DR. WALLACE: I usually eat and enjoy well-balanced meals, and I have a nutritious breakfast each morning. I count my calories out carefully with each breakfast so that I can eat enough good fuel to start my day, but still keep my calorie intake down. I'm a creature of habit; I eat a nice portion of fresh fruit every morning, and it fills me up just fine.
But when lunchtime rolls around, I'm more flexible with my diet. Sometimes I eat a healthy lunch at home, but other times a girlfriend will invite me out to eat at a fast-food restaurant. It is on these trips to our nation's familiar cathedrals of grease and high-calorie foods that I've noticed that whenever I eat fast food or fried foods, I tend to get moody shortly afterward. It's really strange! I literally have a dramatic mood swing, and I'm grumpy and grouchy with everyone and everything. Once I get home with a belly full of grease and fatty calories, I even argue with my parents and siblings.
I'll admit that some of my friends claim that I can be a bit of a "drama queen," but I'm telling you, these mood swings are real. Is food to be blamed for my foul moods or am I just imagining all of this? — Low-Calorie Queen, via email
LOW-CALORIE QUEEN: Over the years, I've spoken to many medical doctors and nutritionists, and most agree that giving your brain the optimal nutrients can be related to your entire mind and body function. Processed foods can, at times, knock an individual's mind and body out of balance, or at least out of its normal routine.
Eating healthier may help reduce depression and moodiness for most people. Some medical studies even indicate that a diet high in carbohydrates may increase inflammation in various parts of the body. This would seem to support your claims of moodiness after consuming these types of foods.
I suggest you visit your family doctor and explain your situation in detail. A medical professional may be able to shed more light on your specific situation, and may even direct you to a specialist for further evaluation if needed.
I DON'T WANT TO ATTEND A PRIVATE SCHOOL
DR. WALLACE: I'm a regular kid who has attended public schools my entire life. I'm finishing up the eighth grade this spring, and my parents just told me that I am going to attend a Catholic high school!
My parents said that they decided this because of drugs, gangs and the importance of getting a good education. They also said this is their decision, not mine, and that it's final!
I really don't want to go to parochial school. But my parents feel that private schools are superior to public schools. Can I get your opinion on the difference? I know you worked in public schools for decades, right? — Public-School Kid, via email
PUBLIC-SCHOOL KID: I firmly believe you can get a good education at a public or private high school. Any school in any part of our country is only as good as its administrators, teachers, students and parents.
No matter what kind of school you attend, as long as you are involved and your parents are watchful of your influences, you will likely flourish and succeed in getting a good education.
Yes, all of my experience was at public schools, so I have a lot of firsthand knowledge that they can be outstanding when everyone does their part and puts the best interests of the students as the primary goal. But I have had several good friends who worked at private and parochial schools over the years, and their experiences were similar to mine. In the end, it comes down to how any school is operated and how well the students are provided an excellent environment for learning.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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