O.L.M. Phase 2

Readers of this column will remember that as the year 2018 faded, this old actor embarked on a project known as Operation Leading Man – O.L.M. I say ‘old actor’ because if ever a man needed solid evidence that he is not 25 years of age any more, I am here to tell you there could be no finer method than to join a gym and enlist the services of a personal trainer.


The personal trainer in question is an African American gentleman of compact physique who just so happens to be an ex-marine and someone with about 3 decades of martial arts training behind him. He scorns free weights, tossing them carelessly from hand to hand; he laughs at resistance training equipment and effortlessly extends cables or hand grips; he performs stretches with a poise reminiscent of Nureyev in his prime.

Then I have a go.

A short while later I am breathing like a steam engine from the early days of the industrial revolution. “Five more!” says Shawn, “C’mon, give it to me!”

“I like the way you talk,” I say in my best Downton Abbey accent, a pathetic effort to engage in some trans-Atlantic cross-cultural banter and thereby distract the man. “I like the way you talk,” he says, “but talk ain’t gonna cut it, baby. C’mon five more!”

In between exercises, we discuss anatomy, metabolism, and nutrition. The man knows his stuff, but I do slightly wonder if he’s underestimated my age by a couple of decades. A swift glance at the mirror confirms that this cannot be the case.

For a long time I lived in the manner of my internal age. I mean that I always felt myself to be about 18 years old. Until I reached the age of about 42, that is. Then I became internally 28. That lasted until I turned 60 and at that point I seem to have become the age I actually am. Well, technically I mean the age my body is. If the ancient teachings of many traditions, and the poet Wordsworth, are correct, then we are all immortal beings having the out-of-death experience known as “being alive”, and we are grappling with “… that portion of the barren earth that serves as paste and cover to our bones.” (Richard II). … If you go in for that sort of thinking, that is.

The alternative, namely that we are merely our bodies, is just too dismal to accept, so, call me an optimistic ostrich (or whatever you like), but I take succor from the metaphysical view. Meanwhile, the illusion of physical truths are persuasive and if I weren’t a life-long woo-woo, I would be tempted to believe the illusion of the aging knees, hips and teeth. However…

… I did shed somewhere between 25 and 30 lbs, due to a juice fast. And for those of you listening in black and white; in old money, that is just over 2 stones. I say between, because I have plateaued at that stage where my weighing scales are behaving in the manner of a Florida voting machine – however much the needle initially says one thing, it then creeps up to last week’s score, and says something else entirely.

I continue with all manner of delicious fruit and vegetable juices, and am currently doing an adaptation of the 2/5 diet. I.E. 2 days juice, 5 days eating normally but sensibly. When you’re working out, you need protein and carbs. Progress has slowed but the physique is on the move. At least I hope it is. It would be tragic to grunt and sweat wearily quite this much, were it not so.

I dunno, maybe I’m wrong, after all: “All the soil of the achievement goes with me into the earth.” Henry IV pt 2.

Yours, knackered of Pleasantville, N.Y., USA (late of England), grappling with mortality.




Juice Craziness

DAY 15

“Oh that this too, too solid flesh would melt…” Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. If only the moody prince had done a reboot. The history of world drama would have been completely different.

A few slight modifications to the full monty. I.E.: two cups of coffee per day for the first 5 days, then one cup per day ever since and no withdrawal headaches = big result. Started to transition back to solids two days early so as not to shock my system with Christmas revels. Had a sautéed zucchini, (in coconut oil), three days ago. Two days ago vegetable soup (the best in the world, see recipe below), and yesterday a macaroni cheese from Pret a Manger (can only give it 2 stars). I will have a meal this evening…

I’ve tried juicing independently before, but never got past the first hurdle. Doing the guided reboot, made all the difference. First off, a big thank you to Stacy Kennedy, nutritionist – we had three webinars with her and she was available to answer questions throughout – very helpful with information and techniques.


Click the picture left to get an image with higher resolution of the crazy Aussie who started it all!

They send you an info pack which includes a daily schedule and detailed recipes and a shopping list – extremely useful. Armed with this I was able to order in advance from FreshDirect – if by any chance, anybody reading this would like to use Fresh Direct and you haven’t already done so, email me directly and I can recommend you – we’ll both get $25!

The best feature was the first 5 day transition. Going slowly and keeping some solids in the diet made all the difference.

You need two things to do this successfully:

  1. Organization: Have all the produce to hand before you start. Have a good quality juicer, arm yourself with glass bottles (some plastics can leech toxins).
  2. Time to prepare it: To begin with it took fully two hours from start to finish to prepare a day’s juice, but now, 15 days later I can do it in half the time and I make two days worth at a time.
  3. You don’t need willpower: well, I suppose it helps, but two things are on your side. First, the juices taste fantastic – ok, I made two mistakes, one juicing the skin of citrus fruits, two combining a banana with a beetroot (I know, it makes no sense), but if you follow the recipes you won’t go wrong. Secondly, once you get through the first 3/4 days you don’t feel hungry. Rather, if you feel a pang, just drink some juice, hunger subsides quickly. It gets easier all the time.

Special tip: clean the juicer before you drink the juice (thanks Ferol!).

No before and after pics at this point. This is only phase one. Saving that dramatic poster child image for later. Stats so far:

Skin clearer. Sleep improved. The inner man significantly closer to the outer man. 12 to 13 lbs gone on the juice reboot itself, but 25 lbs since Thanksgiving. Taking a sensible hiatus over the coming revels, but in 2019 looking for more becoming quite a bit less.

If you’re interested check out and his very entertaining and compelling film at

The Best Vegetable Soup Ever Made (Recipe)

Juicing produces a lot of pulp. To make stock, load a large pot with pulp, cover with water, roughly chop an onion and some garlic, bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for half an hour.

Strain the pulp twice for maximum yield, bottle the liquid, freeze the remaining pulp for future veggie burger base.

Repeat with three varieties of veggie juice, store in fridge.

When ready, sauté, an onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes 5 – 6 minutes in coconut or other oil, season with salt and pepper. Put into a large pot with: any veggies to hand, I used broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, and leafy greens including fresh parsley. Add the stock. Bring to boil. Mix up some miso, soy sauce, and worcestershire sauce, (or flavoring to your taste) add to the soup, taste, add salt and pepper as needed.

Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Blend in a blender being very careful not to splatter yourself with hot soup, add an optional avocado for thicker texture if desired.


The beginning of the end (Phase One, O.L.M.)

Day 13 !?!

(Who knew if we’d ever get this far?)

I call this composition, “Still Life With Vegetables and Some Fruit”. Day 13 (of 15) and I am beginning the transition back to some solid food a little in advance so as to be able to eat a bit of traditional Christmas dinner without spontaneously combusting.


Drawing inspiration from Van Gogh and the Impressionists, I have assembled the image above. You’ll notice in the background a tough new juicer upper left in the frame, my new best friend. Upper right we see a cafetiere, in which I make my single daily cup of coffee. Yes! Down to one cup (in a way the biggest change and benefit of this whole juice adventure). I plan to stabilize at one cup and later, start a slow treck to half decaf – not going to rush it, having had experience of caffeine withdrawal before and it’s fierce.

Note also the three glass jars down stage centre behind and below the peppers, underneath the lemon. These glass jars contain what is, in my opinion, the finest vegetable soup ever made. It’s the sort of soup that might have been mentioned in scripture (and I don’t mean a mere “mess of pottage”).

Hey! If the acting thing doesn’t work out, the world needs vegetable soup.

12lbs and falling.


The Scales are Tipping

Day 8

I will publish starting and ending stats later.

For now … 8lbs and falling.

I’ll take that.

Santa on 'I speak your weight' machine. Machine says 'Ho,ho,ho.'