Food and You - Live to Eat or Eat to Live

Dr. Linda Hancock 08. The Eighth Year Home and Family

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My Norwegian maternal grandmother was a wonderful cook! Grandpa was the grain elevator agent in a small Saskatchewan community and there wasn't a restaurant there so people would go to their house and pay grandma to cook for them. Some apparently even refused to get into the lineup at the Fowl Supper each year until grandma's food had arrived!

She used to say "Anyone can follow a recipe but not everyone is clean" and would even wash the cans that she had just purchased at the grocery store before putting them on her kitchen shelf! Grandma loved food, respected it and knew how to make beautiful meals with it.

Most of my relatives were what was termed "round and jolly". It didn't help that we are all very short and every ounce we eat shows!

We were raised to eat when we had a celebration or a bad day or just because it was Tuesday! Food was included in every social event - whether it was planned or impromptu. Gifts were often homemade - jellies, candy or cakes. And every meal at home ended with dessert - usually ice cream!

I am the first to admit that I probably love food a little too much! I love looking at weekly grocery fliers, reading new recipes and tasting new creations! The interesting thing, however is that my doctor thinks that I am overweight because I don't eat enough and my body slips into starvation mode therefore holding onto every calorie that is consumed!

Usually I am so busy at the office that the hours just slip away without me even having time to even think about food let alone stop to eat. Often I end up going home at night with the breakfast and lunch that I had carried there in the morning or even the day before.

As children we were taught to eat what was put before us. As adults, however, there are three things that need to be considered:

What will you eat?- Most of us know that it is important to daily choose a variety of nutritious foods and to limit sugars, fats and caffeine.

How much will you eat?- The availability of food in society and the concept of "upsizing" have distorted our concept of how much food we actually need.

When will you eat?- Several small meals eaten throughout the day is your best choice. If you have reflux or nightmares, you likely already understand the negative consequences of eating just before bedtime.

Food is so important, not just to bring pleasure to an individual or occasion but also to provide the body with all the nutrients that it needs to function properly.

You might have some outdated ideas about food intake or find yourself slipping into bad habits but do not despair. There are many resources available on the internet and through community health to help you gain knowledge that can lead to better choices.

And remember it only takes twenty-one days to form a new habit!

Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email

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