Dom Joly: I'm going to eat like an elephant for a whole year

Share
Related Topics

It might be my age or it just might be that I've succumbed to the same nonsense that I've ribbed all my Sloane hippy friends about, but it seems that I've "seen the light". I've had a "spiritual" moment out here in Indochina.

Like all great things, it started with me smelling elephant poo. We went to an elephant farm in the hills outside Chiang Mai. The idea was to look after our own elephants for the day. As well as feeding and washing them, we had to inspect their poo, as this is a good determinant of whether an elephant is healthy. Now you might imagine that an elephant's poo might be of a particularly nasty disposition. Well you'd be wrong. We all happily held a cannonball or two and sniffed it without any discomfort. As we were leaving, we were entreated by our mahout to "eat like an elephant" in our everyday lives.

Sadly, he didn't mean that we should stuff our faces with huge portions as often as possible. I already do that. He was suggesting that we should eat only fruit and vegetables – the diet of an elephant. Elephants suffer very little from cancer or heart conditions.

Without going into too much detail, upon my next bowel movement I realised that this kind of lifestyle choice might be deeply beneficial for me. So, in true "seen the light" fashion I have decided to become a vegetarian and see if I feel any better for it. I'm still going to eat fish as I'm not a total masochist and I am sure that, were elephants fleet enough of foot, they would be spearing salmon like there was no tomorrow.

It does help that I'm now in Cambodia, where vegetables actually seem to taste like vegetables and fruit appears to have been recently plucked from the Garden of Eden. I am, however, determined to eat like an elephant for at least a year.

This might come as something of a surprise to some, but it's not the first time that I've been vegetarian. As a moody teenager I became one for three years in a somewhat futile protest against animal experimentation. Eventually, like all waverers, I was drawn back to the rare side by the smell of bacon. Being a vegetarian is all about whether you can resist the smell of cooking bacon. My tip for the starter veggie is to spend a couple of months in a Muslim country. It just makes life easier.

I can still remember the day I finally cracked. It was a Saturday evening at boarding school and we used to have a buffet-style supper. There would be industrial trays of sausages and beans and chips and bacon, lovely bacon. I got nostril overload and I just snapped. I piled my plate high with the stuff and never looked back.

My wife is the same. When I met her she was a vegetarian with a weakness for hot dogs and beefburgers and steak. If the truth be told, she was never that good at being one. Then kids arrive and you start to graze their food, and it all becomes impossible. Until now. Now I shall eat like an elephant and I shall go forward strong in my belief until I wander past a bacon butty stall in London. Only then shall my elephantine resolve be truly tested.

I'm quite excited about this attempt at self-discipline. I don't think that I've ever denied myself a pleasure since an unfortunate day in Syria when I was filming and the director suggested that it would be "good TV" if I joined our fixer in fasting for Ramadan for the day. It also happened to be the day we crossed the desert and all liquids were forbidden – just the most unhappy day of my life.

Still, I think there might be a Christmas health DVD in this for me. Any offers, anyone?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Hang on – that’s not how it’s supposed to be written

Guy Keleny
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test