The Relationship Between Body and Mind

As a college student on a tight budget, I tend to ignore the nutrition facts listed on the back of every food item. What does 10 grams of saturated fat really even mean? What does sodium do--aside from make everything taste better? Don’t even get me started on the ingredients list. These tiny scientific conjunctions of words must be the most overlooked words on the packaging. I’ve never paid any attention to monoglycerides, sodium nitrates, or azodicarbonamides…try saying that three times fast! I only began to pay attention to these compounds when I took notice of how these foods were making me feel. Why did I feel ten times happier and more energized after eating a salad, then after a bag of chips? It must’ve been because the salad cost five times more than the chips- right? I began to dig a little deeper, and what I found shocked me.

I started with the food in my freezer. There can’t be anything wrong with frozen chicken nuggets, right? Wrong. After looking through the maze of additives in the ingredients list I found one frightening word. Butane. Butane is a widely known carcinogen. Carcinogens are known for their ability to promote cancer formations within live tissue. You can imagine what I did with those frozen nuggets after I saw this.

I then moved to my pantry. The first item I grabbed was white bread; the American staple in every household pantry. I quickly read through the ingredients list only to find yet another scientific jargon word. Potassium Bromate? My thought process was, Potassium is good right, that’s the nutrient found in bananas! That was until I googled the compound. The first thing that popped up, “The Serious Health Risks of Potassium Bromate in Bread”. This compound has been linked to yet again (!!) a various listing of cancers, and is actually banned in the Eureapon Union, United Kingdom, Canada and other large developed nations.

I began to wonder, what does all of this mean? What effects do these foods have on me not only internally, but externally as well? This is when I took notice of the way I felt after eating these kinds of processed foods. I didn’t take into account how much weight I was putting on, or how my body looked in the mirror, but simply how my mood was. My mental health per say. I realized that there was a large difference in the way I felt after eating processed, versus clean foods.

Following a processed food binge, which contained all of the essentials such as chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, chicken nuggets, tater tots, and more, I couldn’t help but feel one word: sluggish. I was lethargic, lifeless, and slightly depressed. I don’t think anyone would feel good after eating that much junk food, but I didn’t think I would feel depressed. The next day I then followed up with a clean food binge. This consisted of bell peppers, cucumber slices, pineapple chunks, and dairy-free yogurt. After this binge I had an entirely different feeling from the night before. I felt energized, and ready to take on the world. I literally wanted to go to the gym… at 10 o’clock at night.

The reason behind doing all this was to show a correlation between what you eat, and how you feel. Mental health is one of the most important aspects of life. If you don’t feel good, the rest will spiral down the drain. Make sure that you’re aware of how impactful food can be towards your psychological well-being. Life is short, so make it count, and don’t forget to read the ingredients list every once in a while too!