Friday, January 27, 2006

Good food/bad food = Good energy/bad energy

At the Uni where I work, prior to the Great Renovation, the Student Union building was reminiscent of a 1960s-era Soviet boarding school: asbestos tile, industrial brick, and linoleum floors, and with food options to match: bad barbecue, worse mini-pizzas, and best-of-a-bad-lot sub sandwiches.

Since the renovation, the fast-food courts for the kids remain, but there is also a bistro-style sandwiches, grill, and soup place, and a "healthy choices"-style salads-and-pitas place. Professor Spouse and I do 90% of lunches in the latter (comes of being old and sedentary). It's interesting to observe the different demographics and demeanors not only of the patrons but also of the folks who work in the various joints. Many are local people, many others are international students working extra jobs--as so many international students do. But uniformly, the workers in the healthy-choice place are often in a better mood, enjoy nicer interactions with the customers, and are kinder to one another.

Working fast-food is hard--I've done it--and it can be both physically and emotionally debilitating. It's interesting (and would be encouraging, if the US government cared more about mandating healthy options in public institutions; see Fast-Food Nation) to note that just being around, much less consuming, healthier food actually makes both patrons and workers happier.

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