Can people please just stop using this word ‘woke’

Helen is sick of the word 'woke'. And what's this 'great gran' diet? Bacon and eggs?

Helen is sick of the word 'woke'. And what's this 'great gran' diet? Bacon and eggs? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If this one thing guaranteed to wind up Helen, it's the word 'woke'. And don't get her started on the word 'diet' either!

There's a couple of currently irritating words that are guaranteed to make me want to screw the newspaper into a ball and chuck it out of the window or stick it under the cats' litter tray, particularly when they crop up in the same headline. They are "woke" and "diet".

"Woke" is especially annoying because it's used relentlessly, whatever the subject. I suppose it's slipped in to make the writer sound up-to-date and hip. (Can you still say "hip"?) So when I read, in very large type, "Why woke diets are to blame for a surge in distressing gut problems" I started flexing my fingers ready to fling it as far as I could. But then I thought hang on, I was coping with a distressing gut problem myself. I'll spare you the details but it had been a bit of a turbulent week. Could I be woke without knowing it? I might as well see if the item could throw any light on my predicament.

Then I remind myself that as well as being anti-woke I'm also anti the words "diet" and "dieting". I've been there. Once, I stopped eating absolutely for weeks, apart from half a grapefruit each day and glasses of water. Sure, I lost weight but I lost a lot of hair as well and my periods packed up. Eventually, I started eating again (I was lucky) and I put the weight back on again, and a bit more besides. Even now I continue to have an issue with food and an unhealthy digestive system. I believe it could be to do with guilt, the guilt of eating normally, whatever that is.

There was a time when I thought I'd give the 5:2 Diet a go. That's the one where you eat "normally" for five days and then have two low-calorie "fasting" days. I lasted half a day; on my first fasting day all I could think of was food, so I abandoned the idea.

It's not surprising that there's so much of an obsession with food and feeding, and why so many of us suffer with digestive worries. We've arrived at February but the papers are still full of post-Christmas diet plans and schemes for "clean eating". That's where this woke stuff is coming from, and just in case you're wondering it involves avoiding "entire food groups such as dairy, carbohydrates or meat". I don't happen to eat meat anyway because I don't actually like it, but if I did like it all this wokeness wouldn't persuade me to avoid it.

On the subject of meat, there's all this concern about the contribution of cattle to global warming with the release of methane gas; if you stick to a woke diet of bags of beans, nuts and fancy grains all in one day you might find your own methane gas makes even your best friends give you a wide berth.

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Dieticians are queuing up to offer advice. Here's one suggesting that porridge is good, and yellow melon (note the colour) and citrus fruit such as oranges or pineapples. Jacket potatoes are OK so long as they're eaten hot and not re-heated; don't touch microwave rice with a barge-pole, but a couple of slices of wholemeal bread are fine. I suppose sliced bread is preferred to prevent you stuffing the entire loaf in your mouth after you've burnt it on a hot spud.

Hang on though. Turn the page in the same paper and there's a surgeon saying do away with bread and shed pounds with the "great gran diet". In other words, eat like your great grandmother would. He specialises in surgery to help weight loss. Reduce the amount of carbohydrates, he says, and set yourself up for the day with a full English of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes (I know somebody who would add black pudding and mushrooms too) but NO BREAD.

So, if toast is off what shall I do with that luscious thick-cut marmalade? I wonder what they'll be telling us to cut out next week.