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Mental Balance and Variation

Friday, May 6, 2011 by Slaughter Development

To Slaughter Development’s founder, balance and variation is key in creating and maintaining a proper diet. Likewise, it’s essential in the continued development of our minds.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, Robby Slaughter focused his most recent article on how the nourishment we provide our bodies can also affect our minds. “Food For The Mind“, published in March’s edition of Health Minute Magazine, is below in its entirety:

Everyone is reminding us more than usual about the importance of what we decide to put into our bodies. It’s certainly true that food intake affects practically everything about our well-being, including our weight, our energy level and even risk factors for many diseases. We know we’re supposed to eat right. Although there are certainly disagreements, nutrition experts generally recommend a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein sources and dairy products. The foundation of proper eating is balance. When it comes to food, we should embrace variation and moderation.

When nutrients enter the body they power our minds and our muscles. Yet consider for a moment that what we do with that fuel varies widely. A green salad or a greasy cheeseburger might be the energy source for the life-saving work of a paramedic. A bowl of cereal or a scoop of ice cream could also be the chemical battery which enables a criminal to rob a bank! The expression claims “you are what you eat,” but in truth you are what you choose to do with the calories you consume.

Eating healthy, however, may help inspire us to become better people. A fresh, energy-packed breakfast is more likely to perk you up in a morning meeting than one layered in syrup and sweets. Likewise, the way we stimulate our minds can impact our mood, our outlook and our productivity.  In fact, what we put into our heads can help improve our understanding of the world even as our bodies begin to decline. A study published in the Journal of Gerontology notes that even “the frequency of reading the newspaper [is] positively associated with functional health literacy.” Simply put, mental challenges are a healthy food for the mind at any age.

Unfortunately, our mental habits tend to mirror our eating habits. Just as we fall victim to the allure of fast food and frozen dinners, we are quick to repeat old patterns for mental stimulation that don’t require much thinking. It’s much easier to watch the same television shows than to read a book in an unfamiliar genre. It’s much more comfortable to get a drink with old friends than to branch out and attend a lecture series or learn about a new hobby. Like the recommendations made by dietitians, it’s not that the old standbys are inherently unhealthy. Rather, we know that conscientious variation can give us more balance and energy. It’s worth mixing up what we do to balance out who we are.

No matter what your role in life—whether in school, at work, or retired—consider building a balanced regimen of intellectual pursuits. Try to read, write and learn something new each day. Vary your patterns and expand your mind. You’re likely to see the world in a new way. You’re almost certain to become more productive, more insightful and more satisfied. Feed your mind some new food!

Robby Slaughter is a Principal with Slaughter Development, an Indianapolis-based business process and workflow consulting company. His new book, Failure: The Secret to Success is available now at

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One Response to “Mental Balance and Variation”

  1. Higher Balance Says:

    You are right. the food also matters in our mental peace and for our inner peace.

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