My husband is not a professional nutritionist.


No, that wasn’t a command, it was just a noun. But what we eat is important. You know the drill, and don’t want to be lectured. 

But there is new science here. (Monty Python: “This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.”) 

It’s not just about you. In your gut, and in you generally, is a whole ecosystem of ‘microbiota’, small living things, digesting and excreting and doing all kinds of fabulous chemistry. And it responds to what you eat. Some of these micro living things like some foods, and if those are provided, do better. Others like others. Small things in evolutionary competition with other small things. In your digestive tract is the whole of Charles Darwin, perhaps excepting the scratchy beard. 

Yes, I know that you’re going to have a glass of wine. My-oh-my, it’s needed. But just as the modern political fashion is all about ‘diversity’, the same is a good idea in your gut. Feed the herbivores things they like.  

Fresh, raw, whole foods, as close to nature as possible with lots of colors like orange (carrots and squash), red (berries and pomegranate), green (watercress, kale, broccoli). And good fats that come from fish and meats, nuts and seeds; protein; healthy carbohydrates from vegetables like potatoes and aubergines, and fruits like bananas and apples. Also, eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir can boost your microbiome.

Needless to say, my husband’s take was slightly different, even if comes close to the same conclusion.

The basic science is easy: green leaves are poisonous. Nasty dangerous toxic things. If they weren’t grandfathered in by antiquity, they’d be banned. But they’re here, and we have to deal. There is real danger: you could be eating out, at a romantic restaurant (female box ticked) with a good wine list (you know). And you are at risk of dying. If the sous chef, seeking 15 minutes of fame, decides to assassinate you by sneaking leaves into your food, you are toast. Toast with kale on top.

Vegetable assassination: is that really how you want to die?

So you must build your immunity to these toxins, such that your body can last as long as it takes an ambulance to drive to a stomach pump. You must build your immunity! That means some leaves, but in small controlled doses, not enough to do harm, but enough to train the T-killer cells to do their work.

There are two particularly safe ways to train your system not to be killed by leaves.

You could eat pea soup. (They might not look it, but peas are actually small leaves rolled up very tightly.) Don’t have too much pea soup. And help the body cope by adding double-cream to the soup. Plus beer before the soup (the correct quantity being about 3% of body weight) can prime the system to be more receptive to this immunological learning.

The alternative training uses a variant of Caesar Salad: twice the sauce and half the leaves. Again, priming is good, though before Caesar Salad it should be with gin and tonic. Perhaps two. Perhaps a family size G&T.

My husband is not a professional nutritionist.