I’ve been eating out quite a bit at lunch time in recent years.
Brigitte (my wife) works in a school about half an hour away in Yvonand and I often drive over and we go for lunch somewhere in Yverdon, which is the nearest sizeable town.
We’re lucky because there are a number of good restaurants in the area near the ice skating rink and parking is easy.
Something that was beginning to bother me though, was that we’d often take food home with us in cardboard or aluminium precisely because we didn’t want to overeat at lunchtime.
I’d order a pizza, for example, eat maybe two-thirds of it and then take the rest home in one of those take-away cardboard pizza boxes.
The sheer wastage of these pizza boxes, destined to be thrown away as soon as we got back home, started to get to me.
So rather than compromise and eat more than we wanted to, we got some varying sizes of food boxes and now we take home the pizza and other food portions in those.
It seems the perfect way not to overeat and act against wastage at the same time.
Of course, you have to wash the boxes after use and remember to put them back in the car and take them with you the next time you eat out.
Sometimes we forget.
In spite of this, I think we’ve managed to cut down considerably on wastage from eating out.
After all, there are only two solutions if you want to avoid overeating. Leave the rest on the plate or take it home.
If the food is good, it’s a waste to leave it on the plate. It will only get thrown away. It deserves a better fate than that.
We frequently get an extra meal in the evening out of a lunchtime restaurant portion with the result that eating out is not so expensive after all. It’s often little more expensive than buying a sandwich and I’d much rather have a hot meal – or two – for the same price or less.
So if you find that the portions in restaurants are overlarge, don’t hesitate to ask to take the rest home. You might feel awkward asking to begin with. You might even be afraid of what other people might think. But it’s a mark of respect for all the work that goes into preparing that food, from field to kitchen, and towards the food itself.
And if you bring your own boxes, you don’t even need to ask.
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.
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.
I was talking to my mother on the phone this morning.
She’s just returned from a two night stay in hospital after collapsing in town.
Fortunately, after undergoing a barrage of tests, there doesn’t seem to be any serious fundamental problem.
But she was talking about the hospital staff and how she couldn’t fault them and what long shifts they have and this has prompted me to write this post.
Because there’s something I can never understand about healthcare.
I think we can all agree that healthcare is one of the most important services available, if not the most important.
If you can think of a more important service, let me know.
So explain to me why, when it’s vital for workers in this field to be at their sharpest, as they are often making life or death decisions, and at their physical best in order to guarantee precision in surgery for example, do doctors and nurses often work ten hour shifts?
Your garagist doesn’t work a ten hour shift, so does that mean that repairing cars is more taxing than repairing humans?
In no other profession are there such long shifts, and yet in none of these professions is it so important not to make a mistake.
This is something I’ve never understood.
It’s an indication of the absurdity and mixed-up values of our modern world.
It seems to me that doctors’ and nurses’ hours ought to be shorter than other people’s in order to ensure that they can provide the best service possible, not longer than for anyone else.
After all, if you have to go to hospital, wouldn’t you like to know that the people overseeing your health are properly rested and in a fit mental and physical state to look after you properly?
I know I would.
But then, as Bob Dylan put it, “People are crazy and times are strange.”