Healthy Living in School Curriculum & Modern Society

By Darryl E Berry Jr

December 15, 2021

The topic of healthy living is quite dear to me. I have maintained a diet of little to no red meat and plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, tree nuts, and legumes for many years now. I consume water primarily for liquid intake, with the occasional fruit juices. Instead of milk, I utilize one of the several available organic milk alternatives today. Furthermore, my fast food intake is minimal.

My reluctance to eat red meat began with the mad cow disease dilemma of the 1990s. Soon, I found that eating red meat did not feel good – the meat felt heavy. So, I adjusted to lighter meats, like chicken, seafood, and turkey, and I needed much less meat than I initially considered. I also found that eating more fruits and vegetables felt better as well.

Seeing people cause or exacerbate various medical complications from drinking only soda drinks helped me to drink almost only water. It was difficult detoxing from the sugar addiction of soft drinks and other overly sweet liquid concoctions. Nevertheless, after establishing the water drinking habit, I find water the best tasting drink.

I say the above to say that what I learned in school was not the bulk of my learning about healthy eating, nor the impetus for adjustments in the foods I consume. I remember talking about the four food groups – a little pyramid illustration in grade school. However, the emphasis in school on healthy eating pales in comparison to the encouragement to do otherwise. Learning about the four food groups in grade school helped me be more conscious of the various food categories. However, my eating habits remained essentially unchanged. Furthermore, given the onslaught of advertising promoting unhealthy food options – fast food, soft drinks, etcetera – it seems that there is room in school curriculums for more discussion of the harmful effects of excessive poor eating and the beneficial effects of healthy eating.

Given the blitz of advertising for poor eating choices and the proliferation of fast-food venues, it seems that modern eating is a form of self-destruction. I am often amazed at the list of chemical compounds comprising the ingredient lists of apparently simple food items. I am sure we are all familiar with the maelstrom of preservatives and other chemical compounds and the near-ubiquitous corn syrup utilized in making items that once needed only a handful of ingredients. We have replaced food with various manufactured objects in so-called modern food fare – often laden with salt to mask the chemical taste.

I find that we can overcome a brief spate of fast-food items with consistent healthy eating. First, however, it seems vital that we educate ourselves on the effects of unhealthy eating and take some time to consume better foods to see what results ensue. For instance, it may take a few weeks or even months of not drinking soft drinks to recognize how distorted our tastebuds have become due to continued overages in sugar.  Nevertheless, as we get older and our body cannot as efficiently fight off the adverse effects of unhealthy foods, I believe that each year of healthy eating and drinking will be a gift of better health in later years.

Copyright © 2021 Darryl E Berry Jr

Article entered into the Healthy Lifestyle Scholarship Program.