Junk food would be a lot easier to avoid if it actually tasted like junk

By Liam Nash


Tolstoy vs Dostoevsky. Borg vs McEnroe. Israel vs Palestine. All legendary rivalries which shaped the world in some shape or form, but all pale in comparison to the dilemma I am about to propose — healthy dieting in opposition to binge eating.

In this edition of ‘why can’t I be a better person’, we shall be diving into the Marianas Trench of the classic love-hate relationship with the digestive system, and how it directly correlates with affliction barrelled out from our friend the temporal lobe.

Now look, I’m quite the refined expert in the art of absolutely murdering my gut, but I do occasionally treat the innards with a meal consisting of more than two colours when I feel it’s my prerogative to shape up a touch.

I’m talking about good weeks. You know, the ones where you manage to survive choking on chia seeds, endure the umpteenth quinoa salad and lie through gritted teeth that ‘yes, I do enjoy my grain-based diet’ to the scrutinising body.

Until, of course, a wine-soaked evening comes a-knocking, leaving you no option but to shovel down scrambled egg from a shoe, with a comb for a utensil.

That begs the question — why is it that whenever I persevere with a nutritional cleanse, a godly scent wafts down from the golden gates and invades the nasal canals, wagging a beckoning finger to give the stomach acids a good old ruffling of the feathers?

Fast food is the worst — pure scorn masquerading as delicious — which never fails to taunt in the same manner as David Patrick Kelly’s goading phrase in 1979 cult classic The Warriors (“come out to play-e-yay”, for those who aren’t in the know).

My own flawed inclinations only make the people who have a handle on their eating patterns seem worse. Meal prep, intermittent fasting, the whole shebang — how dare they have the gumption to treat their inner tracts with any smidgen of dignity?

How about the air of haughty superiority which hangs heavy over their heads? Obviously, this is jealousy’s way of warping the mind into thinking they are the enemy, a mirage filled with silver spoon-fed yuppies who sip their echinacea tea with pinkies raised akimbo.

Nowadays, the universal movement is one of health (which is great, don’t get me wrong) thanks to the emerging stimulus of the Instagram influenza, but why is it suddenly forbidden to indulge from time to time, and exactly when did this trend gain legs, you may ask?

In all truth, it would be near impossible to pinpoint but if I had to take a stab, I’d guess it was right about the time Jamie Oliver’s smug mug began intruding our household television sets.

According to tvguide.com, Oliver has had hosting credits on 46 separate shows. Forty-six. I get it, someone has to spread the message of wellbeing to the many, but come on.

This is the same man who named his actual children River Rocket Blue Dallas, Buddy Bear Maurice and Petal Blossom Rainbow (there are more, but I couldn’t bring myself to bring finger to keyboard on those).

Another repelling quality he retains is his beef with the real GOAT of celebrity chefdom, Gordon Ramsay, who he couldn’t hold a candle nor ladle to when it comes to cooking and entertainment value.

So really, what does he know about common sense.

How about the dross spilling from those who have nothing better to chat about the real housewives of somewhere lame — yes, I’m talking about gossip magazines and trashy tabloids of that ilk.

Any single one of these will have something along the lines of ‘Ben Affleck is one more stomach staple from becoming a human office supply’ plastered across the front page, and it’s not on.

More recently, there have been a resurgence of such as the Netflix feature The Game Changers; you know, the one which Vogue labelled “a shocking new documentary that will change the way you look at meat”.

To me, it seems like a never-ending tirade of propaganda attempting to convert the human race into an army of Barbies and Kens.

And on that note, it is about time we arrived at the message of this column — take no notice of any of it.

If you want to wolf down a mountain of food void of the colour green and then follow it up with something containing the phrase ‘triple chocolate’, do it.

No-one can or should tell you what to eat, full stop.

The only truly humbling medium is the gym, and trust me, it will deliver in the form of a double back-handed biatch slap to the nether region — this I know from personal experience, of course.


Illmatic. It pains me to hear ‘Tupac this, Biggie that’, because most rap casuals only attribute the success of the genre pre-2000 to the pair.

Scratch beneath the surface and you find a grimy hip hop underground where true gold was discovered, a community replete with legendary wordsmiths such as Big L, Big Pun, and my personal favourite, Nas.

1994 was the year, racism’s ugly head had well and truly reared in Brooklyn, New York City, and a 21-year-old lyrical genius had just released an angsty masterpiece which shook the city to its core.

The son of a jazz musician, Nas’ use of orchestral instruments in this album makes for a melancholy blend of authentic hip-hop which wouldn’t be out of place in both an underground sewer and a contemporary lounge.


Black Books. One for the dry British humour tragics, upon seeing this iconic sitcom for the first time I was stunned.

No matter how many times I binge it, Irish comedian Dylan Moran never fails to crack me up as Bernard Black, the constantly inebriated anti-hero capably steering a boutique bookstore towards bankruptcy.

The misanthropic tendencies of Black are for me, what makes the sitcom brilliant — it is bizarrely refreshing to see someone so spiteful yet so endearing.

With the 18-episode series stretched across three seasons, it is the definition of quality over quantity — a concept American sitcom producers never seemed to have grasped.


Soccer season. While it has been a treat re-adopting the leather and willow over the summer, ultimately it has refreshed the fact that I’d have more luck turning a broken door handle than a cricket ball.

Now I don’t claim to be anything special in the round ball game, but I’d like to think I have more to offer than sub-par chat and muffins at the tea break.

Pre-season has already started, and subsequently delivered a sharp kick to my ego — having foolishly thought I was in some sort of physical shape, this harsh reality has dropped on my head like a ton of bricks.


Ham, cheese and tomato toasties — for breakfast, lunch and, I might add, occasionally dinner. How can something so awfully simple be that great?

The arrangement itself is somewhat otherworldly.

A sliver of ham to provide savoury sensation, fresh tomato added to the assembly for tangy variation, and finally, a slice of cheese melted to gooey perfection — the diplomat holding all elements together.

I reckon I could whack the contents of an entire week’s worth of toasties in the fridge for less than a tenner. Absolutely impossible to ruin.