My favourite #BellLetsTalk tweet
If you’re in Canada, or were online pretty much anywhere on Jan 30th you may have come across the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.
It’s an annual online event where one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, Bell Canada (named after Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone who did much of his work on the invention here in Canada) donates money toward mental health initiatives.
In fact, in 2018 #BellLetsTalk was the most used Twitter hashtag in Canada:
— Twitter Canada (@TwitterCanada) December 5, 2018
This week’s event generated over $7 million due to their commitment of donating 5c per talk, text, and social media interaction with the hashtag.
The final results are in! Thank you for your unbelievable support – another $7,272,134.95 for mental health programs, bringing Bell’s total commitment to $100,695,763.75. https://t.co/0DXTdBkpuG #BellLetsTalk pic.twitter.com/3SbDABvoVa
— Bell Let’s Talk (@Bell_LetsTalk) January 31, 2019
But, there was one tweet that really struck a chord for me…
My favourite #BellLetsTalk tweet
As a nutrition pro, health writer, and passionate supporter for public health, this tweet rang through to me on several levels.
First of all, it ties mental health to food and nutrition; but not in the way I normally look at it.
I usually look at the effects that food and nutrition have on mental health.
There is a lot of new research being done and a relatively new field called “Nutritional Psychiatry.” This includes some high-quality randomized control trials like the SMILES trial out of the Food and Mood Centre and the HELFIMED trial, both out of Australia. There is fascinating work in the link between the gut and the brain, and when I search PubMed for “gut-brain” it finds almost 1,500 peer-reviewed published studies so far!
I was so fortunate to see Dr. Drew Ramsey last year when he popped by Toronto to give a talk about nutritional psychiatry. Here’s his TED talk for an idea:
When it comes to the tweet, this is my favourite part:
Doing my best.
Some days my daughter eats organic veggies. Some days she eats McDonald’s.
because it reminded me that food and nutrition are linked to mental health in both directions.
Not only does what we eat affect our mental health, but our mental health affects our food choices and thus our nutrition. Good nutrition isn’t just about our choices, commitment, and preparation. Good nutrition is also an outcome of larger societal issues like knowledge, cooking ability, socioeconomic status, and how we cope with our feelings and mental health.Not only does what we eat affect our mental health, but our mental health affects our food choices and thus our nutrition. #MentalHealth #Food #Nutrition Click To Tweet
This may seem obvious when you think about it, but it’s something that fell by the wayside in my mind that focuses so much on the emerging evidence of how food and nutrition can help to improve mood, and not so much on how SO MANY THINGS affect our food and nutrition.
And being immersed in the huge and growing wellness industry, I’m constantly bombarded with images of perfectly relaxed people doing their fitness routines and enjoying their “whole food” smoothies bowls (or whatever the latest food trend is). Healthy eating is made to look so effortless and attainable.
But it’s not as simple as following a few steps or making a commitment.
I wanted to share these thoughts because it’s sometimes easy for me to forget that many people who don’t eat “well” should try to learn more and do better: I’ll just write a blog post on a nutritious food, or a video recipe for a fast healthy dinner, or give a meal plan as a free offer on my website, and that will help them.
But, I appreciate the reminders of my privilege and the other factors that affect food choices like interpersonal, community, and public policy. I’m proud that Canada’s new food guide takes into account things like how to eat healthy on a budget.
And, I appreciate the reminder that there are even more factors that affect our food and nutrition…
Like mental health.
But maybe, it’s good to remember that people usually do the best they can. And hidden illnesses, like in mental health, are totally legit reasons why people aren’t able to always get the best food and nutrition.
Maybe sometimes fast food isn’t just OK. Maybe, it’s the best that can be done at the moment.
Let’s help continue to raise awareness of the importance of mental health
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And let’s all remember that food and nutrition and mental health are a two-way street — they both affect each other.
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I'm Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.
I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.