Of course it can: eat nothing but crisps and drink nothing but cheap lager for only one week, and you’ll see the world in an entirely new way.
I’m interested in the opposite direction, of course. And I’m turning myself into a guinea pig for five days to see how far I can go in that short space of time.
My consulting room experience has been that certain conditions – especially Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic – can be brought right to heel by a couple of weeks’ worth of fruit and fresh vegetables. Not in every case, and anyway, when you are lumbered with either of those, you don’t have very much mental space free to plan your way out of it food-wise. And many people don’t have the freedom – they have family and children to think of.
The experiment will last for five days and will be just food: no filling in of CBT forms, or self-hypnosis CDs or guided meditations or inspirational speakers or Happiness Projects. I’ll be taking no exercise beyond my usual.
And it’s purely for interest’s sake. I don’t really like the idea of using food as medicine: it’s to be enjoyed, preferably with friends and with wine and with variety and love and music and candles and late nights. I won’t have much variety over the next few days. (My hunch is that most people’s diets are surprisingly restricted, but habit hides awareness.)
My daily diet will consist of:
Breakfast: fruit broken up into plain yoghurt, with a dash of honey, sprinkled with flax seed and walnut pieces.
Lunch: Lettuce, spring onion, avocado, sweetcorn, tuna, cucumber, radish, with lemon/oil dressing.
Dinner: (I eat late most evenings, so this is always light) Steamed or boiled vegetables, emphasising broccoli and carrots.
It’s not aimed at specific nutritional balance, although it’s probably not too bad on that front. This is all about morale.
I’ll let you know what happens. And I’ll end it with a huge roast meal and an evening in the White Bear, like any sensible person would.