Life's too depressing to do Dry January or any other food fad in 2021

girl looks at camera through wine glasses with water

Now is not the time to embark on food challenges such as Dry January, says Andy Newman - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I have never understood why those seeking to let their livers have a rest usually decide that January is the time to give it a go.

As well as being the coldest and darkest month, January is the depressing time when we all return to work after the joys of the festive season, knowing that it’s a very long haul until the summer and the next opportunity to escape from the drudgery of work for a week or two.

That’s reason enough at the best of times to turn your back on Dry January and pick another time of the year for your alcoholic detox. But this year, there is just too much other gloomy news to make giving up the booze a good idea.

Apart from lockdown, and the suffering which Covid is causing so many people, there are plenty of other things to depress us this month.

Just two weeks into the year, we are already starting to see the damage that walking away from our most important trading partner is starting to cause.

Fishermen are discovering that voting to leave the single market meant that they no longer have access to the single market (a rather obvious consequence which has been dismissed a ‘Project Fear’ for four years before unsurprisingly coming true). Meanwhile, UK companies are having to close their online stores to EU customers because the friction-free trading conditions of EU membership have disappeared.

And then there is the unedifying spectacle of cross-channel travellers having their ham sandwiches confiscated. ‘Welcome to the Brexit, sir’ says a scrupulously polite Dutch customs official on an online video, barely managing to keep a straight face.

Then there is further evidence of how low vested interests will go to amass riches at the expense of the poorest in our society. Instead of giving the promised £30 shopping vouchers to struggling families to feed their children, the government decided to grant a contract to a company called Chartwells, which in exchange for the cash delivered a scant bag of food to families which could be bought in any supermarket for not much more than a fiver. Presumably Chartwells’ shareholders will trouser  the remaining £25.

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If that wasn’t enough misery, some bright spark came up with the idea of Veganuary. Just when you thought life couldn’t be more miserable, we are now pressurised to give up all pretence of enjoying food and settle for a drab, plant-only diet.

The latest news is that adopting this suggestion won’t just make your January miserable, but it may very well mean your Valentine’s Day is spent in sad isolation as well.

For a new survey has shown that disagreements over what to eat for dinner, and in particular those caused by choosing a vegan lifestyle, are set to make romance even more challenging in 2021.

The research, conducted by sandwich chain Subway to mark the launch of their new ‘Taste Like Chicken’ Sub (hint: if you want your food to taste like chicken, there is a cheap and easily accessible ingredient available – chicken), suggests that a quarter of Britons have dumped or would dump someone because of ‘food feuds’ based on their faddy dietary habits.

Apparently over half of all vegans describe themselves as ‘Vegansexuals’ who will only date other vegans, with 40 per cent saying they avoid social events such as dinner parties with carnivorous friends (presumably the other 60 per cent are simply not invited in the first place, given what a pain in the neck they are to cook for).

Proving that honesty isn’t always a good basis for copping off with someone, around a fifth of those surveyed admitted to pretending to be vegan or vegetarian to impress a prospective partner. The only glimmer of good news in the survey is that Norwich is rated as the tenth city in the UK where people are most likely to enter into what the researchers call an ‘inter-dietary relationship’.

Shakespeare reckoned that music is the food of love. But it’s pretty clear that the food of love is in fact… food. And if your partner is singing a very different culinary tune to you, the chances are your relationship is doomed.

It’s all enough to drive you to drink!

Happy January.

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