Healthy Food, Healthy Mood

Here’s a little story I’d like to share with you today that I saw on the news probably 7 years ago. Wait 7 years ago? Well I certainly wouldn’t remember a quick little story on the news from 7 years past unless it had a huge impact on me. And this story did just that. Its good to remember meaninful and insightful things, and even better to share them by passing them along to others (wink).

I turned on the news and came across an interesting headline. It was something like “Cafeteria Food Changes Students for Better”. It sounded fictional right off the bat so I gave it watch. Sure enough, I’m here today telling you guys about it. This was a middle school cafeteria. But it wasn’t just an ordinary school. It was a school for juvenile delinquents (kids that were charged by the law as minors). So basically, these were bad kids.

I always thought a bad kid was a bad kid and there’s not a lot of change in that. Our childhood are our most fragile years in our lives and if a kid was raised immorally or just a lack of raising altogether, then how much can you really do to change them as adolescent teens of all things?

I’m sure the school was extra strict on them with overall policy and guidelines. But at the same time I’m sure the students fought back as much as they could. The teachers, principal, and even superintendent of the school noticed a sudden and drastic change in literally the entire student body population within a matter of weeks. Something was happening to the students, but the entire faculty was left baffled.

The students became increasingly cooperative, positive, willing, and even more open and friendly with each other and the faculty. My memory isn’t 100% clear but if it serves right, I think the head of the cafeteria had a simple suggestion. He or she brought it to the principal or someone in charge and they gave the okay. The cafeteria head requested no more fried food, greasy food, or any food of this nature and that it is to be cut out of the regular rotation in the weekly menu. Now that the menu was missing several things and had opened up more empty slots, they needed some replacing. He or she probably encouraged in replace of the old selections an entirely new theme altogether. The new menu comprised of mostly fresh, organic, whole, and all other foods of the sort that are very high in nutritional value.

I remember my middle and high school cafeteria’s like it was yesterday. Disgusting is the only word that comes to mind if your waiting on the main line. I think this might have been the starting point to when I just started learning some of the in’s and out’s of dieting and proper nutrition. There was a fresh food side that always had a line of oh I don’t know maybe 2 people on average. The “grease line” as I used to call it always ran out the kitchen into the cafe itself. I always hated lines so I tried the fresh food line and eventually stuck to it 90% of the time because A. no line, and B. the food was good as I knew it was also good for me. Sometimes I’d hop on the grease line but that’s only when I needed a pizza fix or something (hey I was a kid, pizza was essential).

Anyway, back to the story. So the kids at this school were basically forced to eat the new food. Maybe they could bring from home but who has time for that when your a kid right? The results were incredible. Apparently scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, and psychologists came in to interview them. They asked why and how did the sudden change in your behavior come about? The students had no real explanation. But we all here no exactly what it was don’t we?

I tried noticing this with myself and now that I’m actively aware of it, I do notice slight changes in mood in relation to what I’m eating. Nothing drastic like the kids at that school, but I still do (been eating relatively healthy for years so maybe that has something to do with it). The kids at that school probably had very poor diets, so going from the slimy cafe food that they were so used to, to the completely revamped menu, it’s not surprising that they suddenly found increases is academic performance and improvements in behavior.

On a side note many juveniles come from broken homes where food may not always be readily available. You could suppose that many of those students were malnourished probably without even knowing it.

My suggestion to you today is to really just take this story into closer consideration. Ultimately it applies to everyone anyway as diet is the quintessential focal point for everyone’s general health. But maybe you could start incorporating new foods into your diet that could almost serve as nutritional boosts for your day. All while revising your current diet and cutting out what you know is potentially bad, or just foods that simply don’t provide any value. Its not until you here a story like this that you realize you could better yourself, and that this bettering is easier than you think.

 

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