The medical establishment has of late been trying to trash the idea that coconut oil is good for you.
Worse than butter for your heart, they say.
About the same as eating beef fat, they say.
The usual arrogance and ignorance.
So you’ll be pleased and reassured to read this article and see that an independent test comparing extra virgin coconut oil with extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter proved the value of coconut oil in keeping ‘good’ HDL cholesterol up and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol down.
For the first seven years of our life together, my wife and I shared a one room studio apartment with a tiny kitchen and a bathroom.
There was a magnificent white cherry tree outside the window and a view over pasture that has now, unfortunately, been heavily built upon.
We didn’t have a great deal of money.
Fast forward to now.
We have more money.
We have a house with different floors and a number of rooms.
There is a small hedged garden which requires quite enough work, but not too much.
We are fortunate enough to live in the countryside with more cows than human beings.
Now here’s the thing:
In which abode do you think it was easier to communicate?
Answer: the studio.
If you only have one room, your interlocutor is obviously in the same room.
But the more rooms you have, the greater the chance that the person you want to talk to is in another room, on another floor, in the garden.
Communication becomes more complicated.
There is interference of all kinds: kitchen noise, bathroom noise, music, computers, mobile phones and so on.
There is more clutter in every sense of the word.
You have to repeat yourself a lot.
We actually enjoy staying at hotels and studios or taking cabins on ferries whilst travelling because it takes us back to those days when communication was simple and there was not a lot else in the room besides ourselves.
So my question to you is this:
What percentage of your conversations with your loved ones takes place in the same room?
If you feel frustrated because there is less than perfect communication with your partner or family, then this might be a place to start.
And with Christmas fast approaching, we will all have another opportunity very soon to taste the unfortunate truth of this.
Some people – a small minority, I think – have supportive families, but for many of us, this is not the case.
So here’s a small suggestion.
Before you go back to see your parents or your parents-in-law, or your sisters and brothers or your cousins or whoever, take a moment to decide what you are willing to discuss and what you are not willing to discuss.
Maybe, but you’ll thank me for it.
It’s a question of survival, of self-care.
You don’t have to tell Mummy everything.
I’ll say it again.
You don’t have to tell Mummy everything.
This might come as a shock to some of you.
Perhaps you’ve always communicated everything with your parents, siblings etc.
This is perfectly ok if said parents are supportive and do not judge you.
If, however, you are secretly dreading another bout of sarcastic and belittling remarks, not to mention more arguments, then you owe yourself protection.
And the best way to do this is to decide what and what not to talk about.
If you are in a couple, then you must spend time with your other half making sure that you are on the same wavelength about this.
It’s no good not talking about that wonderful but expensive holiday you had in October that you haven’t told your parents about because they always complain that you go on holiday too much and anyway where do you get the money? – if your girlfriend blurts out what a wonderful time you both had in Botswana.
Get your stories straight and stick to them.
Believe me, this is a vital step towards self-preservation and if you’ve never tried it, then I urge you to do so.
It’s not a question of lying to people.
It’s a question of setting limits.
Are there things that you’d rather keep to yourself?
Then do so.
For example, perhaps you’ve recently become unemployed and need some time to get things sorted out without having confusing and unwanted careers advice from the whole family.
You don’t need to talk about it if you don’t want to.
Just be very clear about what you are going to say if Daddy asks you about work.
In my experience, many people and unfortunately many parents, take information given to them and use it to hurt you either instantly or later on.
Don’t ask me why.
I don’t have children.
And I can’t understand the point of having them if all you are going to do is judge and belittle them. It doesn’t make sense to me.
Shouldn’t you all be playing on the same team?
Instead, some parents are toxic.
So change the parameters.
Learn to say to yourself,’I don’t want to talk about that and I’m not going to.’
If you just talk about the things you feel reasonably comfortable with, then this Christmas might actually turn out to be the simplest and least fraught with friction for a long long time.
Have you ever felt under-dressed next to someone in a suit, particularly if it’s a good one?
Well, there are a couple of ways of dealing with this.
You can quote Eleanor Roosevelt to yourself:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Good point, but not always easy to apply.
The other way is a little more subtle but I find it helpful.
After all, how many people choose to wear a suit?
So at the end of the day, it’s just another UNIFORM that people have to wear.
It’s really no different from wearing a uniform for serving in a café, or dungarees for a garagist.
It may be made of cashmere, and hand-tailored at the fanciest shop in London, but ultimately it’s just a uniform.
So if you are wearing what you want, you’re actually much more fortunate than the guy wearing the suit.
You have the enormous power of freedom of choice.
He doesn’t. He has to keep up appearances.
So the next time you’re queuing up for coffee or standing in line at the bank and you feel someone looking down at you because he’s wearing a suit and you’re not, tell yourself that he’s just wearing a uniform.