Chopping vegetables

How I enjoy good food: Cooking and eating to stay well

We ask people about how they keep healthy and well, whether they have dementia or not. This time, we hear about the pleasures of growing, cooking and eating food.

Lynne Parry, 68, Cornwall 

I used to be vegetarian but now eat fish, especially oily fish, as it is good for your brain. I keep waste to zero if possible, deciding what to eat based on what we have. 

When meeting friends, often we have bring-and-share meals to make it easier, and for novelty. 

The challenge of ‘rustling up’ a meal every day keeps me focused on good health and nutrition, and my husband likes the food! 

Robert Johnson, Hampshire 

I cook my own food and shop for items. I go out occasionally for meals with friends, but I do my own cooking at home alone. I started because of the need to keep active enough to look after my wife's needs. 

Peter Morley and his wife

Peter Morley and his wife.

Peter Morley, 59, West Midlands

My wife and I are still working, so sharing the cooking in the evening is a great way to catch up on what happened during the day. Sometimes it's a quick salmon stir-fry with lots of nice veggies and other times it's from a cookery book, depending on time. 

Amanda Butler, 49, Cheshire 

A healthy vegetarian diet helps me to maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure. I feel that I am doing my best to maximise my chances of good physical and mental health. 

I eat healthily every day but do enjoy home-baked sweet treats too, in moderation. I love baking things such as wholemeal fruit scones, fruity tea bread, banana and walnut loaf, and seasonal fruit crumble.

Blackberry picking is a must in late summer and early autumn. 

I have enjoyed baking since I was a child and grew up in a home with a large vegetable garden and apple tree.

Diane Venni and her husband

Diane Venni and her husband.

Diane Venni, 64, Cambridgeshire

We have an allotment, so we grow our own vegetables and fruit. My husband and I work on it together when the weather allows. We have fresh vegetables when we want them, and it helps save money when vegetables are expensive in the winter. It’s good exercise, keeping the mind and body active. 

Having the allotment kept us going through lockdown, as it was our daily exercise routine out in the fresh air. 

Jacqueline Barron, 77, Bristol 

I like cooking from scratch, looking for new recipes and buying interesting food. I enjoy the varying tastes. 

I was diagnosed as coeliac 25 years ago, so I need to cook my own food and find good alternatives to standard fare.

Stay well 

Some things, like your age and genes, affect your chance of developing dementia but you can’t change them. Things you can change? Keep your mind and body active, enjoy healthier food, don’t smoke, drink less alcohol, stay in touch with people, and deal with any health problems. 

If you already have dementia, the same things can help you to stay healthy and well – see our inspiration and tips to get active in ways that suit you.

NHS Live Well has health and wellbeing advice for everyone.

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Dementia together magazine: Aug/Sept 20

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now

1 comment

I am male aged72. MY 22 y/o son lives with his mum(56) and me.
He measures the amount of food we eat daily. No alcohol. we eat oats, granola, yoghurt and a healthy snack before having a healthy cooked meal in evenings after having a 45 minute work out - I have reduced my weight from 17 stone to 15.4 since lock down. and will continue towards 14 stone