How Nutrition Affects Your Emotions
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
At the end of my 11th-grade year, I became very interested in nutrition, fitness, and my body. I began eating better, working out more and became very aware of how the food I was eating affected my body and how I felt. My interest in food and exercise lead me to be curious about eating disorders and specifically eating disorders in teenage girls. The amount of teenage girls who develop eating disorders is very disheartening and I wanted to change something. I realized that sex and body image will always be in the media so I decided to take a different angle. I researched a lot about what kinds of emotions triggered eating disorders and my interest in food lead me to then research what kinds of foods targeted these negative emotions. My love of food and my body spurred my interest in creating a cookbook for high school girls that they can use so that eating disorders will be less of an occurrence.
My challenge is tackling eating disorders in a healthy way. My goal is to use my interest in healthy eating to attract girls with eating disorders to want to eat healthily rather than not eat. Eating disorders have the highest death rate of all mental illnesses. My target audience is girls from 15-24, and my goal is to educate them into realizing that eating healthy can both cause you to look fit and healthy, and fuels your body in a positive way. I think I came to realize that I wanted to do a project with eating disorders when I saw a trend of girls not eating during the days and the words “she doesn’t eat” began to normalize in a scary way. A lot of girls in the present day are influenced by the media and the amount of sex portrayed in the media. I think to try to stop the amount of discouraging negative body image sources in the media would be very difficult. But I thought that there must be another way. Although people with eating disorders do not want to eat, I think if you convince them that these certain foods with make them feel better, they might agree. The foods in the cookbook will target specific chemicals in your brain to change your emotions. When girls realize this, there will be a breakthrough and I believe the number of eating disorders with decrease.
My prototype is a cookbook that is catered to what sorts of emotions you are feeling. There are sample meals for each emotion with nutritious meals for each one. MY GOAL is that this cookbook will urge girls to want to feel better and have meals that they can cook and eat so that they can do so. Each emotion is made up of different chemicals in your brain and it takes different chemicals to produce each one. Each of the foods in the cookbook helps a different emotion because each food has a different nutritious quality that will help change anxiety into calmness or stress into happiness.
My Next Step: My next step is to develop a stronger menu and more options for breakfast lunch and dinner. I also want to talk to the cafe and cafeteria staff at my school to see if any of the foods I have thought of could be served in the Cafe or during lunch. I also plan to meet with my school guidance counselor to develop a possible trial that could determine if certain foods in the cookbook truly make kids less anxious or happier. I might ask my principal if I can send out surveys to students in the high school asking them questions about their moods and what kinds of foods they eat and see how their emotions correlate with what they eat.
I would like your opinion on how I could implement this into my school. How might I implement it in a way that doesn’t suggest there is a problem with eating disorders throughout the school? I wonder if people will like the idea or if the will think it won’t work? How should I approach my idea if it isn’t accepted by my peers?