Whilst I have been playing out my blogged life these past eighteen months to a congregation that would normally fit comfortably inside a back-garden gazebo, I have also looked on whilst others have rocked a virtual Wembley Stadiumful. Why, I ask myself, are these blogs so much more successful than my own? Leaving aside the obvious (if unpalatable) truth that they are simply just better, and having carried out extensive research (half an hour on the bus to work) I have concluded that the main difference between my one-way ramble to a couple of dozen friends, and the mass-market consumption of the mega-blogs is lifestyle; or, more precisely, my lack of it. I have, over the course of the past year and a half, spoken only fleetingly of diet, even less of exercise and, to my shame, not at all about well-being (this, I assure you, due only to my complete ignorance). I am the architect of my own shortfall. I need, it would seem, to stop considering my life and instead take a cold, hard look at my complete lack of style.
Now, amongst my roster of readers, I do appear to have an unfeasibly high number with the word ‘Vitamin’ attached to their names. I do not know why. I hope, because they like what they read and not because they can sense my need for vitamins oozing out of every word. Many of their blogs expound the associated benefits of a whole alphabet of vitamin supplements – many of which, I am assured, will restore me to the kind of youthful vigour which, to my memory, was nothing but trouble in the first place – and all of them have a readership far, far in excess of my own. It would appear that my lack of knowledge is not only unsociable, it smacks of the kind of unawareness that nobody wants to read about in case it rubs off. And don’t get me wrong here: don’t think for a second that I do not realise that I am the one who is out of step: that I am the only person to clap halfway through the song. I know that I am the ill-informed. I realise that I could become much more aware and healthy by delving further into these blogs, but it is just so daunting. Where do I start? Anyway, in deference to all of those people who have taken the time to follow me, I have decided to make this short investigation into the world of vitamins my first step towards the goal of introducing a little style into my life (I will return to other aspects of lifestyle, such as exercise, as soon as I can get my arse out of bed).
I take vitamin D because I have ginger hair and I generally approach the colour of an over-ripe raspberry before I can absorb enough of the stuff from source. For all other additional sources of vitamins I rely on Marmite and Weetabix. I live on trust: I have never had scurvy, so I trust that I am getting sufficient vitamin C from somewhere – I’m presuming that Terry’s Chocolate Orange must be packed with it. I am not Vegan, but I do not eat meat and, it seems to me, that alone makes me extraordinarily deficient vitamin-wise. All I know is that, in order to make up for my lack of carnivorous goodness, I am expected to eat the kind of quantity of beans and pulses that, when digested, puts the ozone layer at risk. I am pretty certain that I need to take vitamin B12, but I just keep forgetting. (Does that make me an anaemiac?) Perhaps there is a specific vitamin associated with memory loss – I meant to look it up but… you got there before me.
So, first thing to do is to check out the range of good things of which I am almost certainly deficient. Vitamins, apparently come in A, B, C, D, E and K varieties (I’m presuming the K stands for Kellogg’s). I do not know what has happened to vitamins F, G, H, I and J – perhaps they failed their exams, fell to sleep on the job, or turned to the dark side. Vitamin B actually encompasses a whole range of vitamins numbered variously 1,2,3,5,6,7,9 and 12 (What happened to 4,8,10 and 11 I have no idea. Perhaps they eloped with F,G,H,I and J and opened a B&B in Cleethorpes.) all of which were collectively known as ‘iron’ and tasted of yeast when I was a child. The names of the B group vitamins sound very much like the contents of the Chemistry Sets that the better-off children used to get for Christmas, where you mixed together variously coloured powders with water and waited for crystals to grow that would eventually turn your fingernails yellow and strip the surface from the worktops. Brewer’s yeast is a good source of vitamin B and therefore, so is beer. That is my kind of vitamin.
Vitamin A is important for growth and the proper maintenance of the immune system – so important that it was allowed to be A. (I can only presume that if it also made you irresistible to the gender of choice it would probably have been allowed to call itself A*.)
I cannot fully discover what vitamin B does, but I’ve just seen a list of symptoms associated with its deficiency and I will, henceforth, ensure that I get plenty of it. Unfortunately, the main sources appear to be in various portions of dead animal, so I will have to fall back on industrial-scale Marmite and Cabbage consumption. I’ll learn to live without friends.
Pirates always seemed to be short of vitamin C and therefore suffered from scurvy. In order to avoid scurvy, eat oranges and do not become a pirate.
Vitamin D is absorbed directly from sunshine and will, therefore, kill you. It is important for the health of bones and will, I believe, stop you getting rickets. I do not know what rickets is, but I don’t want it.
Vitamin E protects the body’s cells from damage by Free Radicals. I do not know what Free Radicals are, but I believe they had a hit with You Get What You Give in 1998.
Vitamin K is responsible for good bone health and wound healing, especially blood-clotting. It is found in green, leafy vegetables and so, it is likely that almost all under-tens are seriously deficient. As this is the age group most likely to break bones and suffer cuts and grazes, I recommend that somebody puts it in chicken nuggets instead.