At Evolve Treatment Centers, we treat food as medicine. Research on the relationship between diet and emotions shows that food has a significant impact on how we feel. A poor diet is associated with a higher vulnerability to negative emotions (like anger, depression, and anxiety). On the other hand, a healthy, nutrient-rich diet (complete with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) can improve mood, concentration, focus, and memory. When it comes to mental health, the adage “you are what you eat” holds especially true. For this reason, healthy eating and nutrition are often touted as optimal forms of self-care.
Service providers, including mental health professionals, are often reminded about the need for self-care. They know they have to adequately take care of themselves in order to properly treat others.
However, the pandemic has made healthful eating somewhat more difficult. Amid quarantine and social distancing protocols, individuals often limit their trips to supermarkets. And while it’s easy to stock up on non-perishables for weeks at a time, it’s more difficult to do that with produce.
Giving Back to Employees
For these reasons, Evolve Treatment Centers decided to provide each one of its residential treatment staff members with a box of farm-fresh, healthy produce this past Thursday. One hundred and fifty RTC staff took home a package of organic fruits and vegetables in appreciation of their hard work during COVID-19.
“Providing our staff with these organic produce boxes was our way of thanking them for their continued dedication, hard work, and service to our teens in the face of this pandemic,” said Michelle Gross, LMFT, Chief Operations Officer at Evolve Treatment Centers. “At the same time, we chose the gift of organic produce to emphasize the importance of self-care and remind our staff that we value their health and wellbeing.”
As an essential healthcare facility, Evolve Treatment Centers has remained open throughout the entire duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff continue going to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while abiding by safety protocols in line with the CDC and California Department of Public Health.
“The entire leadership team is deeply appreciative of our staff’s commitment to our clients,” said Ken Wood, CEO of Evolve.
Giving Back to the Community
In order to relieve some of the economic burden COVID-19 has placed on many individuals in the community, Evolve intentionally sourced the produce gift boxes from locally-owned small businesses.
Farm Cart Organics was one such vendor. As Evolve’s partner in this initiative, Farm Cart Organics procures responsibly-grown, ethically sourced fruit and vegetables directly from small organic farms around the Santa Barbara region and delivers them to private homes, corporations, and other small businesses.
Kara Gross, Outreach Representative at Evolve, organized the partnership. “We were excited to support local farms and small businesses amid this pandemic, while simultaneously helping our staff avoid multiple trips to the grocery store for their produce. We strongly believe that healthy eating nourishes the mind as well as the body.”