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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

We Are What We Eat Speech

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October 9, 2019 | Nishara Mitchell | reporter

Food plays a significant role in mood and yet what people eat and how much they eat also influences their current mood.

Those were the twin themes running through the Oct. 2 speech titled, “We Are What We Eat” given by registered dietician, Kathie Robinson in TR’s Energy Auditorium.

Robinson, who is director of programs at Sixty and Better, focused her talk on how food choices can affect mood, how mood can impact food choices, and how bacteria in the gut can influence emotional and cognitive functioning.

At the beginning of the event, attendees formed a line leading into the auditorium, as they anticipated  sampling from a buffet filled with healthy food options.

Department Chair of Behavioral Sciences, Hector Menchaca, along with Sheila Gonzales, an administrative assistant for the behavioral science department, were inspired to organize the event due to seeing many students struggle with obesity and diabetes.

Menchaca believes the presentation will give young students a head start on learning about “food, mood, neurotransmitters, and behavior.”

Robinson explained that a positive mood leads to healthy food choices, while a negative mood is linked to unhealthy dietary patterns. Other factors that affect food choices are short sleep durations, poor sleep quality, social modeling, screen devices and depression.

According to Robinson, there is an inverse relationship between adequate nourishment and depression. When it comes to depression, the Mediterranean diet significantly lowers overall risk. That diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole-grains, which have vitamins that elevate mood status and selenium, an essential mineral that aids with managing stress. Fruits and vegetables intake lead to a range of states of positive, even flourishing, well-being.

“Eat those carrots man,” Robinson said jokingly.

She went on to do an exercise with the audience involving chocolate. The audience members received individually wrapped, square-shaped bars of dark chocolate.  Robinson then instructed the audience to utilize their five senses first to smell the chocolate, feel it, before taking a small bite.

“When you eat mindfully, you’re much more likely to be satisfied because you actually pay attention to what’s going into your body,” said Robinson.

The brain and gut are connected, Robinson indicated. Gut microbes exert influence by affecting the gut-brain axis and can affect mood. What we eat affects the gut environment.

TR student and self-proclaimed “health nut,” Keith Whitfield realized that he needs to incorporate more vegetables in his diet.

“I definitely will be more mindful moving forward,” said Whitfield.


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