wife. Think the two of us on a seesaw – he’s high in the sky waving his legs, I’m flat on the ground, unable to rise.

Him? He’s keeping his resolutions simple. He shall up his signature dish – spag bol a la Dolmio – from one dish to two. We wait with bated breath and fingers crossed that his “something different” recipe suits my new vegetarian look.

I have a list of fresh resolutions as long as your bingo-winged arm. Some of them are healthy. Some of them are just part of the normal, but writing it down makes it seem more worthy.

These include making more soup. Call me the soup dragon – leek and potato, carrot and coriander, a good celery with a touch of chilli sauce.

Wonderful, says my mother, but hold on the sweet chilli sauce, your brother is not so keen on it – she is such an Irish mother.

Fresh bread? Mine has spelt flour, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Put that in the oven and step out of the kitchen, Delia.

All that home-baked bread rests uneasily with the other resolution about the stone that I need to drop in the coming year and the food baby that needs delivered.

My weight loss plan works out at an eensy weensy 1lb a month.

“There are ways and means,” I tell my own Jack Spratt.

How irritating is it to watch someone demolish oceans of custard and quantities of Green & Black chocolate without ever having to loosen a notch on a waistband.

It’s a metabolism thing, our son reassures me.

“You just got the wrong genes, mum.”

When they open the biscuit box, I turn pitiful martyr, reach for the carrots. In the supermarket, I only buy biscuits I hate. This is a good trick and comes highly recommended. In go the Bounty bars and the Gold bars, Wagon Wheels and chocolate Mikados. The thought of the latter was good, but the reality is a definite no no.

And then there are the healthy resolutions. I have a few. Last year, in France, I took my first wild swim with a friend in a river in the Gaillac region.

A kingfisher swooped past our noses, a water snake wriggled on its way, the branches of a fallen tree tickled our stomachs as we swam past.

We turned on our backs and gazed up at a true blue sky and the high mountains gazed down on us, silent guardians. And I was hook, line and sinkered.

But then, the temperature was nice and cosy. The idea of wild swimming in the icy waters of home is not so appealing.

My wild swimming friends don’t even wear wetsuits. They go out and jump into ice water. They say it’s good for the head as well as the body. They say it clears depression – I’d say ice water clears a lot.

But this year, yes, maybe I’ll step away from the warm indoor pool and the lure of the sauna and dive into open water. Just please let me get the wetsuit first.

And I’ll walk... half an hour a day for 100 days. That can’t be too hard, can it?

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