Guest Post: The Surprising Benefits of Reality Television

Hi everyone! Oh my goodness, T-minus two weeks until my wedding day and I am a jumble of excitement, nerves, gratitude, stress… mostly excitement! 🙂

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to post nearly as much as I would like this summer. Wedding-planning combined with teaching summer camps, tutoring my regular clients, travel plans and trying to squeeze in some writing projects has kept me busy “on all burners” as a friend of mine says. Anyway, I want to thank you for your patience during this super busy season of my life! I have a few posts in the pipeline that I am working on finishing up for you sometime soon. In the meantime, one of my blog readers reached out with an idea for a guest post, and I am delighted to present it to you today!

I must admit, when I first read the title of this post, I wasn’t sure I would agree with the writer’s views… I am not much of a TV watcher myself, and I think of “reality TV” squarely in the “guilty pleasures” realm! However, after reading it, my views have broadened. I think this guest blogger makes excellent points and definitely leaves you with some food for thought. Enjoy!

reality tv

The Surprising Benefits of Reality Television

Looking across the television channels, from lifestyle and cooking to educational, reality shows are clearly monopolizing the televised entertainment landscape. Despite the wide range of subcategories, the genre is often regarded as trash TV, offering very little to educate or improve our daily lives and leading most people to focus on the negative aspects of reality television. Contrary to popular belief, plenty of good can come from a daily dose of this guilty pleasure, more than you would think.

On the surface, the only apparent positive effect of reality television is its power to help you unwind from a busy day. One of the keys to letting yourself relax, according to Psych Central, is by figuring out what works best for you, and while MasterChef may not have the same meditative effects as simple breathing exercises or a yoga workout, reality TV gives a sense of escape that allows us to disconnect from our daily stresses. For a moment, the only thing that you focus on is whether or not your favorite contestant is going to make it through to the next round.

But there’s more to game shows and other reality series than just its relaxation benefits. Positive influences have actually stemmed from this TV category. One of the finer examples that prove that TV can be very useful to viewers includes the show Hoarders, as How Stuff Works say that it has increased public awareness on a behavior that many don’t realize is a mental health issue. These documented cases of real people and real problems has made us socially aware and accepting of others, and even supplied us with the tools to make changes in our own lives and help others in need.

On the less serious side of things, talent contests such as The X Factor, which is now at the peak of its popularity with The X Factor Games and other related ventures, expose us to a world of unique and extraordinary abilities that inspire us to explore our own faculties, as well as support the contestants that hope to make a better life for themselves and their families. Weight loss competitions supply us with the guidance to lead a healthier lifestyle without the risks of extreme dieting. Segments that highlight teen pregnancy have encouraged the public to be more cautious with reproductive health, as Benefits of explains that teen pregnancy rates have declined since the premiere of shows like Teen Mom.

They say that television is only good in small doses, but it all depends on the content. Reality TV as a whole may not have the same educational caliber as the likes of National Geographic, though the average Joe and Jane stories are circumstances that we can all relate to, motivating us to become the best version of ourselves.

Questions to think about:

  • Do you watch any reality television? If so, what shows are your favorites?
  • Do you feel motivated by reality TV shows?

my 3 favorite ways to use sauteed spinach

Spinach is SO good for us. This superfood is high in fiber, antioxidants, cancer-fighting flavonoids, vitamin A and vitamin K — promoting healthy bones, skin, vision, brain and nerve function. {Read more here.}

I always put a handful of raw spinach into my smoothies {I promise, you can’t taste it!} and lately I’ve started sauteeing spinach and using it in many of my favorite recipes. To sautee baby spinach, simply spray a frying pan with a bit of olive oil, add minced garlic if desired, and cook the spinach for 3 to  5 minutes on medium-low heat, until the leaves are wilted.

spinach before

spinach after

Here are my top 3 favorite ways to use sauteed spinach {other than as a side by itself, which is also de.li.cious!}

1. Atop a veggie pasta bowl. I love to layer a bit of brown rice pasta, some roasted veggies {zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, yum!}, sauteed spinach, and then top the whole she-bang with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of feta cheese. NOM!

pasta bowl

2. Wrapped up inside an enchilada. This would be the perfect way to sneak more veggies into a non-veggie-lover’s diet. I layer some sauteed spinach on top of the ground turkey mixture, pour on some sauce, wrap it up and pop it in the oven to bake.

turkey enchiladas

3. In my morning scrambled eggs. One of my favorite combos of the moment is sauteed spinach, avocado, onion and chicken sausage. A great power-breakfast to get your day off on the right foot!

eggs

Do you eat spinach regularly? If so, I’d love to hear some of your favorite recipes! Any other superfoods you can’t get enough of lately?