When It’s Time to Shift Priorities

September 8th, 2017

I’m a perfectionist. Always have been. And sometimes it drives me crazy.

Like most ‘Type-A’ people, there isn’t enough time in the day to be a perfectionist about everything, so we often prioritize areas of our lives where our standards need to reach their highest, and those where we can allow the ‘good enough’ standard to rule.

And again, like others, the areas that I’ve chosen for the most attention (where I have the highest standards) have remained relatively the same throughout my adult life: school and work performance, parenting, relationships, personal style, and the appearance of my home, office and cars.

The rest of my life is relegated to the ‘good enough’ category and, unfortunately, fitness, due to time constraints… or at least that’s what I tell myself, often finds itself in this one!

Being a ‘perfectionist’ in these many areas doesn’t mean that I actually reach perfection. Far from it. Just ask my husband. Or my son. Or my friends.

All it means is that I try my hardest in the areas that mean the most to me. But when I fail to meet those very high standards, I’m not very good at forgiving myself; however, just as I recommend to my clients in my role as their psychotherapist, I pick myself up, brush myself off, and allow myself the freedom to make mistakes, to make any amends that might be necessary, and to move forward. Period.

The area of ‘perfection’ that I’m addressing today is the appearance of my home. As I just mentioned, it’s been one of my ‘key’ focus areas, and today it so remains but I’m beginning to rethink its placement on my list.

That doesn’t mean I no longer care what it looks like; instead, it just means it no longer needs to look like a museum at all times of the day. Nor like it’s waiting for a photographer from Better Homes and Gardens to arrive.

Why the change in priority?

Simple: D.O.G.S.

I’ve previously had dogs in my life and my home remained relatively camera-ready ‘perfect’. How? I’m not sure. Just a lot of time and attention. It was much larger, perhaps that made it easier.

At that time we brought home the kind of dogs where new owners are warned “Beware of Hair”.

And yes, there was a lot of it. Everywhere.

But between my house cleaner and the occupants of our home all was kept manageable. Almost ‘perfect’.

That was 17-years ago and lots has changed since then… except for my love of dogs.

In this new era, we downsized to a place one quarter the size of our previous home. Kids gone, the dogs moved on to heavenly pastures and life became simple. For a while.

The new place was beautifully decorated. Clean, shiny, new.

A few years later, we were informed our building had become ‘pet-friendly’. I was thrilled. And, soon after I brought home a new puppy, ‘shiny and new’ was replaced by crates, playpens, baby gates, indoor pee pads for house-training, an outdoor puppy potty area, and a ton of colourful toys that refused to blend in with the colour palette that I’d chosen for our living room.

Did I mention he had firehose diarrhea for two months?

Dining room chair legs became teething sticks, wet and muddy paws marked our lovely cream-coloured sectional (even after multiple washing – sofa AND dog), and carpet corners began to fray.

My previously gorgeous array of spring and summer flowers have become absent because, well, my dog will eat them – and the soil – and the pots – and I can’t afford the astronomical vet bills that would inevitably follow.


Benson and Mack And then I brought home one more. The ‘beware of hair’ kind. Really? Why?

My husband shook his head wondering whether I’d lost my mind. I did but somehow I’ve never regretted it.

It was then that I began to wonder whether I’d changed.

Where were my ‘camera-ready’ standards?

Was I losing a desire to be viewed in a certain way by others? Did I not care anymore?


Would my standards return once the dogs became old and docile? Maybe, but I’m not anxiously awaiting that time. Instead, I love having dogs back in my life. Like children, they teach us what’s really important in life, and moreover, what’s not. And having a ‘perfect’ looking home is not, at least to me at this time in my life.

Don’t misunderstand me. The appearance of my home is still important but not the way it used to be. I think I was trying to impress others rather than taking the time to actually enjoy living in it… really living in it.

So I make sure it looks great at the end of the day but we all get to enjoy the space in a way that I didn’t previously allow.

It’s a priority change, for sure, and not one that I’ve let go of as easily as it seems. For example, I still do have our wonderful house cleaner to help me mop up all that hair, the constant nose smudges on the mirrored closets, and other associated dog-related traces in our home.

And, to be honest, from time to time, I miss the ‘camera ready’ elegance that I was once surrounded with, and at those times, I yearn for the time where I can put the crates to bed permanently and to patching and replacing all the places that were used for teething.

But one thing is for sure: I’ll never regret the quality of life that was brought into our small living space by our two wonderful dogs. They add to my life the way a perfectly-designed home never did.

They add much-needed laughter to my life to counter the challenges I face with the kind of jobs that both my husband and I have.

They force me outside when I don’t feel like it and so the ‘good enough’ relegation of fitness is now moving upwards on my priority scale thanks to my dogs.

So it’s a win-win for all of us.I hope they both live forever.

In the end, I realize the things I wanted to control, like having the perfect home, limited the fuller life that was awaiting me. Now, I wonder, what else do I need to let go of?

How about you?

The Food Sextet

September 8th, 2017

It is curious fact, that although there are thousands of different substances which go to make up food in as many different shapes, sizes and colors, yet they may all be grouped into six simple kinds of materials. Under these six headings, sometimes knowns as the Food Sextet, all foods can be classified. They are (I) Proteins (II) Carbohydrates (III) Fats (IV) Cellulose (V) Salts or food minerals and (VI) Vitamins.


Food, in general may be grouped into two classes, those which are nutritive, that is, supply heat and energy to the body, and those which are non-nutritive, providing per-se no energy but necessary in infinitesimal amounts for the proper maintenance of bodily functions. The former consists of the essential food elements viz. proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The latter include water, mineral salts and vitamins.


Composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen and often termed as Nitrogen foods, protein is that element of the food which is used for the construction and repair of the highly-vitalized living tissues of the body; that is, the essential vital machinery – the muscles, glands, verves and other parts concerned in the various functions of the body, consist of proteins.

Some of the principal foods containing a large amount of protein are: meat, eggs, fish, cheese, beans, pulses, milk, nuts and soyabeans.

Between the periods of infancy and maturity, protein is required both for growth and repair. After maturity, the sole use of protein is for repair. Unless one is doing outdoor work or taking active exercises, the protein ration should be small, because protein, when taken in excess of the actual needs of the body for its tissue building, is not only useless – not being necessary to satisfy any bodily need, but causes positive damage to the body, because it imposes upon the eliminative organs, especially the liver and the kidneys, a heavy burden of unnecessary work, the inevitable effect of which must be the wearing out of these organs prematurely and the interference with their normal functions of destroying and eliminating the natural body wastes and then keeping the blood and tissue fluids free from obstructing poison, leading to what is known as auto-intoxication with its attendant evils.


Composed of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in varying proportions supply energy for work, play and other forms of vital activity, and furnish fuel to maintain heat. This element of food consists mainly of starches and sugars. Starches are derived principally from cereals or grains in all forms, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, peanuts, carrots, turnips, cassava or yam.

Roughly about two-third of the body’s energy is normally derived from the Carbohydrates class.

An overconsumption of starch, has a tendency to cause constipation, flatulence, digestive disorders, enlarged tonsils, colds, etc.

The food sweets of all kinds are: maple sugar, syrups, candies cane sugar, fruits like grapes, sweet apples, and ripe bananas.

Candy and cane sugar taken in excess tend to produce gastric catarrh, hyperacidity, diabetes and torpid liver.


Like the starches and sugar fats supply fuel for the body heat, and serve as a source for the expenditure of energy. As fuel, fats differ from starches and sugar in that while the latter substances may be termed quick burning fuels, fats instead of being burned at once, are for future use in the form of depose tissue, sometimes known as residual or reserve tissue. As heat producer fats have double the value of starches and sugar but fats are more difficult of absorption.

The principal foods rich in fats are butter, cream, animal fat, olive oil, cod-liver oil, and oil of nuts.

An excessive amount of fats tends to cause digestive disturbances, derangement of the biliary function and acidosis. Whereas great excess of fat is highly detrimental to health and prejudicial to longevity. In a normal diet about 3 to 4 ozs. of fats are required daily.


Cellulose is supplied principally by vegetables and fresh fruits. It gives to the intestinal contents the bulk necessary to stimulate peristaltic action. For this reason a certain amount of it is necessary each day in the diet. When the roughage is lacking, constipation, digestive troubles and auto-intoxication are usually the result. Bran is excellent roughage. It can be used raw baked or in the form of bread, or muffins or chapatties.

The curse of the age is the over-refinement of foods by which they are deprived of the most essential of their constituents; processes have been devised and machinery invented to remove husks, skin, shells, integuments and external parts so that only the soft, internal and least valuable parts were offered to the public.

We have for years concentrated in analyzing food into Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats and Cellulose. No attention was paid to anything else. Many decades we have been throwing away and wasting the most essential constituents of foods, namely VITAMINS AND MINERALS.


Nothing in the field of dietetics has created such widespread and genuine interest as the “discovery of the vitamins.” It is true that vitamins are of primary importance in the processes of nutrition. “The Vitamins” mean “life substances” or “life elements” and every naturopath is acquainted with the life elements in foods as preached by an eminent naturopath, Dr Lindlahr and a world renowned physical culturist Bernar Macfadden in their books on dietetics and drugless healing.

Vitamins are undoubtedly essential to life and are builders of our bodies. However it does not matter how many vitamins there are, provided we remember that all the vitamins we need are present in the foods which Nature supplies for our use and provided we eat them as Nature supplies and do not spoil them by removing or destroying the vitamins by wrong cooking and processing.

Vitamins are generally categorized into the following types:

  • Water Soluble
  • Fat Soluble


  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Water soluble Vitamin B1 helps in proper functioning of the digestive system, heart, nerves and muscles.

Sources: Pork, oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, potatoes, liver, eggs.

Deficiency Diseases: Beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin keeps the skin healthy.

Sources: Dairy products, bananas, popcorn, green beans, asparagus

Deficiency Diseases: Skin disorders, Ariboflavinosis, glossitis, angular stomatitis.

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Niacin seems to occur in mushrooms, asparagus, peanuts, brown rice, corn, green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, potato, lentil, barley, carrots, almonds, celery, turnips, peaches, chicken meat, tuna, salmon

Lack of Niacin results in dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and stomatitis.

  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): Pantothenic acid seems to occur in broccoli, lentils, split peas, avocado, whole wheat, mushrooms, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, eggs, squash, strawberries, liver.

Nausea, heartburn and diarrhea may be noticed with high dose supplements.

Deficiency: Very unlikely. Only in severe malnutrition may one notice tingling of feet. Paresthesia

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine seems to occur in Whole wheat, brown rice, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, potato, garbanzo beans, banana, trout, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, walnuts, peanut butter, tuna, salmon, lima beans, bell peppers, chicken meat.

High doses of supplemental vitamin B6 may result in painful neurological symptoms.

Lack of Pyrodoxine results in chelosis, glossitis, stomatitis, dermatitis (all similar to vitamin B2 deficiency), nervous system disorders, sleeplessness, confusion, nervousness, depression, irritability, interference with nerves that supply muscles and difficulties in movement of these muscles, and anemia. Prenatal deprivation results in mental retardation and blood disorders for the newborn.

  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid): Folate is the naturally occurring form found in foods and Folic acid is the synthetic form used in commercially available supplements and fortified foods. Inadequate folate status is associated with neural tube defects and some cancers.

Sources: Leafy vegetables, pasta, bread, cereal, liver.

Lack of Folic acid results in anemia (macrocytic/megaloblastic), sprue, Leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, weakness, weight loss, cracking and redness of tongue and mouth, and diarrhea. In pregnancy there is a risk of low birth weight and preterm delivery.

  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Found in Fortified cereals, liver, trout, salmon, tuna, haddock, egg.

Lack of Vitamin B12 results in pernicious anemia, neurological problems and sprue.

  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid): Water soluble Vitamin C is supposed to increase the resistance of our body to infections and helps fight diseases.

Sources: Citrus fruits (especially oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes). Vegetables and sprouting grains.

Lack of Vitamin C results in bleeding and ulcerated gums, scurvy, tooth decay, loss of weight.

  • Vitamin H (Biotin): Water soluble Biotin seems to occur in green leafy vegetables, most nuts, whole grain breads, avocado, raspberries, cauliflower, carrots, papaya, banana, salmon, eggs.


  • Vitamin A (Retinoids): Fat soluble Vitamin A maintains healthy eyesight, proper growth and healthy skin.

Sources: Cod-liver oil, milk, dairy products, fruits and leafy vegetables.

Lack of Vitamin A results in lowered resistance to eye infections, lack of full growth, Night blindness, hyperkeratosis, and keratomalacia.

  • Vitamin D: Fat soluble Vitamin D controls the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in bone-building and teeth formation.

Sources: It can be had from cod-liver oil, milk, egg-yolk, and sunshine (prepared in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight).

Lack of Vitamin D results in rickets, bending and softening of the bones, deformities, failure of calcium metabolism.

  • Vitamin E (tocopherol): Fat soluble Vitamin E is essential for normal functioning of muscles and protection of liver.

Sources: lettuce, watercress, beans. The richest source yet found of Vitamin E is the germ of the wheat kernel.

Deficiency is very rare; sterility in males and miscarriage in females, mild hemolytic anemia in newborn infants.

  • Vitamin K: Fat soluble Vitamin K is necessary for normal clotting of blood.

Sources: Green leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage, soya bean oil, liver, tomato.

Deficiency diseases: Bleeding diathesis

It follows, therefore, that the chief foodstuffs necessary to ensure good health should be selected mainly from fruits and vegetables (preferably uncooked), milk, and grains.

Dr. Casimin Funk, who first investigated the nature of the vitamins, is of opinion that the public would do well to curb its tendency towards making a fad of artificially supplying in various preparations. This is what he says: “What would be the use in preparing all our foods artificially, so long as nature is producing her own foods in sufficient abundance to supply an increasing population. It would be folly even to think of turning ourselves into domestic manufacturers and consumers of self-made food so long as nature gives enough.”

We are not wrong in saying that there is only one way to secure our daily supply of vitamins. Eat simple natural foods, whole grain products, and you will be well nourished without the addition of vitamin tablets to your dietary.

From this we see that poor nutrition, or wrong feeding of our bodies, is an almost universal cause of disease. There are other factors of course, but the failure of proper nutrition is the basic and most prevalent cause.