Archive for Eating

When Food is Not the Answer

Please sir, more

“Please, sir,” replied Oliver, “I want some more.”

How often have you asked a variation of these:

  • Want to get some coffee?
  • What are you taking to the potluck?
  • Do you have time for lunch next week?
  • Can we get together for dinner and talk about it?
  • How about kicking back and ordering pizza tonight?
  • When are we going to that new restaurant?

We are a food-friendly people. And rightly so!

Whether it’s a romantic restaurant meal that became a turning point in your relationship or the thin gruel fed to Charles Dickens’ fictional orphans, food nourishes us. We have favorite food linked to memories, like my pal Juanita’s Sock-It-To-Me cake from long-ago birthdays. Please give me a good movie, a comfy couch, and then add the chips and salsa with cheddar cheese melted on top. Years later, friends can recall meals at great restaurants. We have stories about cheap meals on a date with the person we married. We munch on popcorn or peanuts and can’t stop grabbing one more handful. We have that comfort food Mom made—for me it was potato salad, ranger cookies, or fried chicken—that no one else in the world can duplicate. We swap family recipes, sneak junk food, taste the sample “snacks” at Costco, and on rare, fun occasions eat breakfast for dinner because, well, just because!

In hospice, one of the toughest times for an individual or a family caring for a loved one is when that person no longer wants to eat. Read More →

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Hospice and Reflexive Eating

We talked about “reflexive eating” in a hospice meeting.

It’s when nourishment is automatically eaten.

I immediately thought about my next meal.

It’s when opening the mouth for food or liquid is more from habit than need.

I eat too much.

If food is placed before me, I might take a bite or ten without even being hungry. Could I be a reflexive eater? Could I blame this problem on Mom? As a kid, we not only had three nice meals a day, but after school there was usually a plate of cookies. It was such a Leave It To Beaver stereotype, with me home from a grueling day in fourth grade. There, ready for me, were a cool glass of milk accompanied by freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts, of course).

There’s more.

What about declining dessert after dinner, but scheming for—while later watching Bonanza or The Twilight Zone on ye olde TV—a bowl of ice cream? One scoop? Two?

What about my lifelong chips and salsa relationship? Read More →

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5 Questions to Ask a Hospice Patient

On conversations that matter . . .

What can I say?

With some hospice patients, even when they are friends or family members, we’re unsure of how to keep a conversation going. It may be easy to begin a chat about today’s weather or yesterday’s news, but what about having a conversation that matters?

And for other hospice patients, maybe when we’re first-time visitors from their faith community or a new volunteer from hospice, we can also have doubts about what to say after the introductions and mentioning that it’s hot (or breezy, humid, snowy) outside.

Here are a handful of suggestions for deepening a conversation with someone in hospice care.

(And below the suggestions, if you want to skip my optimistic examples, I reflect about a recent “failed” visit with an acquaintance nearing death.)

5 things to say to someone you know and love . . . Read More →

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