You Are What You Eat: Essay Example

You are what you eat essay introduction.

  • Healthy eating habits

We Are What We Eat Essay Conclusion

Essay voice-over.

A person living a modern life should learn to eat healthy since whatever a person eats will determine their health condition in the long run. Eating healthy would lead to being in good condition, but eating junk food would lead to complications to one’s health.

The human body has a way of regulating some of the functions of the body in order to remain healthy, but the body would react to what it is fed on.

Certain types of foods are essential for the functioning of particular parts of the human body. The different types of foods that contain vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates are necessary in the human diet. Fats are also essential for the body’s functioning, and a lack of it in the diet might be very dangerous.

Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits include adopting a healthy diet in daily meals. This diet would ensure that one leads and maintains good general health. Modern lifestyle involves eating junk foods that are not necessarily healthy.

This might cause many diseases and conditions that would have otherwise been avoided if a healthy diet were adopted. The types of diseases that can be avoided using healthy foods include hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Healthy eating habits include the taking of appropriate amounts of both macronutrients and micronutrients (Fernandez & Calle, 2010).

Healthy living involves consuming the correct amounts of essential nutrients and drinking adequate amounts of water daily. It is not enough to take all the vital nutrients; having them in the right quantities is also crucial. Eating a limited amount of nutrients may lead to deficiency, while eating them in excess may also lead to serious conditions and diseases. Water is an important part of a diet since it makes up at least 60% of the human body.

Many people today are classified as overweight and obese. This condition occurs when a person feeds on excess fats and carbohydrates and fails to exercise to reduce these amounts in the body (Katz, 2003).

Since the body reacts to whatever it is fed on, it tends to store the excess carbohydrates and fats (lipids) in the adipose tissue below the skin. This forms a thick layer below the skin, which explains why people grow fat.

Overweight or obese individuals have a high Body Mass Index (BMI), which has been proven through research to affect the individual’s mobility and performance.

Obese individuals have trouble when moving or performing tasks due to the immense weight they carry whenever they work. Therefore, research suggests that a person should maintain a normal weight, which is achieved through eating healthy and exercising.

Although fats have negative effects when taken in excess, there is even greater danger when one adopts a no-fat diet. Many advertisements talk about the benefits of a no-fat diet (fad diet,) and multiple individuals seeking to either lose weight or maintain their physique follow them.

However, research does not advocate for this due to fats (lipids or fatty acids) having important functions in the body (Strychar, 2006).

Taking food without fats may turn fatal due to the body’s inability to perform some of the functions that are enabled by the presence of fats. Firstly, the body of the organism may lack the ability to absorb some essential vitamins such as vitamin K, D, E, and A.

These are the fat-soluble vitamins and need dietary fats to absorb properly. Lack of these vitamins in the body leads to various diseases and conditions, such as night blindness and rickets. The body’s immune system would also be deteriorated due to the lack of these vitamins.

Research has also confirmed that a no-fat diet might affect mental health and is a likely cause of depression (Maes, 1996). Research also suggests that low intake of essential fatty acids (caused by a no-fat diet) increases the chances of getting breast, colon, or prostate cancer. This is caused by the lack of omega-3s in the body.

No-fat diets also have a part to play in heart disease and cholesterol levels. This is because a diet without fat causes the good cholesterol (HDL) to reduce and the bad cholesterol to be accumulated in the liver (Mensink, Zock, Kester, & Katan, 2003). Heart disease develops when the good and the bad cholesterol go out of balance. Therefore, fats are essential to the human body.

A healthy diet also needs to have portions of fruits served to the individual. Fruits provide essential micronutrients such as vitamins. Vegetables also provide essential vitamins to the body. Lack of vitamins may put the individual at risk of suffering ischaemic heart disease, gastrointestinal cancer, stroke, and many other complications.

A modern person should adopt a diet that constitutes the right amount of proteins too. Proteins are important for the individual’s growth. They also make up many body structures, including hair, skin, and muscles.

Proteins also aid in the regeneration of dead cells in the body, which is why they play a vital role in a person’s survival. A modern individual should also ensure that the meal has minerals such as iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Iodine has been made easily available in the iodized salt. These minerals are required in small amounts, but their functions are quite important.

It is important for every individual to adopt a healthy eating habit. The modern person faces various challenges due to the types of food that are available in the market nowadays. The cheapest, easily available foods are junk foods that are not usually healthy. They may contain excesses of certain nutrients and may cause the body to strain a lot while trying to eliminate them.

Fernandez, M., & Calle, M. (2010). Revisiting dietary cholesterol recommendations: Does the evidence support a limit of 300mg/d. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 12(6), 377-383.

Katz, D. (2003). Pandemic obesity and the contagion of nutritional nonsense. Public Health Review, 31(1), 33-44.

Maes, M. (1996). Fatty acid composition in major depression: Decrease ὠ3 fractions in cholesteryl esters and increased C20:4ὠ6 ratio in cholesteryl esters and phospholipids. Journal of Affective Disorders, 38(1), 35-46.

Mensink, R., Zock, P., Kester, A., & Katan, M. (2003). Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: A meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(5), 1146-1155.

Strychar, I. (2006). Diet management of weight loss. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 174(1), 56-63.

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Home / Essay Samples / Nursing & Health / Nutrition & Dieting / Eating

You Are What You Eat

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Nursing & Health

Nutrition & Dieting

Eating , Eating Habits , Nutrition

  • Words: 475 (1 page)

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i am what i eat essay

You Are What You Eat Essay (708 words)

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You are what you eat, goes a famous saying. And if that is truly the case, then a lot of Americanswould appear to be unhealthy, chemically treated, commercially raised slabs of animal flesh.

And whilethat is not a particularly pleasant thought, it is nonetheless an description of the typical Americanomnivore who survives on the consumption of Big Macs and steak fajitas. But there are individuals who do not follow this American norm and have altered their diets so that theydo not consume any meat. These people are vegetarians, and they are the new breed of healthyAmericans who refuse to poison themselves with fats, cholesterol, and the other harmful additives thatcome from meat. And while once thought to be a movement that would never gain much momentum, ithas nonetheless moved itself to the forefront of Americans healthy diets. The word vegetarian, used to describe the diets of people who do not consume animal flesh, was notused until around the mid-1800s.

The concept of vegetarianism, however, dates back much further. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras, considered by many to be the father of vegetarianism, encourageda non-meat diet among his followers as a diet that was the most natural and healthful (Messina 3). A vegetarian diet excludes the consumption of meat, and can be exercised by people for a number ofreasons. The largest majority of individuals chose vegetarianism for health related reasons. Forexample, someone with an ulcer might be prescribed a strict diet of vegetables in order to promote thehealing process. Or someone with a dangerously high level of cholesterol might be advised to follow avegetarian diet to lower his or her fat and cholesterol intake.

The immorality of consuming animal flesh is another argument touted by a smaller group of vegetarians. R. G. Frey describes this moral argument for vegetarianism and the effect that meat eating might have onthe character of humans:Some people have come to believe and fear that, in the suffering and killing which occurs in commercialfarming, we demean ourselves, coarsen our sensitivities, dull our feelings of sympathy with our fellowcreatures, and so begin the descent down the slippery slope of torture and death, to a point where itbecomes easier for us to contemplate and carry out the torture and killing of human beings.

(20)This moral argument for vegetarianism is also noted by John Robbins who states that the sufferingthese animals undergo has become so extreme that to partake of food from these creatures is topartake unknowingly of the abject misery that has been their lives(14). But whatever the reasons behind a persons choice to be a vegetarian, it is important to understand thedifferent diets that individual vegetarians can choose. In the widest sense of the word, a vegetarian dietis a diet that is made up of grains, vegetables and fruit, but does not include any animal flesh, such asfish, pork, poultry, or beef. But beyond these standards, there are many variations of diet that occurwithin the world of vegetarianism. The first, and most prominent, category of vegetarianism is a lacto-ovo vegetarian.

Mark Messinadescribes a lact-ovo diet as . . . a vegetarian diet (that) includes dairy products and eggs but no animalflesh(7).

This means that there is consumption of animal byproducts, such as milk, eggs, or honey, butthere is no consumption of animal flesh. Another variation is the lacto-vegetarian diet that allows theconsumption of milk and other milk products, but does not include the consumption of eggs. And likeall vegetarians, these two groups do not consume fish, poultry, or meat (Messina 7). Another category that vegetarians can fall into are vegans.

The vegan diet is by far the most strict of allthe vegetarian diets. According to Mark Messina, Vegans avoid meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs. There are many other foods that may not be acceptable to many vegans, however. Foods that involveanimal processing to any degree are often avoided(11).

This means that vegans can consume nofoods containing animal byproducts, such as milk, eggs, or honey. Being a vegan often dictates ananimal friendly lifestyle that, aside from not eating anything that came from an animal, also abstainsfrom buying or using products that were tested on animals or are made from animal hairs or skin, suchas leather shoes or belts (Messina 11).A common misconception of vegetarians is that they are all a

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You Are What You Eat - Essay Example

You Are What You Eat

  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Type: Essay
  • Level: College
  • Pages: 2 (500 words)
  • Downloads: 9
  • Author: ivahsauer

Extract of sample "You Are What You Eat"

I take a fairly balanced diet every day. It ranges from bread and egg to pulses, vegetables and meat with little fast food in between. I take three meals a day and eat a lot, however I also exercise quite regularly which helps maintain a balance. Also I exercise a lot which I consider a great way to keep myself in shape. With so many activities, it is important to have a balanced and a varied diet. I do not have any health conditions nor is anyone in my family suffering from a disease that has genetic origins therefore I do not have pre-disposition to acquire a genetic disease.

The top ingredients in my diet are carbohydrates, proteins, fats. Protein is a natural ingredient which is present in all the living organisms. It is one of the most important building blocks of life. Proteins play an extremely important role in making up human body and they are present in almost every part of it, from blood to hair, a large number of organs comprise of protein. Therefore an important portion of the diet should be dedicated to the intake of proteins so that the repair and growth mechanisms continue to operate in the best possible way.

Our body needs a certain amount of protein daily so that it can carry out the vital processes of life. It is needed to repair tissues, form broken cells and also in blood where it is necessary for efficient transfer of oxygen to all the organs of the body. Deficiency of protein can lead to a lot of serious diseases. I take a lot of fish, beans and poultry items in my diet which are rich in different types of proteins (Boylan, Spallhoiz, & Driskell, 2008). These are all natural sources so are free from any possible side effects.

A major portion of my diet also includes rice and potatoes, in fried form as well as boiled. These are extremely rich sources of carbohydrates, which is a natural ingredient found in many organic foods. In comparison with other nutrients, our body has the greatest requirement of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are to our body as petrol is to car: It is the most active fuel which is needed to run our bodies. Carbohydrates are converted to glucose which is then broken down to release energy and carry out all the activities that our body do (Hoffer & Prousky, 2006).

For a healthy person like me, in order to carry out all the daily activities, it is important to have a regular intake of carbohydrates. Also since I actively take part in sports where the need for energy is much greater, a quantity of carbohydrates in my diet help me energized. Carbohydrates are also necessary because some of it is broken down and its derivatives are then combined with proteins to form glycoproteins which are an important component for all cells. The third most important component in my diet is fat.

During breakfast I tend to eat butter and cheese which are good sources of fat. Since these sources are natural, they contain many other useful substances. Unlike popular belief, fats are actually very necessary for out body. Fats act as a fuel reserve, therefore when our bodies do not get enough nutrients; it breaks down fat to produce energy. Similarly fats are important components of all the cells are needed to produce hormones (Mclagan & Beisch, 2008). Excess of fat is bad since they form deposits which may clog the blood vessels; therefore I tend to eat fatty foods only at breakfast so that my diet remains balanced.

Given my clean record for medical conditions and diseases, I do not think I need to make serious changes in my diet. Moreover, I am well built and my weight and height are in correct ratios. The diet I take contains a mix of all the nutrients necessary for my daily activities and the extra carbohydrates and fats I get through potatoes and intake of fried foods, are well utilized during sports activities. The only thing which I think I should change in my diet is the excessive consumption of soft drinks.

Even though they do not make a major portion of my diet, an average can of soft drink contains about six table spoons of sugar. This amount although is not dangerous at my age but I may get addicted to consistent intake of soft drinks, which may ultimately cause obesity. Therefore I will try to minimize the usage of soft drinks and try to replace it with more nutritious fresh juices like that of apple and orange. On the whole, I consider that my diet can be considered to be a healthy one and the only room of improvement is to drink more fresh juices instead of soft drinks.

Works Cited Boylan, M., Spallhoiz, J., & Driskell, J. (2008). Nutrition: CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY, SECOND EDITION. CRC Press;. Hoffer, A., & Prousky, J. (2006). Naturopathic Nutrition: A Guide to Nutrient-Rich Food & Nutritional Supplements for Optimum Health. Ccnm Press. Mclagan, J., & Beisch, L. (2008). Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient. Ten Speed Press.

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How italian food defines you, your family, and your ethnicity, analysis of you are what you eat film, the oncept of a conscious purchase in the store, the lengthening of an individuals lifespan, food and identity: ethnicity & regionalism, how to regain and retain your health by tony akineymi, why diets fail, why americans love fast food, you are what you eat.

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Culture essay

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Culture, food, and you essay We all say this our health is what we eat, but sometimes we forget eating habits of people around us affect our eating habits as well. Our food choices are greatly affected by the influence of our parents and grandparents. It's because they are the first person in our life to teach us how to eat and make us familiar with food style when we are born. So it's very natural that we tend to eat lot similar like people around us when we grow up. Now I can relate with this because my eating choices are more like my parents then my own individual choices. I am Indian, my parents and grandparents grew up in India before moving to America, so their eating style are still very traditional. They still try to keep their cultural food alive in middle of their busy job schedule, and without even realizing all this has greatly influenced my choices. Even though I moved to America at very young age still I couldn't get the real taste of American food. But now I actually can say from the way I eat it has lot to do with cultural heritage. Second most thing definitely that has influenced my food habits is religion. If I say I was born vegetarian then it won't be wrong. Being a part of Brahmin Hindu culture family it is expected from us to stay vegetarian all our life. That is the reason people in India most of the time are used to eating lots of fruits, vegetables, lentils in their daily diet. May be because we don't have many options when we try stay vegetarian. My parents and grandparents also never encouraged me to start eating meat, otherwise I have seen some of my friends eating non-vegetarian food, but their parents are still vegetarian. But In my case even after moving here I never thought to include any kind of meat in my diet since there is lot more religion influence in my family when it comes to choose food.

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Essays About Food: Top 5 Examples and 6 Writing Prompts

Food is one of the greatest joys of life; it is both necessary to live and able to lift our spirits. If you are writing essays about food, read our guide.

Many people live and die by food. While its primary purpose is to provide us with the necessary nutrients to carry out bodily functions, the satisfaction food can give a person is beyond compare. For people of many occupations, such as chefs, waiters, bakers, and food critics, food has become a way of life.

Why do so many people enjoy food? It can provide us with the sensory pleasure we need to escape from the trials of daily life. From the moist tenderness of a good-quality steak to the sweet, rich decadence of a hot fudge sundae, food is truly magical. Instead of eating to stay alive, many even joke that they “live to eat.” In good food, every bite is like heaven.

5 Top Essay Examples

1. food essay by evelin tapia, 2. why japanese home cooking makes healthy feel effortless by kaki okumura, 3. why i love food by shuge luo.

  • 4.  My Favorite Food by Jayasurya Mayilsamy 
  • 5. ​​Osteria Francescana: does the world’s best restaurant live up to the hype? by Tanya Gold

6 Prompts for Essays About Food

1. what is your favorite dish, 2. what is your favorite cuisine, 3. is a vegan diet sustainable, 4. the dangers of fast food, 5. a special food memory, 6. the food of your home country.

“Food has so many things in them such as calories and fat. Eating healthy is important for everyone to live a healthy life. You can eat it, but eating it daily is bad for you stay healthy and eat the right foods. Deep fried foods hurt your health in many ways. Eat healthy and exercise to reduce the chances of any health problems.”

In this essay, Tapia writes about deep-fried foods and their effects on people’s health. She says they are high in trans fat, which is detrimental to one’s health. On the other hand, she notes reasons why people still eat foods such as potato chips and french fries, including exercise and simply “making the most of life.” Despite this, Tapia asserts her position that these foods should not be eaten in excess and can lead to a variety of health issues. She encourages people to live healthy lives by enjoying food but not overeating. 

“Because while a goal of many vegetables a day is admirable, in the beginning it’s much more sustainable to start with something as little as two. I learned that with an approach of two-vegetable dishes at a time, I would be a lot more consistent, and over time a large variety would become very natural. In fact, now following that framework and cooking a few simple dishes a day, I often find that it’s almost difficult to not reach at least several kinds of vegetables a day.”

Okumura discusses simple, healthy cooking in the Japanese tradition. While many tend to include as many vegetables as possible in their dishes for “health,” Okumura writes that just a few vegetables are necessary to make healthy but delicious dishes. With the help of Japanese pantry staples like miso and soy sauce, she makes a variety of traditional Japanese side dishes. She shows the wonders of food, even when executed in its simplest form. 

“I make pesto out of kale stems, toast the squash seeds for salad and repurpose my leftovers into brand new dishes. I love cooking because it’s an exercise in play. Cooking is forgiving in improvisation, and it can often surprise you. For example, did you know that adding ginger juice to your fried rice adds a surprisingly refreshing flavor that whets your appetite? Neither did I, until my housemate showed me their experiment.”

In her essay, Luo writes about her love for food and cooking, specifically how she can combine different ingredients from different cuisines to make delicious dishes. She recalls experiences with her native Chinese food and Italian, Singaporean, and Japanese Cuisine. The beauty of food, she says, is the way one can improvise a dish and create something magical. 

4.   My Favorite Food by Jayasurya Mayilsamy 

“There is no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap. My love for Pizza is very high. I am always hungry for pizza, be it any time of the day. Cheese is the secret ingredient of any food it makes any food taste yummy. Nearly any ingredient can be put on pizza. Those diced vegetables, jalapenos, tomato sauce, cheese and mushrooms make me eat more and more like a unique work of art.”

Mayilsamy writes about pizza, a food he can’t get enough of, and why he enjoys it as much as he does. He explains the different elements of a good pizza, such as cheese, tomato sauce, other toppings, and the crust. He also briefly discusses the different types of pizzas, such as thin crust and deep dish. Finally, he gives readers an excellent description of a mouthwatering pizza, reminding them of the feeling of eating their favorite food. 

5. ​​ Osteria Francescana: does the world’s best restaurant live up to the hype? by Tanya Gold

“After three hours, I am exhausted from eating Bottura’s dreams, and perhaps that is the point. If some of it is delicious, it is also consuming. That is the shadow cast by the award in the hallway, next to the one of a man strangled by food. I do not know if this is the best restaurant on Earth, or even if such a claim is possible. I suspect such lists are designed largely for marketing purposes: when else does Restaurant magazine, which runs the competition, get global coverage for itself and its sponsors?”

Gold reviews the dishes at Osteria Francescana, which is regarded by many as the #1 restaurant in the world. She describes the calm, formal ambiance and the polished interiors of the restaurants. Most importantly, she goes course by course, describing each dish in detail, from risotto inspired by the lake to parmesan cheese in different textures and temperatures. Gold concludes that while a good experience, a meal at the restaurant is time-consuming, and her experience is inconclusive as to whether or not this is the best restaurant in the world. 

Essays About Food: What is your favorite dish?

Everyone has a favorite food; in your essay, write about a dish you enjoy. You can discuss the recipe’s history by researching where it comes from, the famous chefs who created it, or which restaurants specialize in this dish. Provide your readers with an ingredients list, and describe how each ingredient is used in the recipe. Conclude your essay with a review of your experience recreating this recipe at home, discuss how challenging the recipe is, and if you enjoyed the experience.

Aside from a favorite dish, everyone prefers one type of cuisine. Discuss your favorite cuisine and give examples of typical dishes, preparations for food, and factors that influence your chosen cuisine. For example, you could choose Italian cuisine and discuss pasta, pizza, gelato, and other famous food items typically associated with Italian food.

Many people choose to adopt a vegan diet that consists of only plant-based food. For your essay, you can discuss this diet and explain why some people choose it. Then, research the sustainability of a plant-based diet and if a person can maintain a vegan diet while remaining healthy and energized. Provide as much evidence as possible by conducting interviews, referencing online sources, and including survey data. 

Essays About Food: The dangers of fast food

Fast food is a staple part of diets worldwide; children are often raised on salty bites of chicken, fries, and burgers. However, it has been linked to many health complications, including cancer and obesity . Research the dangers of fast food, describe each in your essay, and give examples of how it can affect you mentally and physically. 

Is there a memory involving food that you treasure? Perhaps it could be a holiday celebration, a birthday, or a regular day when went to a restaurant. Reflect on this memory, retelling your story in detail, and describe the meal you ate and why you remember it so fondly.

Every country has a rich culture, a big component of which is food. Research the history of food in your native country, writing about common native dishes and ingredients used in cooking. If there are religious influences on your country’s cuisine, note them as well. Share a few of these recipes in your essay for an engaging piece of writing.

Tip: If writing an essay sounds like a lot of work, simplify it. Write a simple 5 paragraph essay instead.

For help picking your next essay topic, check out the best essay topics about social media .

i am what i eat essay

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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Children standing in the rubble of a building as Israeli attacks continue to cause destruction in Rafah, Gaza.

Gaza diary part 13: ‘Just like a candle, I am fading. My body is losing strength’

Ziad, a 35-year-old Palestinian, recounts another day in Gaza; jubilation that the connection is back, a bittersweet encounter with a friend, and daily pain and exhaustion

Israel-Hamas war – live updates

Sunday 30 October

3.55am I am barely able to sleep. My body is aching. I cannot even determine which part is in more pain than the other. I am just exhausted.

“The connection is back! The connection is back!”

I hear these words coming from my sister who is sleeping on the couch. In less than two seconds, I am up, my phone in hand, checking to see if what she says is correct. The connection is really back.

My adrenaline kicks in and suddenly my sister and I – and the host family members outside – start sending messages and calling our loved ones.

“I thought I would never hear your voice again,” my friend tells me, crying. She says my call is the best one she has ever received in her whole life. I know she has received better ones, but I can imagine the fear she and all our loved ones must have felt.

Checking my WhatsApp, I find many messages starting with: “Even though I know you cannot read my message, I want to tell you that … ” from many people. Some mention how much they love me, others how scared they are, and others speak of seeing me after the whole thing is over. I reply to all of them.

My other friend, even after talking over the phone, keeps sending me messages. We speak about how worried we are feeling. Then, at the end, I send her a message: “Regardless of everything. I am extremely grateful that the connection is back. The situation hasn’t changed, and our misery is ongoing … but the connection is back!”

8am I can’t go back to sleep. I go to the toilet, the door is open yet I hear a sound coming from inside saying it is occupied. It is one of the children. The grandmother tells me that since the situation started, the oldest grandchildren have been keeping the toilet door open and the youngest won’t go unless one of her parents, or her grandmother, is with her.

10am Manara the cat is slowly getting better. Unfortunately, we still don’t have the chance to give her the injection she needs, but my sister is giving her an antibiotic for human children. She is eating, her ears are clearing up, and she is sleeping a lot.

While she is cleaning Manara my sister notices some new scars. The cat will miaow loudly when she touches a certain part and, after checking it, we find another mark under the fur.

My sister is worried sick about Manara. She says that, as well as all the medical care she requires, we also need something to strengthen the remaining eye. She bases this on her previous experience with another cat.

I try to be realistic: “We are doing the best we can. We need to take it one day at a time.”

I wish Manara could tell us what her story is, who hurt her and how deep her suffering is.

Some Palestinian families continue to live in their cars or in tents set up in the streets.

11am I am with Ahmad getting some vegetables and a torch, when I see one of my best friends, walking in the street. He was the one who asked me to help him find a new place to stay since his aunt’s house is hosting more than 70 people and there is no more space for anyone or anything.

Unfortunately, I was not able to help him. I am very happy to see him, I wave at him and and we hug. In the past, every time I saw my friend I would compliment his nice outfits. This time, he looked very bad, his clothes were not matching and didn’t fit his body. He was tired. He was not well.

I introduced him to Ahmad, saying that he is one of my best friends in the whole world, and introduced Ahmad to him as “one of the people who kind enough to host us”.

We speak for less than a minute, he says he is OK. I tell him I am OK. Both of us are not OK.

I leave him after we both say we will meet after this all ends and have a nice cup of tea by the sea. I keep walking with tears in my eyes.

Later, I send him a message: “I was so happy to see you. Seeing you was the best thing to happen to me today (well, the second best after getting the connection back). Until we meet again, my friend.”

3 pm Ahmad is reading stories to the children. He is sharing a story about a chicken that did something and then started singing. It was clear that the children have heard the story before since they were contributing to it and singing with him.

Everyone in the host family begs Ahmad not to sing because he has a terrible singing voice. I tell him there are many amazing, good qualities about him; he is positive, kind, and he helps everybody. Having a good singing voice is not one of those qualities.

8pm For the hundredth time, I am repacking the bags to get everything in place in case we need to leave again. My sister points out that this time, I do not care about my laptop nor other things I used to see as a priority.

10pm My emotional ability to continue writing is strong, but my physical ability is not. When I was buying the torch this morning, I asked Ahmad if he thinks we will reach a stage where we go back to using candles, if we can find any.

Just like a candle, I feel that I am slowly fading … my body is losing its strength. I have no energy left.

I am writing, but everything I write is a drop in the ocean. Like Manara, I feel only a part of me is expressing the pain I am going through, yet there are many left voiceless. I wish I could let out every emotion and experience and thought I have. I wish the walls could talk to share the fear we’re living in between them all night.

I wish the sky could talk to share everything it witnesses: people roaming the streets not knowing where to go or whether they will have food for the next day – or whether they will be alive.

I wish the mirrors could talk to share the tragedy on our faces that is adding so many years to our actual age. I wish someone could hug me and tell me it is over.

Children gather amid the rubble of a building in the aftermath of an Israeli strike on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

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Modern Love

When a Breakup Is an Act of Love

Single again in midlife, I am learning how to embrace reality over fantasy in a new relationship.

An illustration of a woman in a maze holding on to a red string that leads her out of the maze.

By Annie Dwyer

A prompt on the Hinge dating app asks for two truths and a lie. I could say: I was in a cult as a teenager. I got engaged after only two months of dating. I had a stroke at 44, after ending my 19-year marriage.

The only catch? All three are true.

I joined a cult because I didn’t know myself. Then I rushed into marriage because I still didn’t know myself. The marriage was my first and only long-term relationship. I used to be embarrassed about this. It was a painful marriage, but I don’t like to say that because it feels like a disservice to the beautiful things in it, especially our three children.

At the end of “The Wizard of Oz,” Glinda tells Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power.” I used to hate that line, but now it makes sense. I didn’t understand the power I had. Sure, someone could have told me sooner. I wouldn’t have believed them, though.

Near the end of my marriage, I saw a man across a room and both of us felt an electric sense of recognition. We became friends. With him, I experienced what it was like to feel truly safe. I felt sure nothing could diminish me in his view.

Our friendship was the red thread that finally led me out of the labyrinth. Eventually, though, it became impossible to ignore the elephant — we were attracted to each other, but we were both married and neither of us was willing to have an affair. Reluctantly, we said goodbye. We never touched, but it still managed to upend both of our lives.

After my stroke, I spent a week in the hospital. My hand and arm were blue-black from all the blood drawn. I couldn’t walk easily. I felt hopeless until he texted. We tried to process the situation.

“I feel like you now live in the place within me where I go to be alone,” he said.

He was afraid to be a cliché, wary of fantasy. He had been through several intense relationships and was in his second marriage. I’d had only the one. I said I felt like I had lost out.

“You set your own desires aside for your kids,” he said. “You didn’t lose, you gave.” He thought I needed to be more selfish while admitting he couldn’t be. We said goodbye again, for good this time. I grieved him more than my marriage.

It took me a year and a half to try dating. The first guy I went out with had candles blazing and a seduction mix queued up when I arrived. We made out for 20 minutes and then the date ended. I felt like I had auditioned to be someone’s girlfriend and didn’t get the part.

A few months later — a handful of dates with someone else, another dead end.

Eventually I realized every person I had ever crushed on had been unavailable in some way. Other revelations followed, but I hesitated to try again.

Last fall, I met someone through work. His pale green eyes met mine, and he stepped really close. It seemed involuntary. Normally, the proximity would have unsettled me, but I was intrigued.

“New crush just dropped,” I joked to a co-worker.

We met to collaborate on a project. There was an easy intimacy. He made intense eye contact, stroking his face and running his hands through his hair. I recognized his body language conveyed something, but I didn’t trust my interpretation.

My daughter came up behind me when I was on my phone and said, “Oh my God, are you seriously Googling whether someone’s body language says they’re attracted to you?”

“Yeah,” I said, embarrassed.

She laughed.

I was 47. He was at least 10 years younger, so I figured he couldn’t possibly be interested in anything other than a professional relationship with me.

When I took a new job with a different organization, I reached out about a program, and we chatted. He asked how long I had been divorced.

Maybe he was interested? No way.

Then he asked how old I was when I got married and how long we had been together.

I told him and thought: Here we go. He’ll do the math and this will end.

Instead, he said, “What are you doing tonight?”

“Seeing a movie.”

“I would have liked to go if I weren’t in the city,” he said.

“Watch out,” my daughter joked. “He might be a MILF hunter.”

We met up the following Tuesday. He hugged hello and goodbye. I still wasn’t sure it was a date. Was he into me or not?

Later, he broached the topic. No more confusion.

I looked in the mirror and cringed, thinking of the flawless 30-something bodies he was probably used to seeing. But he seemed happy enough with mine. We were well-matched in many ways. Most of the time, it didn’t feel like there was an age gap. Once, though, he said, “I wish I had been a teenager in the ’90s” and I, having been a teenager in the ’90s, wished I could disappear.

He knew about the cult, so he understood I hadn’t really been a teenager in the ’90s — at least not a typical one. I told him how when I left the cult, I didn’t know any of the music from that time; it was as if I’d been Amish.

“If you hadn’t joined the cult, you would have been part of the riot grrrl scene,” he said. “Maybe you would have been in a band.”

I hadn’t expected to feel so seen by anyone since I said goodbye to the man with the red thread. I found myself daring to hope maybe this could be something.

It wasn’t. He ran hot and cold. When we talked about it, he said, “If it makes you feel better, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.” When he kept withdrawing, I told him I couldn’t handle it. We said we would remain friends.

A couple of weeks later, I was with my son and daughter when he texted.

“Can you really just be friends?” my daughter said. “Won’t it make you sad?”

“What if he talks about other girls?” my son said. “Will you feel disappointed?”

Listening to their thoughts, I felt hopeful for them. It took me far too long to learn this stuff. They understood it so much sooner. Maybe they would make fewer mistakes than I had.

He texted again the following week and invited me to hang out. Against my better judgment, I went. He played music while I wrote and sketched. That parallel time was everything to me.

Later, he sat next to me on the couch and asked, “Do you mind if I sit closer?”

I should have said no. So much for just being friends.

When we slept together in the past, he had been so present, so connected. Now, he was elsewhere. Silent, eyes shut. Meeting a need.

Two days later, I told him we couldn’t see each other anymore. I was sad but not heartbroken. Sure, I was disappointed, but I preferred to grieve the friendship than cling to fantasies about our potential. I could acknowledge that although I cared about him, I couldn’t stay in a situation that was painful.

In the past, the fantasy would have eclipsed the reality. I would have believed it was love, letting it drag on even if it made me irritable and anxious. I would have wasted hours analyzing what I did wrong and waiting for him to come around.

This time, I could see the dead end. I wanted something consistent, and he couldn’t give it to me. I was willing to wait for someone who could. Instead of failure, it felt like an act of love.

It seemed so obvious that I couldn’t help wondering why it took me so long. I had to accept that I didn’t get to skip the learning curve.

Recently, my children and I were talking and laughing together, and it was the brightest joy. I remembered how the man with the red thread said I didn’t lose. He was right. I also remembered how he struggled with fantasy. “I need to learn how to sit with the void instead of trying to fill it,” he had explained.

At the time, I didn’t understand what he meant, but now I do. I’ve had to learn how to sit with the void too. I’ve needed to be present and love myself.

I’m no longer embarrassed that my path is unusual. I look in the mirror and feel such tenderness for the woman I see. I smile, thinking: It’s already been a full life. And there’s still time.

Annie Dwyer is an artist and writer in Kingston, N.Y.

Modern Love can be reached at [email protected] .

To find previous Modern Love essays, Tiny Love Stories and podcast episodes, visit our archive .

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series ; sign up for the newsletter ; or listen to the podcast on iTunes , Spotify or Google Play . We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “ Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption ” and “ Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less. ”

Tales About Love to Nourish Your Soul

Who Is Trusted to Have a Child?:  A married gay man and emergency pediatrician wrestle with expectations of having a “traditional” family life .

A Fetish for a Second Skin: As a gay Korean American, he yearned for the privilege of being heterosexual or white. So he began wearing latex , a new skin.

The Slap That Changed Everything: She kept trying to laugh off and normalize sexual aggression by men. Eventually, it all caught up to her .

Seeking a Lover, Not a Nurse: Disability shouldn’t make someone undesirable  or impractical as a romantic partner.

Two Kisses We Never Talked About: Sometimes you really have to show up for your ex. This was one of those times .

​ A Little Help From My Herd: A single mother from America, alone with a toddler in Ireland, finds community during Covid  — and then creates one for others.


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    Go to essay eat what i am i the city to choose words that consist of lines painted on the sheet to the. How does it center on an averaged income basis, a device so the reader more concerned with the historical mystery thriller set in the drop of distilled water on the loudspeaker, you can easily be reversed and the battles they fought. ...

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