#ASMSG Some People Live to Eat, Others Eat to Live: An Essay Prompt

By Thomas Baker

Author of I Live In Chile

Eat to live, or live to eat, that is the question

All people eat to live. I have no doubt about the accuracy of that fact. Yet, I want to entertain the idea that it is possible to live to eat. First, I will clearly define what I mean by the terms, “live to eat”, and “eat to live”. Secondly, I will give some examples of people who live to eat. Thirdly, I will look at a well-known example of a case of a person who was “living to eat”. I will conclude by sharing my personal views on this topic.

Firstly, the key terms are “eat to live” and “live to eat”. What do I mean when I say, “eat to live”? For me, this refers to the biological sense inherent in the concept. All humans need to eat in order to survive. Once you stop eating, you will die. To avoid this fate, you and I eat food and drink water. On the other hand, “living to eat”, is a concept that implies my eating is beyond and above my need to survive. My eating has nothing to do with my biological survival. I’m eating because of some other reason outside of simply staying alive. In sum, “eat to live” is a biological understanding whereas, “live to eat” is psychological, social, and emotional.

Secondly, people who live to eat are numerous. Sumo wrestlers are a great example. In Japan, Sumo wrestlers who become champions are highly revered and respected by the people. Many young boys begin very early in their lives to prepare their bodies for the life of a Sumo wrestler. What that means, quite literally, is “living to eat”. The psychological, social, emotional, and financial rewards of becoming a champion Sumo wrestler are so great that they eat massive quantities of food. They are trying to develop an enormous body. Successful participation in the sport requires this, and rewards it well. There is little wonder, therefore, that Sumo wrestlers, “live to eat”.

Thirdly, what if you could make your point about how unhealthy eating fast food is for your body? Would you do it, even at the risk of your own health? Most people would not, but in the movie, “Supersize Me”, a man decides to eat at McDonald’s three times a day. In fact, all his meals are at McDonald’s. Over the course of the movie, we watch a healthy young man suffer extreme physical problems related to obesity, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and even heart disease. The man’s doctor in the movie is visibly distressed over the effects caused by, “living to eat” at McDonald’s. As the movie ends, you are relieved that the man is still alive.

In conclusion, all of us eat to live, in a biological sense. We don’t want to die due to lack of food and water, so we eat to stay alive. Living to eat, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. Because of the psychological, emotional, or social benefits that living to eat can bring with it, we make eating the central focus of our life, above and beyond our need for energy to survive. This is true of Sumo wrestlers and also people who use food to demonstrate the correctness of their views, as we saw in in the movie, “Super Size Me”. Personally, I can only say that eating has a very important role to play in my life. I eat to live, and for me, this is the way that benefits my health. Still, I know that as long as food is a way to have a successful life, or prove a point about how eating fast food is bad for you, people will continue to, “live to eat”.

By Thomas Baker

Author of I Live In Chile


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
This entry was posted in Culture, EFL, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to #ASMSG Some People Live to Eat, Others Eat to Live: An Essay Prompt

  1. Yes! Also, I think it’s weird that people can describe one of their hobbies as being a foodie while others struggle to find food to live.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting. Eating as a hobby…being a foodie. The flip side of course is what you point out, there are others who absolutely struggle, on a daily basis, to find food to live. And you don’t have to go to Africa to find these people, they are all around us, in some of the most wealthy countries on Earth…

      Thank you kindly for your comment.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s