Do you live to eat or eat to live? Do you have a complicated relationship with food? Read this article to find out more about food.

Magazine - Food


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Do we live to eat or eat to live? That is the question.

I remember as a child growing up in Britain having fish and chips or baked beans on toast at least twice a week on my lap while watching my favourite cartoon. Of course I enjoyed my food but it wasn’t something I often talked about. Now, I’m not blaming my culture for my lack of interest in food at an early age. Perhaps my silence was due to the fact that I didn’t know anything about food. How many children know that prawns only turn pink when they are cooked and that tuna does not come from a can? Now after having lived in Southern Europe, Asia and Australia I find myself talking about food all the time. The world has seduced my taste buds and opened my mouth.

Food that’s plain and simple is often the best but not always so. For many of us food is a need. For others, food is a friend. Yet to some others food is an enemy. Cravings grip us at all the wrong times while we struggle to follow a strict diet that turned all our favourite desserts into mortal sins. There are others who regard food as an investment. To them, food has some kind of special powers that can control their lives, for better or for worse. If that’s the case, it’s time to change and make food work for us.

Let’s start by using food the way you would use a pencil or a pair of scissors. We begin using food as a tool. Like tools, some food works well for some tasks and some is specially designed to accomplish others.

Let’s say you’re feeling down. You had a tough day or a tiff with a best friend that drove you round the bend. You decide to treat yourself to a bar of chocolate –nothing like chocolate to perk you up. Unfortunately you’re setting yourself up for a higher dose of the blues. That’s because chocolate bars have a hefty amount of fat and sugar – which takes a long time to digest and can draw energy away from your brain – and caffeine which will temporarily boost your mood and alertness but send you crashing back down as soon as its effect starts to wear off.

Does this mean snacking is a bad idea when you’re feeling down? Not at all. You just have to do it wisely. In place of a chocolate bar, have a slice of toast with chunky marmalade. Then instead of fat and caffeine you’ve just given yourself a dose of vitamin C that has been shown to fight depression. In addition, marmalade is loaded with the type of sugar that spurs the release of mood-lifting chemicals in the brain.

In fact you can manage your mood and boost your brainpower, metabolism, even your sex life, by eating the right food. Whatever your goals, you can custom-design a diet to help you meet them. Here’s how taking control of your food can help you take control of your life.

The next time you have an important meeting that requires mental processing, try some brain processing food that looks like this: tuna salad on whole wheat bread, green salad with tomatoes, a handful of nuts, bananas, a glass of skimmed milk. Tuna, bananas, nuts and whole wheat bread are high in vitamin B6, which has been scientifically proven to help preserve cognitive skills. Protein-rich food contains a nutrient called Tyrosine, which studies have shown, are linked to clear thinking and alertness. Greens such as broccoli and spinach naturally contain loads of vitamins and iron. Lack of these nutrients can lead to fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

Having said all that, let’s not be too stressed about what we eat. Many scientists these days believe that indulging in life’s little pleasures may actually help improve your health because of the psychological lift it gives you. There is a lot of truth in the old saying that ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’.





Nowadays, healthy food is no more an “élite” question for most of the people. Therefore, I consider this article convincing. More and more people is becoming aware of the fact that feeding themselves properly and consciously may help them to have a better quality of life.

I find that there is a good strategy, on the behalf of the journalist, to encourage readers to feel at easy with such a theme. The journalist shows himself sympathetic, considering the reluctancy that the most of the people feels when the question is about private, compulsive consume of food. In fact, firstly, he tells about his own wrong relationship with food when he was a kid in Great Britain. He used to appreciate what is now know as unhealthy food - crunching fried, salty things for breakfast. Nonetheless, he wants to tell what a breakthrough was for him to understand the real meaning of feeding in an healthy way. With simple examples, readers can be encouraged to know something more about the theme, such as which are the best, natural nutrients contained in common fruits, vegetables or a mixed salad.

In conclusion, I think the article faces in a friendly tone an embarrassing question such as relationship with food, turning the matter into a positive spur to find out more about mood-lifting nutrients and how to consciously care about health at daily meals.

Hi I dont know why non of my comments have posted?

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Hi everyone, this article is very useful for me. It help me know how to eat good.

Hi everyone. I'm doing a MOOC called : "Spice your english" and it help us to improve our english by taking the example of cooking. Some words were difficult for me but I really enjoy this article. See U !

Why count of words in preparation for the web-version is different from version for print (8 vs 10)?

Hello EmpathyTest,

The pdf versions of the pages are created on the basis of the web version. However, sometimes the web version is updated, changing it slightly, while the pdf version is not updated if the change is small. I think that is the case here.


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The LearnEnglish Team

I am learning English, I have studied E for 12 years but I can't speak well. I really need your help. Can you show me the way to practice speaking English for myself? THank you so much!

Hello phuongmaii19,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! The best place for you to start is our Getting Started section, which has information about our site and suggestions as to how best to use it. As far as your question goes, you can find our best advice and tips for speaking, as well as for other aspects of learning English, on our Frequently Asked Questions page. I hope those suggestions will be helpful.


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Like other Japanese people, I'm very foody person, always trying to find a delicious thing....but I know I have been taking too much sugar now a days, which makes me get tired easily, so I need to control the intake of it.
"Fasting" is a boom in Japan, that is to rest your digestive system by taking little or almost no food, drinking water and "enzyme" drinks for certain period of time, typically few days to one week. Yes, your stomach has been working all the time since you were born. It needs some vacation.
I tried it once for 5 days in a specialized institution (like a hotel actually) and what happened to me was....terrific! I was amazed with how clear and calm my mind became. And everything tastes different, so strong and clear.
I don't know this is a "normal" reaction but other people seemed to feel the same way too.
Resetting your digestive system might be resetting your mind set as well. It's kind of refreshing.
Oh, please do not try to do it without having a specialist/doctor with you!