March 19th, 2004

Tam Lin cropped

The original Atkins diet....

From the calendar my mom gave me for Christmas (Forgotten English, by Jefrey Kacirk):

Tuesday, 16 March
banting: Doing banting, reducing superflous fat by living on [a] meat diet, and abstaining from beer, farinaceous food, and vegetables, according to the method adopted by William Banting.... The word was introduced in about 1864.
--Ebenezer Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898

Death of William Banting (1797-1878),
corpulent London undertaker and cabinetmaker, who developed a successful weight-reduction regime for himself. In 1863 he published a pamphlet describing how he had lost forty-six pounds and twelve inches of girth by abstaining from most foods except meat. Many Victorians read his prescription, but few followed it - preferring to lace up their corsets instead. Nonetheless, the term became synonymous with weight loss and dieting. Inspired by Banting, H.S. Leigh's Carols of Cockayne (1869) included this ditty:

If you wish to grow thinner, diminish your dinner,
And take to light claret instead of pale ale;
Look down with an utter contempt upon butter,
And never touch bread till it's toasted or stale.
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