So, once the decision was made, the question was how to go about it? Vegetarianism? No way. I love meat and will NOT wear plastic shoes (or tie dye, or 'celtic' earrings). Macrobiotics? It seems to work for Madonna - though I'm sure having your face injected with cow's collagen is also helpful ;) No, I'm not ready to give up dairy products or potatoes and don't have the time or inclination to chew each mouthful of food 25 times (yes, 25) before swallowing it. So... I've decided to go moderatly healthy; so, for example, butter is ok, but on wholegrain, organic bread if possible... Instead of Coke, orange juice with sparkling water, etc. No strict rules or militancy, but just a bit more awareness...
Warning; this post now gets a bit cruel and misanthropistic (nice people avert your eyes).
Luckily, my neighbourhood is full of places where you can get healthy food and products. Unfortunately, most of them are called things like La druida de Lavapies - doesn't exactly conjure up images of youthful glamour. The other slightly worrying aspect of these places is that the people working there (who I assume to be health freaks) and almost all of the other customers look exhaused, pale, unhappy and a host of other adjectives which I feel are cruel to mention (but I will; hairy, chubby... ok, that's enough). I was struck by the same impression yesterday, when I insisted on dragging a friend to a vegetarian restaurant, whose customers turned out to be the entire population of Middle Earth. But, honestly, I don't give a damn whom I'm sat next to in a restaurant, what matters is that we're going to have a healthy, wholesome meal. It turned out to be the worst meal I'd ever had in my life. The starter of 'pastel de verduras' was a wobbly yellow paste that tasted of, well, nothing. For the main course, I decided to go for something a bit different; 'seitan'... (apparently it's some sort of meat substitute - in this case grilled), Satan would have been a more approriate name. Not only did it look awful, but I can only compare its taste to a tablecloth that has been slowly boiled overnight. I actually took a photo of the leftovers, but I can't inflict this on my 'readers'. 2 main things shocked me about this restaurant (El Granero de Lavapies - I hope they don't read this and sue), firstly that there was a queue of people to get in to the place, secondly, that it's perfectly easy to make delicious food without meat - and half the world does so quite effortlessly (I'm not a chef, but have managed to make both a pretty good vegetarian curry and bean-chilli this week).
Now I understand why everyone in the funny druid shop looked so anaemic and unhappy; they simple haven't had a good meal in years! I also think, that we've come to associate health with beauty, when in reality, though they can go together, they often exist completely independently of eachother. I'm off to have a big steak right now!
Seitan - I actually ate something that looks like this:
P.s. A random thought. I think an increasing amount of non-hippy types are going green and getting into 'wellness' and being healthier these days - someone should open a health shop in Madrid, but geared to this market - with not a windchime, insence stick or gnome in sight.