In the good old days, before sugar became the new poison and bread could be consumed guilt-free, the idea of fasting seemed novel. When I explained the concept to people, I was usually greeted with surprise, tinged with (I like to think) a little awe and respect. Now, the idea of detoxing is so irritatingly fashionable, the reactions are different.
Recently, I was talking about Ramadan to a health-conscious mum on the school-run. I explained that the daily fast was flanked by two big meals, a breakfast called suhoor, and an enormous dinner called iftaar. The content of these meals is culture-specific but, traditionally, milk, dates and copious amounts of water will feature. “So,” she said, “you mean you can eat carbs, fat, gluten and caffeine?” “Yes, yes and yes”, I replied, laughing, “it’s the only time I feel I deserve to eat everything.” “Interesting”, she continued, clearly disappointed by my lack of self control.“I will be doing a juice detox in June for a week. No carbs or fat for me!” My turn to be surprised.
That was a UK Muslim civil servant, in their house organ, whinging about how she isn’t special anymore.
Still, she’s lucky she’s not in China, where they absolutely won’t put up with this nonsense if they are paying you to work…