Just as it is important to keep a clean and healthy diet plan in order to preserve a healthier version of ourselves, there is one area of a diet plan that is often overlooked; the intellectual diet. Reality television began booming in the early ’90s and has since hijacked its way into our common culture. It is now seen as normal for an individual to be following two or three reality TV programs religiously. Growing up, I remember MTV dominating in these types of shows by flooding their station with countless programs of second-rate actors offing a second-rate form of entertainment. So why is it that these types of shows are so popular? To put it simply, they are forms of intellectual junk food.
Much like the comforting sensation that a juicy and cheap fast food burger can offer us, television programs of the “reality” genre offer a similar reward of temporary satisfaction. The key word is temporary. A healthy diet fulfills the necessary requirement of providing the body with nutrient dense calories that allow for a more favorable lifestyle. This lifestyle is of a higher quality due to a healthy diets ability to offer a more optimum functioning throughout the day. As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.” What needs to be added to that statement is, “you are what you think.” While reality television appears to be quite harmless, the accumulation of time spent watching it can add up and be detrimental to our health. The mind is a terrible thing to waste and by exposing it to shows that star little hillbilly girls such as honey boo boo or the rednecks in “Duck Dynasty”, that is exactly what is taking place.
I take this topic seriously because I too was once greatly influenced by reality television. I would binge eat on intellectual junk food in the form of “Jersey Shore” and “The Real World.” Much like meth, entertainment of this form is quite addictive, but the benefits of releasing its grip from your life are substantial in weight. So what are forms of intellectual super foods? Well obviously, reading is certainly a way to exercise the mind but there are other ways as well. Countless documentaries offer a limitless variation of education over a multitude of topics that can surely grasp your attention while providing a thought provoking aftertaste. And what about meditation? As said in the book, “The Alchemist”, “the simple things in life are the most extraordinary.” It is quite astounding how soothing it is to simply sit outside and let your mind wander freely.