James May may have been just filming in Scotland alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, but only last month, The Grand Tour presenter fell ill after he and his partner were forced into a “starvation diet” while on holiday.
The ex-Top Gear presenter doesn’t usually share too much about his private life with his partner Sarah Frater, but in a recent interview he did with Jay Rayner on the Out To Lunch Podcast, he gave away information that had us worrying about his health while staying in Germany for Frater’s birthday.
While at a health retreat, May was put on a “starvation diet”, which was mostly taken up by “middle-aged and fairly wealthy” people, he admitted. The podcast, which takes place over a meal, heard May question how much he was actually allowed to eat during the recording.
“Ok, how much of this am I supposed to eat?” he asked.
“Well, we’re just having lunch mate,” Jay replied. “If you went, ‘Well, I’ve already eaten.’ Then I’ll obviously be furious.”
James says “I don’t know if I should admit to having just spent a week at a health farm in Germany.
“Not my idea, it was Sarah’s – my other half. She’s always wanted to do it.”
May started to explain: “I take her away in September – around her birthday – and we normally go on a cultural European city break and look at art galleries and do a lot of eating and wine drinking.
“It was clear in the initial medical consultation when the doctor arrived, he thought, ‘Ah! There’s actually something we can work on,'” James laughed.
“They immediately put me on a starvation diet. All I could do was chew a herbal infusion.”
He continued: “Sarah sat there having the food that they do and it’s fairly simple in small portions.
“So I had to chew tea for two days and I had to do this liver detox – I’m not sure your listeners are going to want to hear this.
“She wanted to try a [health] clinic for a week and I did it. It made me ill to be honest.”
James went on: “You go in [to the clinic] and you get the impression it’s full of middle-aged, probably fairly wealthy people who have absolutely nothing wrong with them.
“But they feel more virtuous because they’ve gone for a detox or whatever.”
He then started to explain the side effects of such a violent change in diet.
“After two days, I had a belting headache and could hardly see anymore. I was faint and trembling with hunger and I went to them, ‘This is ridiculous. I’m on holiday and you’ve made me ill. You’re going to have to give me some food.’
“And they went, ‘Very well.'”
He then explains how he tried to order a chicken curry, but this was met with “disdain”.
Fortunately for fans, he made a full recovery and was able to film in Scotland with no hiccups. We look forward to seeing the result of last week’s filming.